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  1. I doubt Bachmann would waste a slot for a good blue riband model to re-run an old 47, black 5 or 94xx model. Hornby has plenty of collectors to soak up it's specials and none of their anniversary models are actually using old mouldings, they are all new but retro style where appropriate, the anniversay Duchess even though metal is a fine locomotive.
  2. That's quite a sad outcome - I had a rake of the Chinese versions and I remember the announcement of the new ones and thought I wonder if they really will be that great an improvement - a bit like the older Farish 31 the bodyshape and the look of the carriages was spot on, the gap between the coaches being the issue. Even at one stage I was thinking of keeping my older Mk1s against the newer blue riband versions as side on they looked as good - it was the gap that led me to sell them and just retain the newer ones which are closer coupled.
  3. Contentious view time: Ministers don't throw money at a government owned organisation because 'people' cannot invest in it. Put it in private hands and that same money can create dividends for shareholders and thus wealth. The fact that those shareholders might also be friends and acquaintences of ministers of course would have no bearing on this. Example, a certain housing scheme on the banks of the Thames given ministerial approval just days before a law was to be enacted making the planned scheme impossible. The major investor in the scheme seen many times having dinner with said minister and there being records of conversations stating that perhaps they shouldn't be seen together for a bit. I don't doubt this sort of thing happens within both main parties, I am of the belief that power ultimately corrupts, but whilst some may honestly believe in certain ethos for others it is simply a means to an end to get rich.
  4. Dont forget HS2 predates the vanity of our current leader, hence talk now of a bridge to Northern Ireland, for some reason he likes nautical themes - Boris Island, the green bridge over the Thames and now a viaduct ovder the Irish channel.
  5. Which exactly proves the point that the railways are run by the DFT, always have been, doesn't matter what the name on the side of the carriage says the trains will run. A franchise is just a licence to run the trains on behalf of the government, they have certain freedoms within the scope of the contract but ultimately they are doing the Government's bidding and they don't then the Government will put someone else in charge but it will be the same staff running the actual trains with a different badge on their uniform. No failure of a franchise has ever seen the trains stop - however, if a company like Grand Central got into difficulties the trains would simply be shunted into the siding of the Rosco's choice and left until someone else leased them or they were scrapped. At the moment the ex franchisees are running the services they are told to by the DFT - 50%,60%,70%,100% of their services with the Government subsidising any shortfalls due to lack of passenger income. Grey areas may be stock refurbishment - Avanti have Voyagers going through refits, do they stop or continue, I would hope the latter but if the DFT decide that isn't a priority then it may come to a halt - of course the refurbishment is keeping staff employed so maybe it's a wise investment and it continues. I don't know what the current status of that programme is so I am just guessing here.
  6. I believe Boris just wanted to be the leader, I don't think he is in charge. I think one person's rampant rule breaking in order to 'test' his eyesight put paid to any idea that Boris was fully in control.
  7. Strategically privatisation gave the Government distance when large monopolistic industries came face to face with changing industrial realities. The UK had a wealth of aging, resource heavy, union dominated industries falling behind emerging economies and were a millstone around HMGs neck. The Government had the choice to invest heavily, address union issues and rebuilld these industries anew or allow private companies to try and do so and if they failed it was not the Government's fault. Looking back now, privatisation raised a lot of capital for the Government, allowed the UK public to be involved in decision making (through buying of shares, which they then quickly sold) and then not worry what came next. In some respects it was a bit of a con - not many members held on to their shares, the businesses were sold cheap then large investment houses purchased them at a higher price from Joe Public who felt they had made a profit to spend on themselves, the large investment institutions got their hands on things that could later be broken up and sold off. You could argue perhaps that the government economists could see what the future held, recognising there would be a temporary lift before the realities that these monolithic industries would need to radically change, sell or simply be absorbed into larger international conglomerates but it would now be something that the Government was not responsible for and could deflect away from. A more unpalatable thought would be that those in charge knew if they invested wisely in the rising economies abroad and waited they would gain massively later on when the UK industries failed or became absorbed into these new international organisations. Back to Railways - they were never suitable for selling off and the Government knew it because left wholly to the private sector Serpell would have been enacted quickly and such pruning would probably have killed off the rest apart from maybe commuting into London. So the Goverment had to concoct a form of privatisation that would give them UK public the impression it was private, but it never really was. Railtrack very quickly demonstrated what happens when you let go of infrastructure - they cut costs and eventually something went bang and in the worst way. Network Rail rose from the ashes, it was now back in the hands of Government and remained so. The franchising arrangement was a big con, making the public think that it was the private companies making lots of decisions but in reality they did as they were asked in the proposal and the one that would take the least or pay the most to Government won - even if the plan they offered was unfeasible and quickly evaporated when faced with realities. To me it seems the big winners in all this have been the ROSCOs - they got the stock, have continued in the main to be the people who control it (apart from the few HSTs owned by First). Every franchise let seems to involve new stock being procured - sometimes before the previous stock even had a chance to turn a wheel in revenue earning service. I don't yet understand why the most radical arm of the Tories now being in charge are talking language like the opposition, but that is another debate and not for this forum I imagine.
  8. The new app uses bluetooth to detect other phones not a mobile signal - that is only required to occasionally check in and establish if anyone you have previously come into contact with has now declared they have the virus. Sadly the original NHS version was actually better at utilising the Bluetooth connection to establish who you have been next to and for how long, the Google/Apple version less so and will result in more errors until they decide to update their base software to use whatever algorithms the NHS had. The app is also anonymous, it doesnt want to know your name or contact details and you don't log in to it, it just uses algorithms to generate codes that constantly change to record your locations and close contacts for x days before the data is deleted. You don't even by the looks of it have to share if you test positive; which seems rather selfish, you want to know if you're infected but wont do the decent thing and tell others. My big concern with the app is actually to do with the users of the app - the system would appear (and rightly so otherwise there would be serious invasions of privacy concerns) to use self reporting of covid as the basis for alerting. i.e. you indicate to the app you are self isolating, this uploads an anonymous notification to a central database which is read by other phones and alerts anyone who has been near to the person alerting within set guidelines. Sounds perfectly plausible and sound, but what if some idiot decides to visit 20 locations today, mill around in a mask and then go home and alert the system that they are self isolating even though they know there is nothing wrong with them - would that then mean lots of people in those 20 locations suddenly find themselves in self isolation (under threat of a fine now). Or friends who want a couple of weeks of Government hand outs (for the low paid) using the system to spoof a self isolation and then claim the benefit. Reading some notes it does appear that the system would link tests to the app if you book the test via the phone, but that would also suggest that you can self report if you've not used the app for the test booking. I understand the system will be useful and when visiting places scanning QR codes is better than giving everyone your name, address and contact number, but I'd rather the government get in place a proper testing regime, get their messaging right, play by the rules themselves and ensure robust contact tracing via traditional methods and not just let an app be the only hope.
  9. You're correct, though it depends where you live - here in Manchester it is enhanced restrictions and in parts of Wales you cannot travel without good reason.
  10. So Boris mentions closing of establishments at 10pm and a request to work from home - the selfish brigade look at that and cause a return to panic buying - with loo rolls again being bought in bulk. Don't people learn, they didn't all get the sh*ts last time round, its the same virus so they won't get the sh*ts this time. Shops did not shut first time around, no-one has placed any restriction on going to the shops or in fact of going anywhere (except parts of Wales) - you just shouldn't be out and about without good reason after 10pm at night. It's hardly a massive restriction that will affect anyone going to the shops.
  11. Crewe station used bays for a mix of passenger trains and parcels, at the south end. Before the remodelling there were two dedicated parcels bay platforms but afterwards these ended up in the platforms that had been used for Cardiff services with the dedicated platforms removed - I assume at that point the remaining bays became dual use.
  12. Boris has announced a pause in reopening conference centres (and crowds at sporting events) - I guess that puts paid any physical exhibitions in the next 6 months, there was to be a GETS in Manchester in March which was only announced last month. Of course nothing is concrete until the exhibitors confirm such cancellations and of course six months is a long time away.
  13. I don't think any YouTube video or image elsewhere will prepare you for the size of this layout nor impair the desire to actually see it in person
  14. It was, flats on the site now if I recall - just the Friendship and some of the old shops still standing but with new uses. So you'll remember the big BP filling station where McDonalds is and the rather nice cake shop which was in the row of shops next to it. Thinking about it, the David Bowler place may have been vacant at the beginning and taken over by David Bowler - I can remember swinging on ropes in there but it would have to have been empty.
  15. When did the 104s become synonymous with the route? But talking of 57-66 then there are: Black 5s Hughes Crabs Jubilees Stanier 2-6-2T Stanier 2-6-4T Britannias 9Fs B1s Clans Midland 4fs Evan a Doncaster A1managed a trip from Lincoln
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