Archive for the ‘Vehicles’ Category

Pillar boxes and buses

On 21 March I uploaded my first pictures from my new project, Pillar Boxes and Buses. So, the challenge is, photograph UK pillar boxes with the added challenge of getting a bus, preferably one that is moving, inpillarbox the frame, too. My latest reel of film came back today with mixed results. First is a curious box – it is actually embedded into a gatepost of one of the large houses on Marina, in St Leonard’s on Sea, Sussex. Currently there is one bus per hour in each direction on the 99 route. The shot has the added complication of lots of parked cars and scaffolding. The results are not great (right) but I’ll be back with a faster film that should help with the depth of view (50mm lens, 200asa film and shutter speed of 250th sec f11; 2 April 2020 at 1830). The bus is a ADL Enviro200. The Stagecoach Hastings fleet can be found here.

pillar boxMoving on to Rock-a-nore in Hastings. This one (left) is a free standing GR VI box taken on 21 March in the early evening. There was just not enough light to get the shutter speed fast enough to catch the bus, but actually the motion is quite good. The bus in question was a ADL Enviro200 (Hastings Arrows livery).



Then on to a box that has been intriguing me for a few days. It is located on Hastings Road in Bexhill close to the Ravensdale trading estate. What is so wonderful about this box is that at a certain time in the day, the sun illuminates it like a spotlight on a performer in a theatre. So, to do it justice I needed a sunny evening and no one really in the way (it is popular with joggers, though I am not sure why. This effort (top right) dates from 24 April at 1845, again with a shutter speed of 250th second, f11, film speed 200 asa. The two additional shots are taken at the same time on the two subsequent evenings. pillar boxpillarpillar
pillar box Next is me revisiting the relatively small free-standing box outside the now dis-used post office on Cambridge Road in Hastings As noted in my earlier entry in November, it serves as a reminder of how post offices are being assimilated into more traditional retail outlets – for better or worse. Anyway, here it is with a bus in the background which I take to be a Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400!
Still in Hastings, this is Queen’s Road, a central loading area opposite Priory Meadow Mall. The box is classic ER Type B. The buses, Scania N230UD ADL Enviro400 (double decker) and ADL Enviro200 (Hastings Arrows livery). pillar
pillar I work in Brighton, and the bus-pillar box opportunities there are substantial. This is the Avenue off Lewes Road in the North East of the town. The box is a classic GR example. The bus is a Volvo Wright Gemini B9TL DP43/28F Built 2013.  Anyone interested in the B&H fleet should go here.

I have a bit of research to do on my pillar boxes now. Some have design names, others seem not to. If I am going to do this right, I need to be adequately informed.

What to do with an old tram shed in Berlin

The new academic year starts in a few days’ time. The time immediately before is conference season for us journeyman academics. I’ve been to two.

DSCF0775One way of judging (or being judged, if one is an organiser) is the mid-conference dinner. Last week, at a conference in London, this was held on a cruiser on the Thames. It cost extra. A nice spectacle, particularly those unfamiliar to London. A great opportunity for photographs (left), especially in balmy weather.

The food was a bit…

I’m now in Berlin, one of my favourite European cities. This is an academic corporate-sponsored conference. The venue forDSCF0788 the dinner was inspired. The entrance to the Classic Remise on Wiebestrasse in the North West of the city is modest. Once inside, it seems like a museum, but in actual fact it is one huge second-hand car sales showroom. Everything is for sale, at a price. The VW camper (right) is so valuable, that one has to request the price. It has been beautifully restored.

Clearly, these being vintage cars, supply is limited. But it does seem that, within reason, one could buy – and presumably sell – anything here. Tucked away on a platform, I saw a Ford Capri MkI. Naturally, there are many BMWs, Porsches and Mercedes of various vintages. But American cars also feature. There were three Ford Mustangs as well as a lumping 1930s Lincoln. Magnificent and obscene in equal measure. The resource that went into building it, to meet with GM’s ‘cars as disposable fashion accessories’ industrial design and business approach, must have been huge.

DSCF0792Now I am a white van man (there were a few vintage Citroen vans in various stages of refurbishment), hence prioritising an image of a VW camper over a Porsche. More interesting, however, was the building. I would not have guessed its origin without a trip to the toilet. And, there, on the wall, were some pictures of the very same building with trams peeking out like horses in a stable (left). When first built in 1901, it was Europe’s largest tram shed ‘Wiebehallen’. It is the work of the Berlin architect, Joseph Fischer Dick, who seemingly specialised in these structures. The current owners have been faithfulDSCF0785 to the building. Whilst the tracks are no longer there, the entrance arches are all numbered. The roof glass and steel frame remain. As do the authentic lights (albeit with modern bulbs).

The food was also good.

Vauxhall Vivaros and their engines

These vehicles are bad news. Having just got the gearbox fixed (see post 1 April, 2012), the engine suddenly malfunctioned. I lost power, sometimes altogether whilst driving, and the engine warning light kept coming on.

My regular garage was unable accurately to diagnose the problem. I then booked myself into a diesel specialist. I had to wait two weeks to get a slot. The day I took it in, there was another Vivaro in there with the same problem. Diagnosis? I know not too much about vehicles, but I was told that it was an ‘injector’ of which there are four. Replacing one does not mean that the other three will not also fail. The bill was in the region of £500.

Royal Blue run 2012

Some of my closest friends know that I have some interest in buses. I have a bit of a collection of model buses, but those who have the real thing are special. I have never been a passenger on a bus run. The opportunity to join this year’s run was too good to let pass. So, we boarded a colleague’s 1961 Bristol MW on Friday morning (29 June) and headed out to Salisbury to meet up with a fleet of vehicles that once plied their trade between the South West and London.

It did turn out to be a bit of a tour of bus stations; notably Exeter and Plymouth. The drive through the villages and small towns with their tight bends and narrow entries and exits (the buses sometimes fitted these roads like the tube trains fit the tunnels) was delightful but more often than not frustrating. Whilst the vehicles in their heyday had the roads to themselves, modern tourism meant that we encoutered a lot of traffic in the opposite direction generating tight passing and a lot of reversing.

To illustrate the specialness of some of the owners, one has set up his own museum on his farm near Aveton; this was one of the stops on the tour – and memorable it was, too. Not only is there a collection of memorabilia with suitable descriptions and narrative, but also more buses. Hidden at the back of one of the barns was a truly immaculate Bristol Lodekka. Those in the know, know what I mean.

Vauxhall Vivaros and their gearboxes

My delightful Vauxhall Vivaro has – since I bought it last July – had a reluctant 2nd gear. On Friday this reluctance became obstinance. It ceased to be co-operative. Moreover, it had equally convinced 4th and 6th to join the club.

A quick look on the internet demonstrates that this is not an uncommon problem with these vehicles. Maybe I should have stuck with the Transit and not listened to the salesman? Oh well. It looks like my wallet will need to be opened pretty widely to compensate for this poor engineering.

See new post from 24 July, 2012.