The London Bus Page In Exile

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Goodbye blog, hello books

Filed under: Announcements, Book — londonbuspageinexile @ 6:45 pm

You’ll have figured out by now that I’m pretty much done. Nothing else to say, really – that last post in December was the last time I even went to London, and I’ve found I don’t miss it. Interests change, and London’s present scene just doesn’t interest me any more.

To which end, instead of traipsing up to town to risk my sanity taking photos in the current climate of police harassment and unfriendly travelling conditions, I’ve stayed at home to write books – that’s what really matters to me; they’ll last longer, after all. The London Titan hits the shelves tomorrow, and this time next year it’ll be followed by The London Metrobus.

Thanks for visiting both this site and the last. You can continue the interest better than I can by starting your own blog – I do recommend WordPress, which this was based on. I promise I’ll visit!

Matt

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Wednesday 7 November 2007

The M defended.

Filed under: Announcements, Book, Historical, Routemaster, Uncategorized, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 8:56 pm

Arriva London North MCW Metrobus M 765 (KYV 765X) at London Bridge, 07.07.00

Would the pair of you that’s been arguing fit to burst over the merits of the Routemaster versus the Metrobus shut up a minute and pay attention? I thought of deleting your posts outright, because they’ve been getting on my nerves, but I can do better than that.

Having just finished and handed in The London Titan, the book I’ve written on the type to come out in April next year, I’ve since been given the nod for one on the Metrobus in the same style. So there goes another summer, spent sat in front of a computer…

Where my standpoint lies is pretty much exactly in between the old guard of solid open-platform fans and the younger generation that has felt, quite rightly, that its own favourite vehicles have been ignored or belittled. I had the best of both worlds in that there were still plenty of RMs around when I was getting into this crazy pastime, while the very last of the London Transport stuff was coming on stream – the Ts and Ms, both of which I was hugely fond of. Even the DMS, which I grew up taking to school and back, didn’t give me any trouble. They all deserve writing about, and now that I’ve done two RM books it’s given me a bit of credibility to pursue the newer stuff that just hasn’t been tackled – the Titan book is the first manifestation of that, and now I’m getting to do the M! So everyone wins.

Saturday 31 March 2007

Routemaster Retrospective BOOK is out!

Filed under: Announcements, Book — londonbuspageinexile @ 8:52 pm

070331.jpg My second book and my second collaboration with Geoff Rixon, Routemaster Retrospective, comes out tomorrow, published by Ian Allan. Its debut will be at Cobham (or Chobham this year, as the event is being held at Longcross test track). I’ll be signing copies at the Ian Allan stand at 11 am and 2 pm if you want to come along.
It’s a prequel to Routemaster Requiem in that it covers the previous tranche of RM family withdrawals from 1980 until 1998, thus tying in with the beginning of the previous (or next) book. Loads of info in the captions and text about the adventures and fates of the buses photographed (like the last one, in route-conversion order), and of course the high-quality pictures.
I hope you like it, and I’d love to hear in the comments section about what you think of not only Retrospective, but Requiem as well.

Tuesday 27 February 2007

Chased Away

Filed under: Announcements, Companies, Travels, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 8:34 pm

Chase Coaches Leyland National BPL 478T at Walsall, 16th November 2006 Chase Coaches of Walsall have been bought by Arriva.
This company was fascinating for its large fleet of unaltered Leyland Nationals, 24 of which were London Transport LSs and three London Country SNBs with a handful from Hampshire Bus and Ribble rounding off the set. The decent presentation of former London Country B-series National SNB 478 (BPL 478T) entering Walsall bus station last 16th November begs the question as to why operators spent so much money on getting Greenway conversions done when the original would have lasted them thirty years?

Wednesday 10 January 2007

Fuel Cell Trials to end

Filed under: Announcements, Companies, Equipment, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 8:29 pm

First London Mercedes-Benz Citaro fuel cell bus ESQ 64992 (LK53 MBU) at Aldwych, 14/11/05The Fuel Cell trial ends on Saturday after nearly two years of operation. During that time three adaptations of the standard Mercedes-Benz Citaro single-decker ran on the 25, switching after six months to the more sedate RV1, both operated on a special dedicated schedule out of First London’s Hackney (H) garage. They were part of a Europe-wide trial in which ten cities have been evaluating the buses.
So what’s next, is the question. To hit you with a barrage of questions all at once, in fact, I’ll start with where are the buses going to go? What of the hydrogen fuelling facility, in this case sited at Hornchurch (admittedly some distance away from the RV1’s roads but still within range after a morning’s work). Are we, the public, to be privy to the results gained from the experiment? And most importantly, is there any future in the project – because, as a convinced fan of this type of propulsion, I should hate to see the whole thing quietly dropped now that hybrid buses seem to be in the ascendancy, especially when hybrids, from experience of the 360’s feeble and rarely-seen DAF SB120 adaptations, are clearly not up to the task. There is, of course, a colossal cost differential, but funding has never been a problem for TfL, not recently in the public’s estimation at any rate. How about putting the recent extortionate fare hikes towards some more fuel cell buses?
So here’s a view of ESQ 64992 (LK53 MBU), the second of the three fuel cell Citaros, at the RV1’s Aldwych terminus on 14th November 2005.

Saturday 9 December 2006

Didn’t I say I’d be back?

Filed under: Announcements — londonbuspageinexile @ 10:16 pm

The London Bus Page’s last entry a year ago today contained, at the very end, a promise that I’d be back. ‘In the New Year’, it actually said, and I can get away with that because 2006’s not over yet! Today, the first anniversary of the end of London’s Routemasters, which took with them the legacy of the old London Transport as we knew it, seems an appropriate time to try and pick up where I left off.

Basically, I needed a break. The politics of the last year were so wearying that I just didn’t have much time left after recording the events to put together coherent accounts at the volume or frequency that is expected by readers of topical websites. To which end, I can’t promise the same amount that I used to write – not least because a) there’s a lot less of interest bus-wise going on in London as it is, and b) I don’t actually live in London any more. What visits I make are anywhere from fortnightly to monthly, though I try to do at least one Saturday a month in the capital, often catching up a month’s worth in one go. Hence the title – the London Bus Page in Exile. Accordingly, there’ll be a fair bit around the country as well – 2006 has seen me visit Liverpool, York, Leeds, Sheffield, Coventry, Birmingham, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Salisbury, Southampton, Plymouth, Brighton and other perhaps less thrilling places in the Home Counties. So the first month or two of this blog will be about catching up with the places I’ve been, with news items interspersed as and when I can cover them.

I’ll also shamelessly plug my books (one done, one out soon), which have taken up my time in the last year. They’ve been hugely fulfilling to do and I hope to write as many as the publishers will let me, but between books I get irritable if I’m not doing something, so this blog may sate that urge. I continue to take photos, of course – my Fotopic account is full up, but I publish a dozen or so a month on Flickr to stay within its upload limits (both sites are much recommended and particularly popular with transport photographers). I may delve into reviewing the various photographic equipment I use (you are, of course, more than welcome to buy me more!).

I said I wanted this to be more participatory than of late – please send me anything you think might get a good reading, particularly historical photographs of London Transport buses. My pet period is 1983-1987, but I can work with anything – I need the practice and the research is always fun.

In the same way as I may not be posting updates every day, I definitely won’t be able to reply to comments or emails individually – trying to keep up with that perhaps most of all was what was killing my output on the old London Bus Page, and having several hundred email messages that remain unanswered even today made me feel terribly guilty! To that end, readers can hopefully answer each others’ questions in the comments box underneath each post. I’ll compile a list of various categories that will make it easier to search for past posts – route changes, stuff to do with vehicles, etc.

As this blog grows, I’ll get to grips with its functions and whatnot – WordPress is rather more sophisticated than my old FrontPage and Paint Shop Pro combination, and it appears that if I want to create proprietary logos, themes and suchlike I’m obliged to buy the appropriate CSS plugin – which I will at some point. I fully expect to outrun my 50MB storage quota in due course as I upload pictures, and will be buying more as fit.

So here I am. Wish me luck…

Matt

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