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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Things that might have been

My recent thoughts have been about what makes people interested in transport and one are I thought I would touch on is "things which might have been".

I think there is something in the enthusast movement which is very powerful - a sort of desire to see "behind the scenes" which is not really very strong outside transport. Aviation, rail and road transport does lend itself to people wanting to know about what is going on backstage and I think looking back I was always keen to find about about things which were planned (so first with the news), and then, in due course, things which were planned but never happened.

There are many well-documented plans which were well developed but never made it into being. In London, for example, Trade Union troubles were preventing the widespread introduction of new single-decker flat-fare buses in the late 1960s and finally plans were drawn up for some of them to be introduced using crew-operated buses instead. The Red Arrow network was prepared for such treatment (the idea being that the associated route changes could take place and a simple opo conversion could take place later). The plans were well developed, and some physical material (destination blinds and publicity) produced. Today these are valuable collectors' items.

There are also those planned route changes which are abandoned before commencement perhaps due to stakeholder pressure.

This does rather pose the question about when does a plan become a plan? For example if I dream up a route change or an idea, tonight and which is promptly dispensed with tomorrow, did it exist as a plan so is it part of transport history?

OK - I accept we are getting a bit esoteric here.

Another side to this is the noting of something which does exist and making the wrong interpretation. I think we are all guilty of this - seeing something and assuming a change of policy. The former is fact, the latter is presumed.

I well recall giving a talk to the LOTS members one night very many years ago and one questioner from the floor congratulated us for having a "front line" and "second line" fleet. (We don't). When I asked how he knew, he said he had spotted that the "front line" fleet had little yellow squares on the destination blind glass.

(In fact the truth is that when we did our own glazing they were plain but when we asked Autoglass to do it they had a little sticker with their phone number on it.....!!)

Somewhere in transport history there will be a reference to our two-level fleet.

So I give you this time a photo, of which I think I have the only ones, of the day our Dennis Arrow/East Lancs 417 was displayed with the new First London low floor livery. These vehicles were not low floor but we tried out the livery before specifying it for our first Dennis Tridents. So if someone tries to tell you that this livery pre-dated Tridents - well now you know.....!


1 comment:

  1. How many Tridents actually had the white strip on the front, and how long did it last.

    I have seen some pics of them with both stripes.