Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

So THAT’S where the Faifley bus goes

I can’t remember where the ONE bus that goes along my main road used to head for as its destination in the days when I used it regularly, but today, the destination board (or should I say LED display) reads ‘FAIFLEY’.

I’d never heard of Faifley before I saw it on that bus. Then again, I live near Auchenshoogle (there’s a joke in there somewhere).

I’d thought of taking a trip to the end of the line, but never got around to it – until I saw a couple of (obvious) tourists get on the bus one day, and ask for ‘Two tickets to Faifley’.

So, it went on my list, and recently got ticked off.

Not intending to be negative, but travelling through the area, it just looked like the annexe of Clydebank that it was, created in the 1950s with housing typical of the period. That means it wasn’t the best, and suffered build problems in later years.

Reading about it suggests the population is dwindling today, with a school being turned into a community centre, replacing one built in the 1970s (with aid from a German organisation as a gesture of friendship and reconciliation after the Clydebank Blitz) but since demolished.

If you know Glasgow (housing) schemes of that period, you’ll appreciate there’s little to photograph.

However, there is a ‘Friendship Park’ with has a pair of sculptures, one of which lies near the terminus.

Produced by Andy Scott, and known as Faifley Family. That’s not an info plaque at the bottom, just a light fitting.

Faifley Family sculpture by Andy Scott

28/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Enjoy this 1942 film: Song of the Clyde River: Elvanfoot To Glasgow – 1942 – CharlieDeanArchives / Archival Footage

Unknown to many, there are still a few sites online using the NSV file format which was popular before YouTube came along.

I keep these playing in the background as they spare the viewer/listener from the abuse of disgusting adverts and advertisers, allowing us to enjoy untarnished content without interruption.

One of the surprises is this short film, which can be found on… YouTube (with unwanted ‘extras’, of course).

Song of the Clyde River: Elvanfoot To Glasgow – 1942 – CharlieDeanArchives / Archival Footage.

‘A film of the Clyde, from its source at Elvanfoot to its mouth at Glasgow, from rivulet to mighty waterway. Street scenes in Glasgow, shots of factories, docks and shipyards, of shipbuilding, of giant cranes, of ships loaded and unloaded. As its title suggests, the film has a notable musical accompaniment.’
(Films of Britain – British Council Film Department Catalogue – 1942-43)

CharlieDeanArchives – Archive footage from the 20th century making history come alive!

It contains a surprising amount of varied content, especially the views of places now lost to time and demolition, along the Clyde itself, the shipyards, and Glasgow.

24/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ferry tales, a bit like fairy tales, as long as they’re not Scottish

While the sad state of ferry building (and hate campaigns by some passengers and activists) in Scotland means I really have withdrawn from my past days of light-hearted reviews of the various shenanigans that go on in that area, that doesn’t mean I ignore it, or might mention general, rather than specific cases.

Looking at recent news, for example Scottish Govt Takes Over Ferguson Shipyard, suggests somebody, somewhere, is doing something wrong.

Given the Clyde’s past history of shipbuilding, this definition of ‘fairy tale’ seem kind of appropriate to today’s situation, “Colloquially, the term “fairy tale” or “fairy story” can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale; it is used especially of any story that not only is not true, but could not possibly be true.

Currently, this definition doesn’t apply, at least not here, “the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in “fairy-tale ending” (a happy ending) or “fairy-tale romance”.

It’s more like a Danish fairy tale, where the Danes seem to be able to build electric ferries without the problems that seem to beset Scottish efforts:

Electric ferries have been running in Norway since 2015, but none nearly as large as the 195-foot long Ellen. This ferry can carry up to 30 cars (electric cars, we’d hope) and 200 passengers, and is powered by a 4.3 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack made by conversion company Leclanche.

World’s largest electric ferry completes maiden voyage

Had Scotland NOT made such a dog’s dinner of the two ferries mentioned in the Ferguson story, it MIGHT just have had the lead in a rapidly developing market for such ferries, as revealed in this article:

All-electric ferry cuts emission by 95% and costs by 80%, brings in 53 additional orders

There’s more on this ferry from its beginnings in 2014/2015, including pics that show some of its details, including the fact that it is a catamaran.

Ship Photos of the Day – World’s First All-Electric Ferry

Ampere electric car ferry Pic credit Siemens

Ampere electric car ferry Pic credit Siemens

Apart from some very small, and rather successful, yards, I don’t think anyone has any reason to look this way if they want a ferry built – certainly not bases on performance/management/delivery.

16/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Glasgow bus story starts on subject of stopping a bus – then ends on saying ‘Thank You’ to the driver.

I’m sometimes guilty of losing the thread when I start writing about one thing, but then forgetting where I started and becoming diverted onto something else.

I don’t think I ever managed to include content I didn’t even refer to in the text.

I looked at this article since I’d recently caught a bus which stopped for me simply because I was standing at the bus stop. I’d have missed it otherwise.

We asked Glaswegians if you always need to flag down a bus- here’s what you said

I’m not sure what was wrong with its display, normally a very bright and readable yellow, this one was more like a dim white I couldn’t read from a distance (or even closer) and thought the bus wasn’t in service, so hadn’t put my hand out. But it stopped anyway (and, no, nobody was getting off).

However…

I may be wrong, but while the article concluded you probably want to make sure you get that hand out there and let the driver know you want the bus to stop, it actually contained a poll about whether you should say ‘Thank You’ to the driver.

Bus driver Thank You poll

Bus driver Thank You poll

As someone taking up regular bus journeys recently (having tended towards trains in the past), the one thing that struck me was just how polite the vast majority of passengers were to the driver, and how prevalent an offer of ‘Thanks’ at the end of a journey had become.

Sometimes it almost like a parting of old friends when a group gets off, and they all offer a ‘Thank You Driver’.

Unfortunately, that warmth is matched by the abuse given to the driver by the few wasters who want to argue with the driver, or dispute their tickets in some way. The most recent being one individual who got on the bus and apparently ignored the driver’s request to examine his ticket more closely, and planted himself at the back of the bus until the driver stopped the engine and began to phone for assistance. This character only moved and took his ticket to the front after the passengers started to growl at him, and told him to stop swearing. And, no, he wasn’t drunk, but just seemed to be spoiling for a fight/argument.

I don’t know what his problem was, since the driver was happy with the ticket once he was given the chance to look at it.

First Bus

First Bus

14/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | | Leave a comment

Glad there was never a chance to challenge any speeding fines

While I’ve no argument with the operating principles behind the various speed detection systems and methods used by the authorities to enforce speed limits, I do take issue with the attitude of those various authorities in their near obsessive belief, or perhaps policy, that they are absolute, are completely accurate in all circumstances, and that challenging them is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

While most people with a suitable background will understand that such system are accurate, that accuracy relies on a perfect operating environment, and perfect operators.

Need I say that in the REAL world, NEITHER of those criteria are satisfied in EVERY case.

I used to travel to North Wales regularly. The return trip involved travelling a long downhill road with a 40 mph limit. Then, I had a high profile German sports car that would cruise the Autobahn at 150 mph, and a radar detector because I knew I would be ‘picked on’. Coming down that hill, it revealed that, despite travelling at 40 mph, I would be ‘painted’ by police with a radar gun, regardless of the fact that I was being passed by other cars speeding down the hill.

It’s a pity that devices such as radar guns and speed cameras are administered by people unqualified to understand them technically, as they are seriously misled by the advocates of such devices, and the manufacturers of course, who promote such devices as being completely accurate. Sadly, that’s not the case.

There’s a good example of this mindset revealed in this quote which including West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham’s call for inaccuracy to be ignored:

Most police forces have a tolerance of 10 per cent plus 2mph above the limit before a speed camera ‘flashes’. So on a 30 mph road, a camera wouldn’t normally activate unless a car drove past at 35mph or above. Auto Express warn motorists that car speedometer inaccuracies make it difficult to measure how close to the threshold they are travelling.

However, last year, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on road policing, Anthony Bangham – who is also chief constable of West Mercia Police which prosecuted Richard – called for the 10 per cent buffer to be scrapped. He also said speed awareness courses were being overused, and believes offenders should get fines and points on their licence instead.

Richard and Tim believe any such move would be deeply unfair given the potential problems with speed camera inaccuracies.

Man, 71, loses £30,000 of his son’s inheritance fighting a £100 speeding fine – but can the camera lie?

As noted in the opening, I’ve never had the need to challenge a speeding charge/fine, and I’m beginning to be glad I’ve been priced off the road., given the apparently growing proliferation and automation of such devices, and the apparent selective myopia of those administering them – ‘They MUST be right, if you were caught, you WERE speeding‘, end of story, no argument, no appeal.

The article referred to in the link is shocking, and confirms the worry I always had about the courts, police, and legal system, brainwashed by the manufacturers and advocates of speed detection systems with their claims of ‘perfection’.

Regardless of presenting a reasonable defence, the courts/authorities simply ignored it (my view as an accredited calibration signatory – I used to approve and sign fiscal calibration certification which could be presented in court as evidence).

The article includes a few examples of how these systems can report erroneous speeds of the subject vehicles, and, worse, how the systems themselves are poorly installed, with, for example, the supposedly ‘calibrated’ lines painted on the road (supposedly as a double-check or verification) not even being spaced accurately.

It’s a shame that we don’t seem to have progressed much further in removing operator error or bias from these systems today, than we were in the days of VASCAR, when systems also depended wholly on correct operating procedure for their accuracy, and careless operation of the switches used to set that system up on a piece of road could lead to it being inaccurate.

VASCAR-plus

VASCAR-plus

This system eventually proved to be so problematic, it was discontinued.

Note also the manufacturer’s accuracy claim (and even lack of Home Office Approval or testing) I referred to above – NOBODY with an interest, especially financial, should be allowed to verify such criteria.

Scotland: Police Halt Use of VASCAR Over Accuracy Concern
Police chiefs in Scotland, UK told not to use VASCAR to issue speeding tickets due to interference and reliability issues.

VASCAR

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in Scotland issued a memo Tuesday recommending that VASCAR not be used to issue speeding tickets to motorists. Although the “Vehicle Average Speed Computer and Recorder” is a thirty-five-year-old technology and has been replaced in some areas by radar and laser speed guns, it is still commonly used in the UK and the US.

“Until such time that the matter has been fully investigated, a memo has been sent to officers asking them to use alternative speed detection equipment,” Strathclyde Police Chief Inspector Andy Orr told the Aberdeen Press and Journal newspaper.

VASCAR estimates speed by calculating the amount of time it takes for a vehicle to pass a given distance. The police officer operating the machine flips a switch when a vehicle passes a given point and then flips it again when the vehicle passes a second point. The machine then displays a speed on a small readout. Because the device appeared to depend more upon the skill of the operator to produce a reliable estimate, UK police authorities never required Home Office Approval or accuracy testing for the device. Instead, the VASCAR manufacturer insisted that the “quartz crystal” performed a self-test allowing the device to establish itself as an accurate instrument for measuring speed.

That did not turn out to be the case for UK officials who recently uncovered reliability problems while working to integrate the speed detector with new digital radios and automated number plate recognition (ANPR) systems. The same officials had already known about the possibility for radio frequency interference. A 2002 ACPO test registered interference any time a radio or cell phone was used within six-and-a-half feet of the VASCAR machine.

“There is a potential risk of interference to Traffic Law Enforcement Devices (TLED) such as VASCAR from Airwave Radios and GSM phones,” a Devon and Cornwall Constabulary memo dated August 19, 2008 explained. “Officers should not operate a TLED from within a vehicle in the presence of a GSM phone or Airwave radio that is switched on, unless a ‘Transmit Inhibit’ system has been enabled. Failure to do so may compromise the integrity of any relevant prosecutions.”

Now Scottish officials fear the possibility that lawyers will seize upon the unreliability of the technology to undermine past prosecutions and force refunds.

Source: Speed-trap device may be faulty, say police (Aberdeen Press and Journal (Scotland), 2/4/2009)

13/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Surveillance, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interesting plan seeks to make Pollok Country park frendlier for visitors

I didn’t realise that I wasn’t alone in thinking that Pollok Country Park wasn’t particularly visitor friendly or even well-organised with regard to its layout, and that observations about its roads and less than optimal internal allocation of space for cars/pedestrians/cyclists have been noted by others.

I’ve cycled out there two or three times, but the place is so unfriendly that (under its current layout at least) I don’t really want to repeat the trip. Unlike a number of parks I’ve visited throughout Glasgow, Pollok just isn’t fun to cycle around.

The good news is that I spotted an article which suggests this is not just my imagination, and has been noted by people who are involved in reorganising the park and its roads with a view to improving the current problems.

The Transforming Pollok Country Park Project aims to make major improvements at the showpiece greenspace — Glasgow’s largest park — ready for an expected increase in visitors when The Burrell Collection re-opens in early 2021 after a multi-million pound transformation.

Documents produced as part of consultation over the changes state that “[uncontrolled car parking] impacts upon visitor experience and safety, and diminishes the importance of the park as a green space for leisure and nature conservation.

“The overall vision of the project is to deliver a high quality green space within the city which is accessible to all. Through various landscaping installations and points of interest along the route, people will be encouraged to walk to attractions and enjoy the park’s diverse mix of green space.”

The large number of vehicles parking on main routes restricts other park users and emergency access. Cycle routes are blocked by parked cars, and vehicles regularly restrict access to pedestrian routes.

The statements continue: “During peak periods and events, the lack of controlled parking results in long delays for visitors both entering and exiting the park by car or coach.

“To ensure the proposed park infrastructure can operate effectively, it is necessary to implement a managed parking solution to prevent unrestricted parking throughout the site.

“The key principle of the redesigned access and reorientation strategy is to reduce traffic and unrestricted parking in the centre of the park by implementing an active travel management plan.”

A new 280-space perimeter car park with lighting will be constructed on the former red blaes gravel pitches at Nether Pollok, near the Haggs Road entrance. The Burrell Collection car park will be kept as will the Riverside car park next to Pollok House.

However all car parks will operate as pay and display. There will be no free parking outwith Blue Badge spaces. The level of charge has not been finalised although initial proposals are £2 for four hours and £3 for all day.

ACTIVE Travel Plan For Pollok Country Park Includes Charges For All Car Parks

That said, I find the wording somewhat biased, seeming to me to place ALL the blame on cars.

Blame (if there is such a thing to be allocated) should be shared between the people who cause the problem – the planners, and those who chose to park inconsiderately, maybe even those who have successfully attracted more visitors to the park, while neglecting to cater for the increased numbers.

I didn’t think there was much car parking inside the park, but I think that’s down to me seeing them empty due to the times I was there, and the only one I ever parked in was for the Burrell, and that always had charging in place – even if there was no security or staff in attendance, and each time I parked there I returned to my own car to see the police in attendance at cars which had been broken into.

Burrell Collection Building Works

Burrell Collection Building Works

12/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Will people get fed up with town and city centre event disruptions?

While Glasgow is having problems with disruptions arising from what I’ll refer to only as ‘traditional’ event, I was inconvenienced in both Glasgow AND Ayr this weekend, due to special events.

Glasgow had TWO cycling events disrupting public transport, and travel, across the city, with roads closed and bus diversions on both Saturday and Sunday.

While I’m local and watch the local travel reports for this nonsense arriving, I now see that people who have no interest in this stuff are taken by surprise when buses turn off their usual routes to divert around the road closures, and elderly people just heading to the shops find their usual bus stops are closed, and they have to walking to find an alternate, or someone who knows where to send them.

My bus should have gone along Gallowgate, but ended up touring the Gorbals before heading to Central Station.

And I haven’t even bothered taking my usual weekend bike rides this year, as most of the roads I cut across Glasgow over were listed as being closed during most of the day. I have to cross Glasgow to get to the longer, more interesting routes to the west.

Then I took a spontaneous trip to Ayr (rather than mess about with the nonsense in Glasgow on Sunday) when the Sun suddenly came out, only to find the place was jammed as a number of roads were closed for its annual GO! Festival. Traffic around the bus station was jammed almost solid for a couple of hours in the afternoon, even though much of the event didn’t take place until later.

I’m sure these events are fun for the two or three people who attend, but I suspect (since I’m more tolerant than most, but am now becoming fed up and irritated by these things) the majority of people with no interest are going to get fed up with them soon, and might even start complaining or objecting.

These events should be moved, and held on the outskirts, away from main traffic routes, but still accessible by those who want to attend.

Ayr Go Festival 2019

Ayr Go Festival 2019

11/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Tesla Model 3 here already

Funny how things change.

It was ages before I saw a Tesla Model S, now I can find them any time (all I have to do is wander into the west end).

Not only Model S, but also Model Y is fairly easy to spot there already.

A few days ago I read that the Tesla Model 3 was UK’s third bestselling car in August

The figures meant Model 3 registrations overtook popular cars including the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class in August. Only the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Golf sold more during the month.

I didn’t realise it was even being sold here, as I tend to read only US articles (UK EV items are still often fairly moronic).

So, I hadn’t expected to trip over one – but I did, at one of the now most popular EV ‘watering holes’ in Bothwell Street.

This seems to be the best place to find them gathering (if you’re looking for them), but the others are now quite busy too.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

While it’s an interesting enough car, if you’ve read about it, then you might be curious about the interior, in particular the dash.

It doesn’t really have one, using a large, central LCD for all functions and displays, without no display ahead of the driver ie no instrument panel ahead of the driver.

As someone who has designed things, and needed to present information to users, this is something of a deal-breaker for me.

It’s rather like the menu-driven systems found on prosumer cameras – they work, but are such a pain and so inefficient in use.

There’s a reason professional cameras have a knob/dial/button for each/most functions which need to be accessed in use, and only items which need to be set up and accessed occasionally are hidden away behind menus and multiple button presses or touchscreen taps.

09/09/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Just different enough to be interesting

Not sure why, but our usual single-decker bus arrived with an extra storey (OK, upper deck) this weekend, and gave me a slightly different view of quite a few places usually passed at ground level – hope they do this again.

This may only be a view of Shettleston Road, but I managed to fire up the camera before the bus moved off from the lights.

Click for bigger (and sorry the window was dirty/scratched by vandals).

Shettleston Road

Shettleston Road

Oh look!

A bare gable end on a tenement.

Hint: If this was the west end, or the city centre, do you think somebody would be planning a mural?

07/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Cars – Generations

Just a bit of a coincidence, spotted while wandering around Glasgow.

Think of it as a ‘Compare and Contrast’, just for fun. You could try doing it seriously, but the cars aren’t really from the same family, so I think you’d end up with a sore head if you did.

More interesting is the styling within each family.

While the BMW 3-series has moved far from its origins, and gained the general ‘jelly-mould’ characteristics of most popular/volume cars – and got bigger and fatter (the 3 is now the same size as the 5, when they were introduced), the Charger (and a number of similar ‘muscle’ cars) has retained its overall profile, changing mainly to make necessary concessions to legislation, and revisions to construction (so these cars can do more than go in a straight line along endless American highways).

But this is really just about the appearance, after more than 5 decades.

While somebody from around the 1960s or so might recognise the Charger after a moment’s study, I doubt (if the trademark kidney grille and propeller badge wasn’t visible) they’d be able to place the 3, even if given extra thinking time.

Click for bigger.

BMW Dodge Generations

BMW Dodge Generations

In fact, this reminds of one of the easiest ways to recognise and original car from that earlier era.

Even concept and super cars of the day had one (or two) major defect that gives them away in pics, and makes it easy to spot originals vs modern reconstructions.

The chassis was often embarrassingly narrow, causing the wheels/tyres to be buried deep in the wheel wells. It’s a wonder they stayed on the road at speed, something that didn’t really change until the Countach arrived with its huge wheels and tyres, sadly now almost commonplace on’ Chelsea Tractors’. It’s no surprise there were cases of wheels breaking off hubs and axles during the 1970s, when cheap customisers added crazy wide spacers to make wheel arches look ‘full’ and cars look wider.

The second thing?

Exhausts!

Back then (except in America, and on the E-Type), they often looked as if they were hung under the car by the apprentice, as a forgotten afterthought.

05/09/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Have fun with the tourists on Dumbarton Road

I don’t live there, so I don’t know if the locals have fun with tourists in Partrick, on Dumbarton Road.

However, when I saw this, I couldn’t help but remember a documentary made in Dunoon a few years ago, which was made mostly of clips of an interviewer talking to locals – in one section, he spoke to some local kids, and asked them what they had to do there (“Nothing”, according to them), and when he asked them how they passed their time, they told him that they liked to be asked for direction, to which they’d give completely random answers, and enjoy the fun as the lost traveller went and got even more lost!

Tut tut.

Subway or subway?

Subway Subway Dumbarton Road

Subway Subway Dumbarton Road

As a slight aside and comment on design…

It’s interesting to note that the ‘fake’ subway sign on the left is actually a better representation of the transport option than the ‘genuine’ article on the right.

For one, it’s clearer, stands out more distinctly from its background, and easier to read.

And those arrows at each end of the word – I’d say they provide a clearer hint to the idea of transport than some overpriced sandwich filling.

Remember, if you patronise this place you’re not only paying for the sandwich, but providing a cut to keep the person behind the franchise rich just for sitting in their mansion, and collecting their cut from EVERY franchisee, year after year. Go get your sandwich from the little shop next door, an honest small business which deserves your support.

27/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

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