Sunday, July 25, 2010

What do you think of the show so far?

The comedian John Eric Bartholomew was born in Morecambe and took the name of his home town for the stage. He died in 1984, and the statue above was unveiled by the Queen in 1999. The title of this post was one of Eric Morecambe's catch phrases. The standard response from the Morecambe and Wise audience was, of course, "Rubbish!"

Read about Eric Morecambe here.

If you've forgotten 'Boom Oo Yatta-ta-ta' you can listen to the record here, and see the television sketch here. (And if you have time on your hands, search YouTube for 'Morecambe and Wise' and laugh again when they met the Beatles, and Andre Previn, and others!) Brilliant comedy.

In the fifty years since I used to holiday in Morecambe with my parents, I've only been back a couple of times. The town has been through difficult times certainly, but there are definite signs of regeneration and optimism now. This bit of beach has beautiful sand, although the view at one time would have been dominated by the Central Pier, long gone.

The famous Midland Hotel in art deco style, which opened in July 1933, has been completely renovated and it opened again in 2008. I had a look inside yesterday. Very nice!

The old stone jetty has been tarted up. Did you know that the building on the end was an old station, in use 1853-67 in connection with ferry sailings to Northern Ireland and elsewhere?

The jetty had an entertaining busker yesterday, in front of the life boat station.

This is just one example from The TERN Project, a collection of artworks along the renovated promenade.

Unfortunately this cafe/restaurant was not open at the time I was there. I did wonder about the name. The concept of Scottish-Thai cuisine got the juices flowing. I wonder if yam kao tort mars bar (salad of deep fried rice with Mars bar) would be on the menu?

Anyway, "What do you think of the show so far?"

The old Morecambe Promenade station is now an arts centre and pub, and houses the information centre where a very helpful gentleman was able to assist with my questions about the electric trains that used to run between Morecambe and Lancaster (an example here). And he was very polite as I rabbited on with reminiscences of holidays in Morecambe in the 1950s.

A big supermarket stands on the site of all the sidings behind the Promenade station, and has a large photograph on its wall of what it used to be like. The new Morecambe 'bus stop' station, for the ride along to Lancaster, has just three lines.

46233 The Duchess of Sutherland pulled The Railway Touring Company's Cumbrian Mountain Express yesterday, from Liverpool over Shap and back on the Carlisle - Settle line. Here is the locomotive at Carlisle's Citadel Station. I took some moving pictures, and these can be seen here.

Premier dining class. I like the detail - the romatic red rose table decoration!

Pamela, Pamela? Yes, of course you remember. It was in 1967, listen here.

We all got into position on Platform 4 to watch the Duchess pulling away, just as this yellow thing pulled up and stopped on the middle line, blocking our view.

This is Network Rail's 'New Measurement Train', also known as 'The Flying Banana'. This specialised train operates in the UK to assess the condition of track. It is a specially converted High Speed Train, consisting of two Class 43 power cars and rake of Mark 3 coaches. Apparently it can check the condition of all main lines in Great Britain in a fortnight! The train measures the contact between rails, wheels and the overhead electric supply line. Lasers and other instruments are used to make other measurements of the track geometry. The train captures video footage from the front and rear power cars, and video of the pantograph and wheel interfaces. The NMT was launched in 2003, though the vehicles are much older than this.

So the 'New' part of the name is something of a misnomer, and yesterday it looked absolutely filthy, a disgraceful condition for something with such an important function. Ironic really, as it stood beside 46233, from another lifetime, looking pristine by comparison!

Pics © Skip Cottage

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