Yes, things have changed - in my day there was no Hurricane over my garden wall (seeing my old home brought back a flood of memories, most of them pleasant). As I recall the Gate Guardians at Northolt and Uxbridge were both Spitfires although a Hurricane is much more appropriate for the Battle of Britain, in which the Spitfire played a relatively minor role. I think all Gate Guardians are replicas now and the real ones sold off to aircraft restoration companies. Apologies for the digression.
I spent most of my last 10 years in the RAF at Uxbridge and Northolt so I should know but embarrassingly I don't - either because things have changed in the last 20 or so years or because old age has caught up with me. It is certainly a Polish Hurricane but the MQs in the background look suspiciously like the one I had at Uxbridge and the wall looks like the one at the end of my garden. On the other side was the entrance to the Battle of Britain Bunker - does this now have a 'Gate Guardian'?
Roythebus. '...it's entirely possible that people went sightseeing at airports'. One of my earliest memories is of being taken (on my father's shoulders) to Northolt to spend the afternoon watching the aircraft. At that time there was an entrance at the end of Wingfield Way and a short distance away a large concrete square on which were a collection of metal chairs where the spectators sat. It was quite near the taxiway and without any form of fencing. When I served at Northolt as a Sqn Ldr up to 2000 I was delighted to see that the concrete square was still there. As a teenaged plane spotter (when taking a break from bus spotting) I often cycled to London Airport (LAP) as it was then called. The Roof Gardens on top of Queen's Building were the favoured vantage point. Does anyone remember the 2 Bedford OWBs that operated a round the airport sightseeing route? It started in the Central area, near to where the LT Tours parked up (John Tuthill - as I recall they were quite extensive and from a number of garages) and included both the North side apron and the engineering areas - places not normally accessible.
..... 'A common factor at many stops towards Barking is that the platform areas are lacking vertical masts and cross spans'.
This is not just on the Goblin. While masts and cross spans are springing up quite quickly between Reading and Newbury their absence from platforms is noticeable. Is there a particular reason? Are they more prone to vandalism/high jinks/climbing until the knitting goes up and they start to look dangerous?
Yes, I remember it well, it was a Pan Am 707. The Northolt and Heathrow runways are almost parallel and each had at the time a gasholder on the approach (I think one has since been demolished). After the incident they were clearly marked (LH and NH probably) to show which runway they led to. I don't recall trees being cut down but certainly the 707 was stripped down to essentials with seats removed and minimal fuel. My friends and I took an unofficial day off school to watch it take off. As I recall when the 707 returned to the US its Captain travelled in it as a passenger. It was his last flight with Pan Am. If the Mods will allow a slight digression, I was born in Ruislip Gardens and after a career travelling the globe I ended up less than a mile from where I started. Sadly the house where I was born still lacks a blue plaque.
My last posting before I retired from the RAF after 39 years was to Northolt. There is a set of traffic lights on West End Road which, if I recall correctly, were activated by Air Traffic Control. Certainly an unusual occurrence although not unique (I think also at RAF Gibraltar). I also recall back in the 50s that the A30 was regularly closed at Blackbushe so that planes could be towed from one side of the airport to the other.
A long time ago (50 or 60 years) my parents lived in a village near Aylesbury. I have a strong memory that they had Met timetables (I think delivered to the door) that also included all BR services to Marylebone. Possibly they also had some indication of BR services north of Aylesbury as well. Or is memory playing tricks with me?
Why would Chiltern sell First Class seasons if they did not operate first class??
If a service provider/product seller knowingly sells you something that you are unable to enjoy, is that not fraud.... which is a criminal offence ?
I recently asked the staff at Newbury if it was worth buying First Class since so many Class 165s have had First Class removed. The reply was that if no First Class is physically present on the train (as opposed to being full etc) then a refund of the price difference will be made. Is it worth the hassle to buy First Class for a journey (to Paddington) of around an hour and take a chance on being able to use it? I suppose it depends on how crammed the train is likely to be and how likely it is that there will be First Class in it.
Regarding lack of advertising/display space, I recently watched a TV programme about Atlanta Airport (dubbed as the world's busiest in terms of passenger numbers). They have made a policy decision to reduce displays of all kinds to the minimum; research has shown that the more there is for people to look at the more it disrupts passenger flow. The December 2015 Underground News quotes a letter to The Times in September 2015 complaining that LU had (allegedly) decided to remove map displays from inside the gateline at Victoria as 'they cause passenger congestion'. Maybe the cost of congestion outweighs any advertising revenue lost?