Tag Archives: whitstable

R.I.P. 8:09 from Whitstable

With the introduction of the new Southeastern timetable on January 11th 2015, the 8:09 from Whitstable will be late once and for all, having shuffled off the timetable entirely.

This oddity of a train (and its previous incarnation as the 8:10) was my staple for many years. Nestling awkwardly at the tail end of the rush hour, it still required a premium ticket, so too early for the day trippers, but too late for most of the hardcore commuters. This made it a nice and quiet train for the bulk of the journey. However, at Whitstable it coincided perfectly with the school kids travelling to Faversham, so getting on it was somewhere between a pop concert and a rugby scrum. Still, it would calm down quickly enough when they got off at the next stop.

The new timetable is possibly the biggest change I’ve seen in over 15 years of commuting, so it’s worth checking it out if you rely on the train. For Whitstable, it’s very much a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

The introduction of hourly direct High Speed trains to St Pancras throughout the day is, on the face of it, a good thing, reducing journey times to London considerably. Although, at the extra cost of a High Speed supplement, it might be too much money for some people. The direct Victoria service is reduced to one an hour, but you can change back onto a Victoria train at Faversham from the High Speed if you don’t fancy paying the supplement – adding, of course, another 5-10 minutes to an already lengthy journey. When I first moved to Whitstable, journey times to Victoria were in the 70-80 minute range, these days it’s over 90.

However, whereas previously the Victoria trains were timed so you could jump across onto a High Speed train at Faversham if you wanted, that link has been lost. So, there really is only one St Pancras option per hour from Whitstable now, which seems like a big price to pay for the 10 minutes saved on the hourly direct trains.

Coming home in the evening, it’s the same story. Whereas you could get any of the half-hourly trains from St Pancras to Faversham and jump on the Whitstable train a few minutes later, now your only option is to get the hourly direct service, or go to Victoria. In effect we’ve gone down from four train options per hour (two from Victoria and two from St Pancras) to three, which feels like a net loss to me.

In the heart of the morning rush hour not much has changed, especially either side of 7am which is core commuter territory. There are some notable changes though which I’m guessing will hit a few people quite hard. As well as the loss of the 8:09, the 7:53 now goes to Blackfriars instead of Cannon Street, which is an interesting switch. There’s a few direct trains between Faversham and Blackfriars now, which adds to the options but it’s not a quick journey.

In the late morning rush hour there are now no sensible options to St Pancras at all – you could previously get the 8:09 and change at Faversham but that doesn’t exist, and the new 8:24 to Victoria misses the connection. The next option is 8:50, meaning there’s well over an hour gap from 7:39. That’s pretty poor and I know a number of commuters will suffer as a result – this would have affected me quite badly in previous years.

In the evening I’m not seeing any major changes – the Cannon Street trains look much the same either side of 18:00, and the fast St Pancras trains remain the same. I hope they add more carriages to the 18:25 though, it’s getting very full these days. There’s still two trains an hour from Victoria as well.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve noticed any other big changes that I’ve missed. Don’t bother telling me how sad I am for analysing a train timetable, I already know, thanks!

R.I.P. 8:09 – no flowers.

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Bleach Bypass processing

I was idly reading through the I Shoot Film forums on Flickr yesterday on the way home, when someone mentioned a process called “bleach bypass”. I’d heard of it before but didn’t really understand how to do it, or what the effects would be. A few clicks later and I realised that it’s actually pretty simple if you’re already set up for C41 and B&W development.

When I got home the sun was still out, so I threw some cheap film (yes, I still have stacks of expired Ferrania 200) into my trusty Yashica and headed out to take some local shots as the sun was setting. The light meter on the camera was telling me that it was quite bright, which I didn’t believe (sunny 16 at 7.30pm in the UK in April?!) so I increased exposure slightly – in hindsight I should have trusted the meter as a lot of the shots were quite overexposed.

Yashica Minister II <- My trusty Yashica Minister II

Development

Normally with colour development I use the Tetenal 1l kit, which is a 3-bath system – colour developer, “blix” (a mixture of bleach and fixer) and stabiliser. To do the bleach bypass I had to replace the blix with a B&W fixer (I use Ilford rapid fixer 1+4). I also added an extra rinse between the developer and the fixer as I didn’t want to contaminate my fixer.

One thing I struggled with was temperatures which no-one seems to discuss – the colour developer works best at exactly 100F, but I don’t normally use the fixer at those temperatures. However, I know from reading that you’re supposed to keep temperatures roughly consistent while developing as film emulsion doesn’t react well to sudden temperature changes, so I decided to heat everything (including the rinse water) to around 100F before starting.

I ended up with this recipe:

  1. Colour developer for 3.45 minutes @ 100F (mine is quite exhausted)
  2. Rinse for 4 minutes @ ~100F
  3. Ilford Rapid Fixer 1+4 for 4 minutes @ 100F
  4. Rinse for 4 minutes @ ~100F
  5. Stabiliser for 1.5 minutes @ ~100F

Next time round, I’m going to rinse the fixer for much longer – I realise I normally do this for 10 minutes with B&W and I’ve ended up with a lot of gunk on the negatives, so maybe this is why.

Scanning

As the negatives dried I was glad to see some recognisable images coming through with patches of colour, so at least it vaguely worked. However, scanning them as normal colour negatives proved problematic – the scanner really struggled to find the images, and even when it did it was unable to get the contrast right – I’ve never had this problem before with the scanner so I’m guessing the extra silver in the negative must really be confusing it.

In the end I found some hints on the web suggesting scanning as colour positive, then inverting and adjusting in Photoshop – this worked brilliantly, using “auto-tone” in Photoshop to bring out the colours.

The Results

The end results are.. well.. you decide! I’m quite pleased with them for a first attempt, although I think I can do better. Many of the shots were over-exposed, and the bleach bypass enhances the over-exposed parts as well, so they didn’t work very well. However, some worked just fine, and the grain is much finer than with my colour-film-in-black-and-white experiments.

Here they are – streaks, fingerprints, dust and cat hair included for free:

The Horsebridge Masts Harbour Huts Starvation Point Steps

– click on the images to see higher resolutions on Flickr.