Tuesday, 26 March 2019

How To Hide A Bus Stop (1)

Sheffield's Norfolk Street is an old thoroughfare.
It ran roughly parallel with Fargate and High Street with numerous narrow streets and alleys joining the two.

21 on the map became Sheffield's Cathedral with another long-lost memory being the markets at the bottom of the High Street (Shambles). Aged Sheffielders will remember this block becoming C&A.

At the bottom of the hill ...
... Norfolk Street became Bakers Hill and descended to the ponds at the appropriately named Pond Street.

In about 1900 the Market Street/Jehu Lane block was levelled and rebuilt as Fitzalan Square complete with a magnificent shelter for bus and tram users.
The square went through a number of iterations including the addition of subterranean public conveniences and a dungeon-office for transport inspectors.
These lasted well into fbb's residence. The bus shelter was eventually replaced by a tram shelter on the opposite side of the square.
Behind the photographer of the three pictures above appeared the grand Head Post Office Building ...
... abandoned for many years as an unused but listed building. It is now part of the ever-expanding Hallam University as their department of Art and Design.
Fitzalan Square itself has lost all of its character through road widening and "improvement"!
Bakers Hill ...
... became a set of steps leading down from the Square to Pond Street.
Sadly this little used link is now the target for vandalism ...
... and only the cobbles remain to, possibly, remind the few users of its heritage.
To tackle the problem of the hidden bus stops, we need to move back up the hill to Norfolk Street itself. Here is the road of old, with the distinctive tower of Victoria Hall on the left.
The road continued in a straight line right down to Fitzalan Square.
The Victoria Hall still stands ...
... with the TNT van obscuring the back doors of The Crucible theatre (as in Snooker's World Championship).

Today, Arundel Gate has expunged the ancient Change Alley from the map and thus the route through to the last bit of Norfolk Street ...
... which is now by way of underpass and gloomy steps ...
... to a bit of road renamed Esperanto Place.
And there, Tada!, is the former post office and the denuded Fitzalan Square.

But Sheffield City Council has a cunning plan. The square will be part pedestrianised (where will the buses go?) ...
... and the depressing Esperanto Place ...
... will become a pleasant through walkway to Arundel Gate, the Crucible and Norfolk Street.
To achieve this opening-up, the three rather tatty shops ...
... (through whose tunnel you currently have to travel) are being demolished.

Which brings us, at last, to the bus stops in that question posed in today's blog title!

For those blog readers who loudly chorus "Oh no, not MORE Sheffield", please bear in mind that fbb knows the city well and can speak from experience. The problems outlined in a typical Sheffield blog are often generic. As we will see tomorrow, how "they" deal with roadworks is something of a universal hassle.

 Next missing bus stop blog : Wednesday 27th March 

Monday, 25 March 2019

Assorted "News" (or non-News) - Part 3

Blame Kate Winslet!
Here she is (below) as Mary Anning (above), effectively the "inventor" of popular paleontology way back in the early 19th Century.
Here, Mary has eschewed a delicious Kelly's ice cream and as nipping across the road to the public conveniences opposite.
The "facilities" have been there a very long time (former and present, far left in both pictures below!).
On Saturday last the fbbs travelled by motor omnibus from Seaton Harbour Bridge to Lyme Regis to partake of luncheon at Lyme's Fish Bar (highly recommended, high quality nosh).
The strange plywood excrescence surrounding the bus shelter ...
... was a fake stone wall to hide the very non 19th Century Cobb Gate car park from the cameras.
Just above the fudge and ice cream shop ...
... another falsehood has appeared.
This blocks the camera's view up the main street.
Meanwhile the little Fossils gift shop that overlooks car park and the sea ...
... had been decked out as the very first fossil shop in Lyme ...
... with its railings turned into a very solid stone wall.
After a brief explore of the "set" the fbb's boarded their Stagecoach 9a for a pleasant ride back to Seaton.

The film is called "Ammonite" and brings with it local angst and furore as it "reveals", with no historical evidence whatsoever, a lesbian relationship between Mary and a "friend". Not only that, but fbb can find no reference to an important character in the true Mary's life, namely ...
... the dog.

Buses to Lyme Regis operate from Seaton, Sidmouth and Exeter from the west (Stagecoach) and from Weymouth, Dorchester and Bridport (First Bus) to the east. The easiest connection from rail is at Axminster station with an hourly X51/X53 service ...
... but fbb cannot tell you when the "dressed" Lyme Regis will return to normal.

Two splendid pictures from Northampton correspondent Alan. First this superb mini post office!
It combines phone box with posting box and stamp machine plus an external light. Only 50 were ever made and very few remain.

fbb remembers one at Abington Park in Northampton.
It used to sit beside this rather splendid public convenience, police box and bus shelter at the junction of Park Avenue and Wellingborough Road.

And then last Tuesday ...
... unit number 230005 looking very smart as it passed through Woburn Sands station. Ex London Underground trains, rebuilt by Vivarail, were due to start work on the line between Bletchley and Bedford last December.

After the obligatory delays, testing is now under way. No date has yet been formally announced for their introduction into revenue-earning service, but an evens bet might be on the May timetable change date.

First At Kings Cross
This "artist's impression" is of the new Hitachi trains that First will soon (?) be running between London and Edinburgh, five times a day and in competition with nationalised LNER.

More Capacity at Edinburgh
New platforms 5 and 6 have been created to provide extra platform capacity for the new 10 coach Azuma service from London.
The platforms were last used by Motorail services; the main booking office area is on the left.
All we need is the trains!
Apparently the clever technology in the trains causes the clever technology in the signals to have a wobbly turn (apologies for the high level of scientific detail here)!

Talyllyn Twits!
Quite how (or why) stuff finds its way into fbb's in-box is something of a mystery - but two emanations from the world of the Twitterati cough your author's attention. First is this gorgweous picture of the Talyllyn's "heritage" train.
Four four-wheeled carriages plus the guards van-cum-ticket office that was used in the very early days of this, the world's first preserved railway. Wonderful.

And a less attractive piece of rolling stock.
A splendid tool for cutting back the ever-encroaching undergowth that impairs visibility and damages the carriages. When fbb worked as a coach/bus driver it was called "hedge rash"!!

Tomorrow we ask a pertinent question.

 Next missing bus stop blog : Tuesday 26th March 

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Assorted "News" (or non-News) - Part 2

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells Millhouses
A Sheffield resident, a newcomer to blog comment writing, added a note recently in desperation over First Bus' revised Sunday service on his local route. Since the arrival of the Sheffield Bus non-Partnership, now supplanted by a new and equally meaningless brand ...
... First bus buses have run from two destinations in Stannington (in the north west) through the city centre and on to Ecclesall (in the south west).
For most of the day 81s run from Stannington village to Dore and 82s from Hall Park Head estate ti the Millhouses loop. Just occasionally and mainly at peak or school times things were slightly less straightforward ...
... but the ultimate destination defined the route number, e.g. 82 to Hall Park Head, 81 to Stannington.

Our Millhousian complains about the new Sunday service from 3rd March this year. Here is what it was ...
... a tidy hourly service on each route following the standard pattern; and here is what it has become.
The service is now roughly every 70 minutes and runs from the "wrong" destination for most of the day - except when it isn't and it doesn't. 

Production led - again!

And today's prize question: will this lead to ...
(a) an increase in passenger numbers on Sunday?
(b) no change?
(c) a reduction of passenger numbers on Sunday? ... and then
(d) further reductions in the service?

Answers to First Bus, please - not fbb, whose views you may be able to guess!

And, as a minor aside (?); were our comment writer to take a look at First's map of the 81/82 he might be surprised to see that his service to the Millhouses loop ...
... is shown as a "hollow" (technically called "cased") line. This is explained in the code.
"Occasional" journeys? Actually half the buses, a twenty minute frequency, serve the loop. Maybe First's map, combined with the unhelpful Sunday timetable, may be strangely prophetic. But at least First's cartographer shows the roads served correctly. The PTE map ...
... has a very intriguing "knobble" off Springfield Road. Apparently the buses turn left into Stowe Avenue ...
... fork left into Dewar Drive ...
... round the Dewar Drive "loop" and then ...
... right, back into Stowe Avenue and back to Springfield Road; all this without serving any stops.

fbb must ask his Sheffield team to get some photographs! They might have  a long wait!

Heritage Liveries
A few blogs ago, fbb mentioned heritage paint style on Britiah Airways planes.
There are two more ...
... and if, like fbb, you rarely leave these shores, here is what they look like now.
Do more folk fly BA because they paint their plains in a different style?

It'll Never Catch On?
Three snippets from recent on-line postings.

A good investment? fbb must contact his broker.

With absolute certainty, it'll never catch on.
And who would ever want to lug one of these around with them when they can use a phone box?
It will be the ruin of us all.
Electric cars, Mr Volk? You must be mad!

And Another fbb Birthday Card
"Just switched off the vacuum cleaner and waiting for his medal and applause."

It's Lyme Regis, Jim, But Not As We Know It.
Somewhere in amongst all that scaffolding is the bus shelter for passengers waiting for buses to Seaton and Axminster.
And this is what it usually looks like.
fbb will reveal all ...

 Next news/non news blog : Monday 25th March