Wednesday, 10 July 2013

... Is What Happens When they Break!

... and track needs renewing, as, currently, in Sheffield.
Once upon a time the Norfolk Park Estate was high density high rise high population with a bus every 6 minutes.
Then the towers came down ...
... to be replaced with lower density mainly "social" housing; which, arguably, made the high capacity high frequency (every 10 minutes) tram service a little "over the top". The road has seen its bus routes dwindle to nothing.

But this is the first major piece of an on-going plan to replace and upgrade the tram tracks. The tram service now runs from Halfway to Spring Lane, at the top of the Estate, with a bus link to the city centre. Meanwhile, at its bottom end, trams reverse by way of a crossover at the Railway Station stop. See yesterday's blog (read again)

But, sadly, it's not as simple as that. To facilitate the repairs to the on-street track, Park Grange Road has been made one way UP the hill. Our European correspondent was dispatched to photograph everything and anything, so, obediently he snaps the Park Grange Road on-going goings on ...
... where one-way traffic wiggles from one side of the carriageway to the other ...
... in a seemingly arbitrary manner. But the one-way-ness means that the replacement buses have to run in a loop ...
... making journeys from the estate to City lengthy and circuitous. There are two bus services. The B1 runs non-stop from an "interchange" at Spring Lane ...
... direct via City Road every 10 minutes, returning (also non stop) via the Park Grange Road chicanes.
The B2 (every 20 minutes) runs inward via Granville Road to serve schools and colleges, then into City, returning via Park Grange Road where it stops near to the unserved tram stations.
Here is a selection of bus replacement vehicles at the Arundel Gate city terminus, awaiting the crowds returning to the estate and Spring Lane.
fbb must commend Stagecoach and the PTE for the quality ad quantity of their publicity for this horrendous disruption.
There is a 30 page booklet giving connectional timetables as well as separate schedules for each bus service. The tram stations are well labelled ...
... as are the connection bus stops.
There's even a little "canteen" and WC at Spring Lane to provide various kinds of "relief" for staff.
BUT ...

There is a key question to answer. Add up the extra costs: staff and buses, supervisory staff, staff to change the points at the temporary tram termini; staff to guard the trams overnight stranded at the Halfway end of the route; a mobile maintenance team in a little blue van glimpsed above ...

... and all the management time!

Now in Le Mans, "they" are currently building the junction for the new section of line 2. See previous blogs (here) and (here). Obviously it's more complicated than it used to be on fbb's model railway.
You can't just clip a set of points in and carry on as normal. So how do the Le Mans authorities manage the disruption? 
They close the line - completely and no messing! For the two Summer months the tram service to Université is shut and replaced by bus A.
Simple! Of course, the Le Mans Uni doesn't do a great deal during July and August and much of urban France grinds to a halt for those two Summer months anyway, but you can't help thinking that a single simple bus replacement for the whole of the Sheffield line would be easier on everybody's nerves. And probably less of a drain on the much depleted  PTE piggy bank.

Correspondent David will keep an eye on things; and any developments will find their way onto fbb's blog list in due course.

Tomorrow we return to Taunton.

 Next Bus Blog : Thursday 11th July 

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