Monday 26 August 2013

Researching Rosheim [3]

A very good train service operates between Strasbourg, Rosheim and Barr in the Alsace region of France. Running every 30 minutes ...
... smart TER trains link this little historic town of just less than 5000 inhabitants with Strasbourg. But, on Mondays to Fridays, the near clock-face frequency is interrupted in the afternoon ...
.... by "car" (French "autocar" = "coach") and note 6 refers us to the separate coach timetable. Likewise the last train of the day is also a coach.
To complete the picture, there is a similar gap in the service in the other direction and the first train from Sélestat to Molsheim on Saturdays is also a coach.

Reference to the "car" timetables reveals a full stopping pattern but with some different locations, hence the confusing gaps in the rail tables.
Lorry driving chum David even spotted the 2219 southbound from Rosheim as he watched bed-time TV in the comfortable cab of his huge blue Mercedes truck. Sadly it was too dark to take a photograph as many of the town's streetlights are switched off at about 2000! It might have looked like this one?
There are a number of possible reasons for this bustitution, which appears undated and thus a permanent feature of the timetable. The afternoon gap may well be to provide a slot for routine track maintenance; a gap which used to be called the "white period" in French railway parlance. The late and early trips will jut be a money saving exercise!

David reports that the vehicle he saw was actually carrying passengers, but "not many". And it did have a proper bus stop at the "Maison d'Enfance" time point.
Before spotting this bus that was a train, David had toddled into the town to look out for other tops and timetables.

And found none! The local buses are run by ... 
... under the clever branding of "réseau 67"; "67" is the postcode number for the region ...
... and they've got a juicy phone number and a stylish web site with a local journey planner.

So fbb searched for a local journey from Molsheim (pretty green flag) to Rosheim (equally pretty red flag).
The journey planner advised a bus from Molsheim to Manenheim (orange); then from Manenheim to Strasbourg (blue) then from Strasbourg to Boersch (orange) followed by a 3 kilometre walk to Rosheim.

Hmm? And we think Traveline is grim!

Frustrated with this circuitous offering and thinking that there must surely be something better, fbb put on his French speaking head and emailed CTBR. Either the chubby one had failed abysmally or, there were no buses in Rosheim at all. Here is the reply email with notes added by fbb:-
Bonjour Monsieur,

"Good morning, Sir!"

Nous venons de prendre connaissance de votre courriel.

The formality and exaggerated politeness of French correspondance, even electronic, is delghtful! "We have just gained cognisance of your email (courriel)."

La commune de Rosheim est desservie essentiellement par les autocars TER.

TER coaches; we know there's not many of them?

Pour le canton de Rosheim, vous avez une desserte "à la demande" des villages aux alentours;

There are, apparently, some "on demand" services to Rosheim from surrounding villages, BUT ...

rendez vous sur le site de la communauté de communes pour en savoir plus.
Nothing obvious there.

A titre général, pour tout vos déplacements sur le bassin alsacien, un site peut vous être utile :

Eventually found it; but it's".eu" not ".com"! And there's nothing there either.

Restant à votre écoute pour d'autres renseignements complémentaires, veuillez agréer, Monsieur, nos meilleures salutations.

"Remaining attentive for any other similar enquiries, please accept, Sir, our best wishes." Sadly a subservient tugging of the forelock is not visible by email!

Service Clientèle CTBR

The reply was back in three hours. Would that UK customer service were anything near as good!

But it is confirmed, there are no "nomal" bus services in and to Rosheim and it's over mile to walk from the station.

Just for a "back of the envelope" comparison, Axminster (just up the road from fbb's Seaton) has a population of just over 5500 and offers
an hourly train service to Exeter and London
an hourly bus to Exeter
an hourly bus to Dorchester
an hourly bus to Seaton
an hourly bus to Taunton
plus one or two infrequent extras.
And we moan about Public Transport in UK?
 Next Train Blog : Tuesday 27th August 


  1. You may be interested to know that the CTBR bus station ("gare routière") in Strasbourg even has an enquiry office with racks of leaflets for all of the routes that radiate from there (including those that only come as far as out-of-town tram termini; a bit like being dumped at a park and ride site on a bus journey to Exeter, perhaps?). By French standards, the frequencies are impressive - some are even regular interval!

    "Bus Station" is however a somewhat grand description of what is essentially a bus parking area, around which passengers are allowed to mill uncontrolled, and a series of portacabins. You can see it here:,7.741692&spn=0.002789,0.006899&sll=48.583148,7.747882&sspn=0.35703,0.883026&t=h&hq=gare+routiere&hnear=Strasbourg,+Bas-Rhin,+Alsace,+France&fll=48.587055,7.743591&fspn=0.002789,0.006899&z=17&layer=c&cbll=48.587744,7.741535&panoid=a1tLk3_MrI_th5ldVj8GQA&cbp=12,189.54,,0,3.4

  2. Thanks MofK - will add the Streetview picture as a PS to Wednesday's blog for those for whom your link is a URL too far (and too long!).

  3. To find a town of 5000 with no bus connections does seem surprising. However,France has very few areas of non-urban bus operation as we know it. Bus companies developed during the 1930s but there was legislation to protect the near bankrupt rail companies of the time and bus routes were restricted by 1938. Bus services are now largely in the hands of the Departments with the result that there are not many cross-boundary services. Much of what operates is to cover the considerable distances travelled by school children although services are open to the public. We have to remember that population density is generally much lower than in the UK. The various regional TER operations take the place of many inter-urban buses with networks planned on a wider basis.

  4. I would guess that this area of Alsace has a population density similar to East Devon, thus the comparison with Axminster is valid. The particular problem with Rosheim is the distance from town to station. If Rosheim Ville were still open, the lack of buses would be less painful. Future developments may well exacerbate the pain of the comparison.