Monday, 13 July 2015

The Battle of York [1]

But Which Battle?

We all know about the Battle of Marston Moor. Don't we?

In 1644, during the English Civil War, York was besieged. Royalist troops in the city were surrounded by a combined English Parliamentarian and Scottish army.

Eventually another Royalist army commanded by Prince Rupert attempted to come to the rescue. On hearing that Rupert was on his way, the allies abandoned the siege and, on the 2nd of July, gathered at Marston Moor to the west of York. 
In sheer numbers of men involved, Marston Moor is thought to be the largest battle every fought on English soil. It started at around 7pm and lasted about two hours. Even in that short time the Royalists lost 4000 men killed, and had 1500 taken prisoner. The Scots' and Parliamentarian casualties were much lighter; perhaps as few as 300 killed.

The Royalist defeat at Marston Moor meant that they had effectively lost control of the North of England. The battle also boosted the reputation of the Parliamentarian cavalry commander, Oliver Cromwell.

Between Poppleton and Hammerton on the railway line between York, Harrogate and Leeds ...
... you can spy three closed stations. In order they are (top to bottom) Hessay, Marston Moor and Wilstrop.
Another conflict to the south-east of the City is of particular interest to this blog.

It is from next month that the latest round in the on-going Battle of Heslington Hall comes to a blood spattered conclusion.

fbb wrote an extended series of blogs about buses to York University starting with "fbb goes to University (1)" [read again]. Only the keenest will want to read the whole lot.

Suffice it to say that First York ruled the roost with services 4 and 5 to the Heslington campus, later ftr route 4 with its appallingly bad articulated buses.
Then along came a reinvented York Pullman with competitive route 44.
Transdev took Pullman over and a deal was struck with the University which (sort of) pushed First York into the long grass. Transdev had exclusive access to the private road (Lakeside Way) linking the original campus with the developing Heslington East site and the Sport Village near the Grimston Bar Park and Ride.
In term time the 44 runs every 8 minutes Monday to Friday, every 10 on Saturday and every 15 on Sunday. The vacation service is every 15 minutes seven days a week.

The next skirmish saw First service 4 extended to developing Heslington East campus but NOT via the private roads.
This runs Monday to Saturday at least every ten minutes and every 15 on Sunday.
And yes, there are simply too many buses. To add to the mix First also runs buses to East on route 6 via Tang Hall and used to toddle along the Hull Road to to the Sport Village ...
... but the 14 was withdrawn soon after fbb's 2013 visit.
But it's all change from Sunday 2nd August because First have won the new five year contract with the University including that exclusive right to use Lakeside Drive.

Transdev are now sidelined.
Bracknell Pull-Out Fill-In
If you missed the shock headlines, First Bus have announced the closure of their Bracknell operation. Information is now filtering through about how its services will be covered by other operators.

First Bus service 94 fom Blacknell via Crowthorne, Sandhurst and Blackwater to Camberley ...
... will be operated by Stagecoach from 29th August.
The timetable is similar.
From the same date, however, Courtney buses have registered a half-hourly 194, again via the same route.
Courtney have also registered a revised 171 and 172 to replace First's Bracknell town services.

No mention on-line, yet, of First's 90 ...
... which has been sold to Reading buses.
 Next Eboracum blog : Tuesday 14th July 


  1. Might be fine to compete with an ailing First but Courteney might find Stagecoach to be a stronger adversary

  2. This will definitely be an interesting one - First must have been loosing money on their x20 94, but Courtney must have been at least breaking even on their x60 194, otherwise they'd have given up ages ago.

    So we can safely assume Stagecoach will be loosing money on the 94, but how will doubling the 194 to half hourly affect Courtney? Presumably, they registered the change without knowing Stagecoach were going to register the 94, and vice versa.

    If this now makes 194 unprofitable, where it previously wasn't, it really will turn into a case of 'who blinks first'. Interesting times ahead!

    Re the 90 - there's actually a very detailed announcement on Reading Buses' website about it:

    Starting on 26th July, initially with the same timetable as first, the 90 number, and using spare buses.

    Then, in September, it will be re-launched (with another number presumably) and have refurbished buses put on it.

    The B1/B2/B3 are covered by Courtney's 171/2, and 94 by Stagecoach. The B5 will be covered by Courtney's council route 156 being extended around Harman's Water, albeit only ever hour (B5 is currently half hourly).

    The real question is the 191, which Courtney aren't touching with a barge pole! Windsor (not brilliant bus territory) - Bracknell (not great either) via Ascot (terrible bus territory) has been commercially unviable for ages.

    1. Forest Park, a rather housing estate, previously covered by the B% will also have no bus service. Apparently Bracknell Forest Council have stated that they have no intention of tendering a service to replace the 191, so no more link between Bracknell and Windsor (a service a couple of decades ago ran all the way from Reading to Heathrow!).

    2. rather large housing estate, I mean...

  3. Wilstrop hardly counts as a station! It was only served on Saturdays and only from 1865 to 1931, according to the railway and Canal Historical Society's magisterial 'Railway Passenger Stations in GB'. I'd never heard of it and had to look it up!

  4. I rather hope that this is the start of Stagecoach wiping the floor with Courtney, given that their purely predatory competition with First is leaving Bracknell with a significantly poorer network than before.