Thursday, 19 November 2015

Last Sunday's Quiz Answers ...

... and Other Excitements!
See "A B C of Public Transport (1) ..." (read again)

A1 services of Ayrshire; a co-operative of several operators working together amicably. strange idea, eh? The remnants wer taken over by Stagecoach.
Brussels (Bruxelles, Brussel). City centre trams (as illustrated at Place de Brouckère) went underground and several lines have become "Metro" services.
Crosville. Steam bus converted from a lorry and operated for some time in Whitby. Bought by the new Crosville and operating in Weston-super-Mud.
Dovey Junction. the Welsh Osprey Project is based near Machynlleth close to the line to Aberystyth. the ospreys are well know local trainspotters.
East Staffordshire; the "brand" that replaced Burton upon Trent Corporation.
Fishwick of Leyland went bus a few weeks ago.
Grahams of Paisley. One of a clutch of independent operators in the town. 
Hotspur, one of the assorted brands adopted by Midland Red, this one in Shrewsbury and Ludlow. Henry Percy (1364 to 1403) was known as Harry Hotspur.
Islwyn municipal operator, formerly West Monmouthshire Omnibus Board and subsequently merged with Caerphilly.

And the tie-breaker. Bertie the Bus operates on the island of Sodor, home to Thomas the Tank Engine and friends.
Bertie first appeared in 'Thomas, Terence and the Snow', a story in Tank Engine Thomas Again (published 1949). His first major appearance came in the next story, 'Thomas and Bertie', where he had his famous race with Thomas. The story proved to be very popular, which ensured that Bertie would return. He did eventually return, in Edward the Blue Engine, becoming the only non-rail character to appear in more than one book by the Reverend Awdry. He made one final appearance in More About Thomas the Tank Engine (published in 1986), by Christopher Awdry.

Which begs the question, "Who, then is Bulstrode?"

And what is Mendip Explorer?

Bus operator First West of England will be joined by James Heappey MP (seems a cheery chappie) ...

... for Wells, other local VIPs and members of the public to launch their brand new "Mendip Xplorer" double decker buses tomorrow Friday 20th November.

The Mendip Xplorer is a brand new image for First West of England buses in and around The Mendips. The brand launches with Service 376 (Bristol-Wells- Glastonbury-Street) ...

... a route currently served by single deck buses, one of First West of England's busiest rural routes. On Monday 23 November 8 brand new double decker buses will serve the 376.

The Wrightbus Streetdecks were made in Northern Ireland and are micro-hybrid; power from the braking system is harnessed then used to power the lighting systems, ticket machine etc. making them among the most fuel efficient buses on the market. The buses also comply with Euro 6 environmental specifications which means they are up to 14 times cleaner than the older single deck buses on the fleet.

General Manager for First Mendip, Andrew Sherrington, said: "We are really excited to be launching the Mendip Xplorer brand and the smart new double deckers. More people than ever before are using the 376 and this has prompted us to invest in extra capacity, these buses provide much needed extra capacity across the day."

He continued: "The new buses will make a big difference for the commuters who use the service to get to Bristol, they will be able to sit back in comfort, connected to our free Wi-Fi. The buses are also great for the many tourists that want to explore The Mendips."

The doors to the depot at Wells have had to be enlarged as the covered area was built for single decks! And another picture of the newcomers, but still unbranded.
As fbb peered from a top deck front seat of his nth bu of th day last week, he espied a similar vehicle on service X78 to Doncaster.

Will that be similarly branded?
And guiding the traveller to its magnificent scenery.
Not quite up to Mendips standard.

fbb's invite to this event arrived too late. He had already accepted another bus launch "do" invite for tomorrow which will be reported on Monday.

New buses in Lanarkshire too - a huge investment.
The press release could do with a bit of careful proof reading. Here is the quote:-

The buses form part of a total order of 75 new vehicles which is being introduced across Greater Glasgow after Scotland’s biggest bus operator First Glasgow announced it was investing £14 in upgrading its fleet earlier this year.

Careful with the cash Fearnley; don't overdo it!

 Next smartcard blog : Friday 20th November 


  1. It will nice to have double deckers back again after 49 years, the Bristol LDs having been replaced by REs when Bristol Omnibus were going through a difficult period and needed to cut back on staff. The 376 has been something of a success story for First. Recent journeys from Bristol to Wells have been very busy throughout with a mixture of local and long distance passengers. The extra capacity will be useful and the view from the upper deck may well entice tourists to make a journey.

    Although not widely promoted there are through rail tickets available via Bristol Temple Meads from many parts to Wells, Glastonbury and Street.

  2. Slight correction to the quiz answers - Islwyn Borough Transport remained a local authority operation until selling to Stagecoach in 2010.
    Rhymney Valley was the combination of Caerphilly, Gelligaer and Bedwas & Machen and was later renamed Inter Valley Link.

  3. Thanks Anon. I have never really grasped the changing situation in South Wales. It didn't look right as I wrote it but research (at speed!) failed me.

  4. Wow was that the treble D in Sheffield?

    Debate, dinner and driver to get them home after the meeting!

    How many used public transport?

  5. East Staffordshire wasn't a "brand", but the official name of the owner. Under Local Government reorganisation in 1974, Burton became part of East Staffordshire, which it still is. The new District Council took over Burton Corporation's bus undertaking and retained it until around the time of derugulation, when, rather than set up a stand-alone company, it sold the business to Stevenson's. For the first few years of private ownership, buses were still parked in the Council's yard.

  6. I think that FBBs confusion with the Caerphilly/Islwyn situation is due to the fact that in 1996 Islwyn Borough Council and Rhymney Valley District Council merged to form the new Caerphilly unitary authority. As someone who grew up in the former Caerphilly UDC and worked for its Rhymney Valley successor, it still doesn't seem right to see 'Welcome to Caerphilly' signs on the approach to Risca!