Friday, 15 January 2016

The Unchanging Changing X78 [1]

Sheffield to Doncaster Memories
The launch, as reported here yesterday, of the new Wright Streetdecks on the First Bus "premier" route X78 evoked numerous memories from fbb. His detailed knowledge fizzles out in the mid eighties but broadly speaking this lengthy South Yorkshire route has changed little since the early days.

It was on 25th July 1927 that a new jointly operated bus service started betwen the three towns. It was numbered 77 and eighteen months later was augmented by extra Rotherham to Doncaster trips.

In 1933 occasional trips forked left at Hill Top ...
... to serve housing development at the growing (but unlabelled on the above map) area of Conanby.

The route out of Sheffield was via the delightfully misnamed Brightside Lane.
This one road was effectively the very heart of Sheffield's traditional steel industry of which little is left today.
The pipe bridge gives context and the buildings are cleaner!

Between here and Rotherham, buses used Meadow Bank Road, another road name of historic origins which nowadays lacks meadows.
For a time during the second world war the service was suspended (in 1939) then partially reinstated (in 1942) to return in full in August 1945.

1956 saw the only significant route diversion that was not significant unless you were driving a double deck bus! In order to permit DD buses it was necessary to wiggle round low railway bridges in the Meadow Hall area.
The present-day shopping centre is built on ex industrial land at the bottom right of the above map extract.

From Rotherham to Doncaster the route simply takes the main road via Hooton Roberts ...
... an ancient village which is hardly noticed as the bus speeds along the A630.

The other historic site en route is, of course, Comisbrough Castle, seen here behind a Sheffield corporation bus as it wiggles round the narrow and ancient roads.
In September 1962 the service via Conanby became properly "regular", being one journey every hour. "VIA CONANBY" was shown on the linds - if you were lucky.

For a fair chunk of its life, the route terminated at Waterdale ...
... a road quite unrecognisable today. On the aerial view below, Waterdale is the road on the left ...
...and the open land is Glasgow Paddocks. Which leaves fbb with a memory problem. The old fellow remembers the bus station for the 77 as being called "Glasgow Paddocks" but on-line sources are unclear as to whether that was the same place exactly as Waterdale. fbb thinks that Glasgow Paddocks was the bus station that was built on Waterdale (the road) which had been used as a roadside terminus point.

Can any blog reader elucidate?

In the next episode (due on Monday 18th) the unchanging story of the changed 77 will be brought up to date.

 Next quiz-book blog : Saturday 16th January 


  1. Rather than an unhelpful comment, here's some enlightenment to the tale of the 277/278 since de-reg (I worked there at the time so remember it well before I left in 2004).

    De-reg - 277/8 basic 20 frequency
    Nov 1987 - renumbered X77/8 as part of an exercise involving 69/X69
    April 1988 - all operation moved to Doncaster as part of East Bank closure programme
    September 1990 - re-routed via Meadowhall with an X89 variant going to Camblesforth
    Summer 1996 - all numbered X78 with new Volvo Sd's. Sunday extension to Yorkshire Shopping Outlet
    2002 - increased in frequency to every 10 minutes by absorbing parts of 501 in Sheffield, 601 in Rotherham and the old 162 Balby service. Split operation from Rotherham and Doncaster.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Thanks Anon. I will incorporate this in episode 2. I could remember the basics, but not the detail!

  3. I remember X78 in the silly fares era. Driver at Rotherham tried hard to persuade me that I didn't want to get the X78 to Sheffield as it cost 7p instead of 6p on the 69 (or something silly like that).

  4. Pauline Stainton of Goole.10 May 2017 at 11:53

    Re: Bus station in Waterdale. We used to visit family in Dinnington & Creswell & both buses left from the Glasgow paddocks bus station. I have an old town map that clearly shows Beechfield House ( museum) then the bus station, then access to the paddocks then the public baths.