Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Unchanging Changing X78 [3]

Turmoil, Transition and Tradition
We left the bus route between Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster in the early sixties as the half hourly service 77 with one journey and hour diverting between Hill Top and Consibrogh vua the developing Conanby area.
This pattern of service, with an inrease from two to thee buses an hour (still only hourly via Conanby) remained stable for nearly 30 years!

In the late 1960s the new bus stations opened in Rotherham and Doncaster. These were both in the gloomy under-a-car-park style but were considered state-of-the art in their day. In recent years Rotherham gained a "tail" of stands and some improvement to the gloomy bit ...
... whereas Doncaster closed with all services moving to the new, brighter (but still under a car park) Frenchgate.

Then, some 37 years after they were first introduced in 1933, journeys via Conanby were renumbered 78 in 1970! Revolution!

Of course the 70s were the decade of the transfer of the three municipal operators to form the new South Yorkshire PTE. In February 1975, as part of an excellent county wide numberings scheme (now sadly abandoned) the service became 277 and 278.
Rotherham buses eventually showed 27 7 and 8 in their two track blinds with Doncaster ultimately replacing their one-panel displays as appropriate.
PTE livery gave way to various pre- and post-privatisation efforts ...
... until the services were renumbers X77 and X78 in 1987. There was nothing "X" about timings or route but there was a trend, using the "Fastline" brand, of pretending that several longer distance routes were something special.

The opening of the Meadohell shopping centre caused ructions in routeings and, like everything else within a mile of the mall, the Doncaster services were diverted there in 1990. 1996 saw the whole service run via Conanby and numbered X78.

But in 2002 the frequency was doubled to the present six buses an hour. This wasn't quite as dramatic as it appears. Shuttle buses to Meadowhall from Sheffield (501) ...
... and Rotherham (601) were withdrawn and/or reduced and the long standing local bus between Doncaster and Balby was likeise excised.
We are, thus, pretty much up to date and into the First Bus era. Three different brand styles have been used. A rather feeble slash incorporating pictures ...
... and "express yourself" was superseded by First's "refreshed" style with X78 as the "operator name".
Neither were particular;y distinctive or attractive!

And so we are up-to-date. New blue buses started arriving in November last year but, as yet, they await a brand name.
Next year (2017) the route will celebrate its 90th Birthday, 90 years without change, albeit conceptually. That must be something of a record for a long-ish interurban link.

A special thanks to an "Anonymous" comment writer who has helped fbb fill in his wilderness years when work away from Sheffield precluded the acquisition of detailed knowledge.

 Next "App" blog : Wednesday 20th January 

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