Friday, 8 July 2016

Playing Catch-Up

Some Stuff Overshadowed by East Lothian
fbb is always grateful for news and interesting items sent by correspondents. Quite a varied batch had dribbled through the ether in the past few days and a selections is included below. Here goes.

First Refresh for Last of the Summer Wine
As a contribution to "Catch the Bus Week", First have reported their upgrade of services in the Holme Valley. Buses have been tittivated and branded. Here is one before the brand was added showing the now-standard First principle of a front end splodge ...
... and here is the "official" version now correctly adorned.
And here is what First have to say about the brand.
One day, when he feels particularly brave, fbb will write a blog about the network of buses in Holmfirth; but, for the time being, readers may wish to apend a quiet hour or so working it out for themselves. (click on the map to enlarge it).
There is something especially quaint about the possibility of a bus ride from Totties to Netherthong!

Southern Vectis Folk Get Excited
fbb is becoming very worried about the blood pressure of bus managers, particularly those who write advertorial blurb. So many of them are getting very excited about leather seats, new paint schemes, free wifi, bevvies of scantily clad dancing girls entertaing OAPs on the top deack etc. etc.

Let us all hope that the appropriate medication and defibrillator equipment is one hand.

Here we go again on the Isle of Wight; from our senior Island correspondent.
fbb took a look at departures from Newport Bus Station at 1003 yesterday.
Comparing them with the timetable ...
... suggests the bus service was running well to time.  A little further down the route things were less happy. Although you are asked to choose route and direction ...
... the Somerton Park and Ride display have buses in BOTH diractions.
 ... and at 1021 clock time everything appeard to be running early on its way to Cowes. Maybe the company has tweaked its software to encourage folk to be at the stop a couple of minutes before the "real time".

But, surely, the buses should be running on time all the time? Useful technology in times of disruption, of course, but is it really something to get "very excited" about?

“Real time” is a system which tracks the bus along its route and therefore knows when it should arrive at each stop. Occasionally a bus may not be seen by the system as it depends on it having a good signal strength. In the event a bus cannot be seen the displays will revert back to showing timetabled time.

The Joys of Running a Bus Service
Stagecoach Chesterfield route 43 runs between Chesterfield and Sheffield via the Gosforth Valley housing estate at Dronfield.

Readers may like to explain the "exciting" column header notes on the timetable on the Stagecoach web site whilst carefully examining the difference between "MF-X" and "S" journeys.
But, as shown on the GoSheffield Timetable app, the 43 runs every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday.
(Apologyies : fbb could not quite squeeze the screen shot to get the Chesterfield New Beetwell Street times in.)

Anyway, apart from publishing a timetable designed to confuse and obfuscate the passengers, the poor folk at Chesterfield depot have had to put up with a burst water main at Stubley Hollow - and it was a bad one necessitating a road closure for several days. 
Stubley Hollow is where the Dronfield by-pass (in green) crosses the road from the Gosforth Valley via the B6057 and in to Sheffield. Because of flood, excavation and repair, buses are diverted to run non-stop via the real Dronfield Woodhouse village (lower left), Tinkers Corner at Bradway (top left and back across to the Chesterfield Road at Meadowhead.

Sheffield correspondent Roy has sent some snaps of buses doing it at Tinkers Corner.
fbb notes that the buses, even on this relatively innocuous and "round-the-houses" service are smartly route branded. Despite the Holme Valley note above, a rarity for First Bus services.

Half a Century in Nottingham
50 years since the last Corporation trolleybuses ran.
Ah, those were the days!

Again, thanks to correspondent Roy for this photoview of the recent Heritage event.

The constituent parts of todays Nottingham Transport (still locally owned) were lined up ...
... nattitly named West Bridgford Urban District Passenger Transport, Nottingham Coporation and South Notts Tranport. A present-day Nottingham decker was dolled up in heritage livery.
And, of course, there was a trolley bus.
Roy was, quite rightly, impressed with the method of getting the vehicle there ...
... and back!

You mean they didn't use one trolley pole on the tram overhead and a "skate" in the rails for return current? Shame. fbb is sure he has read of such a means of getting power to a trolleybus - but perhaps it was just a bad dream?

Again, many thanks to all correspondents who support this blog. Your contributions are always very welcome, even if they cannot always be squeezed in!

More Mule Movements
In passing, fbb reports that the irrepressable Derek Gawn has revised and reprinted his timetable for the tours operating around Seaton from Monday 11th July. He has abandoned some of his more esoteric "excursion" trips and is concentrating on the two tours based in Seaton.
The Lyme Regis "circular" will now run 6 days a week throughout the Summer supplemented by the Sidmouth "circular" in the peak school holiday period.

Details were added to the GoTimetable Seaton app within 24 hours of the change being publshed - an indication of how easy the update process is.

 Next non-blog : Saturday 9th July 


  1. "But, surely, the buses should be running on time all the time? Useful technology in times of disruption, of course, but is it really something to get "very excited" about?"

    Yes, if you want the bus to compete with the car. Buses do sometimes run a bit early or a bit late, this is the nature of the beast, particularly between timing points. Having proper RTPI allows one to leave the house at exactly the right time to catch the bus rather than a little beforehand to be sure, and to know it is on the way (do I wait or do I call a taxi?)

    It is a true "killer app". I know you don't like them, but it is second only to the online journey planner for doing long public transport journeys where you're unfamiliar with the arrangements at your destination.

  2. I have to agree with Neil. Real Time Information is the biggest advance for passengers than anything else I can recall - even for frequent services and especially in areas that suffer from traffic congestion - which can be almost anywhere!

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