Monday, 6 November 2017

Stagecoach Supertram : Stocksbridge Suffers (1)

This comment was posted recently on one of the many Sheffield on-line forums.
But there is Supertram Link.
A bus meets the ten minute tram frequency at Middlewood (in theory) ...
... although connections are not always reliable, leaving the through passenger with a frustrating ten minute wait; and people simply do not like changing! Stagecoach's own journey planner even suggests a 22 minute wait at Middlewood!

The current SL1/SL1A service runs every ten minutes between Middlewood and Deepcar then alternate ways round the loop of Stocksbridge estates.
The 57 was one of Sheffield's early bus routes gaining its number in 1926.
But it used to be the only route to Stocksbridge; for example in 1952 running every 20 minutes ...
... but straight along the main Manchester Road to Unsliven Bridge.
Very rural, very bucolic; and here is the terminus itself.
These days, there are houses nearby, bit it used to be just a country lane.
After a spiritually respectful Sunday morning, buses even ran every 20 minutes on Sundays.

Post WW2 the 57 was joined by the 257 and 357 which served the growing housing development every hour with some extras a shift change times.
Incidentally there was also a 157 running to "Half Hall", a demolished residence ...
... its site now occupied by the Silver Fox pub.
To complete the set, the 457 ran beyond Unsliven Bridge along Manchester Road to the Sheephouse Wood works.

57, 157, 257, 357 and 457; a superb example Sheffield Transport's "hundredification" numbering policy.

Back then Stocksbridge was Samuel Fox's steelworks.
This filled the valley ...
... providing work and housing for many.

The pattern of service remained until the 1980s when, with the steelworks' decline, it became clear that people living on the hillsides wanted to get into Sheffield, not just to the works or shops along the Manchester Road.

That's when the service outlined by the Forum contributor (above) was introduced. Two buses an hour stuck generally to the 57 route with minor modifications over the years ...
... accompanied by a service 58 every 30 minutes via more of the estates.
With the arrival of the tram at Middlewood and the Supertram Link connection for Stocksbridge the rot set in. First reverted to the basic 57, then joined it with the route via Worrall, abandoning the main road between Hillsborough and Oughtibridge.

Finally First Bus rolled over and submitted to Stagecoach who took over the 57.
The final blow to a reasonable through service came in January this year when Stagecoach reduced the Monday to Saturday service to hourly ...
... and withdrew the 57 completely on Sundays leaving just a T M Travel "circular" tendered route 57A to Worrall and Oughtibridge.
The Forum comments predated the changes scheduled to the Supertram in January 2018.

But these will undoubtedly bring a further worsening of the bus service to Stocksbridge as we shall see tomorrow on Wednesday.

Why the change of plan?

Sheffield correspondent Roy has been out and about again, test riding the new City Zap service on its first day of operation, Sunday 5th November.
A full report will appear tomorrow, with Stocksbridge continuing on Wednesday.

 Next  CITYZAP  blog - Tuesday 7th November 

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