Monday, 4 December 2017

Looking Back at Long Buckby

But First, Stagecoach
With creditable speed, Stagecoach Yorkshire responded to fbb's request for details of "early finish" times for Stagecoach routes in Sheffield on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. This information is available on the PTE web site (Travel South Yorkshire) but is cunningly well-hidden and the search will feature in a later blog.

fbb has been commissioned to provide details for the GoTimetable web site and app. (

Stagecoach Yorkshire provided (instantly by email) pages for Barnsley and the Dearne Valley, Chesterfield and Sheffield but it is not clear whether these will ever be available in printed form.
Currently they contain various hyperlinks which would be meaningless on paper.

But all is not well.

There is, as followers of this blog will know, a half hourly service 2 bus service between Sheffield and Barnsley. It was a renumbering and extension of the existing service 265 and started way back in September.
Here are the "early finish" details from the Stagecoach Sheffield page.
No service 2! But scroll down and you will find that Stagecoach IS running a service 265 on these two days. Whoops!
But if you were to seek information from the Barnsley pages, yet again you would find no service 2 ...
... but no service 265 either.
"Eee bah gum, lads and ecky thump. 'T 265 is run bah they Sheffield folk and we baint got nothing to do with they." said Sid Crump, Barnsley depot manager.

Other delights from the Sheffield pages.
No, wrong again. The only Stagecoach buses running in Sheffield on Boxing Day will be service 50 ...
... or it might be 050 or 9 or even 950.

A couple more for the collection:-
The 86 doesn't run to Batemoor, it runs to Low Edges ...
... and even most of the Stagecoach management would agree.
Yet again ...
... service 25 NEVER runs between Sheffield and Dronfield Station.

And they wonder why passenger numbers are falling. 

And Back to Long Buckby
It lies west of Northampton, close to the renowned Watford Gap services on the M1 (not the same Watford Junction that marks the boundary of almost everything), and not far from Althorp, home of the aristocratic Spencer family.

fbb was at school with Shivs Clarke, son of the chief Steward at Althorp; he also and had a fake aunt (former work colleague of fbb's Gran) who lived at ("Long" usually omitted) Buckby Wharf.

"Aunt" Rose lived here ...
... but, when your blogger was just wee laddie, the cottage had no electricity, a pump in the kitchen for water, an open coal-fired range for cooking and, joys of joys, an earth closet down the garden. Her husband worked as cow man at the farm opposite and brought home a billy-can of fresh (warm!) milk every day. This was, of course, back in the primitive late 1950s.

Maybe because of the earth closet, they grew the most fantastic sweet and juicy raspberries which the little boy often enjoyed, with (or sometimes without) invitation!

Travel a few yards west of the cottage and you experience a historic time travel through the transport history of the UK.

First, the M1, opened from London to Crick in 1959.
Next, and visible under the M1 bridge, is the West Coat Main Line, opened in 1840.
Thirdly, and a few yards up a slight hill, is the Grand Union Canal ...
... where the Wharf used to be.

Continue a little further up the hill and you come to a junction with the A5 ...
... erstwhile Watling Street and built by the Romans.
When Google Streetview wiggled past, traffic on the Wharf road and the Daventry Road opposite was much busier than along the A5.
Turn around just short of the junction, trundle back towards Long Buckby, passing "Aunt" Rose's cottage once more, and you will come to yet another railway bridge.
This carries the Northampton "loop" which leaves the West Coast main line at Roade cutting ...
... and rejoins it just short of Rugby.

It is to Long Buckby station that will turn our attention tomorrow.

Advent, the season of three "comings"

1. Jesus comes to earth at Christmas
2. Jesus "comes" into the lives of men and women
3. Jesus will come again at the end of time

No 3 is probably the most controversial for modern readers whether they be believers or nay.

Artists' attempts to portray this "event" range from literal ...
... and hard to stomach; all the way through to just plain surreal.
There are plenty of lurid hymns as well. But, surely, we cannot even being to understand or describe an event that must be, by definition, truly super (i.e. beyond) human.

"Joy to the Wold" keeps it simple.

Joy to the World, the Saviour reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

Mark's Gospel also keeps it simple and avoids misplaced attempts to seek a detailed visual explanation. 

For Mark, a simple parable is good enough.

It will be like a man who goes away from home on a trip and leaves his servants in charge, after giving to each one his own work to do. Watch, then, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming - it might be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or at sunrise. If he comes suddenly, he must not find you asleep. What I say to you, then, I say to all: Watch!”

There is more to Advent than a calendar.
 Next Long Buckby blog : Tuesday 5th December 


  1. "This information is available on the PTE web site (Travel South Yorkshire) but is cunningly well-hidden and the search will feature in a later blog."

    Erm, well hidden? Well, go onto the TSY website, click on "news and updates" and third option down is "Festive Travel".

    Or if that is too much trouble, the scrolling banner has "Plan Your Festive Travel" with various Christmassy images. Click on that and it takes you straight through to allow you to click on the relevant pages and PDFs.

    Sometimes, it feels like the FBB doth protest too much.....

    1. I followed your guidance, found the Christmas Travel guide, unfortunately I couldn't find which services finish at 18.00 and which finish at 19.30. Might make quite a difference to my travel plans if I chose the wrong time for my journey!
      So I don't think FBB does protest too much.

  2. Anonymous is quite wrong. To find the "early finish" times is a real challenge - they are NOT at all obvious. There are no PDFs of these times.

  3. I find it strange that Poole and Isle of Wight run a limited bus service on Christmas Day but London does not.
    Yet London ruses buses and underground run all night New Years Eve whilst provincial operators in the main have an early finish on probably one of the busiest evenings of the year!

    1. It's all a matter of scale.
      LB runs a full Sunday service (a Saturday service on the Tube) on Boxing Day when huge numbers of people travel to visit the sales in many shopping centres.
      Their attitude is that Boxing Day has many more prospective passengers than Xmas Day would, so it is right that 25/12 is a day for ALL staff to spend with their families, and plenty of non-Christians do just that.

      I was involved with Xmas Day London services in the 1990's, and almost all passengers were tourists. The traffic day was very short (1000-1800) and loadings were slim before 1200 and after 1600. The services then were commercially operated by a few London companies, and only just covered costs (double time + a day in lieu for drivers) plus fuel; no overheads).

      If London was to do it properly, how would you determine which routes should run (all hospitals? touristy routes? routes for staff preparing for Boxing Day sales? Or just a full network?) Hundreds of staff needed, all at timex2+lieu day. Lots of special schedules for bus routes {I spend 8 weeks compiling special schedules for 20% of the network prior to the Festive Season as it is}.

      It's different with only a few routes and only 1-2 centres to serve - scale again . . . .

      And a very merry Bah Humbug to all my readers!!

    2. I would guess that TfL would find it hard to decide which routes to run but I do agree it is odd how Oxford, Southampton, Bournemouth and Poole have buses on Christmas Day when London doesn't but as greenline727 says it is very different with just a few routes and only a few key areas to serve - these services are hourly and are exclusively on the busiest 1/2 routes.

  4. Andrew Kleissner5 December 2017 at 08:18

    I seem to remember that the Tube used to offer a limited service on Christmas Day. Because the cost of staffing ticket counters was far greater than the revenue they got back, LT (as it was then) decided t make travel free. At this the station staff Unions threw a wobbly and threatened a strike, si LT backed down and suspended the service. Does that account of events ring any bells?

    (Mind you, I'd have thought that the engineering people on the Tube are very happy with a complete shutdown, it's probably a busy day for them!)