Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Variegated Blog (3)

Peter Jumps Shipp
News broke yesterday that East Yorkshire had been sold to GoAhead.
East Yorkshire was well-known and well loved in years past for its "Beverley Bar" double decks ...
... well-loved unless you were sitting next to a top deck window when neck pain was a routine consequence!

Its livery sequence was clearly illustrated on the 90th Anniversary bus.
Peter Shipp, the shrinking violet of senior bus management ...
... is probably entitled to his retirement!

Hey, What is a Control Hub?
There's one at Selby ...
... sort of close to the town's minimalist bus station, which , in turn, is close to the train station.
Lola's Garden is at the opposite end of the building.
It's not a garden, it's a caff!
As an innocent Passenger, perhaps arriving by train, would you know that inside the dark door of "the hub" is a rack of Arriva timetable leaflets?

Another Island Disappointment?
Back in March publicity was released about a rand new service from Southern Vectis.
Service 27 would operate via full length of the "Middle Road" ...
... B3401/B3399, a combination that has been bereft of buses for many a year. The March announcement said that timetable would follow soon.

It has now arrived, and correspondent David is disappointed.

You may recall my getting excited about the new Southern Vectis route 27 serving the "middle road" through Chessel and Tapnell Farm. Disappointing , then, now that the times have finally appeared on the SV website, to discover that it is only one outward journey Newport - Yarmouth arriving at the farm before it opens and a return from Yarmouth after it closes.
These are most likely positioning journeys for the Needles Breezer and Island Coaster, and not really much use to most farm visitors.

Sensible to make some use of dead mileage, but scarcely justifying the publicity shot on the SV site and in the County Press.

The Newport journeys have often appeared in various guises, and they have usually been provided by Open Top buses running between Yarmouth and The Needles.
Tapnell Farm Park?
It also offers accommodation, probably best defined as "glamping"?

It Arrived Today ...
... fbb's all-time favourite transport book which he bought way back in 1967.
fbb lent it to a chum and never saw it again - can't even remember who the chum was! But this offer from Modern Railways seemed a good way of filling that gap on the shelf.
But the email for the post-free discounted copy was wrong.

But up pops a "new" copy on-line for just under £7 and post free to boot.
The fbbs are off tomorrow on a short break. Next door neighbour is on security duty with ferocious dog ...
... so a re-acquaintance with Fiennes finest will provide excellent holiday reading.

And yes, Ranulph Fiennes and the Fiennes actors and female filmic folk are all from the same extended family.

Ferocious Cat? Not!
Talking of ferocious ...

Jacko the cat found himself in close proximity to a ferocious seagull outside fbb mansions.
Poised for attack, cat approached gull in VERY slow motion and via a roundabout route. Gull ignored cat completely.
Before cat got too close, gull flew onto fence. With a near audible sigh of relief, cat (inveterate coward) resumed nibbling cat grass.

Seagull? What Seagull?

 Next rail disruption blog : Wednesday 20th June 

Monday, 18 June 2018

Variegated Blog (2)

Thanks to a helpful currespondent, fbb is able to complete his gallery of Buses for Sheffield "freebies".
And the obverse:-
Meanwhile, Sheffielders are still waiting for printed information for some of the service reductions introduced four weeks ago.

Pony Clone Returns
A dedicated and frequent bus service between Shanklin (Isle of Wight) and its esplanade began as an enhanced route 44 introduced when the town's cliff lift was closed for rebuilding. The lift gave access to an artificial sea-front stuck on to the foot of the cliffs as the town developed.
Road access was steep and twiddly at the northern end.
Before the frequent 44, various varieties of less frequent open top routes nipped down the hill.

When the lift re-opened, the service remained - but now branded "Shanklins Pony".
Various traditional open top routes came along when the veteran pony was retired. But more recently we had the Shanklin Steamer.
This unique vehicle now rests in the Isle of Wight bus museum, having been replaced, once again, by double decks. Then the service was "rested" (Southern Vectis euphemism for withdrawn!)
But it is back - Schwartzenegger style - for 2018.
Its route is as unchanging as the seasons ...
... and, like the "Steamer", it runs every 30 minutes with a lunchtime gap.
It has "normal" fares (normally expensive on IoW) but it is not clear whether we OAPs go for "free".
Two big disappointments (and commercial downsides) ...
... it doesn't run in the afternoons on Schooldays, just when weary beach-bums need a lift up to town after a day's roasting in the sun;
AND it is not open top.

Poor effort SV!

Can Carrying - Sword, Falling Upon
News that Charles Horton, boss of GoViaThamelinkSouthernGatwickExpress, has fallen on his sword comes as no surprise.
But is that the right outcome?

The company has made a right mess of the new Thameslink service but whose fault is that?

"Last minute" (can be years rather than minutes on the railways) changes to the plans for Thameslink have involved Railtrack ...
... and its boss Mark Carne. But he is going anyway, complete with inappropriate (?) CBE.

Then there is DaFT, the Department for Transport, with Minister Chris Grayling being an obvious fall guy. Effectively Mt Horton has been running the company with DaFT pulling ALL the strings. It is operating under a "Management Contract".
Transport Ministers have a very short life, so Chris Grayling will soon be "moved up", "moved on" or "moved out"!

All three have a major part to play in the timetable shambles.

But those that won't go are the faceless managers at DaFT and the Treasury who are actually making the policy. Remember Sir Humphrey?
What may also survive, unfortunately, is the "not fit for purpose" system of rail franchising.

Only TWO weeks to go to the arrival of No 3 son complete with gaffer tape, gorilla glue, hammer and nails etc. to fix the fbb's new keyboard and thus presage a return to unfettered blogging!

 Next variegated blog : Tuesday 19th June 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Variegated Blog (1)

Buses for Sheffield Bonanza!
Regular readers will doubtless remember that Buses for Sheffield has, so far, been a "sticking plaster" job, re-labelling the dubious efforts of the Sheffield Bus Partnership. A re-launch just over a week ago saw the inevitable PR pictures with the great and good ...
... plus the appearance of the farcically bad "Underground-style" map. Hopefully, the latter will soon be consigned to an "underground-style" recycling bin!

But there is more. 

A parcel arrived at fbb mansions containing exciting Buses for Sheffield goodies. It was like a Summer version of Christmas!
The two maps are just repaints of the existing product, but the notebook, bag, pen and small tin box are very good goodies.
The tin box contains yummy mints, already titillating the jaded palates of fbb and Mrs. And there's more!

fbb has been promised a commemorative mug to be delivered to Seaton by hand in due course.

Next we all expect service improvements, better publicity (any publicity!?)** and fares offers.
Of course.

A Peek at Less Peaks for High Peak
Come 22nd July, depressing things are happening with High Peak Buses, the company formed to take over Trent's Buxton-based operations.

Once upon a time the Trent "TransPeak" route ran from Nottingham to  Buxton and Manchester.
It was one of the very early examples of route-specific branding, completed, in due course, with its very own triangular logo.
The image was substantially re-vamped as part of the major redesign for the whole of Trent Barton, (sorry, trentbarton) by the ubiquitous and exuberant Ray Stenning.
High Peak maintained a similar colour style.
It lost Nottingham some time ago, but has routinely included 4/5 journeys Monday to Saturday extended to Manchester from an hourly headway to Buxton. (click on the timetable to enlarge it)
From 22nd July the route will only run between Derby and Buxon. Bus watchers wait with some trepidation to see if the hourly service is chopped.

And there is more ...

T M travel used to work the long-standing Sheffield to Buxton route 84 (but by then renumbered 65). It then became joint with High Peak who latterly took over the whole thing.
Publicty was excellent, with branded buses and it all looked super and smashing. (click on the timetable to enlarge it)
From 22nd July this becomes just TWO round trips Monday to Saturday with nothing on Sunday. To what extent this is a consequence of loss of funding from Derbyshire is not clear - but it is one of the most unkind cuts for the communities served and for Peak District tourism.

Rutland Flyer Hits More Turbulence
Centrebus had announced its withdrawal from the "Flyer" from the end of June. The Rutland County subsidy of £50,000 was not enough.

So, fbb gathers from his Northampton Correspondent, Rutland sought a replacement tender. When the anonymous sealed brown envelopes were assembled for opening, there was only one ...

... from Stagecoach - for £270,000. OUCH!

So Centrebus has been asked to keep going until July 6th while the County looks for a cheaper deal.

Best of luck chaps.

Leeds Leads with Park and Ride?
First Bus is bringing shiny new buses to its two Parks and Ride in Leeds.

Reducing air pollution in the city is key and the introduction of these ultra-low emission vehicles will deliver significant fuel and carbon dioxine improvements along the Elland Road and Temple Green Park and Ride routes.

Eight buses - a significant difference?

The HEV is the latest development from bus manufacturer, WrightBus, which uses a parallel hybrid system that captures braking energy that is then used to help both accelerate the vehicle and to help power its electrical and air systems.

So now we know.

And Just in Case You Didn't Know Where to Go
Great Western Railway helps out in a potentially embarrassing situation.

No 1 son commutes from Didcot to Paddington, often on the the class 800 trains; which he says are "cool"! But he is non-plussed by a little sign in the "facilities".
Perhaps, muses the lad, there have been occasions when "ooo-arrr" folk from the far west, used to more primitive "personal appurtenances" have attempted to use the wrong bowl for its unintended purpose.
As you can see, an easy mistake to make!

Also from No 1 Son:-
No comment.

**Sheffield Publicity : a correspondent reports that a few leaflets for timetable changes from 27th May have begun to appear at the Arundel Gate enquiry office. Now what is today's date?

 Next variegated blog : Monday 18th June