Monday, 23 April 2018

Sunday Snippets (2) On Monday

Baffled in Basel - Again!
A recent arrival over the ether from No 3 Son was this puzzle picture.
"Where is the stop?" he asks. Well, it's a tram, photographed from a rattan chair ...
... which suggests cafe or bar. The stop information is a bit fuzzy when enlarged ...
... but the stop name is short. Experience suggested that the two yellow bars on the "flag" might refer to buses but the electronic screens are illegible. One other clue, however, is the hills in the background. This suggests that we are near the edge of the city, possibly at a terminus.

Where next?

At this stage fbb had a serendipitous breakthrough. He typed "Valiant tram basel" into a certain search engine and up came pictures of a similar, maybe the same, bit of rolling stock ...
... and it is running on Line 11 of the BLT network. No 3 son probably thought the colours would confuse his old man - but they did exactly the opposite. It is unusual for Basel trams to stray from their "home line" so the picture is at a short-named terminus on Line 11 - seemples. It has to be ...
... Aesch Dorf and it does have two bus routes as well, 68 and 65.
Google Streetview clinches it! There is the stop plus all the other paraphernalia of a Basel terminal loop.
A red and yellow BLT tram is at the alighting stop ...
... and the identical hills are there, in the distance.

Opposite is a cafe or bar with ....
... brown rattan chairs.

Cracked it, kiddo. Try again soon. And he did - with something near impossible. But that is for later IF fbb can identify it.

Discover "Discover" Developments?
It used to be that Stagecoach had the lead in marketing, branding and route developments; with First excelling itself ...
... in a few areas but mainly promoting post-Barbie uniformity; perhaps with the occasional non-sticky sticky label ...
... or cheaply adapted cast-offs from other parts of the First empire!
But, in some areas, good things are happening. Three inter-urban routes from Bath are being relaunched with a brand new brand ...
.... and, presumably, trendy un-First-like new or refurbished buses.
One of them has already been paraded in the City.
fbb will examine the changes in detail in due course; but it all looks jolly good.

Leeds Leads in Lovely Liveries
Another dramatic livery change has been announced by First for its operations in Leeds.
Gone for good is Barbie mark 2 (Good!) and also banished, hopefully for ever, is First's unattractive blocky font ...
... and did anyone ever realise that the darker slodges on the letters were silhouettes of memorable buildings (?) from the Leeds skyline.

34 new ultra-low emission “Euro VI” vehicles can be seen along Headingley bus routes (1 and 6 services).
All new vehicles incorporate enhanced passenger facilities including next stop audio announcements, USB charging points and free Wi-Fi – as well as a new “LeedsCity” external branding.

The colours have just a hint of the final livery from Municipal days but the red ...
... picks up the pre-First "privatised" Yorkshire Rider logo.

Spookily From Seaview
But there is a connection with fbb's former home in Seaview Isle of Wight. The colours (but not their application) are almost identical with those that adorn Seaview Services coach and bus fleet.
fbb well remembers travelling, as a spotty teenger, on the decker and the VAL from Ryde to Westbrook, a youth holiday centre that your blogger eventually managed for nearly a decade.
Today's coaches have a more swirly style as per the current fashion ...
... but the three colours remain endearingly and enduringly consistent.

But this year (2018) the company is celebrating 100 years of business. A new book explains its origins.

To mark the occasion of 100 years, a book has been written on Seaview Services by Terry Jones. Terry, who bus and coach enthusiasts may know from his previous works on Claverham Garage, Shotters and Moss Motor Tours, was on hand to present a signed copy of the publication.

The book covers the full history of the operation, which was started in 1922 by Richard Newell, who commenced a bus service on the island.
1922? 2018? It appears that although the first BUS hit the roads in 1922, the company that became Seaview Services was running taxis (probably) from 1918.


Tomorrow we examine one bus stop in Leicester.

 Next strange stop blog : Tuesday 24th April 


  1. BLT network? What's not to like?

  2. Discover - used for First's Westbury depot - is building on the experience of the Mendip Explorer brand which was initially used on new vehicles on 376, and then was adopted for the whole Wells operation. Did it work? Yes! So well in fact that double deckers are being drafted in to replace saloons.

    Meanwhile, back with Discover, the vehicles are from the Bristol Airport A1 route, where again demand is at such a level that new double deckers have been provided, via a very thorough refurbishment in Northumberland. A good second use quality vehicles which would have led a relatively easy life thus far.

    But despite so much good work going on our dear blogger just can't resist taking a pot-shot at the Jurasic Green Line Coaster and trotting out the Sheffield photo again.

  3. Interesting comment you make about the Mendip Explorer brand working. It was worked so well that the new depot sign at Wells is of the First "block style" with suitable lettering as on the Leeds bus in this article. Yes, there are double deck vehicles being drafted in (subject to tree lopping) but the 175 has been withdrawn and the 126 insists on having at least one vehicle without the advertised wi-fi (advertised across the network) although the vehicle looks pretty in green and yellow.

  4. To TE3011. No apologies for reminding readers that First is still slack in many areas. Sheffield is pathetic in the extreme with no meaningful publicity for anything. The ex-Green Line Jurassic Coaster buses are nice motors but give out a scrappy message, especially after the recent slash and burn of the original Jurassic Coaster concept.
    Short-termism is simple not good for passengers.
    Remember TE3011 that blog readers come and go and some repeats (like the BBC and ITV ditto) are appreciated!

  5. Sorry FBB but if not apologising, you should be embarrassed. To bring up the Sheffield example is churlish in the extreme. You clearly have an axe to grind with anyone who has upset you - whether that be the various anti-TSY and First utterances. Your grand tour may as well have not visited South Yorkshire as irrespective of anything, it would have been a malign and ill-spirited review.

    This is also true of the ex Green Line Coasters. Now no average Joe would know that the livery is ex Green Line and they've not just been turfed out on the road promoting Windsor and Legoland. They've spent time changing the livery and vinyls so that they are relevant whilst each vehicle goes through the paintshop with a revised Coaster livery now displayed on the first example. Of course, you might ask why all the examples aren't done in one fell swoop but we all know the realities of that.

    As for anon 11:53, you are also being slightly disingenuous. The sign outside Wells depot has "Welcome to Wells bus depot" in pink on a grey background (though not in the block font that you mention),and below it has in the blue and gold - Home of the Mendip Explorer - had you forgotten that?

    Also, anon, it is true that the 175 has gone as it just showed that there wasn't sufficient trade to have a half hourly single deck bus from Shepton to Wells, but they tried and for two and a half years with no shortage of publicity. However, it is also true that the growth of the corridor from Wells and Norton Radstock into Bath now needs additional capacity - the two things can be and are separate.

    Perhaps FBB could have a try on the Mendip and Excel networks and then understand what is actually happening. The Discover network is a very positive move, and if it gets anywhere near to the positive impact of Mendip Explorer, I shall be more than happy.

    A little note to TE3011 - the ex Airport buses have been intensively used rather than a relatively easy life. However, they're Wright Eclipses which are very robust vehicles and with the refurbishment they've received, they will be more than welcome on the Discovers!

  6. Sorry Anon 15.08, I perhaps didn't phrase it too well, when I said that the Airport buses had had a relatively easy life - sure they've done the hours and the miles, but without the constant wear and tear of many short riders, the abuse of doing the school run, the late night pub run etc.
    They are indeed robust vehicles, and I'm sure the team at Westbury will welcome them and not be sorry to see their current fleet move elsewhere.

  7. Oh pleasant memory. Ryde by Puckpool to Seaview. Never did like the mix of red and green in the livery though, not two colours that sit comfortably together for my taste. As a young’un I recall youthful surprise that the 53-seater VAL carried one more passenger than the decker it replaced!

  8. I am anon 11.53. The point of branding is that it should be prominent. Prior to Mendip Explorer first had a rah gaggle of vehicles and were using 18 year old Marshall Darts on the 376 - their prime route - when one of the regular vehicles was out of use. Hardly good and nothing for the reputation. ME changed that. The new sign should have first as secondary branding. The influx of Deckers appear to be dual door which is odd - or am I seeing the same one quite regularly? It would also be good to have Wi-Fi that works. It does o the X1 and X2 running from Weston.

  9. Interestingly Discover comes with doubled frequency on two of the routes to what they were before they ran routes in wilts into the ground, so you have to give them points for trying to fix their mistakes. Hopefully they try long enough for success.

  10. I'm hoping that there is space to add "Corsham" and "Chippenham" to the list of place names on the Discover livery. Faresaver do well with the X31, but for First to have let 231/232 slip to the point they withdrew was a disgrace.

  11. The Leeds livery looks great. It's a pity the interior hasn't changed from the uninspiring standard design. First Kernow, for example, use a very pleasant red and black moquette with white e-leather headrests and silver handrails.