Sunday, 19 August 2018

Collection of Bits (2)

Anton? Antonbus?
It appears at Knights Enham, but through the town it is not much more than a trickle.
Still trickling, it even gets a name board on a bridge near an industrial estate.
But it soon broadens out, and by Goodworth Clatford it has become a presentable river, popular with trout fisherman.
It eventually joins the River Test, just upstream of the appropriately named Mayfly pub.
fbb had never heard of the River Anton; Anton du Beke, terpsichorist, yes; Anton Rogers, thespian, yes; but not the river.

The town, of which the map above shows part, in Andover.

And why the "public transport" interest? Not yet more inane ramblings of the elderly mind? 

Not quite. While perusing the interwebnet for "stuff" about Stagecoach's service 7 (see last Friday's posting) this popped up.
A brief (?) entry into the branding game by a pre-privatised Hampshire Bus. Stagecoach did not continue the experiment!
Does anybody know how long the "brand" lasted and whether it ever appeared on buses?

The Newbury Link
In review the complexities of bus operating companies in Newbury, fbb omitted to mention "The Link" which (he thinks, hesitantly) was once service 78. It was, for a while a joint service between Stagecoach ...
... and Newbury Buses, then a thinly disguised Reading Buses.
Under various past disguises, the service have never been more than hourly.
Correspondent Roger was thus surprised, on a recent visit to Newbury, to read this roundel on one of Uncle Brian the Bearded's re-re-branded single deckers.
Impressive, thought he, a doubling of what is essentially a rural link.
But it isn't and it doesn't.
The through route remains hourly Monday to Saturday with no Sunday journeys. On Mondays to Fridays (only!) the service runs half hourly between Basingstoke and Kingsclere, continuing to Newbury every hour.
So it is "up to" up to Kingsclere. Whilst the "up to" roundel is technically correct (albeit over only part of the route) some might accuse Stagecoach Hampshire of some "optimistic" marketing.

fbb is always wary of any label that says "up to" with a frequency; it is often only a half truth in practice.

T M Travel Trim
Bus watchers were surprised when T M Travel upped their hourly service 218 between Sheffield and Bakewell to every 30 minutes. Never in the long history of the route(s) has it ever been even hourly pre T M T! Not only that, but for the Summer season, traditionally the whole period of British Summer Time, it became half-hourly on Sundays as well.

But not any more.

Without a specific announcement (other than a note about timetable adjustments to improve reliability - i.e. a few minutes additional running time) the winter reduction comes in on 2nd September. two months earlier than previously.
Will the 30 minute headway return? And when?

Delightfully Dotty Day
Yesterday was the annual Imberbus knees-up. Imber was, before World War 2, a delightfully remote village in the middle of nowhere on a road from Warminster.
But, like the Monty Python Parrot, it is no more - annexed by the military so that the soldier-boys could fire their big pop guns at it and around it. Today's map of the area is blank.
Occasionally the roads and the village are opened to the public.
Yesterday was one of those days, when an expected 23 London buses operated a frequent route 23A on a licence held by The Bath Bus Company, part of the Paris City Transport company!
23A was, long ago, the route number of the real bus service to the real live village.

You have a London style "Panel Timetable" which you don't get in London any more ...
... and you have a London-style route map which Transport for London won't let you have any more.
And you have a steady parade of London Buses, often driven by senior London bus manager and ex-managers with proper conductors, proper fares and proper tickets.
To cap it all, you have big red London buses whizzing down what are little more than farm tracks, taking their excited passengers to the ghost village (a much rebuilt ghost village) of Imber.
The church, thankfully, remains out-of-bounds to the military.
Now an annual event it can only be described as an enjoyable example on British eccentricity.

Tomorrow we are off on our European travels again.

 Next Bavaria blog : Monday 20th August 


  1. Antonbus was started by Hants and Dorset - Hampshire Bus did not exist until April 1983.


  2. Antonbus was a creation of NBC's Market Analysis Project, in an attempt to create local identities for its bus networks. Wintonline was another example for the Winchester city network.

    There were other spurious brand names used, but thankfully none lasted more than a year or so.

  3. There appears to be confusion abut the Sunday times on 218 from September 2nd. Travel South Yorkshire are indeed suggesting that the winter hourly service will start then but Derbyshire's September 2nd timetable is clearly saying that the winter times start in November. One of the sources has got it wrong!

    1. Derbyshire's service change page for 2 September includes this statement about 218: 'A revised timetable will be introduced.'

  4. The Link - Basingstoke to Newbury

    In 2004 it was service 32/32A. It was run with one bus from each end on an hourly service, not Sundays.

    When Stagecoach took it over completely from Basingstoke, Newbury lost its first departure and last arrival. They added the Basingstoke to Kingsclere short runs at that time to provide the 30 min service in the Basingstoke area.

    1. The Link's origin is with joint Thames Valley/Wilts & Dorset route 122 between Newbury and Basingstoke via Kingsclere introduced on 16th May 1953 when it combined Thames Valley route 104 (Newbury - Kingsclere) with independent S. Huntley's Basingstoke - Kingsclere service which Wilts & Dorset had acquired. Frequency was hourly, including Sundays. The route was worked by a Thames Valley bus outstationed at Kingsclere (previous practice with route 104), supplemented by a Newbury-based bus, and a Wilts & Dorset bus from Basingstoke. As Basingstoke developed the weekday morning peak frequency became 30 minutes.
      The 122 served the USAF base at Greenham Common and at one time had late departures (for the period) from Newbury to the USAF base up until 12.15am. Sometimes Military Police rode on these journeys to ensure order.

  5. The Winter Sunday service on the 218 has been hourly for donkeys years. Absolutely nothing new there.

  6. Agreed, a delightful day at Imber, yesterday.

    Caught the first Firstbus D1 from Salisbury to Codford to try and locate more of the villages WW1 history - The Camp railway that went around the village. Now have a better idea, very little to see today.

    Then a walk via Chitterne and the southern perimeter walk and to Imber.

    Many photographs were taken including a single decker Firstbus in Discovery livery!

    Finally a Salisbury Reds route 2 from Gore Cross to Salisbury.

  7. The brand name 'Antonbus' was used for local bus services operated by Hants and Dorset in the Andover area from Sunday 4 November 1979 to Saturday 27 August 1983 inclusive.

  8. Andover to Newbury from my archives; trunk route or rural route?
    These are snap shots and not dates of changes.

    1968 – Hants and Dorset – They did not operate out of Andover.
    1970 – Wilts and Dorset – 80, 2 hourly daily through to Salisbury with local extras mainly on Thursday and Saturday.
    1988 – HampshireBus – 280/281/284, 2 hourly not Sunday or evenings (Hants County contract)
    1994 – Stagecoach Hampshire bus – 60/61, hourly not Sunday or evenings as a through service to Winchester. Commercial service.
    2000 – Stagecoach – 20, hourly via the villages, commercial and stand alone. (Andover to Winchester reduced to college services with extras, mainly express.)
    2004 – Stagecoach – 20/X20 2 hourly mostly as X20 on the main road, part Hants contract.
    2010 – Stagecoach – 7 as above with 1st round trip withdrawn.
    2018 – Stagecoach – 7 now just 3 hourly, but combined with Burghclere to Newbury local service at the Newbury and villages end as 7A. (Burghclere to Newbury used to have its own local service.)

    The first time I saw the new 7/7A timetable, I was puzzled, but only for a few seconds. Only 7A customers wanting to travel from village to village are affected. Travelling from village to Newbury or Andover the route taken doesn’t matter, but only how long it takes.

    1. Further to Anonymous' interesting chronology, earlier years comprised:

      1930 - Wilts & Dorset route 12 Andover - Newbury introduced. Competitive with independent Lewis Horne who sold to W&D in 1932.

      By 1952 - Andover - Newbury route now numbered 80.

      1955 - Wilts & Dorset's Salisbury - Middle Wallop - Andover route 76 combined its Basingstoke - Andover route 102 and Andover - Newbury route 80 to form routes 76 (Salisbury - Andover - Basingstoke) and 80 (Salisbury - Andover - Newbury). Co-ordinated timetables gave an hourly headway between Salisbury and Andover with through buses continuing to Basingstoke and Newbury every two hours. Extra Andover - Newbury journeys gave an hourly service over that section for much of the day, including Sundays.

      1972 - Wilts & Dorset merged into Hants & Dorset, with which it had shared common management since 1964.

  9. I was a bit amused to see the decaying remains of Andover magistrate court described as an industrial estate!