Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Notable or Nutty News-bites (3)

An "Unusual" Andover Timetable
Nothing odd here, surely? But in the other direction ...
Please do not spill the beans just yet as a fuller review will appear in a later blog.

And A Similar Question from Sheffield
Under ideal circumstances, "repeat patterns" should have a matching start and finish column of times. Some sloppy presenters of publicity do allow the odd minute difference here and there but this one, as they say, takes one of these:-
The challenge from fbb is a simple one. Taking a piece of paper, attempt to write out the missing times.
And, when you have done that, there is a bonus. Try this one, from the same timetable.
Stagecoach Yorkshire and South Yorkshire PTE have invented an extra "newspeak" definition. "about every 10 minutes" now appears to mean "an arbitrary and completely incomprehensible frequency".

Not just one biscuit but ...
Do these people know what drivel they are serving up to their disillusioned and rapidly departing customers? Do they care?

How to encourage bus usage NOT.

More Links For Lynx
When fbb rode the new T1 between Bristol and Thornbury a few weeks back he was disappointed in the less than spectacular vehicle branding and the rather ordinary First Bristol leaflet.
But he should not have doubted. There was more to come.
Clicking on this panel reveals that the branding is to be extended to the Yate and Chipping Sodbury areas from 2nd September. More on the full scheme later, but in the "package" is a shiny new leaflet for the T1 and T2 ...
... and a picture of a bus.
Now that's more like it! The T1/T2 leaflet contains some minor improvements to the fast T1 which uses some of the Metrobus infrastructure.

And, at last, we have a clearer map of the gyrations of the T1 and T2 in Thornbury.
But, more importantly the services to Yate become Y1 to Y6 and are jiggled and improved.
James Freeman (Managing Director) said: “We have always wanted to refresh and strengthen the services to and from Yate and make the services quicker and more reliable.  The South Glos Lynx services represent an investment in the overall journey experience for our customers in this part of our network. One of the biggest improvements is that for the first time in years customers from Chipping Sodbury and Yate will have access to services that travel further into the city centre of Bristol and customers will not be required to alight at Bristol Bus Station.  We hope customers will also appreciate that we brought the services together under a uniform network identity and also introduced some newer, low-emission vehicles that improve air quality along the route”.

Following the example of the T1 and T2, the new Y1 will use the M32 and run to Colston Street in "The Centre".
The Y1 will operate "traditionally" via Fishponds, as per the present 47.
fbb guesses that the timetables will not have incomprehensible repeat patterns, so extra passengers might actually be able to work out where and when the buses go. Ace!

That would be a novelty in some other areas.

How Much?
We know that railway modelling is no longer a boys hobby; it is for rich retired folk and fbb can only manage the "retired" bit! Northampton correspondent Alan is creating a narrow gauge layout for which he has bough the Bachamnn (in America) "Skarloey". ("Thomas" fans will understand.)
His second loco is also from Bachmann ...
... in the livery of the Ashover Light Railway.
Alan points out that a member of his "miniature" train crew is sadly stuck in a large pool of Blu-Tak. And How Much?
Various web sites offer some small reductions. 

But how about one of these?
It is by a firm called Fourdees Ltd. It is a magnificent model with loads of detailed, done a grave injustice by a small picture. It, like Alan's engines, is to OO scale (4mm to the foot) and runs on track with a gauge of 9mm.

And the price?
Yerrk! Alan won't be buying one!

Attack Of The Killer Snail!
After a huge snowfall earlier in the year and the crushing effect of a a snoozing cat enjoying the summer sun, there has been some progress on the re-fettling of fbb's little outdoor railway. 

Peterville Church Square is being resurfaced, but the residents need to lock all their doors after this foul and threatening creature arrived seeking something (or somebody) to eat.
fbb reckons that it is a scale eight feet long.

Remember the carriage shed roof which blew off the layoutl and onto the paving slabs? The 2018 smash happened not long after fbb had replaced all those fiddly glazing bars from the last meteorological "event" in 2017.

At last, thanks to the dextrous digits of No 2 grandson, glazing bars have been replaced, gutters and downpipes have been added and the windows have had a repaint.
The loco yard viewing platform has been re-glued and given a health and safety fence. Visitors to the yard will be able to view locos and coaches at close range. The cat has been warned of dire and possibly terminal consequences if it hankers after a snooze and crushes it again.
Calamity! The bungalow's front wall has fallen down the cliff.

Tomorrow we return to The University of Northampton for that surprise building.

 Next Shed-work blog : Wednesday 15th August 


  1. Ah, FBB, your mind is too tidy. The first important message is the figure - 10 - which conveys that if you turn up at the bus stop you shouldn't have to wait too long. They qualify this by prefixing the figure with "about" so you know the interval is only approximate. Given that many members of the public struggle to read bus timetables at all it is probably better to give a general indication than giving precise timings

    There might be a number of reasons why the frequency is not a regular repeating pattern. It could be that each journey is individually timed, or that buses run off other routes, or. most likely, it is a device to portray a basic frequency but be able to save one or more buses out of the schedule.


    1. Yep, Daddysgadgets has hit it on the nail.
      I've used the same approach to avoid off-putting walls of journeys with slight running time differences. A message of "about every 10 minutes" is far, far clearer for most people.
      Anyone who needs to be more precise will almost certainly have internet access, and can check exact times there - journey planners will use these, and at the stop, the excellent www.nextbuses.mobi will produce detailed and often live information.
      Oh, and bear in mind that timing points are perhaps less than a quarter of all stops, so many people will never get precise information from a conventional printed timetable anyway.

    2. My local route has a 20 minute frequency but one journey is timed slightly slower over one section as it picks up a full load of school children.
      So, the "every 20 minute" block ends, two journeys are shown (Sch and SHol versions) before the 20 minute resumes. Except, the number of "standard" journeys left before the peak is 1 less than the number of columns needed to repeat the "then at", so every journey is shown.
      OK its more accurate shown like that, but the school journey variance is within the passengers' window of tolerance and over complicates the presentation.

  2. That Sheffield 88 timetable is even worse that you suggest. Suppose you want to leave city centre at 0940 and travel to Bents Green. The time table shows a bus at that time leaving Snig Hill. But it only shows as arriving at Banner Cross at 1001. Even if you work out that you need to look at buses in the opposite direction to find the Bents Green arrival (actually the same bus continuing its outbound route), all we have is - about every 10 minutes between 0744 and 1113!

  3. I think you mean that the Y2 runs in via Fishponds, not the Y1.

  4. "about every 10 minutes" now appears to mean "an arbitrary and completely incomprehensible frequency".

    Or, perhaps, just perhaps, it could mean that buses run about every ten minutes. Rather than being incomprehensible, maybe it just "does what it says on the tin". To my mind far more helpful and reassuring to the potential passenger than row after row of individual times for buses that in tge end, when allal said and done run... about every 10 minutes.

    1. Doesn't fit fat lad's agenda though.

  5. Unfortunately the anti-fbb comments about "every ten minutes" are wrong in every way. Many gaps are longer than every ten over parts of the route as the effect of peak running time comes and goes. And who says "every ten" is frequent? If I am making a connection, why should I be forced to leave unnecessarily early just because the timetable compiler chooses to deliberately obfuscate the truth.

    And why are there no "repeat patterns" on Saturday and Sunday when the pattern does repeat acceptable?

    Every ten minutes might be acceptable when it is almost every ten minutes but is most definitely is NOT "reassuring" (see Ben above) when it isn't.

    1. Anti-FBB? Are we only able to comment now if we support FBB? I know FBB himself has suggested that, but he keeps posting, so those of us with experience and knowledge choose to reply. Not that I see any of the above comments as "anti" just presenting an alternative view.

      But to your comment:
      That's fine, it if we're only looking at a paper exercise. What about the real world? What does traffic, or indeed the lack of it, do to the nice even headway?

      Oh, and experience here shows that every 20 minutes is frequent enough for people just to arrive at the bus stop whenever they are ready, knowing that the next one isn't too far away.

    2. Not to mention this is how services are registered with the traffic commissioner. Who expects services on busy routes to turn up precisely on time during rush hour traffic.

      The more FBB and his mates froth at the mouth over the issue just shows how out of touch they are. Either that or its simply persuing a vendetta.

    3. As a mere passenger I can assure Anonymous 10.23 and Ben that 20 minutes - or even "about 10" - definitely not an acceptable time to be stood waiting at a bus stop - especially if you've no idea when the bus is actually due. I can walk into town in 20 minutes easily so I'm not going to hang about at a stop for even half that time in the hope a bus will come along. On the other hand if I know it's due at a definite time I'll make an effort to get to the stop but I'll understand if it's a couple of minutes late.

    4. Andrew Kleissner14 August 2018 at 11:52

      Three thoughts here.

      1. As others have said, buses can be affected by traffic and other factors outside their control - not to mention the driver's diligence (or otherwise) in running to time. Unless one is at the very start of a route, it's unrealistic to expect a bus to turn up at the precise moment advertised.

      2. However frequency does play its part here. "About every 10 minutes" is, I think OK; whereas "about every 20 minutes" or longer requires a better indication of timing. Herbert Walker of the Southern Railway said that the longest you could expect someone to turn up and wait was 20 minutes, so he scheduled his trains accordingly. I suspect people are less patient today.

      3. Good real time "next bus" indicators are a real boon: if you know it will be quicker to walk, then you can set off confidently without constantly glancing over your shoulder to see if a bus is bearing down upon you!

    5. Jim, as a regular bus passenger I never bothered to check the times of the bus past the end of my road (even when it was every 15-mins) as by the time I have dug out the timetable to check the times I will have either just missed one I could have caught or one would be due. Of course the shorter your journey the more a wait will be unwanted but also the less likely people are to bother using the bus if they can walk faster than the full journey time (I live 20-mins walk from work, I don't use the bus that runs from the end of my road to the entrance of the estate my office is in as the 'wait' (frequency & reasonable time at stop before scheduled arrival) would be higher than me walking.

      There is also the legal definition that every 10-mins or better is defined as 'frequent' where specific journey times do not need to be specified and the DVSA inspectors will be checking that buses arrive at frequent intervals, effectively averaging 1 bus or more passing a spot every 10-mins (a bit of flex is allowed so a 12-min gap may not raise an issue if other gaps are smaller). Since passengers are advised to be at the bus stops around 5-mins before a bus is due and buses can be up to 5-mins after scheduled time without being considered late then you can see how 10-min is reasonable to not specify time as the personal inaccuracies of life would eat up 10-mins of scheduled time.

    6. "dwarfer1979". I see what you are getting at but I do think that you are looking at it from the bus operator's point of view rather than the passengers'. (Which I think is FBB's point. It's not just the DVSA inspectors who monitor performance (and just how many of them are there anyway?) but also we passengers, albeit less formally. I can accept that buses can be delayed by any number of reasons and can run early as well but I would prefer to have an advertised target time such as 10.10 and 10.20 to aim at rather than a vague promise that a bus will turn up sometime between those times.

  6. Nottinghams Tram Leaflet is the same. Departures from the Phoenix Park Terminus on the leaflet Mon-Fri read 0604 every 15 mins til 0703 every 7 mins til 1010 every 10 mins til 1502 etc.
    Actual departures are 0604, 0619, 0636, 0649, 0703, 0718 every 7/8 minutes til 1010, 1020, 1032, 1041, 1052 then every 10 minutes. So yes you would be annoyed arriving at the stop at 0705 to find the next tram at 0718 - hardly 7 minutes away! There seems no obvious reason for some of the quirky timings.

  7. Without doubt the price of model trains has risen in recent years. But so has the level of detail of said models. Hornby tried a less detailed range "Railroad" but seemed rather unsure which direction to take it in.

    The big driver in cost though has been the rise in wages paid to the Chinese workers who assemble the models. Whether we like it or not, surely they are due a decent wage?

    I assume it is unlikely that FBB has ordered a 14-car OO gauge APT-E, currently on offer at a little over £1,000.

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  9. thanks for shearing your experience. i have also face same issues related to time tables. i like it. thanks again.
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