Wednesday, 28 October 2020

This Is How It Was (3)

How It Is Today

Reading from bottom to top, the following town routes currently serve the Eastern District of the much extended Northampton.

5 (PURPLE) via Billing Road (local road)

1 (GREEN) via Wellingborough Road (former A45)

16 (BLUE) via Birchfield Road (local road)

2 (ORANGE) via Kettering Road (former A43)

X4/X46/X46 (MUD BROWN) run to Wellingborough etc

53 (GREY) is a works service

Note that X4 and 2 do NOT call at the Weston Favell District Shopping Centre ...

... where life in all its exuberant richness can be found - and Tesco! The map above may be of use to those for whom intimate knowledge of the geography of Northampton is not one of their highest priorities.

And a reminder of how bus services are (dis)organised in the UK:-

There was no requirement in the 1985 Act or its consequent regulations for the commercial bus operator to consult before making changes to the timetable and the position of bus stops. The criteria for registration did not include any reference to public demand or to existing services and objections could no longer be made by other operators or local authorities.

Back To How It Was

Alan's ongoing account of things in Northampton then continues:-

Possibly seeking a short cut  to bankruptcy, in November 1994 Brackley based Trinity Bus and Coach ...

... registered a Northampton town centre to  Ecton Brook route, along a corridor already covered by both GRT (later First, earlier Northampton Transport) and Stagecoach.

C481 TAY (ex Midland Fox, similar to below) ...
... is seen arriving and/or departing from the astoundingly popular Greyfriars bus station a k a Mouth of Hell. At least it had room for all the bus services that used it; a feature sadly lacking in most (all?) new bus station design.

The sitting incumbents retaliated by registering -


Round 1 - From Monday 19th December.1994


Northampton Transport  29. Bus Station to Ecton Brook.

United Counties 52 Abington Square – Weston Favell – Standens Barn Bellinge.

It starts from Abington Square to be a few mins in front of Trinity.


Round 2 - From Friday 3rd February.1995


Trinity T1 and T2 are extended from Ecton Brook to Rectory Farm and Blackthorn.

Round 3 - From Tuesday 28th February


United Counties 52 withdrawn and replaced by 50 Bus Station – Weston Favell - BlackthornGoldings.


Round 4 - From Wednesday 17th May


Northampton Transport 72. Weston Favell – Rectory FarmEcton Brook – Weston Favell, 

United Counties  80 and 81 Weston Favell -  BlackthornRectory Farm - Ecton BrookBellinge - Weston Favell 

In general terms, these services were IN ADDITION to those operating before the arrival of Trinity


Tuesday August 15th.1995 Trinity Bus gives up.


What a surprise.


Other "developments" continued, largely continuing the decline of First Bus,


By the year 2000 Wellingborough Road between Abington Square and Weston Favell Centre has no bus services operated by First Northampton.


York Brother of Cogenhoe had a short-lived attempt at competition, but it soon failed.


The competitive service that has survived longer even than First Bus, is Meridians route 31 ...

... which operates via a quicker route than Stagecoach 8 (there is no 12, Northamptonshire's map is, of course, out of date!). This is probably the only bit of competition that actually offers benefit to the passenger as it provides a quicker route than Stagecoach from estate into the bus station and back.
First Bus used to "compete as service 29/30" ...
... which is where the interloper's number 31 came from.

Meridian - now calling themselves Britannia Bus - takes just 10 minutes ...

... whereas Stagecoach 8 takes a jolly 15 minutes but does run via st James for shops and the railway station.
Some observers would aver that Meridian/Britannia is something of an Arthur Daley organisatio; operating an eclectic mix of second-hand or hired single deckers over the years.
Back in the days of vermilion coloured municipal pride, Northampton Corporation Transport route 10 ran the same way as Meridian/Britannia ...
... and the 17 did as Stagecoach 8 does today.
At least the routes to Kings Heath have been stable even if the numbers and operators keep changing to confuse us all.

Snake X57 First Day (Sunday)
A Sheffield correspondent did try out the X57 on Sunday last, leaving th city on the first trip, the 0940. About 15 persons travelled but he did not ride all the way to Manchester, so cannot estimate if there were any through passengers. Certainly, if fbb had still lived in the city he would have taken a round trip, likely to be 1340 (i.e. after Church) and 1525 back.

Here is the ex Sheffield working at Moscar Top, the western boundary of the city ...
... and here is the first departure from Manchester passing the boundary.
The Tier 3 border guards ...
... were kind enough to remain out of shot!

 Next This Is How It Was blog : Thursday 29th October 

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