Sunday 8 January 2012

A 60-Year-Old Bludner [3]

Bring Back t'Cars,
Never Should've Got Rid of 'Em

A conclusion to:-
A 60-Year-Old Bludner [1] (read again)
A 60-Year-Old Bludner [2] (read again)

For a real Sheffielder, a tram was always a "car" (= tramcar). So much so that fbb's landlady once informed a student fbb that, from his bedroom window, "y' can see t'cars on 'Utcliffe Wood." Which, being interpreted is, "It is possible to perceive passing tracked passenger vehicles as they traverse nearby Hutcliffe Wood Road."
The irony of this little piece of local colour was that trams never ran on Hutcliffe Wood Road; the landlady was referring to motor buses. To her, a lifelong Sheffielder, travel had always been, and always would be, by "car". The 1952 timetable book uses the descriptor officially as in this index page.
So the post-war withdrawal of trams between Malin Bridge, City and Fulwood via Hunters Bar (last ran 5th January 1952) was a deeply disturbing event, made even more traumatic by the provision of inadequate and unpopular replacement bus routes.
So roll on sixty glorious years and we examine services on the main corridors today. Contrast and compare. Firstly, to the north of the City Centre, pre 6th January 1952 ...
... and January 6th 2011:-
Trams are back ...
... running every ten minutes on each leg which is about half the 1952 frequency; but they divert via a less direct route and are often slower into City than the buses.
The bus service to Stannington Village [11 & 11A] is almost identical with the "old" service 7 at every 15 minutes but it is joined by another 15 minutes worth of service 12.
The difference is that there is very little traffic nowadays on Infirmary Road itself; the routes serve substantial housing development in the Stannington area that simply did not exist in 1952.
To add to the proliferation of passenger service vehicles, and in another act of aggressive competition, Stageocach runs every 10 minutes from Malin Bridge tram terminus to Stannington, branded as Supertram Link 2.
The Wisewood [14] is now at a modest 20 minute frequency, interestingly, exactly the same as the pre January 1952 14 but with an extension to newer housing at Loxley**. But the "other way round" service 13 had gone completely. So another service reduced by 50%.
In the southwest of the City it would appear, cartographically, that the service remains much the same after 60 years. Before January 1952, trams ran every 4 minutes to Ecclesall and there was a "car" every 10 minutes to the posher Fulwood.

Head-to-head competition between First's 82 and Stagecoach's 83 & 88 ...
... has provided a bus every two-and-a-half minutes along the Ecclesall Road. The 83/88 route is extended to Bents Green which is now much more frequent than the service 28 of 1952. But, as opined by fbb's chum and former Ecclesall resident,  the 82, 83 and 88 are usually nearly empty during the day and only "pleasantly full" at peak times.

It is likely that some of the "excess" will be trimmed as the Sheffield-wide "Optio" chumminess develops in 2012. See "Summoned to the Headmaster's Study" (read again).

It is the Fulwood "leg" that has seen the most change. A tram every 10 minutes has, by 2012, been replaced by a service 6 bus every hour.
But please do not fret for the frequency failures for our financially flusher friends from Fulwood. They do have a bus every 8 minutes (every 10 on Saturdays, every 15 on Sundays) via Broomhill on the "quality" Optio Orange route 120.

So we still have plenty of public transport 60 years after "the beginning of the end". The number of passengers has dropped significantly in that time and fares have increased well above the rate of inflation. A 3d fare in 1952 (i.e. on a tram from City to Ecclesall) would equate to a fare pf 31p today; but in Sheffield you would pay between £1.10 and £1.40 depending on which service you were using. [figures corrected at 1250 today, Sunday, as a result of comment below]

And the fares situation will undoubtedly get worse in 2012. That makes fbb's old fogey pass a potentially better deal ...

** Loxley, as in Robin of Loxley aka Robin Hood. There is some grain of sense in the unproven tradition, as Sherwood "forest" and the lands in the Sheffield area were once all joined in one big swathe of open country. A "forest" was a hunting area, not necessarily wooded; hence the "New Forest" which largely lacks trees.

  Next Blog : due Monday January 9th  


  1. FBB you must check your sources as regards fares. Sheffield city centre to Ecclesall with First is now priced at £1.40 since 2nd January, whilst Stagecoach want a mere £1.10 for the journey to Bents Green. Intending passengers are now making definite choices and going for Stagecoach rather than First when heding up Ecclesall Road.

  2. Thank you. On several occasions I have emailed both these operators and, as you might expect from the new technology, I have either had no reply or been kept waiting over a week.

    There is no on-line source whuch allows you to obtain this information.

    Sadly, I have no sources the check easily. I have added a P.S. to the blog!

  3. Strange, isn't it, The mighty Stagecoach and First can't give this information but little Norfolk Green (actually the now rather larger Norfolk Green) manage to have a feature on their web site entitled "Quick bus fare lookup" which does exactly what it says on the tin. Time for a fbb blog on the subject of fares information, I think.

  4. Thanks SEV777 : I have praised Norfolk Green's fares info. before. Can't remember in which blog, though. Of course, some cynical people might think that fares are not published in case you are put off travelling in the first place. At least under the present system you are usually on the bus before you realise how much it's going to cost.
    How about asking a driver, "Is that your very very best price?" They do that a lot on Antiques programmes.

  5. "How about asking a driver, "Is that your very very best price?" They do that a lot on Antiques programmes."

    You might get a better deal, but an antique ticket as well!

  6. If you are single, childless, and enjoy an odd drink or, you are definitely better off taking the public transportation.

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