Sunday 5 August 2012

Do You Know Noedale? [2]

Chumminess in Sheffield, episode 2 : In a competitive strike, First first reduced its fares for the summer season (read again); now Stagecoach has responded with this:-
Bring a friend for FREE! Stagecoach offer the best value in the UK

Just like the UK Passenger Focus Survey found in March 2012; Stagecoach really are the best value operator in the UK. Throughout August you can travel 2-4-1 on any Stagecoach bus in Sheffield when you buy a £3.40 Sheffield Bus dayrider!

Simply hop on the bus with a friend, relative or colleague and ask for a 2-4-1 Sheffield Bus dayrider ticket, priced at £3.40, and away you go! The 2-4-1 dayrider is valid on ALL Stagecoach bus services in Sheffield; just make sure that you travel together.

The impressive (?) "Sheffield Partnership" is due to be launched at the end of October. Partnership?

Another punch, First?
Back to the Dale of Noe, for ...

The Bus Behind the Bushes?
Chum David from Leicester has completed a strenuous walk round a bit of the Peak District and he has decided to catch a train from Edale just one stop to Hope. Standing on the platform he espied a service 200 bus and, sensibly, wondered what it was.

Ir is a Derbyshire sponsored service running on schooldays only. Here is the current timetable according to Traveline ...
... and thus mildly incomprehensible! For the record, note 1 is schooldays only, note 2 Friday schooldays only and note 3 is Monday to Thursday schooldays only. As might well be expected, Derbyshire does a better job.
David's point was that there was no indication of the existence of this bus anywhere at the Station. It stops outside the Penny Pot cafe and out of sight of the platforms but turns in the car park.
Presumably there is a timetable in that frame? But David only saw the vehicle as it passed unannounced and unpostered. Surely there should be a stop and a timetable adjacent to the platforms?

A contributor to the world wide web writes:-

Service 200 was introduced around 10 years ago with Derbyshire funding, it was initially operated by Bowers before passing to Smiths of Marple in May 2010. Its primary aim has always been to carry school children from the numerous settlements in Edale to Hope Valley College and vica-versa. Probably as consequence of its train service, Edale has never enjoyed much in the way of bus services.

The 200 is currently timed to operate several journeys around the start and the end of the school day, serving the college several times in both the morning and afternoon. Some journeys extend to Chapel-en-le-Frith via Mam Nick and Slackhall.

Here, Smith's ex Stagecoach Mercedes 709D/Alexander Sprint N664VSS is seen beneath the imposing Mam Tor while working the 14:40 ex Chapel to Castleton, Hope Valley College, Nether Booth, Nags Head, Barber Booth and, by request, the remote settlement of Upper Booth for which it was screened.
The 200 is now the only bus into Edale as the former Sunday service 260 fell foul of Derbyshire cut-backs in 2011.
Back in the heady days of the early 80s a Sundays and Bank Holidays service ran through from Sheffield.

For those knowledgeable in these matters, it ran via the hamlet of Ringinglow ...
... and across wild and desolate moorland, as here at Fiddlers Elbow, to Hathersage.
Sadly the three round trips ...
... in 1981 (fbb unsure of date?) degenerated into a rather useless morning out and back ...
... in 1985. It vanished soon afterwards and fbb never rode the route due to church and bible class commitments.
Returning to the ill-advertised 200, however, its route "over the top" to Chapel-en-le-Frith is a spectacular scenic ride. Surely more could be made of this service with a little "touristy" marketing?

And for the trivia enthusiasts:
Mam Tor was known as the shivering mountain on account of its unstable geology. This became such a problem that the A625 (red road) was closed completely and without replacement in 1979.
Light traffic (like bus service 200!) can use the narrow and steep Winnats Pass.
It is one of the few occasions (the only occasion?) when an "A" road and a significant cross-country link was not replaced after closing; probably a wise decision, nevertheless ...
... when you see what happened to it!

As chum David said in his email, "Surely droves of walkers and sightseers would pack the bus to the rafters if only they knew about it; and I could have ridden to Hope free of charge instead of paying a rail fare." Well, you have to have sympathy with poor downtrodden pensioners.
A nostalgia P.S. From 1929 to 1966 (approx) buses ran through from Sheffield, Castleton and on via the A625 Mam Tor road to Manchester, latterly in the Summer only. Service 72 was joint with North Western Road Car, which later handed its share (and some vehicles) to Trent. Here a former NWRCC bus, now badged for Trent, sets of from Sheffield to Castleton in the early 70s.

Can anyone supply a pic of an NWRCC service 72 bus showing "Manchester"?

 Next Blog : Monday 6th August 


  1. At the inception of service 200 the service level was on Mondays to Fridays (not just schooldays) and included buses timed to run in the middle of the day for shopping etc trips to Chapel en le Frith and the Hope Valley. It failed to attract any - and I really mean any - patronage other than the school children.
    The 200 did not run at the weekends as the 260 was already running then specifically for tourists and partly sponsored by the Peak District National Park.

  2. Thank you. I wonder how well the service was publicised? Door to door? Local press? Special fares offers? It has taken ages for the industry to simply start using supermaket style salesmanship.

    1. This was in the days of Rural Bus Grant and Derbyshire did do quite a bit of door to door leafleting to promote their rural initiatives. The National Park has good outlets also and, certainly, news stories were generated. As to special fares, I can't remember.
      This was simply a case of a service for which there was no demand, despite the best efforts of Bowers and the funders.

  3. From experience, most operators and authorities do not advertise specific school services on roadside timetables (although they tend to be available by text/internet "next bus" services).

    It can be very difficult to convey what exactly is a schoolday, with many schools having odd days off (and so not requiring the bus to be run) while some even have their own term dates that do not conform with the wider area. It becomes even more complicated on a cross boundary service - is a Derbyshire schoolday the same as a South Yorkshire schoolday?

    Incidentally, how long has Stagecoach been offering bus-only tickets in Sheffield? I'm sure on my last visit everything was available on bus and tram.