Wednesday 4 February 2015

A Traipse to Tiverton [3]

Changing at Tiverton Parkway
The Traveline journey planner seemed unwilling to route the traipsing passenger via Tiverton Parkway on a theoretical trip from Seaton.
Even from Exeter, there is no mention of the rail and bus opportunity.
The xx09 departures are service 1A via Cullompton and Parkway, whereas the xx29 and xx59 are "direct" service 55 or 155 journeys. At 40 minutes these are always faster than train plus bus ...
... and Stagecoach doesn't even admit to Parkway on its map.

There are (usually) three trains an hour northbound between the two stations in question.
The one bus an hour calls at Parkway at xx44 ...
... so offering a very risky connection with the xx24 from Exeter and a total journey time of 42 minutes; and that's without the hassle of getting from central Exeter down to St David's station. That adds an inconvenient walk or a 15 minute frequency local bus into the equation. So the 55/155 is always quicker.

Connections between bus and train are equally poor in the other direction ...
... with the bus from Tiverton calling at xx50 with, at best, a  near 20 minute wait for an Exeter train.

Clearly it is impossible to match a clock-face bus timetable to a somewhat erratic rail schedule; but if all parties (First Great Western, Cross Country, Devon County and Stagecoach) want to encourage the link rather than paying lip service, a half hour frequency should be the absolute minimum between Parkway and Tiverton. But that would cost an extra bus!

In the other direction, say from Taunton, the bus/rail option is on a par with the infrequent Buses of Somerset route 22 ...
... as shown in example 5 above. From Taunton Station, the bus loses its equality, but it can take up to 20 minutes (according to Traveline) from The Parade to station entrance.

The interchange facilites at Parkway equal the lavishness of the station ...
... with just a timetable in a frame and out-of-date branding on the flag** to encourage and edify any brave interchanging passenger. It would be interesting to find out how many longer distance passengers, say from London, Birmingham or the far reaches of Cornwall make use of the bus link; fbb suspects very few!

The fbbs went by car!

The multi-storey car park at Tiverton was cheap and next door to the bus station which, had the rail link from the Western main line still existed, would have offered easy interchange.

Because Mrs fbb is not always interested in bus stations (why?), the happy couple explored the town before splitting up; Mrs to the shops and the chubby one to the delights of omnibological observation. Anyway, at first sight the bus station was not throbbing with activity.
Neither was the town! But there were plentiful signs to the museum which seemed a good place to start. The outward signs were good, public transport-wise.
The "Tivvy Bumper" was the nickname for the local "auto train" and the loco was housed in the museum.

Which was closed in January! Boo. But as fbb expressed disappointment, the very nice lady curator offered to let the sad lad into the building. Hooray.
The visit was, perforce, brief; but a delight. There was the Tivvy Bumper loco with an assortment of other local railwayana ...
... and other nostaligic transport stuff. Well worth a visit; but not in January!

The museum doubles as Tourist Infromation and fbb was pleased to see a large rack of leaflets.
As this included all the Devon County books, everything local was available. Well done! What was even more encouraging was a wide selection of railway books.
fbb was sore tempted! And this section of the building is open in January.

The visiting pair from East Devon then agreed to split up with fbb's good lady off to enjoy the retail experience of the town and himself back to the bus station.

But first, coffee!

** Due to the complexities of the road access to Parkway, the fbbs missed the opportunity to "pop in" on their return journey. Access from and to Tiverton (via A361, top left of map below) involves a "double run" to and from the M5 roundabout (bottoom right).
The bus stop flag may have been changed to remove the "brand" for service 1 which no longer appears on the buses.
But it probably hasn't.

 Next bus blog : Thursday 5th February 


  1. Traveline can also throw up some fun alternatives as in this case. Take the 15:00 from Seaton. It is the 20 ( 1 of your 4 a day) which is the rail replacement for Seaton to Colyton, Seaton Junction and Honiton. It continues over the hills to a reversal in Station Road, Hemyock, before passing Culmstock station site on route to Wellington. Traveline says take NX339 non stop to Tiverton via Tiverton Parkway, but for a shorter wait you can take the slower 22 (another 4 a day). This picks up the Hemyock branch again at Uffculme and parallels it to Tiverton Junction and on passing Halberton Halt to Tiverton. A fun route, but the morning connections in Wellington provide a meal break and the other way the last bus to Seaton is at 14:38.

  2. Has fbb had a chance to use the new combined '' site yet? I imagine this is what most of the public are being directed to use now, as opposed to the rather tragic looking regional variations.

  3. Never mind "tragic looking"!
    At least the original sites are still there, as 'tis only there that one can find full timetables!
    Long may they last!!