Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Variety is the Spice of Public Transport

A Few Bits and Pieces
Firstly the quiz questions from Sunday 27th December, with apologies for the delay. fbb forgot!
When long distance coach services were deregulated in 1980, the innovative mind of two municipal operators came up with the revolutionary idea of running a through service from Reading to Southend. Helped by numerous rail strikes, the X1 service grew rapidly but, possible, didn't make much of a profit. Observers suggested that the financial drain on Southend's business was significant. Reading backed out and evenutally the frequent services were reborn as a sedate Green Line route. 

Southend Transport bought the Van Hool Astormega in 1985

Four Yorkshire municipal operators took innovative steps to "manage" the problem of railway companies who were operating buses and threatening the civic purses. Todmorden was the smallest Joint Committee operation.

At first glance they might have all been University services, but the First Bus bus should direct the reader along other lines of thought. All these buses are on route U1, with First being an Uxbridge local service.

Having completed his pioneering electric railway from Brighton to Black Rock, Magnus Volk set his sights on extending to Rottingdean. A seafront conventional railway was out of the question at the foot of sea ravaged cliffs, so Magnus opted for a railway on stilts. Storms beat him into submission and failure after a couple of seasons.

United Counties has its origins in the entrepreurial drive of a bus crew who hired a bus and nipped over the Wellingborough to make a bob or two on the side. This nuofficial expansion grew into the Tilling company that was taken over by Stagecoach soon after privatisation.

Xelabus uses all Xs for its route. Xelabus derives its name from a reverse spelling of Alex, a deceased family member.

Of course our Gracie came from Rochdale and the big coach operator based there was Yelloway. The company went into steady decline and the name was bought out in 2008 and the new Yelloway has a fleet of  a dozen or so coaches.

Finding a "Z" for an alphabetical bus quiz is quite a challenge. Fortunately the joint service 8 operated by Stagecoach and Salisbury Reds serves Zouch Estate at Tidworth.

fbb has never ridden the "Active8". You have to wonder why?
And a few more snippets.
Two ticket machines not working and a well filled leaflet rack.
Alan (Northampton correspondent) writes:-

Find out about What's on in Birmingham and Essex. Local buses? Sorry No. Note the non working ticket machines. They were both kaput for several days.

Here is a scene from a local road in greater Sidmouth. It serves local housing and a popular branch of Waitrose. Accordingly Stagecoach 52A and 52B trundle along there on the way to and from Exeter every half an hour.

Note the clear, well appointed bus stop facilities.
The Sidmouth-bound stop is on the left accompanied by a stretch of non-slip road for the pedestrian crossing and provided with a keep left sign to stop people overtaking the bus and mowing down folk on the crossing who are looking the other way. The same applies in the to Waitrose direction.

Silly isn't it. And what do Sidmothian car drivers do as they hurry to purchase their groceries week by week.
They ignore the keep left sign and overtake! What would you do?

Local people are "concerned" and so came up with a stunning expeditious scheme. Ask Stagecoach to stick huge signs on the back of their buses saying "Don't Overtake If You're Going To Or From Sidmouth Waitrose."

What the locals did not seem to understand is that such a cunning plan would require posters for ALL Stagecoach buses that might possibly be allocated to the routes.

Stagecoach refused.

How about removing the pedestrian crossing? It is little used.

fbb forgot to include this delight in his Torquay Trek blogs. Beyond belief!
The 1702 from Newton Abbot to Plymouth was   but leaving on time from Platform 2 - and it did!

And it wasn't! We are so privileged to have such excellent electronic information at our fingertips.

 Next app blog : Wednesday 6th January 


  1. National Rail's information *was* correct, especially if the arrivals function had been used. This would have revealed that train 1V54, the 0808 from Edinburgh to Plymouth had been terminated at Birmingham New Street where it arrived 56 mins late.
    But Cross Country managed to rustle up another train and crew to operate 1Z54, the 1312 Birmingham to Plymouth that left on time in the path of 1V54.
    Presenting the information this way i.e. one train cancelled, second train partly re-instated, is especially useful to anyone hoping to check on the arrival of a visitor at Newton Abbott from Tamworth or north thereof.
    All this gleaned from Real Time Trains, which is usually superior to anything on the National Rail website.

    1. That may well be true, but the average passenger isn't going to think of Real Time Trains.

    2. Indeed, but the average passenger will probably look at the screen, tut at the stupid computer and get on it anyway without being remotely concerned...

  2. W&D/More/Purbeck Breezer Service 40 has the same problem as in Sidmouth at the Poole direction stop outside the National Trust Car Park/Information Office in Corfe Castle. The difference is that this is a very busy crossing!