Wednesday, 12 April 2017

That's The Way To Do It! (3)

Leaving the Best Till Last
When bus and train guru Barry Doe used to publish his guide to bus timetables in the UK, he would always award a non-existent prize to the best. His guide is now on line but he still extols the virtue of good printed bus timetables and you can read his pages (here).

One of his current favourites was the third goody to be pulled out of Julian Peddle's (JP) jiffybag recently received in the fbb mail room.
Midland Classic was founded in 2005 by James Boddice with a pair of London Central AEC Routemasters operating charter services.
It later diversified into operating "normal" bus services. In April 2016, Midland Classic entered talks with Arriva Midlands to purchase the latter's Burton upon Trent garage. The deal took effect on 27 August 2016 with 30 buses and 80 staff transferring.

The highlight for fbb are the maps. There is an excellent full colour version for Burton over a three fold open out, with only room in this blog for a chunk.
There is a two page in similar style for the Swadlincote area, both historically and geographically a complex knitting together of separated former mining communities. The centre of Burton is also well presented with a clear list of which bus leaves from where below.
Less satisfactory is the map of the company's longer distance routes. The print is far too small for comfort ...
... and separate maps for each group of services would be better, but, as always, considerations of space and cost need to be made.

"Season" fares and special offers appear throughout the book but individual single journey examples are not quoted. 
One very neat deal is the "2 trip" offer. It works as a return but can be used for two journeys in the same direction and not necessarily on the same day. Two persona travelling together can also avail themselves of a discount but by far the best bargain is for a group of five (a family that can all be adult).
Most services are largely urban in nature with rural routes off into the wilds; here to Coton in the Elms ...
... with its distinctive Church and pleasant pubs.
Lower Midway, on the other hand, is an infill of former Council property now extensive modernised.
We are reminded in this Burton on Trent booklet that Midland Classic also runs buses in Lichfield ...
... on the form of two circulars, recently simplified from a clutch of four routes.
A separate leaflet is available for these.
Two final snippets. Looking at Staffordshires bus web site, fbb notes that the two network maps are similar to those in the Midland Classic book. JP informs fbb that there were provided by Midland Classic because the County was no longer updating their own products.

But eagle eyed fbb spotted a difference.
This version shows Trent's V1, 2, 3 and 4 (the latter being off this map extract, the joint X38 and, elsewhere on this superb piece of cartography, the Arriva 29/29A to Coalville and Leicester. JP also reports that this full map will appear in future editions of the Midland Classic book.

Excellent in every way.

Would it be too picky of fbb to proffer a slight criticism?
Five Winshills? Winshill Church is the "centre" of the community and a more helpful convention is to refer to other stops as, for example, Bretby Lane Winshill; thus highlighting the central stop.

Back to the obsession!

Absolutely NOTHING like this is available in Sheffield. Leaflets of adequate but obviously cheapo design are produced for most changes of timetable. But the print run is so small that a casual visitor will often find nothing at either of the city enquiry points.

Excuse : it's all on-line.

Well done Midland Classic for doing a proper job.
Eight days, for the purposes of this blog!


The Gospel writers use the days between Palm Sunday and Good Friday to assemble a collection of some of Jesus' more controversial teaching. Matthew has a grim view of the future, grim indeed.

Then you will be arrested and handed over to be punished and be put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. Many will give up their faith at that time; they will betray one another and hate one another. Then many false prophets will appear and fool many people. Such will be the spread of evil that many people's love will grow cold. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved.
In 70 AD Jerusalem was attacked, largely destroyed as was the Temple itself. There was horrific persecution and loss of life, all at the hands of the Romans, simply to crush a series of relatively minor revolts. The activities of President Assad are nothing new!

But does this passage have a longer term application? The next few words might make us stop and think.

And this Good News about the Kingdom will be preached through all the world for a witness to all people; and then the end will come.

Whether the words of Matthew's Gospel were for the first century or the twenty-first (perhaps a mixture of both?), Jesus' teaching brings a seriousness to the season of Easter. It's a bit more challenging than chocolate eggs and fluffy bunnies.
 Next bus blog : Thirsday 13th April 


  1. FBB seems a little piqued with reference to his "obsession". Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to have good quality information and that is true ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I think we all agree with that. I think we all agree that TSY's move has been retrograde.

    However, it is fair to say that FBB seems to be overly focussed on Sheffield. We've not reached Easter yet and already we've had 15 blogs with a full or major focus on Sheffield - that's one a week!

    I think we know your views on TSY now. I've been a visitor to PTE for years, since the days of the excellent Omnibuses Blog. The recent focus on JP's productions is exactly the sort of thing that attracted me to this blog, as well as the niche foreign deviations and the model rail musings.

    Continual, and what seem personalised attacks, on the same targets do not make for interesting reading IMO.

    1. It's fbb's personal blog, so why wouldn't he talk about the areas that he knows? I'm more interested in the South West stuff and don't really know Sheffield but that's the thing with blogs, not all posts will interest all readers.

      Presumably one of the issues with Sheffield is simply that fact that the PTE exists. It's not a bus operator so why would it have an incentive to promote bus services over and above doing the basics? Isn't that down to the operators? If Midland Classic take the time and trouble to put in the effort and investment to promote their services in the way that they do, then those extra journeys generated will go straight to their bottom line once their additional marketing costs are covered. TSY wouldn't see that benefit if they did the same, so of course they're not going to bother. First and Stagecoach on the other hand.....

    2. Don't get me wrong; there's a raft of stuff in this blog that appeals to different people. I'm not one for model railways but I appreciate others do.

      That is not the issue. It would seem to be an over-focus on Sheffield/TSY; in fact, it seems less like considered criticism and more of not missing any opportunity to continually stick the boot in. I take the point (as I think we all do) that the partnership has some inherent issues that should have been predicted or rectified subsequently; that has been dealt with ad-nauseum.

      As regards ANY operator and their marketing costs, it is the age old problem. The cost is very simple to ascertain; the benefit from it or not is less defined.

  2. Anon 1249
    .... since the days of the excellent Omnibuses Blog
    Yes indeed, so very much missed, where did it go?

  3. Midland Classic seem to do everything right. Their website is as good as their printed timetables and, unusually for a small operator, has a live bus tracker as well.
    While single fares are not given, the all-routes Day+ ticket is only £4.90, which is excellent value in itself and hints of reasonable fares. The Day+ ticket is now also valid on D&G, Select Bus Services and Central Buses, making it even better.