Sunday 2 July 2017

What's The Matter With Matford? (1)

It Was, And Is, In Exeter.
Marsh Barton is at the top and Matford is at the bottom; but it looks different now.
The original Matford is still there, just, at the lower right ...
... but Matford and Marsh Barton are thr names of a great swathe of industrial estates to the west of the river Exe and due south of Exeter centre. Why should fbb be interested in Matford?

Yesterday was the annual Exeter Model Railway Exhibition but you had to be clever to find it. A little on-line twurgling led to the Exe Model Railway Society web site.
A further click ...
... allowed fbb to find out (not much) more.
And that's all there was. No map, no travel details and certainly no guide as to how to get there by bus. First, look at Matford Road.
It is a quiet former Victorian suburban road at Wonston, not far from the main Exeter Hospital and having no welcome mat for a model railway show. It has no connection with either the ancient Matford or the new.

Try "The Matford Centre" on-line.
This picture did NOT accompany the web site.

The Matford Centre is one of the South West's largest exhibition and entertainment venues. A unique complex designed as a regional exhibition centre yet also ideally suitable for entertainment events for up to 1800 people, corporate functions, product launches or conferences, these versatile facilities lend themselves to almost any kind of event.

Find us on Google Maps at - Matford Park Road, Exeter, Devon, EX2 8FD

A better address than the Exe Model Railway Society offers?

And there it is; on the aerial view provided by Google Earth.
Looks huge, doesn't it? That's because it is actually Exeter's Livestock Market.
When animals are not being auctioned ...
... part of the building gets a good scrub down with Jeyes Fluid ...
... and can be used as an exhibition centre.

But, yet again, no details of how to get there by public transport. fbb could have used Traveline but thanks to his encyclopaedic knowledge of the buses of Exeter (no chance!) he did know that the new Stagecoach depot is at Matford next door to the Park and Ride.
He also know that Park and Rides in Exeter do no have route numbers, they have colours. But what colour was Matford. It certainly used to be green ...
... and when fbb had cause to look before, it ran every 10 minutes.
Abd back then, the Traveline map suggested that the bus went via Matford Park Road, so we are nearly there!
So before setting our from Seaton, fbb sought to find out about the Park and Ride that he might use to get to the exhibition. It is operated by Stagecoach, so maybe start looking there.
Here we go again.

Tune in tomorrow for yet another battle with technology!

Public transport is just SO easy to follow!?!

 next Matford matters blog : Monday 3rd July 


  1. There were adverts for the exhibition on almost every Stagecoach Exeter bus I went on yesterday. Didn't read much detail tho after seeing the ridiculously high entry fee.

  2. Andrew Kleissner2 July 2017 at 08:32

    Obviously I can't speak for the railway modellers of Exeter! But they - like so many - seem to have made the assumption that the normative method of transport for people will be by car.

    For some years now the model and transport fraternity of Ipswich (which I have lately left) have organised a rather good Model & Transport event linking the Model Railway Club, Transport Museum, Model Engineers' site and model shops, with transport provided by vintage buses. This has been very successful, but you've just missed it:

  3. People who don't know about cars will frequently spell Volkswagen with an 'o'. Mind you, a place that proclaims itself as the place for the People's Wagon might actually be quite a good venue for a model railway exhibition.

  4. I really hope, but expect to be disappointed, that this won't be another example of FBB deliberately using a website in a perversely illogical way, so as to 'prove' the website doesn't work. For the record I planned my journey to the exhibition by bus very easily (without any encyclopaedic knowledge of Exeter's buses). I simply stuck the postcode given for the venue into Stagecoach's website and it helpfully told me where the nearest bus stop was and what service to take to get there. Worked very well for me, but then I didn't try to use my 'encyclopaedic knowledge' not to get there...

  5. We were promised that a new station would be built between Exeter St. Thomas and Starcross to serve Marsh Barton opening earlier this year, but it has been delayed.

    The question is when?

  6. I simply searched in Google for "exeter park and ride timetable matson" and found the current timetable in a few seconds. Anybody who knew nothing about the service would do that, or similar. FBB's approach relies on a little knowledge - i.e. that the service is operated by Stagecoach - and gives us a good example of that old adage: a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In this case, it wastes your time.

    The important point here is that a search engine for a large website with thousands of pages is a very complex piece of software, and it needs to be configured correctly - which is also not easy. As a result, the specialist internet search engines, such as Google, often deliver more useful results than an internal search facility in a website. I suspect that FBB knows that already, but I suppose looking at the operator's website is not entirely illogical. It just doesn't seem to work!

  7. I've just entered my home post code (which is at the north eastern edge of Traveline SW's area) and "Matford Centre" (not even adding Exeter) clicked "Submit" and, ignoring the overnight journey options as I didn't add a time to search, was given Stagecoach West to my local station, GWR to Bristol TM, Cross Country to Exeter St D then bus H to the city centre and Green to Matford = 3hr 23m and found in a few seconds. Where's the problem in that?