Friday 22 September 2017

Airport Identity Crisis

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, an airport, so we're told
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, the Finningley of old
Go catch a plane, by bus is good
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood

We've changed the name to Doncaster with Sheffield as a plus
Better than an outlaw loyal to the king.
But what name do you look for when you're travelling by bus
It is just a real confusing thing ...

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, an airport, so we're told
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, the Finningley of old
Go catch a plane, by bus is good
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood

RAF Finningley was famous in the 60s as a base for Britain's massive Vulcan Bombers ...
... and, years later, Air Shows were served by trains from Doncaster, latterly to a temporary platform.
Meanwhile campaigners had long since advocated an airport for the Sheffield area. Before fbb took to himself a wife, the proposed location was Todwick (arrow, centre right).
Nothing happened.

The small Sheffield City Airport opened in 1997 ...
... but failed to live up to its promise and closed in 2008.

Robin Hood Airport had opened at Finningley, now devoid of RAF activity, in 2005.
Because this would accept "full sized" planes it would, it was hoped, develop into a rival for Manchester, East Midlands and Leeds Bradford facilities.

Many observers though the name "Robin Hood" was the wrong choice ...
... bringing possible confusion, via Nottingham, with East Midlands. Common sense eventually prevailed and it is now Sheffield Doncaster Airport with a passing reference to he of the green tights.
In the early days there was a burst of public transport activity with many joining the fray to get passengers and workers to and from what everyone hoped would be another "honeypot" traffic objective.

The early list included Stagecoach's X19 from Barnsley via Doncaster ...
... and Wilfreda Beehive's express from Doncaster ...
First rather half-heartedly extended part of its Finningley service to the terminal but with weak branding.
Nottinghamshire tendered for hourly services from Worksop (X30) and Retford (X28), the latter disappearing fairly quickly.
Buses were given a trendy dedicated livery ...
... and versions were available as 1:76 models, presumably because of the special paint job.
Decline began with the Lynx X28 and X30, followed by the tendered (?) 707 just leaving the X18 and the local 91. In May 2016 the 91 disappeared and journeys to the airport became part of the existing Finningley service 57 as 57A.

Then came the announcement that Stagecoach were pulling out of the X19 and reverting to running between Barnsley and Doncaster only. Usually First pulls out and Stagecoach drops in, but this time a replacement X4 was provided by First.
The 57A was withdrawn as part of this change. A recent change has seen some X4 journeys diverted to the iPort Short workings to the iPort only are numbered i4 ...
... not to be confused with Nottingham's i4.
No. neither did fbb.
iPort is an abbreviated version of "Inland Port".

The X4 from Doncaster thus became the ONLY bus service to the Airport running every 30 minutes.

Then, from 3rd September, Stagecoach started their service 737 from Sheffield ...
... complete with two pieces of printed publicity. One, with core information in Polish, looks trendy and quality; whilst the other makes the service appear a half-hearted after thought.
Notice that the posh, attractive leaflet (with fares) offers buses to Sheffield Doncaster Airport whilst the boring small leaflet is for people going to Robin Hood Airport. First Bus, always in the front line of up-to-date stop naming (ha ha!) runs to Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
But, in the same document, Travel South Yorkshire, show this in the index.
It looks as if some people at Stagecoach Yorkshire and South Yorkshire PTE are not quite with it! Yet their map is spot on.
A identity crisis indeed.

Remember those trains, running to a temporary platform. It is proposed to spend £150 million on a dedicated station and branch line from Doncaster, presumably using most of the old trackbed.
Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: "Doncaster Sheffield Airport is one of few regional airport sites in the UK which offers unconstrained physical and airspace capacity with the existing runway able to accommodate a throughput of 25 million passengers per annum, providing an international gateway serving the east side of the country."

"An airport station could mean London is less than 80 minutes train travel away, and in many places quicker than travelling across to Heathrow or Gatwick on already congested routes."
A study is under way. Thanks Steve!

 Next fragmentary blog : Saturday 23rd Septmber 


  1. Hopefully if a station is built at Finningley to serve the airport the level of service will increase from the current level of just five trains a day that pass the end of the runway on the Lincoln - Doncaster route,

  2. All the pictures of small Sheffield City Airport and Robin Hood Airport are nice and I hope there would be great airport parking service for passengers.
    cheap airport parking

  3. Airport identity is essential and I think there would be appropriate arrangements for travellers to make them convenient.
    cheap airport parking