Tuesday 5 September 2017

Bye Bye Bus to Barnsley

Ta Ta Two Six Five!
fbb is grateful to Sheffield correspondent Roy for this picture of the last 265 bus at Sheffield Transport Interchange (formerly Central Bus Station, formerly Pond Street Bus Station); photographed way past fbb's bedtime at 2255 on Saturday night.
It was not the last bus through to Barnsley which ran an hour earlier.
The route has been remarkably stable in very general terms, historically, having been started (unnumbered) by "Sheffield Tramways and Motors" in November 1925. Glossop's "competitive" service was absorbed in April 1926 and route numbers were added the following July.

In the Fir Vale and Fith Park area, buses ran either via Barnsley Road or via Firth Park shopping centre.
Then there was another choice a little further north with some going via Ecclesfield Village and others via Ecclesfield Common.
Via Barnsley Road and Ecclesfield Village was allocated number 66; via Firth Park and Ecclesfield Common was dubbed 67. In 1927, a third variant was added for buses via Firth Park and Ecclesfield Village which introduced the 65.

Routes were extended to Leeds and Bradford in the early 1930s and, for a while, could use any of the various routes at the Sheffield end, but in 1939 the whole lot was curtailed to Barnsley as a response to fuel shortages during the war.

In March 1949 a standardised pattern recommenced.

65 : Sheffield Barnsley
66 : Sheffield Barnsley Bradford
67 : Sheffield Barnsley Leeds

fbb's 1952 timetable extract shows the different routes.
In 1963 the Sheffield terminus was moved from Exchange Street, where buses stood just below the Brightside and Carbrook Co-op "City Stores" ...
... to the Pond Street (later "Central") bus station, although other services (e.g. Rotherham, below) remained in Exchange Street.
Castle Market, now in the throes of redevelopment, replaced the Co-op. Its companion "Woolworths" building is seen behind the 69 bus above.

In 1971 the Bradford Route was removed ...
... leaving buses to Barnsley and Leeds alone. Changing fashions, a decline in long bus services and privatisation brings us up to date with a bus, now numbered 265 ...
... every 30 minutes, via Barnsley Road and Ecclesfield Common, a mixture never operated in the good old days.
Joint operation came to an end removing "Sheffield" buses from the Barnsley Run.
fbb never rode the 67 to Leeds, but when the British Railways owned "C" fleet and routes of the former Sheffield Joint Omnibus Committee were transferred to National Bus Group companies, your then somewhat slimmer bus watcher did ride all the was from Sheffield to Bradford on an ex Sheffield bus in Yorkshire Woollen livery; this one (?)
3156 WE is now preserved back in Sheffield Livery and very smart it looks.
The route 66 journey took about three hours and involved fbb's only visit to Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike.

The memories of the posterior pain are re-awakened as these words are typed. The return journey was by train!

So these upstart Stagecoach chappies have thrown history to the wind and made significant changes to the Barnsley route from last Sunday 3rd September.

These changes and their publicity (?) will be examined in tomorrow's blog.

 Next Barnsley blog : Wednesday 6th September 


  1. A few points here. The original service to Barnsley from November 1925 was jointly operated with the Barnsley & District Traction Co, which about three years later became the Yorkshire Traction Co. Other joint operators became involved when the services were extended to Leeds and Bradford (West Riding and Yorkshire Woollen District). The 65/66/67 pattern of operation lasted for many years but it was the opening of the M1 motorway and the introduction of the 'White Rose' express services which led to their demise, rather than a decline in longer distance bus services. The change from 65 to 265 was a SYPTE initiative as part of the countywide numbering series in the mid 1970s. The post-deregulation chronology is complicated and I don't claim to recall it in detail. Competition came from SUT and at various times there were 165s and 365s as well as 265s, all maintaining the '65' theme. At some point SYT, which became Mainline, ceded their share to YTC. Later the '65 group' disappeared, swamped by intensive competition over the half of its route south of Chapeltown, and what was essentially a Sheffield city service, the 74, was extended north to Barnsley, replacing whichever version of the 65/165/265/365 was then in operation. This was certainly run by the 'new' Barnsley & District for a time (a YTC low-cost subsidiary) and possibly later by Yorkshire Terrier, and it ran through from Barnsley to Carter Knowle Road in the south of Sheffield. Presumably it was in the rationalisation that followed the Stagecoach buyout of the Traction group that the 265 made its comeback. Another factor was the opening of Meadowhall, providing an alternative 'destination' in Sheffield, and an X10 was introduced (initially by Shearings?), with some commonality of route north of Chapeltown, and other operators took this on after the demise of Shearings' bus services, all contributing to the reducing viability of the 'traditional' route. The other challenge to its viability was the greatly improved train service, which together with increasing congestion also substantially killed off the White Rose services.

  2. Living in Harrogate and with relatives in Sheffield, we used the 65 quite often (with a 36 at the northern end to complete the journey).
    I particularly remember coming back one evening in the late 1960s carrying a "Dansette" record player that my cousin had given me. Can't remember what the bus was, but I do have a photo of a Tracky PD3A on 65 to Leeds in taken in 1974.
    Happy Days

  3. Thanks RLT for you valiant attempt to unravel the competitive excesses on the Barnsley Road. You are a braver man than me!

  4. My attempt is far from complete but it would take some doing to establish the full sequence of events!

    Having had a bit more time to think about it, I suggest the 74 was probably introduced by Sheffield Omnibus, another of the post-deregulation newcomers. They later passed into the hands of the Traction Group, probably explaining how Barnsley & District buses came to be seen in the south of Sheffield on the 74.

    Also worth a mention is that, despite the 265 becoming the 2 from last weekend, one tenuous link to the 65 of old remains; in July Stagecoach introduced a limited stop service from Barnsley to Meadowhall using the M1 - a kind of indirect successor to the X10 - and gave it the number X65, despite its very limited resemblance to the 265. For many years before this Stagecoach had shunned Meadowhall, at least if we ignore trams and Megabus. Over the summer the X65 ran daily but from the end of the school summer holidays it has become a Saturday/Sunday-only operation.

  5. The 74 was indeed Sheffield Omnibus;but I don't think the 265 ever disappeared. It was halved to hourly for a long time though.

  6. I used the 65 66 and 67 often when spending my childhood summer holidays in Sheffield (!). Despite the through service it was necessary to rebook in Barnsley, which always seemed to make it expensive.

  7. Did I give you permission to use my picture of an SYT MCW on the 265 route in Barnsley

  8. Until around 1992 the 265/165 was joint YTC/SYT. The route was subsequently operated by Sheafline.

    The 265 ran alongside the 74 to Carter Knowle Road.
    The 265 may have also been briefly operated by Sheffield Omnibus but soon passed to Barnsley & District who operated it for much of the late 1990's and early 2000's. The sunday service was operated by YTC in the mid 90's with Aston Express taking over sunday working in the late 1990's.

    In the early 2000's, Stagecoach East Midlands took over the Sunday/evening service. At the same time, the daytime 265 ceased for a couple of years and was replaced by yet another variation of the 72. The 72 ran to various termini North of Sheffield including Wombwell. It effectively put Barnsley on the Sheffield cross city network in the same way as the 74 had in the 90's. The 72 was operated by Yorkshire Terrier.

    Barnsley was cut from the 72 route after the Stagecoach takeover and the daytime 265 was reinstated and eventually had a second hourly service added.

    It is a shame too see the 265 go. There aren't many of the 'old' route numbers left in Barnsley now. The 265 is effectively now a Sheffield city route after being given service 2. This could bode well for future service increases. After all, the full route is a high frequency corridor with the exception of the mile and half between Hoyland Common and Chapeltown.