Saturday 30 September 2017

Meeting A Duchess ...

... And Other Matters
Stagecoach Strikes North
The Yorkshire Company starts a brand new service from 28th October. X10 will run from Barnsley to Leeds, hourly, seven days a week.
For those of our readers unfamiliar with the geography of South Yorkshire's Pie and Pea Dinner capital, a map may be useful. Sadly the PTE cannot manage one despite having some very expensive software to do it "sustainably".

fbb cobbled something together yesterday morning on his fifteen year old steam-driven vector graphics drawing program. It took 10 minutes. (click on the map for a larger view)
The route serves all stops between Barnsley Interchange and the M1 junction at Haigh. In Leeds it calls at Crown Point Road or Black Bull Street ...
.... before crossing the River Aire and terminating at the bus station.

Offering a possible worry for Mr Fearnley and Mr Arriva, this brings Stagecoach buses (ex Yorkshire Traction) into Leeds after a very long gap.

According to a "usually reliable source" ex National Express coaches will be used - so a quality product?

How about linking the X10 with the recently introduced X65 from Barnsley to Meadowhall, extending it into Sheffield and calling it the "White Rose Express"?
Surprised that nobody has thought of that before!

Stagecoach Strikes West
The RMT Union has just announced a series of one-day stoppages (strike in-action) for The Exeter company. These are scheduled for Friday 13th, Tuesday 17th and Monday 30th October, although negotiations may well continue!

Whilst you may have sympathy with "the lads" (and lasses), withdrawing bus services is off-pitting to passengers who may well make other arrangements and stay with their new-found alternatives. Fewer passengers, fewer drivers and thus fewer jobs?

Stagecoach Spends Money
The Exeter staff newsletter reveals a new fleet.
The Duchess At Spalding
One of those unsolicited twit things set fbb's mind working (a rare event these days!). It was a video of preserved steam locomotive 46233 Duchess of Sutherland hauling "The Cathedrals Express" through Spalding/
O.K., it;s a slightly fuzzy screenshot, but it does convey something of the majesty of Stanier's powerful beasts. This preserved loco has appeared in various liveries; LMS black ...
... LMS maroon ...
... and BR green.
It was in BR green that fbb remembers them thundering through Roade cutting as he gazed on in admiration from a popular spotting point at is northern end.
None of the youff in the picture is the spotty fbb. But you could slither down the embankment and rest your Ian Allan spotters book on the top of the retaining wall just under the road bridge.
All blocked and barred now, quite rightly; not a good place for today's spotters with 25,000 volt overhead wires all over the place. But way back then, as the Duchess and her chums roared past, the earth moved!

The Duchess was also significant in the world of model railways. Hornby Dublo produced their own aristocratic lady; fbb remembers the Duchess of Montrose.
This loco was the Rolls Royce of model railways, and as you would expect, a remote pipe dream for fbb.
Many lucky kiddies might find a whole set in a large Santa sack.
Stirring around in the bowels of the interwebnet, fbb came across an advert with prices.
Notice that the locomotives have the phrase "Automatic Reversing" in their description.

What is this about?

Pre- and post- WW2 the competition was with Trix Twin. Their stuff was crude and lacking in detail but the Trix system had one bonus. You could run two trains on one track - hence "Twin".

But the locos ran on 14 volts AC. Clever technologists amongst our readers will work out that "reversing" AC current is not possible, simply.
Trix controllers had a reversing lever which sent a boost of juice to zap a relay which twanged a gear wheel which reversed the direction of travel.

It did not always work.

Hence Hornby's helpful hint to potential buyers.

Gorillas In The Mist?
Another one of those Twit extracts caused fbb a wry smile. Here is what he saw on-line.
The video clip is titled "Bluebell on the Severn Valley Railway".
But not that sort of bluebell. This bluebell ...
... snapped on a visit to the Battlefield Line (Leicestershire) a few years ago.

The steam did clear eventually!

More variety tomorrow.

 Next bus bits blog : Sunday 1st October 


  1. Stagecoach already reach Leeds on the X62 from Hull, three journeys on weekdays, four on Saturdays and two on sundays.

  2. Again your map tells you nothing useful.

  3. To respond to Jim yesterday "On road competition is now very rare and in much of the country large swathes of the network are in the hands of one or perhaps two operators. Provided these do their job properly, which they have a commercial incentive to do, why should cash-strapped local authorities seek to duplicate or even replace their efforts?"

    Many operators most certainly do their own roadside publicity. To pick out some that FBB will know.... Stagecoach Northamptonshire, Buses of Somerset, First Kernow

    However, let's look at Gwynedd. The timetable cases are controlled by Gwynedd and so commercial operators are not allowed to use them. Also, many of the services are not operated by Arriva but a raft of other operators as many are contracted to Gwynedd Council!

    As well as Arriva in Bangor (who do run the major services) there are Llew Jones running out into the less populous bits of the Ogwen Valley, Gwynfor on the already mentioned 72/73, Express out to Llanberis. Go away from Bangor and the wealth of smaller independents becomes ever more diverse and virtually all services away from the main Bangor corridors are tendered. Of course, you can specify that timetables are printed and put up at stops as part of the tender specification but that will only be reflected in the tender price anyway. Arguably, by having all and sundry trying to do it, it would have a lack of consistency and cost more through a lack of any economy of scale.

  4. In Scotland some brilliant marketeer decided to brand the roads around the coast as the 'North Coast 500'. This has attracted many thousands of visitors ... which is good as it is such a beautiful area ... but publicity for those wishing to see the area and who do not wish to drive are ill served by public transport.
    Perhaps I am being too polite as they are NOT served at all by public transport.
    This is year 3 of the NC 500 and no body, HITRANS, the Highland Council, VisitScotland or Transpot Scotland have shown a smidgin of initiative in offering an alternative to the self-driven vehicle.
    Meanwhile the roadsides are crumbling and the golden goose for the local authorities is in imminent danger of quacking for the last time. I suggest you use a search engine to find out the major problems there are in this part of the Highlands of Scotland.
    Try and find a public transport map or accurate details of any remaining transport routes in the Highlands; stagecoach provide a pretty good system with timetables and maps to match but, as for the rest ...