Sunday, 22 April 2018

Sunday Snippets (1)

Tram Train Is Coming - Eventually!
OK, it's many years late, but this weekend marks a bit of a milestone. The junction at Tinsley, which will take the trams off towards Rotherham Central ...
... is bring connected electrically. At the same time track is being relaid where the tramway crosses Shirland Lane in Attercliffe.
To allow the work to happen, the whole line between Cricket Inn Road and Meadowhall is closed for FOUR DAYS with trams replaced by buses. The replacement service (Y1 for "Yellow") will run every 5/6 minutes Friday, Saturday and Monday daytimes, every 12 minutes on Sunday and every 20 minutes all evenings.

Timetable extract below (click to enlarge the graphic):-
The route is interesting. Between the city centre and Staniforth Road it will follow the traditional but long-since withdrawn  Sheffield Transport Department route 46, later 96 via Woodbourn Road.
Thereafter the bus will run along the main Attercliffe Road and Attercliffe Common to Tinsley and Meadowhall.
Effectively there is no road access to the tram route until the Tinsley stop.

So when will the Tram-Train actually start carrying passengers? Supertram management is using the latest technology to plan for this momentous event.

Jurassic Coaster Goes Green?
fbb was intrigued and impressed when he encountered this First Bus bus at Axminster Station a few days ago.
Whilst the driver was checking whether he had an engine available, fbb was able to examine the new design. Swirly yellow and green ...
... it had appropriate lettering plus a "coast" graphic added.
But, hold fast Mr Mate! There is something familiar here, surely.
They are "hand-me-downs" from First Berkshire and were operated on the Green Line 702 to London which First has handed over to Reading Buses.

Unsurprisingly Reading have just announced changes and improvements.

Green Line 702 - Windsor to London only

From the above date, Green Line 702 will no longer run most of its journeys from Bracknell - instead it will run between Windsor (LEGOLAND Windsor Resort®) and London Victoria. There will still be the three early morning and evening ‘peak time’ commuter journeys which will continue to start in Reading and run through Bracknell. There will also be a 9.30am trip from Bracknell which is perfect for concessionary pass holders from other local authorities - Bracknell Forest concessionary pass holders can, of course, travel at any time!

New route 703 for Bracknell, North Ascot and Heathrow

The good news for the people of Bracknell is that they will now have the brand new Green Line 703 to replace the 702. 

This new route will run hourly to LEGOLAND Windsor Resort®, Windsor, Slough and Langley. It will also provide a new fast and direct link to Heathrow Terminal 5 (where you can take advantage of free onward bus/rail connections to other terminals).

North Ascot and Winkfield will, however, be served every two hours by this new service due to low usage. Alternate journeys will operate fast along the main road.

Thought: Is it really good news that Bracknell and North Ascot DON'T have a Green Line link to central London?

fbb struggled at Euston
Sometimes age creeps up  imperceptibly on your septuagenarian blogger; sometimes it happens suddenly. Whilst waiting at Euston for his 1346 train to Nuneaton (The Grand Tour, passim) he decided to indulge in an over-priced (but tasty!) burger, chips and cuppa. It was, apparently, a "Prime" burger?
As fbb handed over an OUCH £10.55, the burgerista offered him a small frisbee. "When it flashes," she advised, "come back to the counter and your meal will be ready." Pondering the definition of the word "meal", fbb settled in the waiting area. But, almost instantly the frisbee burst into flashing and threatening illumination.
The "meal" was delivered in the obligatory paper bag and fbb tottered out to the seating area above the concourse.
fbb finished the burger'n'chips ...
... (although they were called "fries") but was called to his train before he could overcome the hotness of the tea.

Memo - if you carry a cardboard cup of tea (with lid but with hole in lid) loose inside a paper bag, down an escalator, across the concourse, down the slope, through the barriers and on to a class 350 train and then sit down heavily ...
... there is less than half a cup left! A VERY expensive cuppa, a very soggy carrying bag and a min-flood on the table top.

Oh for the good old days!

First As Franchisee
Last week we saw that First Bus was "franchising" the operation of Bristol MetroBus to C T Plus. At about the same time as this was announced, First was obtaining another railway operation.
First Great Western will be the operator of Heathrow Express (HEx), the high fare non stop rip-off train from the Airport to Paddington (leaving Johnny Foreigner wondering why he has paid so much and still hasn't quite made it to central London!).

Heathrow Airport will still market the service and fill their piggy banks with the fares but First will do the driving, maintaining etc. of the service and will be responsible, in due course, for managing the introduction of new trains.

Legally, HEx (the operating thereof) becomes part of the Great Western franchise.

Will HEx lose its appeal once Crossrail (a k a The Elizabeth Line) takes airport passengers right to and though the centre of the Capital?

More Sunday Snippets tomorrow!

 Next blog collective - Monday 23rd April 


  1. One does wonder how many passengers actually travelled from Bracknell and Ascot to London on the 702; with a train service every 30 minutes at a minimum, probably not very many at all!

    Observations were that FirstBus duty schedules struggled to make 702 bus workings into sensible duties; one "London and back" was the maximum possible, with duties made up with local services, often disrupted by late running in London.

    Reading's latest 702, being only LegoLand and Victoria, probably makes better duties. Localising the Bracknell end as 703; no doubt carefully timetabled with 702 trips to provide the more-frequent service between Windsor and LegoLand makes sense. Possibly not ideal for a small number of passengers, but if the service is seldom actually operated as timetabled, then such actions are logical.

    I daresay Reading have some other ideas to try out after the Summer traffics have died down . . . . . space-watching required!!

  2. I think it makes sense. As Greenline727 says, how many people go to central London from Bracknell when there's four trains an hour in the peaks (set to be this frequency all day, every day from December).

    Bracknell is well within the Heathrow catchment area yet lacks a direct bus service, having been progressively cut back then withdrawn by First over a number of years. Leaving central London to rail, while providing a direct link to Heathrow is overall a good move, I feel.