Sunday 3 June 2018

Omnibological Archaeology - Scarborough (2)

Health Warning!
fbb is no expert on Scarborough or its three main bus companies. These posts were deliberately headed "archaeology" because the aim is to dig around for evidence of former transport infrastructure; on-line evidence helps but much of it is anecdotal slipped in to admiring articles about bus types and design.

So let's start looking. And first to Vine Street (streetmap, top)...
... an unassuming street of terraced houses some distance north of the Station. 
This is, at first glance, an unlikely location for a busy bus garage.
But the premises at the end of this cul-de-sac, now occupied by a firm of auctioneers, was once the home of East Yorkshire.
As well as a garage, it did serve as a sort of bus station as is shown by these happy holidaymakers exiting from their arriving bus and setting off, maybe for the trek to the beach.
Was the white-capped EYMS employee there to blow his whistle to warn ambling visitors of the approach of an exiting bus?

The vehicle entrance was at the other end of the building on Trafalgar Street and was equally narrow.
But it is all still there, as witness by an aerial shot via Google Streetview.
It was likely that the difficulties of ingress and egress led to the removal to a better site - of which more in due course.

And so we move to Vernon Road (upper right) ...
... somewhat closer to the station.

Here, the prestigiously named Palm Court Hotel ...
... owns (?) a multi-storey car park.
Unzoom a little and the building may evoke a few bus-user memories ...
... as this was United's bus garage.
It has lost its pitched roof favour of open air parking and gained an extra floor. But the former bottom deck where coaches used to relax between duties ...
... still remains.

A least one on-line article suggests that there was, at one time, a bus garage on Aberdeen Walk, near the Post Office ...
... but fbb could find no further pictorial evidence. There were, in addition, depots for the coach hire and tour companies but these are outside the scope of fbb's archaeological dig.

Next for investigation is Scarborough's bus stations.

But before then ...

Higham's Horrific Happenings
The national media has made much of the present chaos on Northern Rail and Thameslink, both operations of which are beset with cancellations and chaos.

Yesterday, fbb heard from a correspondent, Dave, concerning the appalling situation at Higham in Kent.
It is a pleasant little station that is blessed with a half hourly service seven days a week, run by Thameslink between Rainham and Luton.
The blue line indicates occasional peak services run by South Eastern. So this is the record of cancelled trains last week.

Friday is the left-hand column, Monday on the right.
The numbers after the times are the minutes late at Higham. The orange shading shows each day's cancelled trains.

But yesterday, if you turned up at the station ...
... you were offered a bus to Strood (that's travelling AWAY from London) where, half an hour later, you can catch a South Eastern Javelin to St Pancras ...
... which whizzes happily through Higham whence you have just travelled.

Or, for TODAY, using the much vaunted Journey Planner, you got this ...
... showing a half hourly service which will NOT be running!

Beyond belief.

How long has the expanded Thameslink been in the planning?

Due to technical problems (laptop behaving stupidly) blogs may be shorter than usual because it is taking up to three times longer to fight the keyboards - using two thereof and tapping whichever set of keys decide to produce the right letters.

Technical Support logged in to the fbb confuser last evening and pronounced it OK. But it might not be. Warnings will still apply for the time being.

 Next Scarborough blog (plus) - Monday 4th June 


  1. One of the problems with the Rainham service that it *hasn't* been in the planning for very long.
    Trains to Rainham were added when it was realised that there was insufficient capacity in the Croydon area for the proposed Thameslink service levels. The pair of services is that which was originally planned to operate to Caterham.
    As a result, Thameslink had only recently started to recruit Kent-based drivers, and doesn't have enough. Nor, because it is a new route, do other Thameslink drivers have much operating knowledge of the line(s) to Rainham.
    The upshot has been the appalling service highlighted. In fairness, Thameslink recognised Higham was going to be affected, and the bus has been scheduled since before the timetable started.
    But what is not good is the ad hoc way that Thameslink cancellations are taking place. It would be far better for all concerned to announce that the Rainham route is suspended, so everyone's expectations are managed accordingly, rather than Thameslink's current advice, which is to check the National Rail journey planner no more than 24 hours in advance.
    Of the trains shown calling at Higham, some only ran between Rainham and Dartford. There are numerous instances of trains reaching various points and having no relief driver, or reaching the end of the driver's route knowledge.
    There are lots of reasons for the atrocious introduction, though no one party is wholly to blame - DfT, Network Rail, GTR and even previous franchise holder First have all contributed to the farce. It will no doubt become a text book example of how not to do it, though behind all the timetable replanning, a lot of Southern services are now running at high levels of reliability. The same can no longer be said for the Great Northern route.

  2. The "East Yorkshire" garage carries West Yorkshire's name too, to the right of the doorway. And most of the buses inside are West Yorks ones, distinguishable by their "tin bible" destination displays.

  3. GTR advertised for drivers at Gillingham in summer 2016, so they knew they had to staff the route at least then, almost 2 years ago, because I applied at the time - so, had they taken on enough drivers at that point they would be ready with them now, so I'm afraid the "only recently" argument doesn't wash...

    SouthEastern drivers at most Metro depots sign at Least London Bridge to Gillingham, and some of those from Orpington and Victoria also sign Thameslink's route all the way through the core to Luton and Bedford, so seeing as they are both GoVia companies then some scope for moving or borrowing staff temporarily or more permanently should have also been perfectly possible to arrange, with minimal additional route or traction requirements... (those Orpington drivers at least also signing the class 700's because they ALREADY work thameslink sevenoaks services in a subcontracting/borrowing drivers arrangement that ALREADY EXISTS between the two TOCs)

    FBB's prediction that what journey planner showed yesterday, within 24 hours of his request for train times, would not be running has of course turned out to be quite correct..... but right up until approx 5am this morning the wrong trains were shown. Thereafter his 1/2hourly service to London suddenly disappeared to be replaced by an hourly shuttle, and only as far as Dartford, though if you look on the thameslink website in the "weekend engineering work" section right NOW it still clearly states there will be "trains on Sunday operating between London Blackfriars and Rainham. Trains will also be diverted via an alternative route and not call at all intermediate stations between London Bridge and Dartford. Trains will however, call additionally at Lewisham and Blackheath."

    Those planning an impromptu trip to Lewisham or Blackheath today with their 700 spotters guides, despite the statement above, shouldn't bother - there won't be any....