Sunday 10 June 2018

Sunday Soundbites

That Map and an Alternative 
fbb is not completely familiar with public transport in Cardiff, but comment writer Andrew is. He sent fbb the Cardiff Buses network map as an example of how it can be done. AAdesign style pioneered originally by Stagecoach, it offers a "simplified geographical" view of the network. The whole caboodle is too massive to fit into the confines of a blog but you will get the idea.

Here is a simple bit ...
... the Pantmawr circulars (21/23) and the Llandaff North circulars (24/25). Parts of the network are more complex and parts are frighteningly so ...
... as here at Cardiff Bay. It has changed quite a bit in recent years!
Less frequent routes are either shown in "hollow" lines or cross-referenced elsewhere.
Obviously competitive services (NAT Travel) are not shown! But the map appears far less cluttered then Sheffield 's detailed version ...
... and Andrew assures fbb that the Cardiff map is correct; something of a novelty for Sheffield if you are foolish enough to use the fatally flawed "underground-style" joke map.

Andrew also tells fbb that excellent leaflets are available at the city centre sales point.

A Good Start to MetroBus
First Bristol's in-house newsletter reports enthusiastically on the first two weeks of free operation. fbb will be travelling to Bristol on Tuesday 12th, specifically to observe the ticket system as referred to above. He will also sample the M3 route and the new T1 to Thornbury.

It cannot be Monday because of his leadership of a church Bible study in the afternoon; likewise this has prevented your author from accepting an invitation to attend ... 

The Salt Road Launch.
Yer what?
Why the Salt Road?

It’s believed the salt deposits at Droitwich were being exploited in the Iron Age, possibly earlier. Salt was a valuable resource in Roman times and the Romans came to Droitwich specifically for this.

Later, the Anglo-Saxons had furnaces to evaporate the salt on the banks of the River Salwarpe. King John granted the town a Royal Charter in 1215 because of its salt, and Droitwich became very prosperous in Medieval times.

The salt industry was industrialised and developed in the 19th century by John Corbett, who built nearby Chateau Impney ...
... in the French ch√Ęteau style for his wife and developed the town into a spa resort.

Naturally, the road leading to Birmingham in one direction and to the river at Worcester in the other became known as the Salt Road.
They’re producing salt again in Droitwich Spa, at Churchfields Saltworks at Churchfields Farm within the Salwarpe Valley on the edge of the town.
fbb has requested photos etc and will report fully when they arrive.

Railway Redoubling
Peterville Quarry Heritage Railway is currently undergoing refurbishment and repair after a grim winter. But, whilst fettling up, fbb is taking the opportunity of making a few changes. The "main line" that enters he tunnel is becoming double track.
This involves installing a crossover; two points joined together.
Railwaymen refer to the distance between the two rails as the "four foot" (actually 4'8½") and between two tracks as the "six foot" (distance varies). But if you join two points together (poor cobbled together picture) ...
... the tracks are too far apart! The "six foot" is nearer twelve. So fbb has to trim chunks off the pointwork (thus invalidating the guarantee). The bits to remove are those two sleepers at an angle on each curved rail. Very scary.

But it worked. The "six foot" is still a tad too wide but acceptable.
Note that the sleepers are now all parallel which is how they should be. The trimmed ends are shown for evidence.

Next problem is the J72 which keeps doing THIS:-
Doesn't look right, does it?

fbb remembers something similar happening to a fill-sized heritage steam loco near Durham a few years ago. Can fbb's loco be repaired?

Top Quality Timetable
Like the excellent Cardiff map (above) there are still a few superb timetable books available. First Kernow's plopped through fbb's letter box a few days ago.
180 pages of timetabular magnificence.

A detailed review is due later this week.

 Next parliamentary bus blog : Monday 11th June 


  1. I will be interested to read of your experience on the M3. I happened to be in Bristol and travelled on it during the first week. Operations bore no reference to the published timetable but I didn't have time to see if this was because they were operating with fewer vehicles or the timetable doesn't work. Traffic generally was flowing so there should have been no congestion problem. There were many people with children, suggesting that the services were busy with people who were just having a free ride for something to do. How many will be fare paying passengers remains to be seen.

    It will be interesting to see how payments will work. Whilst the city centre stops had ticket machines I could only see one stop northbound (at Willy Wicket) and one southbound (at Lyde Green) plus the combined north/south stop at UWE fitted, with no sign of any work to install machines elsewhere. The terminus at Emersons Green does not have a stop flag although it does have a timetable, tucked away at the side of the road rather than in the shelter.

    Driver changes were undertaken at the southbound Broadmead stop. As FBB has already commented, the two Broadmead stops are a little remote from the Broadmead shopping centre and their location would appear to be more for operational convenience.

    During my visit students were employed at certain stops, equipped with Metro branded red hoodies and rucksacks, to tell people about the new service. Where they will be important once fares are charged is to explain to potential passengers how payment works and what the options are.

  2. Bristol Metrobus ticket purchase and fares are explained on this link. Concessionary bus passes apply as normal.

    1. Anonymous - think carefully about your reply in the context of a casual passenger or visitor. Is it really explained to them? How much preparation is required for someone to take a single journey?

    2. Valid questions certainly. Now transfer the location from Bristol to London and the answers are?

    3. What Metrobus should also be offering (in addition to their existing range) payment by contactless credit or debit card. Many occasional Oyster users have switched because the facility means that they don't need to load up a card with money, it can come straight from their bank account or onto their credit card bill. It doesn't work for everybody but will certainly allow many more to travel than the current offer.

  3. It looks like your J72 is a Mainline original from the 1970's with the split chassis and nylon axles. They suffer from plastic rot and you will probably find the axle has split from the wheel. It's terminal im afraid, I'd look for a decent Bachmann replacement.

  4. Andrew Kleissner10 June 2018 at 17:46

    A confession: when looking at the Cardiffbus website this week, I discovered a mistake - a Sunday service which has been withdrawn was shown as still running. The "journey planner" gave the correct times but the pdf timetable was out-of-date.

    I emailed the customer service section and got a courteous reply within the hour. The mistake was corrected within two days. Pretty good, I think!