Monday 26 November 2018

Who Would TRY To Run Buses (1)?

You have to feel sorry for the Council ...

They need to resurface roads but cars, lorries and buses need to use the roads and so get in the way of the high-tech resurfacing equipment.
And the Council needs to get a cheap quote!

You have to feel sorry for the Contractor ...

They want the business; they need to make a profit ...
... but the council is looking for a cheap quote.

You have to feel sorry for the Bus Company ...

They want to run buses to keep their customers happy ...
... but getting a bus through, over or round the resurfacing operation can be difficult.

You SHOULD feel sorry for the bus passenger ...
But you don't - their needs can be ignored.

As we shall see.

We set off to Beauchief (say "Bee Chief") on the A621 main road southwest from Sheffield to Bakewell.
It used to be a tram terminus ...
... whence frequent trams set off for Millhouses and the city centre.
For about ¾ mile they had a lovely piece of reserved track with no stops.
On the left was Ecclesall Woods and soon, on the right, was Millhouses Park. Very pleasant.

Continuing south-west bound, bus 45 served Abbeydale, Totley Brook and Totley, terminating at the Cross Scythes pub.
Of course, as you would expect, things are somewhat different now. The trams died on 8th October 1960 and the reserved track made a nice piece of dual carriageway.
In the other direction there has been housing development up the hill from Totley Brook, called, unhelpfully "Totley Brook" ...
... but no matter as the brook is actually called Oldhay Brook. Buses have been evicted from the Cross Scythes car park ...
... and must continue, empty and unloved nearly one mile past the pub to an expensively created turning circle ...
... at Gillfield Wood.

The present 97 and 98 bus routes (each every 20 minutes) are shown in this simplified fbb diagram.
Also note T M Travel's service 218 to Bakewell, shown in light grey.

Now here goes! Sheffield City Council (or whoever actually decides such things) wants to resurface the A621 between Millhouses and Dore & Totley Station.
To reduce the chaos, it is decided that the work will be done overnight. Good decision?

Here's what the PTE "disruptions" notice said.
Great news! On Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd and Monday 26th from 1900 until 0700 the next day ...
... all of this won't see a First Bus bus, 97 or 98.

Hard cheese; you'll have to walk! But where to? That is the problem.

First Bus is a bit more helpful - sort of - as it explains what is on offer as an alternative.
Again, in diagram form, fbb shows what the 97/98 service is doing.
Specific closure times are not revealed, but something like TEN journeys in the evening and ...
... six the following morning will, effectively, be cancelled beyond Millhouses.
But, hold fast, you may cry. Surely they will call at Beauchief - that's better than nothing?


More first class customer service (NOT) tomorrow.

Cartograffeg Cymreig anghywir
Several folk have spotted this - incompletely revealed in all its glory in the current edition of Modern Railways.

This is an extract from the network map supplied by the new franchise holder branded at Transport For Wales.
Cardiff is in the wrong place.
If it was in the right place then Cardiff Bay line is wrong
Canalog (Central) should be Canolog
Tidfil should be Tydfil
The line shown as terminating at Ebbw Vale Parkway
     now serves Ebbw Vale Town, one stop further on.
The line to Barry Island has vanished

Apart from that it is correct.
Not surprisingly the map itself has vanished from their web site while the management try to work out where their trains actually go. Very tricky.

Beyond belief!

fbb is quite good at maps!

 Next diversion blog : Tuesday 27th November 


  1. I think their main problem at the moment is actually having some trains to run! About 1/3rd of the fleet are off the road, many it seems due to wheel flats caused by skidding on wet leaves. Has Network Rail cut back on railhead treatment this year, or has it been an unusually "green" autumn?

    1. If I remember rightly the Welsh franchise had the same problem last year as well so this isn't a recent or specific thing to this year. I think (largely inferred from a caption in this months Modern Railways) that a major part of the problem is that the main heavy maintenance base (with a wheel lathe to fix flats) is in Cardiff for much of the fleet which doesn't really help those members of the classes in question based in North Wales.

  2. Congratulations! The welsh have found a worse operator than Arriva!! That must have taken some doing! I imagine there’s a chorus of “come back Arriva, all is forgiven” now... who would have thought THAT when everyone was promised how wonderful the new order was going to be!!

    1. Here's the thing . . . . . TfW Railways is still the same staff, trains and workshops as Arriva. If Arriva were still in charge, then the same problems would have occurred.

      In 6 months . . . . if TfW Rail is still rubbish, then by all means crow, but after 6 weeks simply isn't enough time.

  3. One does wonder (and I have no proof of this, you understand) whether maintenance was cut back in the last months of the old franchise? Certainly, though, flood conditions ( and a long, golden (=leafy) Autumn have had their toll.