Thursday, 23 May 2019

First Forges Forward in Edinburgh (4)

The Conflict Continues
In response to Lothian Buses onslaught on its West Lothian business, First Bus has made a few advances outside of the recent announcement to do battle with Edinburgh City Tours.

Currently there is a silly fares offer within the "Edinburgh" area (First's Zone M) for a limited period.
The "full" price is £18!
There have been changes to the Airport service 600.
This has gone from hourly to half hourly and is extended to Whitburn ...
... to support First's service 21 and respond to Lothian's half hourly Livingston to Whitburn 275.
The other significant Monday to Saturday change brings us neatly to services westwards from Edinburgh via the A71.

First Bus via A71
The 23 diverts via Kirknewton whilst the X23 (X for "we haven't got a spare number in the 20s"?) runs via A71/B7015.

Beyond Livingston the 23 runs to Deans and the X23 to Broxburn via Uphall Station (see below).
As is often true with new towns, the urban routes are very convoluted but, hopefully, Livingstonians can cope even if fbb's enthusiasm for deep and meaningful understanding begins to fade somewhat!

Currently (until Saturday!) the X23 runs hourly.
But from Monday an extra X23 will run between Edinburgh and Livingston ...
... giving a bus every 15 minutes along this corridor.

Lothian via A71
There is a similar pattern of routes (X27 and X28) ...
... which re-join at East Calder to continue in loving togetherness to Bathgate. But Lothian is (currently?) running only hourly on each leg.
First's increased frequency may well suggest that they are determined to win the battle of the A71.

Livingston Town Services
Once upon a time, bus companies ran their long distance routes along the main roads and linked in to local services running to the town's wiggles and estates. Such a luxury has long gone and, mostly, you will find the longer distance routes diverting off the "spine" roads and continuing beyond the centre to provide some or all of the former town routes

We have already seen this in many of the competitive services reviewed in these blog posts.

Frankly, fbb will probably not maintain his concentration for long enough to understand the local Livingston ramifications. But comparison of the two town maps extracts will show that Lothian covers pretty much everything run by First.

Here is Lothian ...
... and here is First.
The most notable difference is that First's 23 and 24 run exclusively via Eliburn Road ...
... and a stopless Appleton Parkway ...
... before looping the loop at Deans. On this section, Lothian are not matching First.

This area is a large housing estate ...
... but not well off for shopping facilities; the nearest supermarket, for example, being at Carmondean, near Livingston North station.
There are local shops just of the loop on a not very main Main Street ...
... where you can enjoy a co-op, a hair stylists and FOUR take-aways (two Chinese, one chippy and one Pizza/Burger joint!) This superfluity of fast food may have changed since Streetview drove past.
And finally, for the time being at least, in the Livingston conurbation ...
... there is a station at the settlement called Uphall Station ...
.... BUT there is no station to serve the community of Ratho Station ...
... a little nearer to Edinburgh.
There was one - but it closed in 1951.
The village of Ratho is something less than a mile to the south.

See also Micheldever station at Micheldever Station (NOT at Micheldever), Hart Station with no station and Seaton Junction, a junction-less community.

But (as ever) we digress. fbb will be watching First's Edinburgh developments closely and looking our for signs of a reconciliation in due course.

In the meantime blood engine oil may well be spilt!

Yesterday Mrs fbb travelled on some nice shiny trains between Exeter St Davids and Totnes to meet up with an old (in both senses of the word) work colleague.  Here is her text as she left Exeter St Davids.
After a while an apology from the train manager (a real person) for the wrong announcement and a further apology for the lack of electronic reservations, "They wouldn't switch on!".

As someone once blogged, "Isn't technology wonderful"!

 Next bus station blog : Friday 24th May 


  1. Andrew Kleissner23 May 2019 at 06:49

    Of course Dent Station is something like 4 miles and 400 feet distant from the village it purports to serve: I remember the story of the person asking why it wasn't built closer to the village, only to be told that it seemed better to build it close to the railway! In many respects I guess it was built for operational rather than commercial reasons; that is surely true of Seaton Junction which was the junction FOR Seaton not the one AT Seaton ... I'm sure there were (and possibly still our) lots of stations like that.

  2. Is the bigger step up to accommodate the underfloor diesel engine?

  3. Clapham Junction is not in Clapham.

  4. Andrew Kleissner23 May 2019 at 09:20

    And Clapham station is about a mile from the village it serves.

    I too find the entrance and exit from the Class 800 trains a bit tricky ... not as bad as the fiddly little step on Networker EMUs though.