Wednesday 29 April 2020

Baffling Buses at Broomhill (3)

Along Comes A Nasty Virus ...
... and we have to stay at home unless our exit from the domestic portals is really necessary. So we don't need the buses. But Boris and his chums do want to help those who need to actually go to work so HMG agreed financial support to keep a basic bus service running - albeit with negligible numbers of passengers.

The effect on buses via Broomhill was significant.
Using the same presentation as for yesterday's pre-crisis timetables we have the following:-

51 : Gleadless - City - Lodge Moor (YELLOW)
First - every hour

52 : Woodhouse - City - Crookes and beyond (RED)
Stagecoach - every 30 minutes

52 : Woodhouse - City - Crookes and beyond (RED)
First - every hour plus extras

At this point, fbb should point out that the 52/52a (and the 120 below) ate JOINT servicesd operated under the Sheffield Bus non-partnership. As you saw yesterday, the normal timetable involves both operators running alternately through the core of the routes. but in comes the crisis - out goes the partnership.

Ignoring the suggestion that Sunday services plus early extras where necessary should be the norm, First knocked everything back to hourly or two hourly. Meanwhile partner (don't laugh) Stagecoach operated every half hour. 
therefore makes good sense to show the timetables separately bercause that it what they are. Not very partnership-ly coordinated.

120 : Crystal Peaks - City - Crimicar Lane (Fulwood) (ORANGE)
First - hourly plus extras

120 : Halfway - City - Crimicar Lane (Fulwood) (ORANGE)
Stagecoach - every 30 minutes

Here the results of the non-Partnership are even dafter. First are running an hourly version of their pre-crisis Monday to Saturday route whilst their non-partner is running a half hourly version of their normal Sunday route. Makes no sense at all.

6 : City - Millhouses Tesco (MUD PINK)
T M Travel - just five journeys

Pre-virus this route ran every 20 minutes. The reason for this near collapse of the timetable quickly became obvious when it was revealed that T M Travel had deregistered the service completely from mid April - a decision taken before the crisis happened.

The PTE quickly re-tendered and Powells took over from 17th April.

6 : City - Millhouses Tesco (MUD PINK)
Powells - hourly

X2/2 : Barnsley - City - Hallamshire Hosp (PURPLE)
Stagecoach - hourly

Leaving aside the nonsense with the joint services, this is very much what you would expect as the crisis developed and deepened. Certainly Broomhill has more than enough buses for general use and the Hallamshire Hospital is also well blessed.

So the next development came as a bit if a surprise; a combination of two surprises in fact.
While everybody else was hastily scything away at their normal frequencies, T M Travel nobly battled on with a bus every 20 minutes between Crystal Peaks, Beighton and the city centre (YUK GREEN).
Between Crystal Peaks and Handsworth, the route travels via several areas not served by other buses, most notably Sothall and Beighton. The 27 runs to Rotherham, not Sheffield.
At Handsworth the 30 runs via Richmond Park Road, again not served by anything else, before zooming non-stop via The Parkway to the city centre. The RED line is the eastern end of the 52/52a.
Next came a preliminary non-surprise with T M Travel, at last, announcing a reduction to one bus an hour.

But service 30, surprisingly, would be extended to the Hallamshire Hospital "to replace service 6". 
Fair enough, you may think; but Powells had already "replaced service 6" and were running every hour via Hallamshire Hospital. 

In the true spirit of working together (NOT!), could it be that T M Travel, having reduced then abandoned the 6, regretted the loss of revenue from folk going from city to the Hospital?

Or were they hoping to pick up a pretty penny out of the pockets of passengers from Woodhouse and Handsworth to the hospital; who had hitherto crawled there via the much slower 52/52a?


Next in this convoluted tale, First Bus announced a smattering of timetable changes from the non Bank Holiday 4th May. 
One of these "tinkerings" included a change on the the X5.
The X5 is part of a fiendishly complicated set of routes serving Swallownest, Wales, Todwick, Kiveton, South Anston and Dinnington; (216, X5, X54, X55) thankfully reduced to an hourly X5 for the duration. Like the X30 it calls at Handsworth and then runs fast via the Parkway,
From Monday 4th May (demoted from Bank Holiday status in favour of Friday 8th May) the X5 is extended to Broomhill via the Hallamshire Hospital, but on Monday to Friday only "to provide support for service 52"..

There are three buses an hour from Handsworth to Broomhill on services 52/52a.

Has First discovered lots of people who need to make essential journeys from X5 locations to or from Broomhill? Or have droves of hospital staff from way out east asked First to get them direct to their bedside caring duties?

Or, is First having a little commercial sulk at the marginally unlikely prospect of losing droves of non-existent passengers between Handsworth and Hospital to T M Travel's equally unnecessary extension?


What is certainly isn't is working together in the virus disruption!

Castles In The Air On The Tunnel (1)
fbb struggles with the lottery that is on-line purchasing. His new castle (not the one he ordered) was offered at widely varying prices. Having ordered the model, your prudent blogger received the package and was very satisfied indeed.

Then, to his abject horror he saw yet another Noch model adverised at three quid less than he had just paid. Bummer. And it was a bigger ruin to boot!
But, click one page on and the real truth is revealed.
£36.35! Very ouch!

Quite how anyone could charge £13.95 postage for a model which is solid and weighs just a few ounces fbb does not know.

Caveat emptor yet again

A Train Down The Drain
fbb has seen a good number of pictures of the lift that carries carriages for the Waterloo and City Underground (a k a The Drain) line from surface to tunnel - but he has never seen one like this.
"Going down!" or maybe coming up!

The lift was obliterated by the construction of the Eurostar platforms on the north side of Waterloo. Stock now has to be lowered in/lifted out by a huge crane hired for the purpose.
This is through a hole on the south side of the station.

fbb Does Not Know His Onions!
Regrettably Mrs fbb has all the horticultural knowledge in the fbb team; the old man is ignorant. He can spot roses and loves marigolds and daffs but beyond that the best he can offer is "those little blue flowers" and similar nomenclature.

When it comes to onions, the old man enjoys them in stoo, mince and the like - he also likes an onion as a simple vegetable. Yum yum!

So this illustration from another German scenic accesory company, Faller, came as a bit of a surprise.
Ornamental onions were unknown to your elderly blogger.

Such things are real and the flowers are indeed giant.
It is unlikely that fbb will be planting HO giant onions at any time yet. He guesses that, despite the appellation "giant", the tiny "plants" would be easily destroyed by fbb's stubby fingers and/or the attack of the killer raindrops.

 Next Flowers And Soap blog : Thursday 30th April 


  1. Andrew Kleissner29 April 2020 at 08:25

    More commonly known as "Allium". My wife loves 'em and we've had them in the garden for years. Should be out soon!

  2. One thing that is emerging is that some passengers, at least among the key worker groups who are still travelling, are making some surprisingly long and complicated public transport journeys to get to/from work which involve changing services and are probably concealed by the use of season tickets. We have had a few requests for extra journeys or retimes to allow these sort of journeys & connections to be made. You will start seeing operators adding journeys/services back in, responding to requests from key workers to make their journeys easier.

  3. Andrew Kleissner29 April 2020 at 10:25

    I can't remember which operator it was, but on one website there is a specific request (with contact details) to get in touch if you are a key worker and the new schedules have made your journey impossible.

  4. Andrew Kleissner29 April 2020 at 10:26

    I remember now - it's Blackpool Transport.

  5. Andrew Kleissner29 April 2020 at 12:34

    Something else ... Cardiff Bus changed their timetable on 19th April, when I was out today I noticed that the departures list on my local stop has been updated (the other operator's timetables haven't been). I don't know when this was done or who is responsible but I thought it was good work! The dot matrix indicators aren't being used.

  6. Nearly all the major operators are inviting key workers to get in touch. Some are more responsive than others - certainly Stagecoach South East and Go South Coast have made alterations to early morning journeys to get staff to hospitals.