Tuesday 30 June 2020

Delayed Weekend Variety (2)

BL1 Some Answers & More Questions!
The tram replacement service referred to in yesterday's blog has been publicised at tram stops by the South Yorkshire PTE. Sadly this uses sheets of yellow paper encased in thin plastic.
Experience shows that these do not last, either removed as a jolly jape by Waterthorpe youff or blown off by a brisk South Yorkshire breeze. Idea (no consultancy fee required!) - why not put then INSIDE the timetable frames?

Destination screens in the buses are good ...
... with side screens correctly set up as well.
The buses have come from fellow C T Plus business in Leeds.
One mystery is solved, however. These timetables differ from that published on the TSY web site. The non-existant "Waterthorpe" place names ...
... are gone, replaced with the more sensible Crystal Peaks.
Generally passenger numbers were less than minimal. But, as the tram line has been closed since June 6th, people will have adapted. Indeed, unless you regularly trawl on-line you might not even know the bus service had appeared. The posters are at tram stops which have had no service for four weeks - so why would you go there to look?

One correspondent reported that potential passengers were uneasy about travelling because it looked as if the BL1 service was limited stop. in fact it calls at or near all tram stops en route.

But how would you know? This is a picture of the timetable frame at Gleadless Town End tram stop.
Utter clutter!

There is a "stay safe" (NINE steps) poster partially covering the (wrong?) timetable on BLUE paper, the replacement bus timetable with the YELLOW border, a general explanation of tram services on WHITE and a small multicoloured map. (click on the pic to enlarge it)
IT actually lists all stops served by bus BL1. Excellent, but it is far too small, barely legible behind a dirty glass. fbb has not found this map on either the PTE or the Supertram web sites - so it ISN'T ALL on line.

As usual with the PTE/TSY it is all a bit of a mess.

What is needed is one simple poster, timetable and map, filling the frame so people spot straightaway what is going on.

Of course it would have helped enormously if the replacement bus has started running when the trams stopped rather than four weeks later.

No, it is a really BIG mess.

Thanks to Roy and Matt for the pictures. They have been out and about on the first day of the replacement bus service.

P.S. Roy reports that the yesterday's on-tram recorded announcement about the disruption said there were NO REPLACEMENT BUSES.

Beyond belief!

London Electric
The Twitterati report on two London bus routes now "going electric". Both are lettered routes and thus a bit more interesting than the usual main line services. Ian Armstring's London Bus Routes gives full info, so fbb won't bother repeating it here.

The C10 ...
... originally ran from Victoria via a "back street" route to Elephant and Castle. It began in 1991 and has "enjoyed" a number of operators over the years ...
... but is now in the hands of the government of the Netherlands. Later extended to Canada Water is does a full tour of the former Surrey and Commercial docks.
Many aeons ago, a teenage fbb, accompanied by Alan from Northampton, rode round in a flat fare single deck P2 ...
... on a similar circuit; but back then the docks were all still there, but moribund.
Now only the Greenland Dock and the South Dock are still wet.
A few bits of the old Rotherhithe Street remain, mostly old warehouses turned into flats or newbuild.
This (below) was a few years before fbb's visit!
Abellio have also assumed responsibility for the P5.
Formerly with GoAhead London Central, Abellio took over as recently at 2nd May 2020.
Its route is entertainingly wiggly between Elephant and Castle and Patmore Estate.
For those, like fbb, for whom Patmore Estate is a complete mystery, this aerial view (Google Earth) will explain all.
Got it?

Clapham Junction is just out of shot lower left, Waterloo ditto upper right, and Victoria upper left. For the record, and zooming in ...
... the nearest station as the fly crows might well be Queenstown Road Battersea, although how (whether?) you get between the two is beyond fbb.

But the newest takeover by Abellio (from last Saturday night!) is the 285 (click on graphic to enlarge).
Abellio are dead keen to tell you (via Twitter) what a wonderful experience this will be ...
... but whether most Londoners will notice - or care - is doubtful.
What they're getting from last Sat looks fine to fbb.

Stay Safe - A Question
At which of these stops would you feel most safe when waiting for your bus?
Number 1?
Number 2?
OR Number 3?
Answers, please, to Sheffield City Council who have removed all the buses from 3 and put them in a poor quality, ill-lit backstreet, 1 and 2.

Clever eh?

And Where ...
... might this rather battered Travel South Yorkshire dolly stop sign be located? There is a clue.
Answer tomorrow ...

... when we return to Burton upon Trent.

The promised Porthmadog and Manchester items will appear later.

 Next "Rare Delight" blog : Wednesday 1st July 

Monday 29 June 2020

Delayed Weekend Variety (1)

If You Won't, We Will??
fbb reported that Stagecoach Supertram was not offering any bus replacement services for the current series of track replacement work. In the latest tranche of disruption all that was offered was a list of "alternative bus services", some of which were a very poor substitute for a 15 minutes tram frequency.
The current chunk runs from 6th June to 24th July.

Then, suddenly, this note appeared on the Sheffield Supertram bit of Stagecoach's web site.

Dedicated Tram Replacement Service

From Monday 29 June 2020, Powells Bus Company will be operating the BL1 bus service on behalf of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

The service will operate between Gleadless Townend and Halfway, connecting with trams at Gleadless Townend. Details of the bus service can be found on the Travel South Yorkshire (TSY) website.

Operated by Powells and not Stagecoach? Go to TSY for the timetable? Nuffin to do with us, mate?

This is very different from previously when full details were available alongside the tram times on the Supertram web site. And there is nothing listed against "Tram" on the TSY site.
The link takes us, not to the timetable we want, but to the TSY temporary timetables list which is a mega scroll-athon or a substantial click-athon. Here, eventually, you will find this ..
The link takes us, not to the timetable we want, but to the TSY temporary timetables list which is a mega scroll-athon or a substantial click-athon. Here, eventually, you will find this ...
... which, perversely, looks like something produced by Supertram.

Does the BL1 call at or near all tram stops or just those mentioned in the timetable? fbb has no idea where Waterthorpe Blackdown or Waterthorpe Cleave might be. Does it call at Crystal Peaks, arguably the most important stop en route?

Sipertram are normally very good at posting information at their stops and on their trams whereas the PTE does not bother. Which policy will apply between Gleadless and Halfway?

And yes, it was posted on GoTimetable Sheffield from Friday last, listed right next to the BLU tram which runs to/from Gleadless.

Blackpool Beckons?
Much excitement has been generated this week with photos of locos AND coaches for the new Grand Central service from Blackpool to London Euston. Due to start in May, operation has been delayed by the Virus.

Planning a safe and sustainable return
Whilst our trains have been in hibernation since April, we have continued to work hard to plan every aspect of a safe, sustainable return to service. The safety of our staff and passengers remains our biggest priority, but ongoing Government restrictions mean we can’t yet welcome the number of customers needed to run our service sustainably, and our current period of suspension will be continued into July. 

The current web site hints at July 11th.
There are five trains on Saturdays and four on Sundays but all at different times -  there is no daily pattern.

But the trains look very smart.
Just a simple but distictive livery that will stand out at stations and en route.
LNER please note - NO SWIRLS and no boring white.
Avanti West Coast please note - no illogical odd shapes.

Captain Tom's Loco Collects The Lolly
A few weeks back, Hornby announced that they were making a limited edition version of their class 66 freight loco in the special livery to celebrate the fundraising of Captain Tom Moore.
500 would be produced and there would be a donation to NHS charities from every sale.
Interest was so great that after just over 24 hours the order was increased to 2000 models.
The final order was for 3500 models and the donation to NHS would be £140,000.


Welcome Back.
Slowly, specialist express services are re-appearing. With the opening up of tourism, we are beginning to see visitor and holiday attractions powering up for socially distanced business. So a hearty welcome to York's sightseeing tours from 11th July.
A measured and modest announcement, calm and collected,  from Alex Hornby!

A Twitterer's Challenge
No, Lynx, it does not look familiar to fbb. And the registration is most definitely a tad on the weird side. UWW 3X?

The bus was previously grey, but still with the "cherished" registration.
Thanks to the wonders of the interwebnet, fbb can reveal the previous holder of that mark.

Stagecoach in the Cambridge area.
And before that Cambus, one of the privatised National Bus Companies ...
With a very un-NBC blind layout it had to have had yet a more previous life. It was actually new to West Yorkshire PTE and looked a bit like this.
In Stagecoach hands it went open top ...
... but fbb could not discern how Lynx got hold of the reg plate.

Meanwhile the grey and later red decker is spotted bearing its original registration, LG53 BGU.
The colour grey with swirl should have given the game away. It originated in Reading ...
... which explains the reference in the original Tweet. The tease is directed at Martijn Gilbert, former boss of Reading Buses, so it sort of makes sense.

Tomorrow we go to London, back to Porthmadog for breakfast, and politics in Manchester.

 Next delayed weekend variety blog : Tuesday 30th June