Back to 1968!
The Ford Escort made its appearance; the two tier postal system (4d 2nd Class, 5d First Class) was introduced; Dad's Army was first broadcast; 10p and 5p coins were issued ready for decimalisation in 1971 and the Government endorsed the "I'm Backing Britain" campaign. (Bruce Forsyth warbled a single to encourage us all!)
From a transport perspective, the biggie was the opening of the new Euston station; aaah, the delightful days when the concourse was not cluttered with "retail outlets."
At least the new "shelf" has removed some of the junk, leaving a bit more space for passengers who want to catch trains rather than spend their money on umbrellas, socks and overpriced burgers.
Anyway, Alan has lived all his life in Northampton with brief absences at Loughborough Library School, so his knowledge (and possibly even his memory) of things both omnibological and Northamptonian are greatly superior to fbb who, post 1966, only paid occasional visits to see parents.
He reminds us (kindest way of recording fbb's forgetfulness stroke ignorance) that, in 1968, three Midland Red routes crept into the town, not just the one referred too in an earlier blog.
The aforementioned X96 ...
The route is fondly remembered (by a few old crocks?) every time they see a Stagecoach 96 which links Northampton with Rugby every hour ...
Much the same applies to service X61 ...
The present X7 ...
The third Midland Red route, the 512 from Banbury ...
In fbb's summary of "other operators", he also forgot Johnsons of Hanslope.
... and there were four round trips on Sundays. Geography has a marked effect on what services continue and what disappear. The development of Milton Keynes brought a two ended business opportunity to many routes from Northampton and today's route via Quinton is much improved - although its survival depends on external support.
Z & S run an hourly service end to end, although intermediate destinations are less well served at the Northampton end.
Which leaves us with Wesleys of Stoke Goldington ...
Again there was a strong bias to Market Day operation ...
fbb thinks the "theatre" in question was the Electra Theatre ...
Until relatively recently a service 3 ran along the Newport Pagnell Road as far as Hackleton and Horton ...
It is quite hard to work out why Northampton folk want to go to Leicester and not Coventry or Banbury; and equally odd that you can get to/from Quinton but not Hackleton.
In some ways, these differences are historic skewed by changes in geography.
For whatever reasons, some commercial services have blossomed but, as usual, the more rural routes are in decline or have utterly declined. Of course, we have not asked the critical question, namely how much will your bus ride cost?
Bus fares have increased by much more than the rate of inflation which is good for the profitability of the commercial routes but has been inadequate to preserve services in the rural areas.
Is there a better way to run the nation's bus services?
X57 P P S - News Just In
... your perceptive blogger has wondered about the future of the tendered T M Travel service as above. Now we know. With helpful advance notice (NOT) this has appeared on T M Traveel web site this week.
273/4 - Derbyshire have asked us to withdraw this service as the route is now covered by Hulleys X57. This service will therefore end officially on 1st November and so effectively wont operate again.
Well, there's a surprise. Is it a bit naughty to ask what will happen if (when?) Hulley's decide that the route is not commercially viable?
Next Saturday Variety blog : 31st October
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