Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Appalling : Building : Coal-Drops : Daimler

Building Back Better Appalling In Sheffield (1)

The above is a joint route in Sheffield, 83 is First ...
... 83a is Stagecoach...
... (except on Sundays, but we will leave that anomaly alone for the time being). The two routes run together from Ecclesfield in the north of the city ...
In recent-ish times the two services ran each every 20 minutes giving a ten minute frequency over the common sections. Various "operational measured" have cut that to every 30 on each with some uneven spacing at peak times.

Beyond the city centre, any need to even spacing of buses is largely irrelevant because there have been, again until recently, three ten minute frequency routes until the 83/83a split.
Most recently, the 83/83a have thus provided a roughly (at times very rough!) 15 minute joint service.

But in the forthcoming changes pages of the PTE's web site we read this:

Yay! Stagecoach reduce to every 40 (always a daft frequency to operate - no one can remember when the buses run!) whilst First stay at every 30.

So, if you are awaiting an 83 or 83a into town, here are the departure times from Ecclesfield from the end of this month.
So you can sort of rely on a bus roughly every half hour at 10/15 and 40/45 but that is about all you can say. And remember, dear reader, that it is not many moons ago that the joint route ran every ten minutes!

Will there be any printed timetables? OF COURSE NOT
Will bus stop departure lists be updated in time? HIGHLY UNLIKELY.
Will the passengers know what is happening? NO
Will many of them abandon bus travel? YES

To make matters worse, on-line you have the new 83a ...
... and, if you want times for the 83, you have to consult the old unchanged 83 which is combined with the wrong 83a on the PTE non-leaflet.
Potty and confusing!

It is called (all together now)


Beyond belief.

But fbb suspects there will be a lot more of this as bus companies face the end of "unrestricted" government subsidy.

Builders : Coal Drops : Daimler (1)
This is the former Daimler car showroom in Store Street, London. It is just off Tottenham Court Road and round the corner from the British Museum. Goodge Street is the nearest Underground station.
It was built in 1913 and was one of the first reinforced concrete structures in London.
Being where it is, it was faced with Portland Stone, thus disguising its revolutionary construction. In the 1930s it was taken over by The Building Centre ...
... seen above in the 1950s. The Building Centre still occupies this magnificent building ...
... and the public can visit (free of charge) and there is a caff within! The centre holds a huge range of information on building materials and techniques and includes the brick library shown as a tease on yesterday's blog.
One exhibit that has been on show since 2015 is a fascinating model of London.

Now, we are all getting used to 3D mapping with the likes of Google Earth, seen below in a view of Shepherds Bush Green ...
... but this exhibit is a very real 3D model of a huge chunk of the City!
Before we look more closely, we need to consider Coal Drops ...
Coal Drops are (there's a clue in the name) where you drop coal, usually from a railway wagon into storage dumps or into, say, road vehicles for onward transmission. The railway sidings are on top. the loading areas are below.

Modelling Something Different (1)
fbb has been installing lights in most parts of his outdoor OO gauge layout, and they look quite sweet - or they WILL look quite sweet when it is all finished. But what is the use of having a lit layout but unlit trains?

fbb has hankered after the new Hornby "generic" four wheel coaches delivered fitted with lights controlled by a magnetic switch. But they cost £38 each! Even without lights the cost per coach is nearly £30 and fbb would need at least three for a trainful.

Is there a cheaper way?

For many years Hornby have marketed a four wheel three compartment coach in various liveries, of which the chocolate and cream version is particularly attractive.
So fbb bought three, second hand, to enable him to experiment. Sadly hey are totally unrealistic as you have to go back to the days of Stephenson's Rocket to find accurate models of three compartment coaches.
Or you could try reality from the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway.
Or, slightly;y more recent, something that ran on thry Mid Suffolk Light Railway.
So fbb thought, "Hey, everything doesn't have to be right; this project might be fun!"

 Next Coal Drop blog : Wednesday 20th October 


  1. Whilst not excusing the publicity issues that FBB highlights it's worth noting that the proposed timetable changes in Sheffield are a *temporary* response to a significant shortfall in drivers (a national problem and not restricted to Stagecoach in Sheffield). Whilst far from ideal I'd rather see this approach than the alternative option that many other companies are taking which is to randomly miss multiple journeys so that you've no idea when a bus might turn up, if at all.

  2. Further to Ben's comment above, the 30 October service changes for Sheffield are more than 'proposed' - they are happening. Whilst the driver shortage is very likely the trigger for the changes (i.e. cuts) that First are making, I can see nothing on either the operator's website or Travel South Yorkshire's to say that they are temporary. We must hope so.

    1. RTL is right I've added an entirely superfluous 'proposed' in my original comment!

      Stagecoach state "From Saturday 30 October, we’re making temporary changes to some timetables to help us run more reliable services while we recruit more bus drivers and we’re hoping to return to normal timetables as soon as we can."

      First are more opaque in their words, whist their press release states the service reductions are due to current driver shortages, they've omitted any commitment / intention to return service levels when (if) the situation resolves itself.

  3. While the shortcomings of SYPTE's publicity are many, they are generally pretty good at sticking up bus stop departure lists close to the date of changes being implemented.
    But a cut in frequency from, e.g. 30 to 40 minutes requires passengers to know it is happening- and unless they regularly scrutininse the appropriate websites, they will probably only find out the hard way.