Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Can We Get Rid Of Loopyness? Part 1

With Trams It Was Simple

Mostly, in the UK, you got to the end of the line, the trolley pole was swung deftly through 180 degrees and the seats were reversed by the conductor. Most trams were double ended. A few operators had single ended as here with Rotherham.
So there were turning loops at both ends of their routes. Sheffield had a few loops as here at Millhouses.
Back in the day, fbb's local bus route to Crimicar Lane used to reverse in a side road and pull forward on to the stops. It is now a loop.
A couple of urban myths persist; firstly that it is illegal to reverse a bus with passengers on board, and secondly that it is illegal to reverse a one man bus. Neither is true and never was true, but the latter is not advised for safety reasons.

With the passing of bus conductors there was growing pressure to replace the traditional reverse with some sort of loop or turning circle, so much so that there is only one reverse left in Sheffield.
At Tinker Lane Walkley, buses pull forward into a nibble on the right of the above photo and set gently back into the layby.

But planners seem to delight in loops something of considerable size and, often, these make fbb's passenger-focussed blood boil. Often the timetable for as loop is inadequate to supply the helpfulness that should be offered to the harassed passenger.

Inevitably, a loop leads to complexity, confusion and complaints from those who cannot work out what is going on.

Woodhouse was a small mining village to the east of Sheffield centre.
Back in the days of fbb's youth it was served by city route 23 and an occasional service 19 continuing to Dinnington. The 23 was joined by the 32 to make a big circular via Handsworth. Then, to avoid a reverse at Hardcastle Road ...
... the 93 was extended. Then came Stagecoach's competitive 52 and 25, the latter being a variant of the 24 which is the renumbered 93. The 7 became the 23, by the way. Last in was T M Travel's innovative 30.
All these services make use of a one way loop at Woodhouse. And here it is, showing the four stops and what calls there. If you are desperately keen you may wish to click on the graphic to enlarge it. fbb has ignored school service 655 and 752, by the way.
Everything, in theory, stops at all the stops it passes with one exception. Stradbroke Road (lower left) is only served by First's 24 and Stagecoach 25. Ignore the extra "r" on the name - fbb's stubby fingers strike again!
The stop is well away from most of the village facilities. But the challenge begins if you want to know where the bus will "wait time". So if you want at Stagecoach 25, you may eschew stops on Chapel Street, Cross Street and Tannery Street and sprint to Stradbroke Road where you bus may be waiting having looped the loop.
But, O naive passenger, do not expect to find a 24 awaiting you at Stradbroke Road. The 24 and 25 are a joint service between First and Stagecoach, but they use a different time point. We will meet the 24 again anon.

Next round the curve is Chapel Street with the Chapel on the left.
Here you will find the Stagecoach 52 waiting and the others passing.
Next round is Cross Street with the same routes ...
... but here you will find First's "partnership" 24 grazing and the others passing.

And, naive passenger again, do not think that the 30 at Chapel Street is the same 30 as stops at Cross Street. Oh no siree. The 30 at Chapel Street will veer off via the blue car ...
... to Sheffield whilst the 30 at Cross Street has arrived from Sheffield (via the aforementioned blue car!) and is off to the Crystal Peaks shopping centre. For most of the day the 7 is also going to Crystal Peaks with a time point also at Cross street but, mysteriously in the evenings it runs to Sheffield from Cross Street.b

To Sheffield the 30 calls at Tannery Street (time point) ...
... as does everything else except the 25 ...
... which has taken a trip via the Spa Lane Skelton Lane estate and misses the Tannery Street stop.
So, if you are confused, please remember that regular passengers will sort themselves out in due course and newcomers will have to resort to asking. Unlike complex areas of London, there is no local plan-of-stops in Woodhouse. The PTE's route map does show where everything goes ...
... but it sort of implies that the terminus for the 24, 25 and 52 is Cross Street which is really isn't and it puts the terminus "blob" at Tannery Street which is missed by the 25.

It would be helpful, surely, to have a London-style stops map with big letter labelling and a clear indication of which is the actual "terminus" which will always be the most reliable place to catch you chosen bus at your chosen time. Post such at every Woodhouse stop and on-line.

On the other hand, the "terminus" of routes is shown in the PTE and company timetables.
... but First and Stagecoach maps are not always up to date and the cartography for the PTE on-line information is very poor.
Of course, there is a simple solution. Everything could be brought together in a Woodhouse timetable book. Surely that would make things easier and introduce more customers to what is available.

Tomorrow we will look at routes 52 and 52a, with a collection of FOUR loops and TWO turning circles.

Such fun.

Happy Memories
Thanks to the wonders of fbb's laptop a selection of old pictures of the very early days of his outdoor model railway popped up. Here are the first items purchased, plus a platform, set very provisionally on the patio table that formed the first section of baseboard.
Later "grass" was added and more track.
The buildings all still exist but have been repainted replacing maroon with Peterville Quarry Railway blue.

The pictures are dated 2014.

Progress has been made!

 Next Loopiness blog : Thursday 28th Octiber 

1 comment:

  1. TfL is no longer the paragon of virtue suggested. The maps at Feltham station, for example, are 2 and a half years out of date, with significant changes to the road layout and stopping patterns after the closure of Bedfont Lane level crossing in March 2019.

    Meanwhile, accurate and up to date route maps can be found by using the journey planner function on the Stagecoach website. Don't think there is an equivalent for First.