Monday 31 January 2022

Monday Variety

Buxton Bludner!

As readers will know, fbb manages the data for GoTimetable Sheffield and always welcomes feedback. Correspondent Simon pointed out a serious booboo on service 65, Sheffield to Buxton. Once in the hands of T M Travel and later (competitively) High Peak, the service has now been run  by stagecoach for some time.

Simon pointed out that we were showing the wrong operators.
And he was right. Although your aged blogger had punctiliously kept the timetable up to dater, her had forgotten to change the operator name. Bad house point to fbb and yet another bedtime without any tea!

This is being corrected as fast as the technical people can do it!

But it was the rest of the email that intrigued fbb.

I looked it up, because I have noticed several 65’s running out of Sheffield indicating ‘Tideswell for Buxton’. I wonder if this is something to do with the weird and wonderful way Stagecoach present their timetables – further evidence is that the hopeless TSY journey planner offers lots of cunning ways of getting to Buxton, none of which involve the direct bus, or even one with a change at Tideswell!

At its heart this is our old friend "the split registration", an adminstrative tweak to avoid the more expensive EU drivers' hours regulations but operating the route in two halves and offering fake connections.

Despite this nonsense, Stagecoach shows the timetable correctly on its web site as a through service with none of this "connection but no change of bus" twaddle. But the Stagecoach index is utterly potty.
Eight tables but click on any one of the eight and you get the full timetable ...
Crackpot! And it includes service 66 journeys as well.

But Simon is  very right when he says Travelinr gives daft answers, so fbb asked about the 1745 from Sheffield Interchange. There it is on Travel South Yorkshire ...
... and ditto from Derbyshire.
But here is the nearest answer offered by the loony traveline.
T M Travel 218 to Bakewell, then Transpeak to Buxton.

And why?
Traveline only shows the 65 as running between Tideswell and Sheffield and vice versa.
There are no times from Tideswell to Buxton.
But, yet again, all together now ...


When I'm Cleaning Windows!

You've heard about my capers with windows full of spots
Now I'd like to say before the eyes there's lots and lots

I've seen some buses on the road with Contravision overflowed
You can't see past the spots at all, so I'm cleaning windows
In Sunderland and further norf, Go Ahead are scraping orf
 The spots that block the view and all, so I'm cleaning windows

Clearly the late great George Formby was not a fan of Contravision - and neither, nowadays is Go Ahead North East.

Here is "The Angel" route  branding with "Angel of the North" graphics ...
... and it looks like solid lines, not even spots! And all over the windows.

But here, in the workshop is the first "Angel" with a revised paint scheme ...
... completely removing graphics from glass.
Have a chocolate peanut, Go Ahead!

Charing Cross - A P.S.
And take a wander along Craven Street.
Craven Street runs parallel to Villiers Street on the opposite side of Charing Cross "Main Line" station. It links the Embankment via Northumberland Avenue (one of the pink/purple ones in Monopoly).
Next to Next is a strange building, tall and weird ...
... with pipes!
Looked at from inside and below, you can see what it is.
Can't you?

It is a ventilation shaft for the Jubilee Line - the Underground route that no longer runs to Charing Cross. Doubtless the ventilation provided still benefits the line.

Impressive engineering!

fbb Threatened!
We all need to remember that the internet is unregulated and anyone can bung anything into the word wide web. Emails like this should be binned without the slightest consideration. The aim of the scam is that out of 1000 emails someone will have a secret to hide and to hide it will send money - or bit coins!


Consultation In Progress
Mr Tubbles expressing heartfelt concern about the unstable future for the UK bus industry. Life is challenging for a cat of the domestic variety.

And Retractable Buffers

Arthritic Update
After a real grind through the rusty gears of the NHS, Mrs fbb has a formal assessment on Thursday which should result in an appointment for a hip replacement at some time in the future.

Both the old crocks need much Prayer, Perseverance, Painkillers and Patience during the grind.

Please be patient yourselves if blogs are not up to the usual standard of quality, quantity and anything else you can think of beginning with Q.

 Next mystery*** blog : Tuesday 1st February 
          *** It's a mystery what will be in it!            

Sunday 30 January 2022

Sunday Variety

Mystery At Maida Vale

fbb asked, in yesterday's blog, why the names CHARING CROSS and EMBANKMENT were not properly centred on this "heritage" panel at Maida Vale station. Essentially the reason is simple. Bill Wodgitt, who fixed the names in place, did not do a very good job.

If you look closely, you can see the join!
The large names are stations where interchange with other lines is possible without coming up for air; but then so is EMBANKMENT and that is small.

Here is another clue to the whole convoluted mystery.
Above is a picture of the Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross Underground station; note the SILVER background to the station name board -  CHARING CROSS . But, we hear you cry, the Jubilee Line does not go to Charing Cross ...
... it goes via Westminster and Waterloo.

But the Jubilee Line was planned as the Fleet Line. 
The first phase absorbed the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo Line and took it as far as Charing Cross ...
... then the plan was to go on via Aldwych, Ludgate Circus and Fenchurch Street before zooming off east. On the way it would run under Fleet Street, hence Fleet Line. Geddit! 

It never did!

The bit from Green Park to Charing Cross was closed and is still there, used as a siding - but not for passengers.
But, before the Fleet/Jubilee Line arrived it wasn't Charing Cross at all. There were two separate stations. Trafalgar Square was on thee Bakerloo Line and Strand was on the Northern Line.
The new terminus was built below the existing lines which were joined by a new subway tunnel and the whole lot was named "Charing Cross" - a sensible name as subway access to the "Main Line" station was from Strand (Northern Line) ...
... to right inside the National Rail station.
Charing Cross District and Circle Line station had no link below ground, but there was (and still is) a short walk via Villiers Street (unconventionally, the above diagram has North at the bottom!).
And there, on the banks of the Thames is the former Charing Cross Underground station, now renamed Embankment.
Of course, on the Maida Vale panel, there was no room to get both Charing Cross and Embankment in large letters, so poor old Embankment was demoted in favour of the interchange option for the "Main Line" Charing Cross.
To grasp the area with geographical accuracy, you need to refer to the excellent "Carto" map of London's Underground lines.
It shows the closed platforms, and, nearby, the "diverted" line via Westminster and Waterloo.
Does that make Green Park to Charing Cross the shortest lived bit of Underground Line?

Cardiff Tells It Well
About a month ago, Cardiff Bus announced that their Saturday timetable would apply on weekdays for a temporary period. Later the notice was amended to read "until 12th February.

Now we find this, on line.
Please note that this panel is not hidden deep in the web site, it is "front and centre" on the home page.
Clicking on the link tells you more.

Fri 28th Jan 2022

We are pleased to announce that from Sunday 13th February will be restoring our weekday services.

From the same time, we are making timetable changes to most routes to better reflect the level of congestion that we face that is combined with changes to the priority and space given to buses on the road network.  Also, alongside these changes, we need to amend some city centre terminal points for future phase of work at Central Square as well as works starting on the Canal Quarter on Churchill Way.

Please ensure you check your new timetable before you travel, which are linked below to preview

We will be updating all our bus stop timetables and Cardiff Council are in the process of updating the real time information system

Yes, full details of the City Centre stop changes are given:-

30 : will use lower Churchill Way stop HG (at side of Rapports NCP car park behind Motorpoint arena) instead of Station Terrace. Note that from 30th January all journeys towards Newport no longer serve Greyfriars Road or Dumfries Place, please use stops at Customhouse Street or lower Churchill Way HG instead

Yes, and all the revised timetables are ready to be checked.

Printed timetables?

NOT Helpful Stagecoach
Following the trend nationally, Stagecoach appear to be starting the process of reducing timetables. Service 41 between Northampton and Bedford has, for many years, been an hourly service.
It is slow and not particularly attractive to through passengers. At one stage it was branded Pluto ...
... and ran on a faster route, NOT via Olney, taking only 50 minutes. 
At the time boss James Freeman (wonder whatever happened to him?) was claiming a substantial increase in ridership.

Stagecoach now produces no printed timetables or maps and their roadside publicity is spasmodic and has fallen apart during the pandemic. It shows little sign of getting better.

Now service 41 has been reduced from hourly to every 90 minutes.
Alan, from Northampton, has recently reported Stagecoach's response to complaints about, amongst other things, the deterioration of the service.
Stagecoach's responses (in blue) seem very much like, "We've given up on this service and we cannot be bothered to even attempt to publicise it in any way."

Not bothered about the loss of passengers
Not bothered about poor information at Bedford
Not bothered about inadequate bus stop publicity.

It is all a well-rounded feature of the Government's Built Buses Back Better plans in practice and seems to presage a further reduction in service 41 to every two hours and the total withdrawal of the useless Sunday service.

You do wonder whether National Express realise what they are buying?

What Price a Goods Van?
Yesterday's blog looked at posh new wagons manufactured by Rapido Trains priced at ...
... £32.95 discounted to £27.95 by Rails of Sheffield.

In an email the very next day, Rails are offering a Banana Van made by Oxford Rail.
This costs £16.95 discounted to £14.50.

Why the difference? Is the difference worth it?

 Next as yet unplanned blog : Monday 31st January