Saturday 28 May 2022

Saturday Variety

 Orkney Ferry And Plane follows on Monday.

Station Link Extinct?

Service 68 at Yeovil has, for many years provided a link between Junction station on the South Western Railway main line and Penn Mill station on the Great Western Railway from Bristol to Weymouth.
Penn Mill is unnamed on the map (top centre) and Junction is close to the adjoining villages of Stoford and Barwick. Service 68 has, for many years, been in the hands of South West Coaches.
The two railway companies have been very keen to encourage interchange passengers ...
... NOT!

But in recent times Pen Mill Station has disappeared from the former "Link" timetable.

The one-bus-in-steam appears to do a run to the villages and back, then a short working to the station only with a round trip of one hour. But no Link to Pen Mill.

What's going on?

South West Coaches will no longer operate the route after service on Wednesday.

The route doesn't not run on Sundays and Bank Holidays. 

The more positive news is that Somerset County Council will take over the route from Saturday 4th June and run it "in house". And the even better news is the Pen Mill returns to the schedule.
The timetable does, helpfully, identify which trains will connect with the bus at Junction, but remains coy about any trains at Penn Mill. 

But at least the Link is restored.

Talking Of Integration?

At first glance, c/o Google Streetview, the bus stops outside Stafford Station look in good condition with some bright blue posters, presumably advertising some special day anywhere ticket or a bright and breezy new service?

Erm, no!

They are nothing to do with any bus service! Well done all concerned. So what delights might we find looking from the passenger side?
A departure list for buses to Telford ...
... services 5, 5A and 5E from Arriva. fbb gave up the unequal struggle of trying to find an actual tyimertable on the Arriva web site. Then we have ...
"the POTTERIES" (that's First Bus in a cunning disguise) service 101. Again no timetable at the stop just a list of departures. On its right is National Express West Midlands 54/54A which doesn't exist and, below left, the 877 and 878.

They do link Stafford with Wolverhampton, but erratically.

The final display is the most UNhelpful of the lot.

But this is a bit more mysterious. Buses using the stop illustrated are going into the centre of Stafford. According to Google Maps they aren't going anywhere else.
So the poor quality information should be at the stop opposite the station. Maybe it is and maybe fbb has misunderstood Roger's pictures - but whatever the detail, the presentation is appalling. There is simply no encouragement to travel by bus. Why do bus companies tolerate this awfulness?

And Talking Of Presentation
Correspondent Keith has been on something of a round Britain cruise, hence his posting of Guernsey and Orkney timetables to fbb.

His recent email concerned the very far north, viz Shetland, and a bit of Scottish Island down the left hand side, namely Skye - plus Belfast. His message does not make for happy reading.

 And Keith enclosed a picture of the superb and attractive bus publicity at Portree on the Isle of Skye.
Absolutely appalling in every way!

But Better First!
A while back, fbb reported that First Wessex would be opening a "pop up" information hut on Weymouth sea front. And here it is:-
And there are timetable books, that is PRINTED timetable books - and they are on public view and public offer; so you do not have to get on your knees and beg!
And the hut is bright and attractive in itself.

And Two MORE Tank Wagons.
A very old green one ...
... perhaps one of these?
And an unfamiliar orange box!

And Finally ...
Right on - Mr Twitterer!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 29th May 


  1. Whilst the new timetable for Yeovil Junction has only 1 BPH instead of 2 BPH, they are timed better to connect with trains to London (xx29) and from London (xx38). ISTR that a previous train timetable had trains passing at Yeovil Junction, but this is probably now as good as it can be.
    Connecting with trains at Pen Mill is always going to be problematic, as that timetable is "sparse" . . . that's probably why there are no connectional details.

  2. With a bus journey time of 40 minutes, it's probably quicker (for the able bodied) to walk between the two Yeovil stations.

    1. Open Street Map gives a walking time of 41 minutes between Junction and Pen Mill stations. There appears to be a short cut, but from memory of several years ago, the walk from Junction to the town centre involved a fairly narrow road without a pavement.

    2. The walk from Yeovil Junction is known for being particularly hazardous!

  3. @Anonymous 0824 - the journey time is 15 minutes Junction to Pen Mill, 20 minutes Pen Mill to Junction.The bus visits Junction twice on each hourly circuit - once heading to Barwick, and once heading to Yeovil...

  4. The 68 has not run to Pen Mill for a long time. It was partly competitive with the 51 and 53 and there is just not enough demand.

    The current nearest bus to Pen Mill station is the 58 and X10 from the bus station.

    The change will have been created by First's withdrawal of the 53 from 4 June serving Highfield Road. The new 68 covers that gap and the loop serves the station. There is limited demand for any of these.

  5. Has anyone noticed the timings on the 68 timetable? Two minutes from Yeovil Junction to the Borough? You couldn't do that in a F1 car.