Friday 17 June 2022

Holiday Reading (2)

Book Review Part Two

Keith Shayshutt's excellent book tells us that Western National in Cornwall only had two depots. In St Austell the site was on Eliot Road in a mainly residential area ...
... whilst the main main depot was/is in Camborne, near the town centre, where the site doubles as a bus station.
When fbb last visited he found it a gloomy and depressing place ...
... with no refreshments (closed), no enquiry facilities (closed) and no toilets (closed) - a real welcome to the travelling public. Today it is brighter and busier vehicle-wise, thanks largely to Transport for Cornwall ...
... but still dismal overall.

There are plans for redevelopment, which, if the artist's impression is correct, will make the place far too small for the services using it.
The planners' blurb is, as ever, bounteous in its description of facilities at the "hub", the truly innovative descriptor for the project.

The flagship project for the Town Deal’s plans, the Buzz Station sees the Camborne bus station redeveloped into a vibrant and bustling hub at the heart of the town.

This is at the centre of our vision for Camborne, an architecturally designed iconic space that will provide a place for locals and visitors to work, live, play, learn and care. It will be a place to spent time, create and achieve with a real sense of energy and optimism.

Home to restaurants, bars and a theatre, The Buzz Station would also provide workspaces for creative businesses, tech start-ups and entrepreneurs. Both residential and workspaces will be housed at this exciting building, beating at the heart of the town.

A youth cafĂ© gives the town’s young people a chance to have their own space. There will also be a Wellness Centre focused on offering opportunities to improve health within Camborne.

A covered piazza will host cultural performances, creative expression and entertainment, markets, cafes, bars and restaurants, street food and independent and artisan crafts and retailers.

There will be street theatre and exhibitions as well as just places to walk or sit and watch the world go by.

No mention of the buses - apparently they are unimportant!

But we digress. Back to Keith's entertaining oeuvre.

For 1996 he lists each bus (by type) and which of the two depots was its official home, as below with just a chunk of the VRs by way of example.
To avoid an unnecessary amount of "off service" running, the ideal is to cycle bus duties to bring each motor back to its home depot for fuelling and routine maintenance. Keith includes a full list of all the "duties" and shows how a bus shuffles from one to the other to find its way back home when necessary.
Making this work, both in planning and in operation, must have been a real challenge but a challenge ably taken on by the local management.
It is quite entertaining to do a bit of "following"!

There is a map showing all of the outstations ...
... some of which are intriguingly described in the text, e.g. "the driver
's garden"!

One picture, of a single decker in its lavish outstation is of particular interest.
Trillacott is so "out" an outstation that it hasn't even had a visit from Google Streetview.
But fear not dear reader, the book includes all contract workings - which, of course, have to be fitted in to the cycle system.

There is the 74, complete with its duty "depot" at NP (North Petherwin, i.e. Trillacott) as illustrated above.
The main content of the book, as per its title, is a complete collection of all the Cornwall area working timetables. These are equally fascinating, but need more than a cursory glance (or a brief blog review!) to understand how this complex operation was made to work.

There are maps ...
... culled from the Western National timetable books. If fbb were to have a slight criticism, it is that some of the maps are a bit too small for the old man's slightly weary eyesight. But thanks to the exigencies of a mobile phone camera, they can be easily enlarged.

There are pictures of buses, some big and wonderful ...
The junction is unchanged and still served by buses ...
... one of them still numbered 36! 
For the record, the 36 and 42 (Transport for Cornwall) and the occasional L2 (First Kernow) are the buses you could catch from Sunny Corner.

Some pictures are small but delightful none-the-less.
The Cornish Arms at Sparnon Gate has succumbed to the sad fate of many a rural watering hole ...
... but a 48 still calls, now in the hands of Transport for Cornwall.
One joyous feature of the book is little yellow "post-it note" style tags spread throughout the bulk of the working timetables. 
It is still the 24 ...
... it is still operated by WN's successor, First Kernow, but is back to turning at the top of the hill outside the "Safe Harbour" (which is nowhere near any harbour!).

This is a book you can go back to time and time again and find things you missed in earlier readings.

As a bonus, you can send c/o Keith for a copy of the Saturday and Sunday working timetables; details of how to obtain these are in the book. Too much information?

If you are really interested in buses and how they are operated, you should buy this unusual volume! By today's standards it is good value at £23.50 and available all the way from the usual South American River.
Do we expect Volume 2 - that would be the Plymouth area?

 Next Further East Than Eastenders blog : Fri 18 June 

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