Wednesday 26 October 2022

Nostalgia - 60 Years (Approx) - Mini-Blog

Fare's Fascination

When fbb arrived at Sheffield |University in the autumn og 1963 he was immediately captivated by the overall appearance of Sheffield Transport.

There were long buses ...

... almost unknown in Northampton. (United Counties had a few FLFs) and very strange buses with an engine at the back only know by repute and report for fbb.
The bus timetable book was free and called the "bus guide" universally by Sheffielders. It included routes to far away places with strange sounding names - placesbb which fbb had never visited like Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, Gainsborough, Buxton and Huddersfield.

And, as indicated above, you could find out all the fares in minute and comprehensive detail.

Many things were strange. Although many of the city routes ran from suburb to suburb through the city centre ...
... there were no through fares. You had to "rebook' in the city centre. This came as no surprise to your Northamptonian exile. Some of the town's Corporation buses ran cross town, but unadvertised, as, again, fares were only on offer to the centre. In the case of Sheffield, you could go a little way past the main centre stops ...
... in this case as far as St Mary's Road - wherever that was. 

One of te first bits of exploration that fbb undertook, on the advice of hid landlady, was a ride round Sheffield's outer circle. It was a genuine "circular" with buses circling seemingly endlessly. The fare table ran over FIVE pages ...
... with a fare "all the way round" (two shilling and three pence) for every stage back to every stage.,

But there were many other things for the lad to grasp.
fbb soon discovered that you could board, say, a 14 and travel via Holme Lane Junction (where trams used to junct but did no longer) and continue round Wisewood as far as Holme Lane Junction a second time.

But lots of tables had "special conditions" marked with a slightly threatening black star. With apologies for the fuzzy photo the "special condition" was applied at peak times. You had to pay as far as Holme Lane Junction if boarding in the city.

This ensured that the bus did ot fill up with intermediate passengers to the detriment of the noble residents of Wisewood. In practice it was unlikely to be a problem as the Wisewood buses left from Campo Lane, a well hidden back street on the end of the shppping area.
Sadly fbb never rode the Wisewood "loop" and the route has now disappeared completely with a minimalist replacement.

Normal services ended at route 99, followed by a heady mixture of works services and other "oddments". Some of the works routes were jam packed with fares restrictions.
Thse were all designed to ensure that folk going to their "works" would have room available whilst intermediate passengers would have to use the more frequent non-works services.

Longer distance services also had their restrictions.
Route 16 to Dinnington via Todwick was typical. Fare stages were always numbered consecutively outward from the city centre, or, in this case, the bus station. But note that stages 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 do not exist for the 15. Effectively there was no loading restriction if you wanted to travel locally, but if you did, the ONLY fare on offer was that to Elm Tree. This would make your local journey up to twice as expensive as travelling on the city service 95.

Sheffielders did not use the 15 for local journeys!

The only normal city services in the 100s were the 101, 102 and 105 to Gleadless.
fbb is incapable of explaining the route variations of these three but suffice ot to say there were THREE different routes plus peak time variations. Only regulars ever fully understood them - fbb never did until long after they changed!

The 101/102/105 had another secret!

Norton Aerodrome is the site of the former Lightwood RAF balloon barrage station active during during World War Two. RAF Norton was n°16 Balloon Centre (Barrage Balloons) comprising of three Squadrons: 939, 940 and 941. Each squadron had three flights comprising 8 balloons each. Their role was to prepare and supply equipment, carry out repairs, and train staff to operate the sites. During the war, Lightwood was partly used as a military detention centre. 

By 1943, the air threat to Sheffield had diminished, and most of the balloons were transferred to the defence of London. On the 1st July 1943, Lightwood was renamed RAF Norton. It was transferred to Signals Command and became n°3 Ground Radio Servicing Squadron. This continued until 1965, when under an RAF reorganisation the Squadron was moved to Rutland. RAF Norton officially closed in January 1965.

fbb cannot be sure, but thinks things were well run down by the date on the fare table ...
... buit the fare (as presumably the requested buses) were still there if needed! But there exists one picture of the camp with a Sheffield Transport bus - so they did happen.
The picture is undated and the bus registration number illegible; but fbb guesses late 1950s from the unfashionable ladies' fashions!

Incidentally, it was not long after fbb clutched his 1963 fare table that through fares were introduced on all cross city services. One oddity removed!

Due to a series of speaking engagements and the necessitous preparation for them, some blogs may be reduced in length and content over the next week or so!

 Next Bus Fares blog : Thursday 27th Oct 


  1. Andrew Kleissner26 October 2022 at 08:44

    I lived in Ipswich until fairly recently. There were a number of routes which changed numbers at the town centre. One was my local route which, I discovered, could take me direct to the railway station. However it counted as two routes; some drivers would let you travel the whole way on an ordinary ticket but the correct thing to do was buy a "transfer" ticket (which still exist for two journeys starting within one hour).

    When I went to Southampton University in 1971 the famous route 4/6 ran right around the city. Although I never did the whole circuit, one could do so for the maximum fare of 6p (later 8p). Buses didn't circulate continuously but started and finished at the city centre.

  2. You've forgotten the busy 150/151 Shiregreen Circles which were definitely normalCity services and definitely numbered over 100! My surprise intro to Sheffield in 1969 was when a Regent V turned up on this route- with overhead luggage racks! It had been built for the Retford/Gainsborough route but a recent OMO conversion had despatched it to humbler duites. Also the 10 (Parson Cross) was numbered 110 until around 1961.

  3. Not sure if you are aware but fares tables for First buses are available on Single fares for Stagecoach buses can be obtained for individual journeys via their online journey planner.

  4. Amazing! Really love to see 1963 long bus along with guides thank you for sharing this.

  5. It's a nice chunk of information for a person who had interest to read about history also it can be useful for getting new ideas about automobiles and different kind of buses like; coaches, minibuses, long buses, etc.