Sunday 5 March 2023

Sunday Variety

Nationalised Railway Company SOLD!

Abellio is Dutch State Railways in a thin disguise. The company owns (singly or with others) several rail companies in the UK, plus a bus operation in London. With the decline of the rail business and the growth of ownership by the "Operator of The Last Resort" (a k a nationalisation) the attraction of UK rail to overseas investors has begun to fade.

So a Management Group has bought the lot!
As ALL UK train operators are being micro-managed by DaFT (a k a The Treasury) and being paid a fee to run their business with little or no responsibility for profitability, it is hard to see why anyone would want to own a railway company.

We Shall see. The web site has the sort of guff that you would expect.

Under its new name, TUK remains committed to playing a vital, long-term role in the future of UK rail and bus services, ensuring that it delivers on passenger needs and provides a sustainable, safe, and reliable travel experience. The company will also continue to provide its voice and extensive knowledge to help shape the debate on UK rail industry reform, focusing on driving innovation and working with all governmental and industry bodies to shape and implement a future-ready, low-emission UK transport network.

The deal is led by Managing Director Dominic Booth, who has decades of experience running public transport services in the UK.
From January 1995 to April 1996, young Dom cut his rail management teeth on the hugeness of Island Line. He has a bigger area to worry about now!

D&G Arrives, Arriva Departs & Goes
The Arriva "proposed" pull-out from two depots in the North West was announced together with a "consultation".

Hyper Twaddle.

Arriva has already cancelled the registrations and work is in hand in the company's former area to provide a smooth transition to replacement services. So no "consultation" - its a done departing deal!
So far D&G has placed the above "holding" notice on its web site, but fbb understands that some former Arriva routes will continue to operate to a similar timetable (fbb guesses without subsidy) whilst others are "under discussion" with the appropriate local authorities.

fbb has asked for a full set of timetables from D & G and as soon as these arrive he will aim to write a "contrast and compare" blog.

fbb thanks correspondent Adrian for this information.

New Bus Service For Seaton - Shock
Since the fbbs decamped from the Isle of Wight to fbb mansions in Seaton, Devon, there has been very little change to the town's main bus services to Exeter, Axminster and Honiton.

The Jurassic Coaster ceased to run between Lyme Regis and Exeter (First Bus Withdrawal).

Stagecoach 9A was extended from Seaton to Lyme Regis

Stagecoach 9A was withdrawn between Seaton and Lyme Regis

Service 20 between Seaton, Honiton and Taunton has had various operators and a few timetable tinkerings.

Axe Valley Travel has improved its service by running its Axminster to Seaton service through to Beer.

But in one month's time (Actually Monday 3td April) Seaton gets its first genuinely brand  NEW SERVICE in many a long year.

And an odd thing it is too.
It runs Monday to Friday only with three round trips based in Seaton as per the above timetable. So, presumably the bus will run light from Matford depot in Exeter for the 0700 departure and return light after arriving at 1825. So, expensive to run.

The route follows the current and unchanged service 20 (Dartline i.e. Go Ahead) from Seaton to Honiton then zooms non stop down the A30 ...
... to Clyst Honiton.
From there the route turns north to serve the developing employment areas built on green fields east of Exeter. Here lies the "sitz im leben" (presumed) of this route. The various Science Park and Technology business are dotted around this loop of roads ...
... also served by Exeter city half hourly service B.
When fbb rode to the Science Park three whole years ago it was service K ...
... and once he bus left built-up Exeter, fbb was the only passenger. 
But, back then, there wasn't much Science at the Park!
Maybe there is a bit more now.

The new service (X30) has not, so far, had any publicity in Seaton - indeed it was correspondent Richard who alerted fbb to its appearance in the dark depths of Traveline. 

Surely this route is being paid for by the conglomeration of industries on the developing tech park?

fbb would love to do the first bus on the first day, but pre-existing commitments mean that it will have to be sometime in the first week - possibly the Tuesday.

Will fbb be the sole passenger yet again?

Cartographic Compilation Commission
Where is this?
And, even harder, WHEN is it?

If it is of any help, here is a more geographically accurate version based on very old maps.
The key feature in the diagram version is the river Nene.

No prizes for identifying the location - but fbb will doubtless reveal a little more in due course. 

This may help!

New Stock for New Castle & Sunderland
Very swish! And as is now almost compulsory, the carriages are "walk through" with wide gangways.

Brutalist or Beautiful in Brum
The iconic block house signal box at New Street station is now closed with all signalling transferred to somewhere exotic. China perhaps? 

Not quite yet - but anytime soon!

Notwork Rail is offering tours before the innards are ripped out and it is turned into a Costa Coffee shop. (fbb hopes that idea is a joke, but you never know!)

Proposal for Porcine Pilots?
Actually, fbb cannot think of any part of these proposals that has any chance of ever happening at any time in the future.
Kite Flying?

It's All On Line No 486
West Northamptonshire's web site offers details of bus service changes from March.

Yippee! Sadly it is from March 2022.
Notably we are told that Stagecoach 41 (Northampton Bedford) is reduced.
Not quite true. There are now only two journeys daily between the two towns. (click on the timetable below for an enlargement).
To be fair to young Gerald, who does the West Northants web site, Stagecoach East, operators of the 41, tell him ...
... on their current site that the 41 runs every 90 minutes. Well, it does, but NOT all the way to Northampton.

Good, innit? Here is a rare sight at Northampton's bus station.

On Saturday last, Roger French blogged about the new not very autonomous bus at Didcot, that hotbed of transport modernity. Tomorrow fbb takes a deeper look at where it operates and the background to the service and its locality.

 Next Business Park blog : Monday 6h March 


  1. Surely it would be logical to run the X30 from the Sidmouth outstation?
    Is Exeter bus station to small to accommodate it?

    1. Yes, there are 9A journeys from Sidmouth to compliment the X30 and an extra 9 from Exeter to compensate. Finishing the X30 at Paris Street is more customer friendly than the bus station.

    2. Yes Exeter bus station is too small. Ridiculous such a modern interchange excludes certain SC services, all independents & express coach services which now pick up in a back street. You couldn't make it up. A recent press article highlighted stranded passengers due to services being forced to use the wrong bays due to congestion.

    3. The return extra positioning 9A virtually follows an existing one from Seaton.

    4. City route A soon starts serving the bus station as the only city service to do so

  2. Note the X30 does not serve honiton road p and r and rums into town via the old Red route. The return journey starts from the old coach stop by Subway which is not great. Also, into town traveline has it non stop from Pinhoe Sainsburys which I assume is wrong as its most stops the other way.

  3. For the sake of accuracy, as at 5 March, the website shows all the Arriva North West registrations that would be affected by the depot closures as still registered. The allegation that they have been cancelled is therefore incorrect.

    1. Changes for the 22nd April don't have to go off to the Traffic Commisioners until the end of this week, presumeably the changes are still going through the statutory consultation with the local authorites.

  4. According to an article in Modern Railways, the intention for the New Street box is for it to remain active within a railway context. Primarily as a training location for signallers so they don't tie up space in the main centre. The replacement for New Street box is at Saltley, where other regional signals were already being run from. Reportedly it is the proximity of the box to the running lines that causes an issue with releasing for 3rd party usage.

  5. The map is of Peterbourough city bus routes, some time in the past, possibly from the days of the Peterborough Bus Company as the route numbers shown would otherwise have clashed with Cambridge.

  6. Presumably X30 is a new Devon BSIP route which may - though very infrequently - help City students not served since the Red P+R was withdrawn along Monkerton Cumberland Way as well as providing East Devon students with new faster direct links?

  7. The Eastern Counties Peterborough map dates from around 1967/68 I think.