Thursday 31 August 2023

Une Petite Vacance En France (1)

From Poole To Cherbourg A Pied

No 1 son plus No 1 son's Mrs took a short break in Cherbourg as foot passengers. They travelled OUT on a proper ferry operated by Brittany ditto ...
... and returned c/o Condor on one of those super sleek wave piercer catamarans.
The ferry terminus at Cherbourg ...
... is obviously a deep water facility, but too its left you can espy the entrance to the traditional harbour.
The boy plus wife booked an airbnb (which, much to fbb's eternal chagrin, do not ever serve b - which makes it a daft name. And they all have a roof and are not open to the air!) a pace or two to the east of the traditional Harbour. Joining to two halves of the harbourside is the Pont Tournant.
Interestingly this forms a useful focus for a brief wander through the history of public transport in the town.

Public Transport Progression - Tram To Bus

In 1896 a service of trams began and they were steam hauled ...
... with one if these at the front.
So the first swing bridge carried a single track for the trams and presumably what little road traffic there was.
This was then widened to a bigger bridge with double track.
Readers may like to keep their eyes on the building on the left on the far bank. This was the office, rest room and operating room for the bridge.

In 1901 the system was electrified ...
... and the swing bridge was equipped with framework and wiring to ensure electrical continuity when open to the trams.
This was similar to the set-up we saw a while back over the Forth Clyde canal in Glasgow. 

Here is a closer look ...
... with the swing bridge swung.

In 1944 Cherbourg was heavily bombarded as part of the Normandy invasions. There was huge damage, as here to the railway station ...
... and here to the swing bridge.
Trams never ran again after 1944. The bridge was, of course, rebuilt sans overhead ...
... and buses replaced trams ...
... having been introduced earlier serving the "outer suburbs"
But the name remained nearly the same with one change also beginning with "T".!
The Transport company (CTC Compagnie Transports de Cherbourg) continued to run the buses until today's franchised system took over.

A notable bus terminus are was outside the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) ...
... which us now bereft of traffic ...
... and appears to have been demoted to a Tourist Information Centre. A much larger Town Hall is located nearby.

And the swing bridge became rather boring!
But it still swings and the "cottage" HQ still stands.

Tomorrow we look at the transport network today. In doing so, we take a virtual ride to the beach with son and daughter--in-law.

 Next Cherbourg bus blog : Friday 1st September 

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Cardiff Ciutbacks Considered (3)

Bemused By Buses In Barry

Once the home of Western Welsh Transport (later National Welsh and, yes, it is confusing), with a depot in the town, fbb seems to remember that post deregulation an expansionist Cardiff Bus created a first strike onslaught on the town's bus network. Whatever the history,hb Barty and neighbouring Penarth are now very much orange territory.

The National bus company, inevitably, ran minibuses.
They made sure everybody knew!
Didn't National Welsh go spectacularly bust?

The Bus Depot is now the home to the Cardiff preservation group ...
... and they've got a  Bustler!
The preserved South Wales bus at the head of this blog is at the stop outside the depot. 

Commercially, Cardiff Bus ultimately won the Battle of Barry, decisively.

In Barry, the forthcoming changes are, arguably, less drastic than in Cardiff itself. Indeed he main drag ...
... 92, 93 and 94  via Penarth, are unchanged in frequency ...
... and, despite the horror of the 20 mph speed limit, are speeded up by two whole minutes.

Then there is the 95/95A
This basically half hourly service via Dinas Powys ...
... becomes a simplified half hourly with no variations and no extensions to Heath Hospital. The 95 no longer runs to Barry Island of former fantastic funfair fame.

The 96/96A tuns via Wenvoe as 96 ...
... with the 96A being an evening variant. The revised route is, once again, simply the 96.
Ancients like fbb will remember the name Wenvoe as one of the TV transmitters for good old 405 line BBC. It opened in 1952 ...
... and was replaced in 1980.

Maybe we should now have a current (until 3rd Sept) map.
Which leaves the 97 and 98 ...
... best thought of as Barry locals, not running through to Cardiff. The 97 wiggles to Gibbons Down with alternate journeys going "the other way round" offering a bus every half an hour to equidistant points on the loop.
On Saturdays, only the 97A runs.

The 98, shown here for both directions in close proximity ...
... gives up early in the afternoon and runs not at all on Saturdays,

Now look at a close-up on the new network map from Sunday onwards.
The 97, 97A and 98 are replaced by B1 and B2.

B1 and B2 each run hourly so Gibbons Down retains its half hourly headway! Clever, eh?
Highlight Park now has a "proper" hourly service Monday yo Friday but only the B2 runs on Saturdays, similar to the 97 before it; but now only hourly to the estate.

Barry Island also has its service halved and provides no link from Cardiff to the fun factory as was.

Under the circumstances, fbb must congratulate Cardiff Bus. Broadly all Barryites keep their bus service with only minor reductions and, hopefully some costs have been squeezed out of the teetering budget.

Of course none of this would have been necessary if Cardiff Bus were not trying to balance its books. A franchise deal would allow better cross fertilisation between profitable city routes and socially desirable marginal services.

But, worry not in the medium term. If the Welsh Government takes over responsibility for the buses as well as the trains, taxes can rise, fares can drop and bus services will be secure for ever and a day.

A good day out?
P.S. fbb always thought that the doomed National Welsh livery was one of the better privatised NBC efforts; and just that little bit "different".

Tomorrow we are going here ...
... and sampling its buses. It is a franchised network.

 Next Cross-Channel blog : Thursday 31st August 

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Cardiff Ciutbacks Considered (2)

Political Double Think  - Twenty's Plenty

We all know that the Welsh Government is busting a gut to improve public transport ...
... to encourage more people to travel by bus ...
... and, ultimately, to hand all bus services over to Transport for Wales.
So, as part of this pro public transport policy, from 17th September, all 30mph speed limit areas are to become 20mph areas. This will slow down buses in urban areas and increase their costs, making more services unviable - as we are seeing in Cardiff.

On the map of the capital below only those roads shown in puce will have a higher speed limit that 20mph!
The effect on Cardiff's roads is even more stark in the city centre.
Something of an own goal, eh?

All Gone But Not Quite

Scrolling down the list of changes to the"withdrawn services"+ section we find a batch of secondary services that are being withdrawn without replacement. Some of them take passengers to Heath Hospital. So good news for the frail and vulnerable, then?

51 & 53: City Centre - Pentwyn - City Centre
No direct replacement is planned at this stage and Cardiff Council are considering their tender opportunities.  However, on weekdays an early morning journey on new route 54 (see New Services section below) will offer a direct link to UHW Heath Hospital.  For Pentwyn and Llanederyn, services 57 & 58 remain unaltered in the route they follow but will have a new timetable.   For Cyncoed, the route of service 52 will remain unaltered but there will be a new timetable.

These link Pentwyn ...

... and Llanederyn ... 
... in a huge loop. They run hourly Monday to Saturday but with less journeys on the Saturday. Extract only below.

The new service 54 mentioned in the text is just one journey! Big deal!

64: City Centre - Pentrebane - Danescourt - UHW Heath Hospital  

No direct replacement is planned at this stage and Cardiff Council are considering their tender opportunities. For Fairwater and Pentrebane, the route of service 61 will remain unchanged, but there will be a new timetable.  For Danescourt, routes 62 and 63 will follow their existing route but with a new timetable.  For Llandaff North routes 24 and 25 will follow their current routes, but with a new timetable.

This goes all over the place via Pentrebane and Danescourt ...
... and on via Llandaff North and Whitchurch ...
... before terminating at the hospital, just off the downloaded map, upper right.
A service only from city to Pentrebane runs on Saturdays.

65 & 65A: UHW Heath Hospital - St. Mellons / Llanrumney

No direct replacement is planned at this stage and Cardiff Council are considering their tender opportunities.  A partial weekday direct journey is introduced on new route 54 (see New Services section below) to offer a direct bus arriving at UHW Heath Hospital at 07:40. Please see details above for revisions to routes 44, 45, 49 & 50 that operate in Llanrumney and St. Mellons. 

This has a very bitty service between Hospital and the big estates, Llanrumney ...

...and St Mellons.
The timetable is hardly spectacular ...
... and not very well presented. It runs Monday to Friday only.

66: City Centre - Fairwater

No direct replacement is planned at this stage and Cardiff Council are considering their tender opportunities. For Llandaff, the route of service 25 will remain unchanged, but there will be a new timetable; similarly for Fairwater, the route of service 61 will remain unchanged, but there will be a new timetable.

This is something of an infill service between two more frequent routes (61, 62/3) ...

... but it does have a tidy fixed interval service.

Astute readers will have spotted the Mantra associated with each table:-

Cardiff Council are considering their tender opportunities.

Here it gets a bit silly. Who is the only shareholder of Cardiff Bus? Correct - Cardiff City Council! So Cardiff City Council (bus company) goes peaked cap in hand ...
... to Cardiff City Council (moneybags) who after due consideration offers Cardiff City Council (bus) a bag of pennies to operate a set of replacement bus services for those that are withdrawn. But, according to Cardiff City Council (bus) accounts, Cardiff City Council (moneybags) has already stumped up £12.60 million(!) to keep Cardiff City (bus) from sinking inexorably into the depths of the River Taff.
But a replacement service (and fbb means just ONE replacement service) was announced as recently at 23d August. Here is the timetable for routes 101 and 102.
The somewhat reduced service runs only on Monday to Friday. 

As yet the new route has not appeared on the network map; but young Dai has bough a new yellow dayglo pen and inked in all the roads served by the 101 and 102.

This cobbled together route serves most of the bits vacated by the withdrawn services but nothing runs into the city centre.
65 and 65A
and 66
With profuse apologies to all if fbb has misunderstood. Will Cardiff folk understand it? Unlikely!

Without a doubt the portmanteau services are a very poor replacement for those that vanish this coming weekend. fbb reckons that after a few months the 101/102 will be withdrawn because of very low numbers.

fbb awaits with eager anticipation the new network map incorporating the 101 and 102. It will be a major cartographic exercise fitting its multiple gyrations neatly into the September 2023 production.

Tomorrow we go to Barry ...

... but not the one who has just (on Sunday evening) won the European Masters snooker match in Hamburg.

 Next Barry Bus blog : Wednesday 30th August