Wednesday 27 December 2023

Post-Festive Pot Pourri (1)

A CHRISTmas Surprise In Portsmouth

But only if you can find it!
A popular family game at the Festive time is to send the kiddies off to hunt for something. It may be a real thimble, it may br a real live person; but the fun is looking and finding.

You would think  that a brand new service pattern in the Solent city would be easy to find on-line. It isn't.

Correspondent Peter had informed fbb that Portsmouth City was funding CHRISTmas Day buses, the first such for, well, some considerable time.

fbb tried finding them on the Council's Public Transport web site but was offered nothing except links to First Bus ...
... or Stagecoach ...
... neither of which were prepared to admit that they were running buses in the city on Christmas day.

Frustratedly, fbb typed in "Portsmouth CHRISTmas buses" and up popped a page - from where he knows not - with a chart of happenings over the festive season.

And, lo and behold, this was part of the chart.
On the big day, Stagecoach was operating routes 21 and 23 every hour and the same every half hour on Boxing Day.
21 (LIME GREEN) leaves the city via Anchorage Park whilst 23 (MID BLUE) runs main road via North End.
The 21 serves Havant And West Leigh, the 23 Warren Park. Both serve Leigh Park centre.
Historically, Stagecoach routes were with Southdown whilst First Bus bought the Portsmouth Corporation operation.
First's 7 (DARK BLUE) runs via Waterlooville to Wecock Farm whilst 8 (CYAN) continues up the London Road to ...
... Horndean and Clanfield.

Meanwhile, more locally ...
... route 2 (ORANGE) and route 3 (BROWN) find their way to Paulsgrove with the 3 continuing to Fareham, In the city itself, these are joined by the very local route 1 (MID BLUE)
... serving Eastney.
Arguably, this is a very positive use of some of the city's BSIP (Grant) money kindly donated by you and me via our tax bill. 

But the buses might have been better used if potential passengers could find timetables easily.

fbb couldn't and, please note, the old man's alcoholic intake was just one glass half full of white wine and topped up with soda.

Yesterday he did prepare a substantial Full English for self and No3 son but, after a post brunch nap and a gentle stoll round Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth, his brain was no more (or no less) addled than usual.

So this new festive service has cost the "public purse" a reasonable bag of shiny pennies.

CHRISTmas Normality Across the Water
Meanwhile across the Solent, GoAhead's Southern Vectis operated its usual Christmas Day network commercially.

And on Boxing Day a normal Sunday service was operated - also commercially.

The timetable are in the Timetable Book as well as being on-line and have been in place since October!

Interestingly, Southern Vectis is the ONLY GoAhead company to run a significant network service on "The Big Day" covering almost ALL the main Island settlements. The network has operated for many years, the people are used to it and use it. Christmas Day and Boxing Day buses have never received a penny of subsidy and are reported to operate "better than break even".

So Portsmouth has a long way to go.

Will the city get there before Government shiny pennies run out?

PLEASE NOTE : GoAhead Brighton and Hove also ran a Christmas Day service on five routes in 2022 for the first time in recent history. A similar schedule operated this year. Does five routes count as a good network in Brighton?

A Present fbb Would not Want!

Known affectionately by aged train spotters as a "Dub-D", the WD class of steam locos got its name because they were commissioned by the War Department and ended up being sold all over the world.

Yet another new-ish model making company, Ellis Clark Trains has recently moved from specialist "O" gauge stuff to dipping into into the "OO" gauge market. The company shows its key staff in its adverts.

The boss is Albert (right) assisted in day to day operation by Ellis (left). Their first loco is, indeed, a superb model of the Dub-D.
Because it's black, it is hard to appreciate its exquisite detail. To help with the appreciation, fbb has turned up the volume a bit ...
... so the sample looks too grey.
The advertised specification is almost beyond belief ...
... but, also beyond belief is the price - just a few pennies under £300. OUCH! Electronic control and a sound chip are, obviously, extra.

The Dub-D will not actually be mad by Albert and Ellis, that magic happens, as ever, in China!

One oddity of Albert's web site is the quoted price for all the versions.

fbb suspects that the model is not FREE but you can pre-order without paying a deposit. However you order, delivery is not expected until 2025!

Who knows what price it will be by then?

Tomorrow we are keeping the trains running at Axminster.

 Next Festive Pot Pourri blog : Thurs 28th December 


  1. Christmas & Boxing Day ran in Portsmouth last year certainly on the Stagecoach routes and l believe a couple of the First Bus routes as well. So this years running was not exactly new

    It is also to be noted that from the 2/1/24 Stagecoach are taking over 3 more routes from First Bus, the 27 in Havant and 2 services in Waterlooville.

    So more routes lost by First along with the 5? they lost earlier this year and them building a new electric bus depot in Hilsea.

  2. 'Frustratedly, fbb typed in "Portsmouth CHRISTmas buses"'

    Hmmm, what would be more logical or appropriate, if one wanted to find information about "Portsmouth Christmas buses" than.... "Portsmouth Christmas buses"?

    Sorry FBB, but once again your thinking appears to defy all reasonable logic. The relevant page was within the first 5 results on Google.


  3. The links to the Christmas services are on the front pages of both First and Stagecoach - you may have to scroll down or wait for the scrolling advert to cycle round. Stagecoach as currently typical, lists it under the Promo and Offers menu item as well.

  4. The main market for Christmas day buses will be local people not visitors from away, so what advertising was done locally? Info on buses? On bus stops? In my area, whilst we don't have Christmas day buses but we do use both methods to promote service levels over the whole holiday period.
    We also do social media posts, via the council's social media channels, website and the residents' weekly e-newsletter. OK, a visitor isn't likely to be subscribed, but the message reaches a big local audience, well beyond regular bus users. The opening point of the posts though was about the £2 fare, followed by advice to check timetables (with links) before travelling.
    We also did specific Park & Ride posts in the pre-Christmas period, and the ticket data shows it was successful, even if the casual web searcher probably wouldn't have seen any of it.

  5. Our main local provider is Cardiff Bus.

    "Christmas & New Year services" and "Christmas Park & Ride" feature top and centre of the home page.