Thursday 25 April 2024

Surveying Historic Swansea (A P.S.)

45 Years Ago!

In 1979 fbb was Head of RE at Hinde House Comprehensive School and enjoying almost every minute. The National Bus Company had settled down to to some sort of stability and privatisation was simply not on anyone's agenda. 

The NBC had introduced a standard design of timetable book ...
Even the former London Transport country buses had succumbed
If your company followed the NBC guidance fully, you would include train services (on pale blue paper), express services on yellow and other operators' routes as well. 

There was provision for a standard design of map to be included folded and attached to the inside of the back cover.
The above is a poor quality extract found on-line.

In 1979 South Wales Transport did not follow all these provisions but kept to the main layout design with a simplified monochrome fold out map.

Roger French, who back in those far off days worked for SWT, has kindly sent photos of services that operated from Swansea to the Mumbles.  So arriving by email were both timetable and map extract.

So how does 1979 compare with today's offering.

From 6th May) we have three buses an hour to Oystermouth. The 3A continues to Bracelet Bay but takes a massive diversion via West Cross ...
... whilst the 2 (2A on Sundays) makes it more directly to Oystermouth then zooms off on a badly explained loop (poor timetable design) returning via Bracelet Bay.
Now lets step back to 1979/

West Cross has its own service (route 6) ...
... running every 20 minutes.
Note that, before the development of Singleton Hospital (now vast) ...
... buses tan through the city centre to Morriston Hospital to the north of town.

Boarpit appears to be the destination name! Sounds gruesome! The map also shows a 36 and 37. 

The 36 is a 30 minute shuttle from Oystermouth to the estate.
The 37 is an occasional Monday to Friday variant running from Swansea ...
... via Sketty.

The closest to the upcoming 3A (if you  ignore its wiggle via West Cross) is provided by routes 1, 2 and 3.
Once again wth journeys from Morriston, these three provide a 20 minute headway to Oystermouth.

Service 1 continues as the upcoming 3A to Bracelet Bay but presses on a couple of stops further to Limeslade.
Here is a modern map showing the present and the old terminus.
In 1979 these two bays warranted only one bus an hour rather that the 3A's two. 

The 1979 2 and 3 turn tight at Oystermouth (as todays 2, 2A).

The 1979 3 terminates at Newton ...
... actually at Picket Mead. WARNING : possible blunder by fbb. See the Weekend Variety blogs!!

The 2 continues round the picturesque coast to Caswell Bay once served by First ...
... but, alas, no longer.
The old network map shows how much has been excised by First Bus in the last five years or so.
Try sorting this lot out from the 2019 map!
Bit, back to 1979 there is a mystery to ponder at Oystermouth. Here is a map extract.
fbb can find no pictures of the bus station except this ...
... of a bus "at Oystermouth bus station" which is no help whatsoever.

Comparing the present road layout with the SWT map (above) ...
... the bus station is now a car park with a small cafe.
That facility may now be closed permanently ...
... but it looks familiar. The corrugated iron roof is distinctive and, yes ...
... it was the Mumbles Railway Oystermouth station building. Here it is looking towards Mumbles Pier ...
... and here is the caff viewed (at distance) from the car park.
So the bus station was where today's cars are parked.
But what stopped there and why is well beyond fbb's pay grade. The 1979 timetables are not consistent with the 1, 2 and 3 having a time point at Oystermouth Square and the 36 showing the bus station. Perhaps the bus station was already little used in 79?

Disappointing Decline?
It is depressing to see how much has been pruned from the timetables compared with the old days (1979 - old days???). Effectively services to the Mumbles area have been reduced to half of what they were with many bits and pieces no longer served.

Some stops have been picked up by a Monday to Friday route 113 ...
...which fbb has not investigated in detail. Slacker!

Possibly when the next changes happen in the Oystermouth area, fbb will spend time looking at the 113?

 Next Wolf Club blog : Friday 26th April 

1 comment:

  1. It was Blackpill Lee-doh 60 years ago when I lived locally, and had little boats for hire. South Wales Transport transferred in all its newest buses to pacify locals when the Mumbles trains were withdrawn, including the "silver buses" as we called them - unpainted Regent Vs. But the locals were generally the better-off and early car-users when commuting, the Council wanting the railway track-bed to widen Mumbles Road.
    Sholto Thomas