Sunday 12 May 2024

Sunday Variety : Counting The Pennies

Finance For First Bus Foray

Revision Time!

Not that long ago, Stagecoach operated two buses an hour between Chesterfield and Killamarsh with a hourly extension to Sheffield. Evening and Sunday services were tendered and, in an attempt to keep everyone happy, the tendered timetables wer different from normal and VERY confusing.

It is not surprising that passenger numbers fell and Stagecoach replaced the mess with route 80.

This provided an hourly service all the way between Chesterfield and Sheffield! BUT it ran "fast" into the city via the Crystal Peaks shopping hell mall. 

Then as recently as last year came the announcement that Stagecoach was cancelling the 80 with no replacement.

In steps White Knight Hulleys of Baslow with its version of the 80 ... 

... also clever operationally but hard to decipher for the poor passenger. 
Not very conducive to passenger contentment is the cutting of the service at Crystal Peaks with no journeys through to Sheffield. Of course there is the tram and frequent service 120 - but your average passenger loathes changing en route.

Also a bit confusing were occasional buses through to Bakewell as pictured above; and the use of a second hand Pulhams single decker thus not in Hulleys livery!
So it was that in January 2024, accompanied by a tear-jerking and VERY lengthy notice from Hulley's noss, the company announced that it was pulling our of the 80 from May - from today in fact!

Obviously the bad news led to Derbyshire County seeking an operator for a rendered timetable.

Accordingly the tender was won by First Bus which will take them back into Derbyshire and back into Chesterfield after losing (or was it giving up) various Ex Sheffield Transport routes to the twisted spire post deregulation.
Beating in mind First have an unchallenged reputation for withdrawing services in all their operating areas at the slightest sign of financial decline, bidding for a dodgy tender (and, presumably, underbidding both Hulleys AND Stagecoach) seems an odd business plan.
From today the buses only run from Chesterfield to Killamarsh ...
... making a workable (and cheap!) two buses in steam operation. BUT there is nothing to Crystal Peaks and northing to Sheffield.

But First has a cunning plan!
Extend one First journey every hour on the frequent 120 city route from Crystal Peaks to Killamarsh and everybody will be happy. Give it the route number 120k.
Maybe not everybody will be rejoicing, as a journey through to Crustal Peaks or Sheffield fom ome of the Derbyshire villages will still involve a change but at least Killamarsh folk have a bus to the big city.

The Derbyshire timetable library shown only the Killamarsh to Sheffield journeys without the clutter of the rest of the 120.
fbb is spending a few days in Sheffield at the end of June and a ride from Chesterfield through to Killamarsh and on to the 120 is on the agenda.

The Puzzle Picture


For some time, York station was within the city walls and formed a terminus, even after the main line was extended northbound. This involved the architectural vandalism of making big archways through the historic city walls.
This is why the main road into the city and past the present station rises up then drops back down for no apparent reason. It is to cross the now nonexistent tracks into the old station.
The arches are still there but nothing of a railway nature now passes through them.
And here is a view from atop the city walls today. The road bridge is clearly visible as is part of today's station.

Sustainable Stagecoach Subsidy (1)?

The event is the formal "launch" of the first of 23 Yutong electric buses for Stagecoach's Rawmarsh depot. 
These will be deployed on route 221 (Rotherham Mexborough Gainsborough Doncaster) ...
... running every 20 min.
... and the 22X ...
... also every 20 min from Rotherham to Barnsley.
The odd route number takes us back to a time when First decided to "have a go" competitively at Stagecoach in Rotherham and Doncaster.
First started to operate from Rotherham to Barnsley as route 22, promoted by two yellow ducks.
The competition did not last!
There will be more, tomorrow, on the financial implications of these trendy vehicles ...
... plus an intriguing comparison old versus new; AND ...
... a book review.

A Celebration ...

... of the new series of Dr Who which started yesterday with a whopping 1820 to 2000 double launch episode. Disney has a strong financial input into this new series which may well mean it loses its quaintness. fbb WILL have watched it by the time you read this.

Northampton Alan sent a picture of a possible location shot ready for one of the new episodes.

At first glance, the new monsters, The Horror Logical Bundi ...
... seem a little "static". But we thought that about the Daleks until the slime balls inside were revealed and they learned to "fly" up and down stairs.. Who knows what that keyhole will expose?

Whovians will be watching eagerly.

P.S. Not very impressed with yesterday's episodes. Too silly. The new Doctor is also too silly. Disappointed. Bring back David Tennant! fbb's idea of the Bumdi seems quite sensible by comparison. Maybe we see the influence of Disney?

 Next Variety blog : Monday 13th May 


  1. The York bridge was demolished last month.

  2. For Gainsborough read Conisborough :)