Saturday 6 July 2024

Saturday Variety

It Has Changed - For The Better?

No so many years ago, the centre of Sheffield was special - it was something to be proud of.
That well  known poet, Symington S Browning (**) wrote of his initial joy at a return visit ...
... followed by a realisation that Sheffield is much more of a sad and tatty place than it ever was. All these big stores have either closed or been significantly downgraded from their original quality.
Travelling into the city by car is horrific and expensive; bus fares have inflated way, way above the rate of inflation and buses have been pushed out further and further from the shopping areas.

The people simply aren't there. During his recent visit, fbb rode on the less frequent of the new free city centre electric shuttle routes. Publicity was excellent at the roadside ...
... and  writ large on the bus stop ...
... "things". The bright green buses looked fantastic ...
... and there were leaflets on the reception counter at the Tramvelodge!
It was all very commendable BUT ... on the three journeys fbb took, the average number of passenger per round trip was ...
... TWO - one of whom was fbb! This was, admittedly, the less frequent SC2 (every 20 minutes) but observed SC1 journeys were all very lightly loaded. 

How things have changed ...
... from  a bendybus every five minute often with standing loads.

The answer has to lie with more frequent buses to city, cheaper fares (the £2 maximum is not a big enough bargain) and the return of buses to city centre streets.

Better ifromation might nelp!

A Man, A Plan, A Tram
After a delicious tea at Greggs, Crystal Peaks, fbb returned to the city centre by tram. He was underwhelmed by the poor state of many of the tram stops ...
... where, in addition to the thrills of vandalism inadequately cleaned, you can have just two VERY hard seats with the added possibility of failing through a sheet of wobbly plastic behind you.

And often you won't be able to fully enjoy the view from a tram!
But whist waiting, fbb enjoyed a view of a "contractor" who arrived to empty the bins and install a brand new notice.
... with sonic screwdriver and a new poster inserted, affixed with blue tac.
The PTE was announcing additional trams but, of course, they NEVER show a timetable at the stops. You can scan your blobby QR code but fbb did not attempt the technological gymnastics just to see what happens.

Very helpful - NOT.

Tales From Rails
At first glance, the row of shops occupied by what is probably the UK's  largest model railway retailer, looks very impressive.  But it is actually quite small. Clearly the big business is with on-line trade!

There are three separate shops. One is for "Heritage" toys ...
... but only opens on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Next is the pre-owned section, consisting mainly of expensive locomotives reduced in price but still quite pricey as they appear to be top quality models.
The wagon buffer stools and the bench made out of chairs (?) were amusing - but the stuff was far too expensive for Mrs fbb!

The third shop was more general ...
... with one room dedicated to real second hand stuff lower down the price scale. Also in there was a rummage table of really cheap stuff ...
... which fbb eyed with a touch of covetousness. But the real treat as a small block of shelves packed with ...

... Ah, you will have to wait until tomorrow to see what the shelves were packed with and, thus, what fbb purchased!

Hello Yellow!
Twice on his various Sheffield excursions fbb was initially befuddled by bright yellow buses. Here is a double decker, badly photographed in New Betwell Street Chesterfield.
It was over enlarged because fbb fumbled his phone camera until it was nearly too late!

The other was at Bamford, making its way to the bus "interchange".
It was on route 257, previously 244 under the PTE and 44 in the hands of Sheffield Transport. It is a route which had the honour of being the very first one man bus to be operated by STD. The route runs Bakewell, Hathersage, Bamford, Ladybower, Crosspool and Sheffield.

It's a very good ride!

Both yellows were operated hy Hulleys and they are in Derbyshire as a result of the purchase of GoCoach of Sevenoaks by Hulleys a few months ago.
On balance, fbb prefers the yellow to Hulleys dark blue and cream.

Talking Of Travelodge
The view from the bedroom window was less than appealing ...
... but the breakfast was excellent and healthy as you can see.
There was adequate protein for muscle strength ...
... and very well hidden bread for energy giving carbs!
"Aye, luv, t'breads in t' filing cabinet!"

Where else?

** Symington's Gravy "Improver" was an iconic culinary must-have, consisting largely of burnt sugar and salt.
A teenage fbb used it to make the gravy when taking Sunday luncheon at Grannie's. Delish!
Please Note
Blog slightly reduced to compensate for loss of sleep caused indirectly by the Prime Minister, although he wasn't at the time.
Blog readers will be overjoyed to know that the new Minister of Transport is MP for Sheffield Heeley, Louise Haigh.
She featured in this blog some time ago when she announced she was going to sort out and improve Sheffield's appalling bus service.
The residents of the Heeley constituency, indeed all Sheffielders, are still waiting!
 Next Variety blog : Sunday  7th July 


  1. FBB says the answer is more buses but originally says that big stores have now closed in Sheffield. Doesn't matter how many buses are put on to the streets there has to be places to go! Unfortunately like many other town's/cities online shopping, working from home, out of town centres have taken business away. Back what FBB thinks was glory days of the 60s 70s or 80s there was no Crystal Peaks no Meadowhall no St James Retail Park, no Fox Valley. All these extra shopping centres doesn't make a consumer buy more shirts from the extra Next shop there are nowadays, it simply dilutes the footfall. SCC are their own worst enemy forcing buses away from the City Centre to make way for the lycra brigade and thinking all the Sheffield folk will become Dutch and cycle around the City (and it's seven hills). Unfortunately the world has changed

  2. Andrew Kleissner6 July 2024 at 09:25

    I think we may be able to guess what Fbb saw at Rails ... let's wait and see though.

  3. As others have said the issue in Sheffield City Centre isn't the buses, they are the symptom not the cause (though there are clearly issues there), it is the nearby presence of Meadowhall sucking the life out of the city centre. You could ask why the same hasn't happened with the Trafford Centre or MetroCentre but Manchester city centre is probably somewhat larger than Sheffield so can hold on to some volume and the Trafford Centre doesn't appear to have picked up quite so much regular retail than the area around Meadowhall (though I would admit that I am a much less regular visitor to Manchester than Sheffield) whilst the MetroCentre is less convenient to most of the residents of Tyneside to reach by car or public transport than Meadowhall is to South Yorkshire (it is further out, the wrong side of the city and there is a big river in the way).