Monday 13 August 2018

Still Here!

Hello folks. Just thought I ought to post something to indicate that I'm still here. Unfotunately, for various reasons I'm not getting out much at the moment. Apart from the recent heat, which not even my insanity would let me ride around on buses passing as saunas, my new wheels has developed a baffling fault which is restricting my movements and consuming much resources.

Also little of note has happened, certainly in our locality, except I saw today the fortnightly service between Eye and Ipswich, operated by Fareline Travel, the 121, is being axed from 4th September. I wonder how much is being saved compared to how many people will be inconvenienced. It's always been pretty well patronised when I've seen it.

Galloway are splitting the 113/114 Ipswich - Diss service at Eye from September, with a new service 112 operating the Eye - Diss section. It looks like one of those same bus connections so must be the 35km rule coming into play.

And that really is it! Even a test train that was meant to go down the Leiston branch a few days ago in the dead of night didn't make it as the points allowing access to the branch had been clipped and padlocked, and no one had a key.........

Thanks to those who have got in touch, and hopefully things will pick up again soon. In the meantime don't forget sites like Railcam, Dawlish Beach, and the utterly brilliant Big Jet TV (if you like big jets) are available for some decent armchair viewing.

Take care, all


  1. Steve, thought you might be interested in this piece. Not a lot you'd disagree with here.

    1. Nothing whatsoever, and the last two paragraphs should be rammed down every bureaucrat, councilor and politician in the land until someone finally takes notice. Thanks for recommending that.

    2. Andrew Kleissner15 August 2018 at 08:34

      "We know the price of everything and the value of nothing". Actually, that's not really true as there must be knock-on financial impacts of diminished bus services, albeit not ones which Councils will have to pay for, so their books will stay balanced.

  2. Is Fareline in the process of packing up all together?

    1. Haven't heard anything but such a small outfit it could have passed me by. I'll do some digging.

    2. The proprietor will be 76 later this year so it wouldn't be surprising if he is winding down.

  3. North Walsham Community Transport

    They appear to have deregistered all their bus service from the beginning of September. Most if not all are were pre book services doing a couple of trips a day. It is the usually nibbling away of what little is left of bus services

    1. Andrew Kleissner17 August 2018 at 22:25

      My mother used to live in Aldborough and the bus was driven by volunteers. Whether that has been the case in recent years I don't know, but I do know that they had problems in getting enough drivers.

  4. Is there any news of the sale of Galloway ?

    1. I'm assured by a very well informed source that the sale of Galloway is still going ahead. It has been held up by various random events which have slowed things down.

    2. I. Work at Galloways been there just under 30 years the latest on the buy out is it still going ahead but the sell out plans will have to start a fresh I believe the directors of stevensons are now on the board as none executive directors with a mager say in running of Galloways so at the moment the latest news is eight scania coaches are due any day for national express with some off the older coaches coming in the main fleet replacing some of the older schools coaches there is going to be a cull in the service bus fleet with the first being withdrawn is 333 the ex ipswich buses solo the following buses may soon leave the fleet soon is the daf spetra double decker as its now longer needed on the bury Stowmarket service the scania Wright bus and at the moment 278 the daf plaxton bus as its needs a new engine and may cost more than the bus is worth

  5. Free Travel at Weekends

  6. Andrew Kleissner17 August 2018 at 15:04

    That's not new - been up since July LAST year. It would be interested to know how the funding works - possibly Welsh Government rather than local authority I suspect.

  7. First Bus are making changes to most Norwich routes from September

  8. Unfortunate news is that Beestons are truncating their 236 Sudbury - Haverhill service at Clare thus reverting to the pre March 1967 situation. SCC are providing a tendered replacement between Clare and Haverhill but connections are not good. The Saturday service is withdrawn completely. Given the huge amount of dead mileage from their depot at Hadleigh, it would probably have been better for Beestons to have withdrawn completely and left it to whichever of Chambers, Felix or Stephensons wanted to run it.

    1. /the new Beestons timetable makes no sense. Most journeys have over 90 minutes on the stand at Sudbury and 15 minutes at Clare. The last bus runs direct from Clare out of service The service interval is random ranging from 1 14 hours to 2 3/4 hours. The service has more dead time than in service time. Splitting the route and the strange timetable will cost them passengers I give it 6 months to a year before they give the route up

      Not sure what the passenger loadings are but Felix only operate small buses so only really leaves Chambers. I wonder if Beestons lost the School Contract. They got a £135 a day to operate the Haverhill school services. It operated as the 236

    2. I'll give you a big hint.

      You have seen a 236 timetable. You haven't seen a duty sheet. And lets just say there are more to the duties than the 236.

  9. Elizabeth Line

    The Elizabeth line partially opens on 9 December(Officially Stage 3)

  10. Non Local News Part 1

    TfL are proposing large scale cuts and changes to bus services in Central London. Seems to be down to the near grid lock caused by the London mayor and TfL overspending

    Tottenham Court Road (TCR) – Reduce bus flows

    Route 14 (Putney – Russell Square): Cut back from Warren Street to TCR and extend to Russell Square

    Route 134 (North Finchley – Warren Street): Cut 24-hour route back from TCR to Warren Street

    King Road – Shaftesbury Avenue corridor. Reduce bus flows on King’s Road, Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue

    Route 9 (Hammersmith – Aldwych): Reroute from Pall Mall to Piccadilly for faster journeys

    Route 11 (Liverpool St – Victoria): Cut back from Fulham Broadway to Victoria

    Route 19 (Finsbury Park – Holborn): Cut back from Battersea to Holborn, New Oxford Street

    Route 22 (Putney – Piccadilly Circus): Cut back from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly and extend to Piccadilly Circus

    New route 311: New route between Fulham Broadway and Oxford Circus via Victoria and Mayfair to retain links broken by 11, 19 and 22 cut backs

    Whitehall / Westminster Bridge corridor. Reduce bus flows

    Route 3 (Crystal Palace – Whitehall): Cut back from Trafalgar Square to Whitehall

    Route 53 (Plumstead – County Hall): Cut back from Whitehall to County Hall

    Waterloo – Fleet Street corridor. Reduce bus flows across Waterloo Bridge and along Fleet Street

    Route 4 (Archway – Blackfriars): Cut back from Waterloo from St Paul’s and extend to Blackfriars via Queen Victoria Street

    Route 76 (Tottenham Hale – Waterloo): Re-route from Bank to London Wall to retain links broken by 4 cut back

    Route 172 (Bellingham – Aldwych): Cut back from Farringdon to Aldwych (note: it is unclear whether the 172 going to Bellingham is an error, the route starts at Brockley Rise)

    Route 341 (Northumberland Park – Waterloo): Re-route from Gray’s Inn Road to Farringdon Street to retain links broken by 172 cut back, terminate at Waterloo Road rather than County Hall

    Route 15H (Trafalgar Square – Tower of London): Operate heritage service only summer weekends and Bank Holidays

    Euston Road corridor – Reduce bus flows

    Route 59 (Streatham Hill – Euston): Cut back from Kings Cross to Euston, remove 3 peak jnys

    Route 476 (Northumberland Park – King’s Cross): Cut back from Euston to King’s Cross, Reduce Mon-Sat from 7.5 to 6 bph

    Marylebone Road faster journeys

    Route 205 (Paddington – Bow Church): Reroute via Marylebone Road instead of Marylebone station

    Kingsway – reduce bus flows

    Kingsland Road corridor. Reduce bus flows. (East London Line parallel)

    Route 67 (Wood Green – Dalston Junction): Cut back from Dalston Junction to Aldgate

    Route 149 (Edmonton Green – London Bridge): Reduce peak frequencies from 11 to 10 bph, add extra peak journeys and increase off-peak frequencies to give sufficient capacity

    Route 242 (Homerton – Aldgate): Cut back to Shoreditch from St Paul’s and extend to Aldgate via Commercial Street to retain links from 67 cut back; reduce Mon – Sat from 8 bph to 6 bph

    Route 171 (Bellingham – Holborn): Cut back from Holborn to Elephant & Castle

    1. Some of those make sense, some don't. Losing the link to Victoria Coach Stn from Liverpool St, Charing X etc is not good, though who knows how long the coach statin will remain there. I use the 53 a lot, but to cut it back from Whitehall to County Hall won't affect that many as the 453 overlaps. I know it all has to go to consultation, but I'd rather see the congestion that holds buses up tackled, rather than buses being deemed the cause of the congestion and removing them

  11. Non Local News Part 2

    City Bridges I (Blackfriars / London). Reduce bus flows over London and Blackfriars Bridges and on Farringdon Road

    Route 35 (Clapham Junction – Shoreditch): Increase Monday to Friday peak frequencies from 6 to 8 bph to maintain capacity from 40 re-route

    Route 40 (Dulwich – Clerkenwell Green): Cut back from Aldgate to Elephant & Castle and extend to Clerkenwell Green via Blackfriars Road to retain broken links from 45 and 388 cut backs

    Route 45 (Clapham Park – Elephant): Cut back from King’s Cross to Elephant & Castle

    Route 46 (Lancaster Gate – St Bart’s): Add 1 extra AM peak journey to maintain capacity on Gray’s Inn Road due to 45 cut back

    Route 100 (Shadwell – St Paul’s): Extend from Museum of London to St Paul’s to retain broken links from 388 cut back

    Route RV1: Subject to separate review

    Route 343: Subject to separate review

    Route 388 (Stratford City – Finsbury Circus): Cut back from Elephant & Castle to Finsbury Circus, reduce frequency from 6 to 5 bph

    City Bridges II (London) Reduce bus flows over London Bridge and Hackney Road

    Route 26 (Hackney Wick – Waterloo): Increase Monday to Friday peak frequencies from 6 to 8 bph to maintain capacity on Hackney Road (from 48 withdrawal)

    Route 48 (Leyton – London Bridge): Withdraw route

    Route 55 (Walthamstow Central – Oxford Circus): Extend from Leyton to Walthamstow Central to retain links broken by 48 withdrawal

  12. Hedingham to Withdraw the 87 from September

    The 87 from Colchester to Brightlingsea is being withdrawn from September

    1. Yep, it certainly looks like Wirst and Go-Ahead are in some race to the bottom, to see who can be the scrappiest operator in Essex.

      It raises the interesting question, what is the point of the TC exactly? Mere pen pushers, it seems.

    2. I appreciate that driver retention and recruitment is causing havoc for everyone at the moment; something else to bear in mind when we demand more services. But, despite the economics, the added headaches of a junk fleet which leaves even the drivers questioning its fitness for service, and nightmare shift changes, hardly help, do they? I think the timetabling is actually the easy bit, it's the stuff the computer can't do that matters.

  13. Kings Lynn

    Stagecoach are giving up the services 45/45A

    1. Lynx is replacing it with new service 54 from 3rd September with a revised timetable:

    2. Isn't it taken on by Coastal Reds 54 (smart numbering?)

      I don't know but is part of the reason buses are such a mess the history; routes are where and operated as they are because of some legacy/inheritance: "that's how it's always been". Perhaps Stagecoach/First/Arriva/Go Ahead etc aren't best at "local" services, but small local operators are. Horses for courses.

      Mind you if we asked many bus managers what they think they do best, would they know? Too often it's a risky (but perhaps necessary) strategy to "do what you do best". The passengers think they do know, but the answer would, I suspect, often be "nothing", especially for those operators that try to do everything!

  14. Hadleigh left in limbo over uncertain future of community bus service

    As usual there has been no publicity and no consultation, It sounds as if the decision to axe it has already ben made

    Passengers in Hadleigh have been left in limbo over the future of a vital bus service, which is set to be reviewed next month.
    The 90 bus, which is subsidised by Suffolk County Council and is run by a not-for-profit organisation, operates an evening and all-day Sunday service between Hadleigh and Ipswich.
    A review to decide whether to renew the contract for the service, which is operated by Hadleigh Community Transport, is set to go ahead at a council meeting on September 17.
    Should the service be discontinued, it is understood it could stop operating within two weeks of the decision, which has sparked concern on social media.
    “It’s so unfair that the residents of Hadleigh and the surrounding villages have no idea what the council intends on doing in September,” said Debbie Heard on the Hadleigh Noticeboard Facebook page.
    “Basically, it will come down to Suffolk County Council giving passengers and drivers two weeks notice to say they are going to terminate the 90 Hadleigh to Ipswich evening and Sunday service on September 30.

  15. hmm, I'm going to be accused of thinking too much again but . . . what's the usage figures like? I'd run out of room with the Suffolk towns with no trains or evening buses: Eye, Debenham, Aldeburgh, Framlingham, Southwold, Leiston, Bungay immediately come to mind. Hadleigh has been lucky. Even in Essex (spending some £8m on subsidy where Suffolk is I believe less than £2m): Maldon and Halstead may do (comparatively) well, but what about Tiptree, Waltham Abbey, Ongar, Thaxted ...? Much of our public transport is saved by the maligned trains. Sunday, Shotley's 202 survives and Hadleigh's 90 may not? The rationale is often difficult to understand. It hasn't changed much over the decades.

    When I've used evening/Sunday buses passengers have been very much the exception not the rule, except where the 24h jobs are, like Stansted Airport and a few of the major towns. Indeed I'd probably prefer an evening in Hadleigh (Suffolk) to one in Ipswich on the basis of my last visits to each! We can't make up imaginary demand however much we would like to.

    But the Counties and bus companies have an impossible job. With aging fleets, a dwindling driver pool, no financial case for investment, the public sector funding squeeze and the unknown unknowns, everything is going to get much worse for all the Country's public services that are already teethering on the verge of breakdown. It was our choice . . . even now I suspect we are still making it worse. Though it makes us feel better, apparently!

  16. Latest Bus cuts

    Galloway are axing the 110. Mendlesham to Ipswich service and the 118/119 Eye and Ipswich service . This is from 5th of November

    WEST NORFOLK COMMUNITY TRANSPORT are axing the 60A Operating Between: The Village Hall, Colton and Norfolk & Norwich University

    1. Looks to me like a Council-inspired thinning out of the mid-Suffolk services. Given their financial crisis and what happened to Nottinghamshire, I suspect the least we can expect. It was bigger cuts to school transport, or this.

      If anyone has used the NHS or driven local (or trunk) roads recently they'll be familiar with the concept of trimming services back to the essentials! Hourly off-peak, not necessary unless it's profitable! But is it actually so different from anywhere comparable in the western world? Herts rural services, even in a more populous county, are the same. The problems of cars, and affluence. How long can Essex buck the trend?

    2. The 118/119 is Framlingham - Ipswich, with one college journey each way extended to/from Stradbroke. Can't believe that route is being cut.

    3. The 118/119 must be getting near to re-tender time and considering the number of vehicles they might be getting rid of,it does look like they are reducing what's left of their network. If it is retendered,expect a reduced service. Like you though, I can't believe it will go altogether. Not many available to take it on though.

    4. The only contract element I can find is for the 118. That contract is shown as expiring on 24/08/2019. It shows it is subsidised for 341 days. I suspect the number of days is the days until the contract expires. The list was dated 18th June 2018. The 119 journeys appear to be commercial

      Contracts that they have that are shown as expired are

      Galloway EE304
      Galloway EE313
      Galloway EE315
      Galloway EE316
      Galloway SB384

      This are all home to school contracts EE indicates Eye area and SB indicates Stowmarket & Stowupland

      Whether these have been re-awarded I do not know as the latest update I can find if for May. I would regard the publish information as more of an indication than being a 100% accurate

      In a column headed Daily rate is shows a BSPB payment of £1766.01. In spite of the heading I suspect this must be some king of one off payment. It also shows a daily rate of M-S of £223

  17. Timetables show all 118/119 journeys as sponsored by SCC but considering the cabinet member for transport on SCC had said they are doing all they can to make routes self sustainable, there will be plenty more routes cut on that basis.