Sunday 21st May saw EYMS amend it's Hull to York services, and while one route was withdrawn completely, another service group saw some improvements.
As briefly already mentioned, the X4 has been withdrawn due to what EYMS say is "low numbers of regular passengers meaning that this high-mileage service costs more to run than it takes in fares." The X4, branded as the Wicstun Express, started in March 2011 as a Market Weighton to York express service with five weekday and four Saturday roundtrips. In February 2012 the service was extended to start back in Brough, also serving Elloughton, South Cave and Sancton, but reduced to four weekday and three Saturday round trips. January 2013 saw North Newbald added to the route, while in July that year the service was extended further to start back in Hull, serving North Ferriby en-route to Brough; it was also increased up to five round trips. May 2015 saw the first service from York truncated to start in Market Weighton on weekdays and withdrawn entirely on Saturdays.
As can be seen EYMS tried to make the Wicstun Express work, with various changes in the six and a bit years it operated. The X4 saved only 12 minutes over the hourly X46 from Market Weighton (plus Shiptonthorpe and Hayton) to York Station off peak, and only 5 minutes compared to the 46 to York Station Road, so despite omitting Pocklington the time saving was minor and arguably not enough for the X4 to be perceived a significantly faster service. There are now more 45/46's serving Market Weighton as a partial replacement for the X4.
Between Hull and York the X4 was slightly quicker than the X46 and in the hours it operated enabled EYMS to offer two Hull to Market Weighton and York services an hour. Was this not appreciated by passengers, or did passengers just prefer to stick to the consistent every hour X46? The train is also an option for Hull to York travel, and en-route also serves Brough.
So with other options for Hull, Brough and Market Weighton to York, Hull to Market Weighton and for local travel between Hull and South Cave inclusive, arguably the X4's USP came down to North Ferriby (very limited train service to York), Elloughton, South Cave (and Brough for OAP's with their free bus passes) to Market Weighton and York, plus the small villages of North Newbald and Sancton. Not big markets. It's a shame for North Newbald and Sancton, the latter is down to just the Friday 198, whilst the former has the 198 plus three day a week 143 - however at the start of the 2012 the only difference compared to now was the 198's predecessor, the S2, running on a Tuesday as well as a Friday.
What could have made the X4 work? An hourly service? Divert via Pocklington? Maybe, but that would have probably have been at the expense of a reduced 45/46, and at the expense of some of the X55/Petuaria Express frequencies. It would probably have meant 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.
Part of me thinks it's a shame there isn't a Saturday only residual service for York daytrippers, like the old 857 service, but I guess that such a service would face the problem of what to do productively with a vehicle and driver in York all day.
Moving on to the main X46 service between Hull and York via Beverley, Market Weighton and Pocklington, there is a revised timetable but the Monday to Saturday daytime service remains hourly. There is a new 0605 X46 from Hull on Saturdays that replaces the 0615 X4. On weekdays there is a new 0810 X46 from Hull to York which starts in Market Weighton on Bishop Burton College Days and seems to replace the previous 0915 service 46.
Evening and Sunday variation X47 now serves Barmby Moor and Wilberfoss, and while on Sundays this is to replace the 45/46, on Monday to Saturday evenings these are limited additional services for the two villages.
Sundays see the biggest change, and it's a significant enhancement. The previous every 'one to two hour' frequency daytimes becomes hourly - matching Monday to Saturday - and continuing to alternate between the X46 and X47. This does partially replace the 45/46 between Pocklington and York, but between Hull and Pocklington is a genuine enhancement which is good to see.
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