Monday 28 August 2023

Improved Weekday Service for the Isle of Axholme

The Hornsby Travel part-subsidised service 399 between Scunthorpe, the Isle of Axholme and Doncaster, operating Monday to Friday, will be revised and improved from next Monday, 4th September.

From Scunthorpe:

  • The 0645 'fast' from Scunthorpe to Graizelound is diverted to Westwoodside.
  • The 0830 from Scunthorpe to Doncaster will operate at 0900.
  • The 0910 from Belton to Westwoodside will operate at 0920.
  • A new 1100 'short' from Scunthorpe to Epworth is added.
  • The 1230 from Scunthorpe to Westwoodside is amended to become a 1300 from Scunthorpe to Doncaster.
  • The 1605 (College Days)/1620 (College Holidays) from Scunthorpe to Graizelound is terminated at Westwoodside.
To Scunthorpe:
  • The 0725 from Graizelound to Scunthorpe becomes a 0728 from Westwoodside to Scunthorpe.
  • The 0930 from Westwoodside to Scunthorpe will operate at 0938.
  • A new 1136 from Epworth to Scunthorpe is added.
  • The 1215 from Doncaster to Scunthorpe will operate at 1245, and also incorporates the withdrawn 1335 Westwoodside to Scunthorpe.
  • A new 1545 Doncaster to Scunthorpe is added.
  • The 1730 Graizelound to Scunthorpe becomes a 1725 Westwoodside to Scunthorpe.
Overall there is an extra journey to/from Doncaster, an extra journey between Scunthorpe and Epworth each way, simplification from removing the Graizelound extension and at certain times, a move towards an even interval frequency.

To cover Graizelound, a new 499 from Misterton to Scunthorpe is added on college days, operating from Misterton via Graizelound and Low Burnham to Epworth and then acting as a duplicate on the 399 to/from Scunthorpe. There is no replacement to Graizelound during college holidays, and I suspect Graizelound may have only been served by the 399 during college holidays to avoid too much variation to the timetable.

There are no changes to Stagecoach journeys for now, but redacted decision records on North Lincolnshire Council's website indicate that amendments maybe coming, and also to service 291.

Sunday 27 August 2023

Stagecoach September Changes in Hull

Stagecoach are amending most, but not all, of their Hull services from next Sunday - 3rd September. Not for the first time, no commentary or explanation has been provided, not even for the enhancements. So apologies if I miss anything, it's a case of doing lots of timetable comparisons to work out what has changed. Overall there appears to be more good than bad.

Services 1 and 2 from Paragon Interchange to the Boothferry Estate appear largely unchanged, except for some additional early morning journeys from the City Centre; on service 1 at 0656 Monday to Friday and at 0541, 0611 and 0641 Saturday (first service currently 0711) and on service 2 at 0715, 0745 and 0815 on Sundays (first service currently 0845). All these journeys seem to be 'positioning moves' for current early morning services back into Hull City Centre. 

Service 3 from Paragon Interchange to Orchard Park is one of the big winners, doubling from every 20 minutes Monday to Friday daytimes to every 10 minutes, and also increasing on Saturdays from every 20 to every 15 minutes. A very welcome enhancement from the current provision. 

On the other hand service 4 from Paragon Interchange to Orchard Park doesn't come out of these changes well. The new Stagecoach Hull map shows it is re-routed away from Cranbrook Avenue to it's more traditional route, using Beverley Road as far north as Greenwood Avenue - so one positive is an increased service for the section of Beverley Road between Cottingham Road and Greenwood Avenue. Otherwise the every 20 minute frequency Monday to Saturday daytime is reduced to half hourly, putting the route in the unusual situation (away from tourist areas) of having the same frequency 7 days a week. 

Monday to Friday the first service from Orchard Park moves from 0545 to 0610, but on Saturdays moves from 0700 to 0610. The final 2330 departure from Paragon Interchange is moved earlier to 2255, but with 2330 departures on services 5, 6 and 8 - which between them cover about 99% of the service 4 route - this is perhaps a good move rather than the negative it appears to be at first sight.

Also of note is that the Monday to Saturday peaktime hourly Mizzen Road extensions move from service 5 to service 4, retaining an 'A' suffix. Unlike the 5A, were the route operates 'over and above' the standard frequency, the 4A is a simple extension from Orchard Park of the main service. In the evening peak Mizzen Road gains 'counterflow' services back into Hull City Centre. I know the Hull Royal Infirmary link would be lost, but could the 4A operate all day, replacing the 1C at an improved hourly or half hourly frequency? It might give the 4 a bit more purpose.

The change of the 4 away from Cranbrook Avenue might sound negative, but it's not as service 5 from Paragon Interchange to Orchard Park and Kingswood via Cranbrook Avenue gains a major frequency uplift from the current service. Monday to Friday daytimes see the current every 20 minute service from Paragon Interchange to Kingswood supplemented by Interchange to Orchard Park shorts every 20 minutes, for a combined 10 minute frequency on this section, and doubling the Stagecoach service along Princes and Newland Avenue. On Saturday daytimes a different approach is taken, with the every 20 minute frequency from Paragon Interchange to Kingswood increased to every 15 minutes across the whole route - it makes sense that Kingswood with it's Retail and Leisure Parks can justify a slightly higher Saturday frequency, although it does mean 2 buses an hour less for Cranbrook Avenue when taking the 4's re-route into account. Monday to Saturday evenings increase from hourly to half hourly, and the last bus from Kingswood will be at 2332 rather than 2247 currently.

Service 7 from Paragon Interchange to North Point sees the Monday to Friday 1400 and 1430 from North Point withdrawn, leaving a 90 minute gap, but gains a Monday to Friday 1520 from the Interchange, partly filling a 90 minute gap. It is worth remembering the 7 is essentially a 'part-route' service 8, so there are no 90 minute gaps when allowing for both routes. On Saturday mornings departures from North Point will start at 0600 rather than 0900 - first journey opportunity currently the 0745 service 8.

Turning to circular service 8, and firstly the clockwise timetable. Monday to Friday the 1400 and 1530 from Paragon Interchange to Wilberforce College become full circulars and now depart at 1405 and 1535, in line with the standard pattern. Anti-clockwise the Monday to Friday 0852 from Wilberforce College to Paragon Interchange is now a 0835 circular from Paragon Interchange, whilst the Monday to Friday 1430 and 1600 Paragon Interchange to Wilberforce College 'shorts' are withdrawn, with the 1405 circular from Paragon Interchange moved to 1435. The gaps at 1405 and 1605 are somewhat covered by service 83, now operating year round rather than just college days; the 83 has 1400 and 1600 departures from Paragon Interchange which follow a similar route to Sutton Park. In addition new service 111 (more below) has a 1400 departure college days and a 1555 departure Monday to Friday from the Interchange.

On service 10 from Paragon Interchange to North Bransholme, and on some journeys Wawne, the Monday to Friday evening peak frequency from North Bransholme into Hull City Centre is reduced from every 20 minutes to half hourly, but three extra 'shorts' from North Point are added to give a 15 minute frequency from 1640 to 1810. In the opposite direction early evening services are better spread out from the Interchange; the present 1737, 1757. 1817, 1842 and 1942 Monday to Friday become 1737, 1807, 1837, 1912 and 1942. On Saturdays there are new journeys from North Bransholme at 0505 and 0535, current first service 0605, but the 0732 from Wawne will start at North Bransholme (0702 and 0802 from Wawne remain). A 1912 from Paragon Interchange is also added on Saturdays, keeping the half hourly frequency going an hour longer.

For service 14 to Greatfield, the 2330 final departure from Paragon Interchange moves to 2251 Monday to Friday but not Saturday.

I don't normally cover college routes, but here is an exception as it is linked with service 11 and seems to have one journey which runs year round. New service 111 is to commence from Beverley to Paragon Interchange via Wilberforce College. From Beverley it operates via Woodmansey and Dunswell to Kingswood Retail Park, then as per service 11 to Paragon Interchange except for taking the service 8 diversion via Wilberforce College in East Hull. There are two morning departures from Beverley at 0740 and 0900 college days only, which operate 'over and above the half hourly service 11, likewise with the 1400 from Paragon Interchange. The oddball journey is the 1555 from Paragon Interchange which operates Monday to Friday and replaces the 1550 service 11 - is there really going to be demand for a one-way service 111 during college holidays between Kingswood and Beverley? Anyway, it's good to see the 111 as it does provide some extra journey opportunities for the general public. For the record, previous Beverley to Wilberforce College service 81 will serve Wawne instead.

There are also minor changes to routes 12, 16 and 33. The 3B and 15 also have new timetables, but I can't see any change at all.

Saturday 26 August 2023

Swapping Danby for Helmsley

I'm almost too late with this, since the service finishes for the year on Monday, but East Yorkshire's peak Summer Sunday and Bank Holiday ME1 'Moors Explorer' service from Hessle, Anlaby, Willerby, Hull, Cottingham and Beverley to Malton, Pickering and the North Yorkshire Moors has been revised for 2023. Firstly it now serves Flamingo Land theme park between Malton and Pickering, whilst secondly the service now terminates in Helmsley rather than Danby.

Sunday 20 August 2023

Acklams Coaches end final bus services

As expected, Acklams Coaches have exited the local bus service market. They gave up their Beverley and Driffield area work last October, and ceased operating their final services on Friday 14th July - the tendered 131 and 504 in Bridlington. The 131 is a workers service from Bridlington to the Carnaby Industrial Estate, whilst the 504 is an off peak service from Bempton, Buckton and North Bridlington into Bridlington Town Centre; both services operate Monday to Friday only.

From Monday 17th July, East Yorkshire took over both services, with the timetable looking to be unchanged on each route. 

Acklams Coaches continue with their extensive coaching operation, as well as school and college contracts and a Hull City football service. 

Saturday 19 August 2023

Summer Saturday X90

From Saturday 24th June to 2nd September inclusive, Stagecoach are operating a new X90 Saturday Only service from Lea (just south of Gainsborough) to Cleethorpes, via Gainsborough, Hemswell Cliff, Glentham, Middle Rasen, Market Rasen, Nettleton and Cabourne. The service leaves Lea at 0840, arriving in Cleethorpes at 1005, before departing from Cleethorpes at 1445 and getting back to Lea for 1615.

The X90 is funded by the North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership (NNLCRP) and is intended to act as a partial replacement for the withdrawal of the Saturday Cleethorpes to Sheffield Northern Rail service via Brigg, Kirton Lindsey and Gainsborough back in May. This service had three journeys in each direction, so was relatively useful for Saturday leisure travel, but was replaced by a much less useful single daily Monday to Friday service. The X90 is therefore a welcome mitigation, albeit the restoration of the Saturday train service would be much better! It should be noted the X90 is timed to connect from/to Sheffield to Lincoln rail services at Gainsborough Lea Road Station.

I'm sure I've read that NNLCRP can't fund a service which overlaps entirely with a rail service, hence why it can't serve Brigg. That's a big shame because Brigg would benefit far more than Market Rasen from the X90. Market Rasen already has public transport access to Cleethorpes on a Saturday via a limited through rail service, including a 0857 departure, supplemented by the ability to connect via bus or train at Grimsby. Brigg on the other hand has no eastbound timetabled public transport on a Saturday, so trips to Cleethorpes either require the use of a demand responsive bus service to Barnetby Station, or catching a bus in the wrong direction to Scunthorpe for a connection there.

Additionally, I'm also surprised the service doesn't operate an hour or two later in each direction - it's an early arrival and departure in and out of Cleethorpes for a Saturday daytrip.

Monday 14 August 2023

Brigg Town Service May 2023 Revision

The Hornsby operated Brigg Town Services, provided under contract to North Lincolnshire Council, were amended from 15th May. The routes operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Service 91 to the Springbank and Churchill Avenue areas of the town was split out into service 91 for Springbank and service 92 for Churchill Avenue, the opposite way round to the pre-July 2018 timetable. The Aldi and Lidl extensions were withdrawn at the same time. Timetable wise there is now a two hour gap late morning, but there are afternoon improvements; the last service to Springbank is now at 1430 rather than 1330 Sat/1410 Tue+Thu, whilst the last Churchill Avenue service is at 1445 rather than 1330.

Elsewhere what was the 92 to Howsham and Cadney was renumbered back to the 93 as it was until July 2018. The 1345 'short' to Brigg Garden Centre was retimed to 1400.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Bus Service Improvement Plan in North East Lincolnshire

A bit late with this, but back on Sunday 7th May, Stagecoach introduced changes to most services in North East Lincolnshire, linked to the area's successful Bus Service Improvement Plan bid. As I've already posted the 250 lost out, but local services had more mixed fortunes. There are some further changes from Sunday 3rd September, which I also cover below.

Service 3 between Laceby Road Morrisons, Nunsthorpe, Grimsby and Cleethorpes saw some minor Sunday evening improvements in May, and from September gains a new 0500 from Morrisons Monday to Friday (first bus currently 0530) whilst the last service from Morrisons daily will be at 2315 rather than 2245. Service 4 from Laceby Road Morrisons to Laceby Acres, Grimsby and Cleethorpes saw some minor evening improvements in May, whilst September sees some further changes; most last evening buses will be half an hour earlier, except for Grimsby to Morrisons which will be half an hour later.

The 'core' of service 5 between Grimsby and Immingham has remained but with changes 'around the edges'. In May the first 3 services to Immingham Monday to Saturday mornings were cut back to start from Grimsby rather than Cleethorpes. On Sundays the extensions to/from Cleethorpes Pier were withdrawn in favour of a daytime extension to Tesco Extra at Hewitt's Circus, operating via the service 50 route along Ladysmith Road; a somewhat oddball extension but I presume driven by operational reasons to allow interworking with service 10, which in turn maintains an indirect through service to Cleethorpes Town Centre. September's changes add some extra early morning journeys between Grimsby and Immingham, including the first service from Immingham Monday to Friday now operating 20 minutes earlier at 0535 rather than 0555.

Service 6 from Wybers Wood to Grimsby was extended in May to Cleethorpes Town Centre via Ladysmith Road and Clee Road, replacing service 7 along the former and the 250 along the latter. This provides new Monday to Saturday links from Wybers Wood and the Willows Estate to Cleethorpes (and maintains a direct Sunday daytime service), as well as giving Ladysmith Road a direct Cleethorpes service plus a new Sunday service (along with the 5), whilst Clee Road goes from an hourly to half hourly service Monday to Saturday daytimes and also gains a new Sunday daytime service. Overall lots of positives here.

In contrast service 7 was very substantially reduced. The route had operated half hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes from the Grange Estate to North Sea Lane via Bargate, Grimsby Town Centre, Ladysmith Road, Curzon Avenue and Hewitt's Circus Tesco Extra; peak time services started at/extended to Laceby Village. Since May however, the 7 has been reduced to an off peak hourly service from Grimsby Town Centre to the Curzon Avenue area only.

Looking in more detail and Laceby Village received no replacement services, leaving it with the 53 and 250; the first service from the village into Grimsby is now the 0754 53 rather than a 0622 service 7.

For the Grange Estate off peak service 12 from Bradley Park to New Waltham via the Grange Estate, Littlefield Lane, Grimsby and Cleethorpes was doubled from hourly to half hourly between Bradley Park and Grimsby Town Centre as a partial replacement. Great news for Bradley Park and Littlefield Lane, whilst half hourly does seem a fair service for the Grange Estate. There are however two problems; firstly the 12 serves some roads in the Grange Estate in one direction only, meaning a walk or trip via Bradley Park, and secondly the limited operating hours - 0911 to 1411 into Grimsby from the Grange Estate, and 0917 to 1417 from Grimsby Town Centre. 

Ideally the 12 would operate for longer each day solving at least one of those problems. Assuming any extra journeys are deemed unviable though and the only service which could easily be diverted is the 250 providing a 60-90 minute frequency during the peaks and late afternoon. Short of cutting Bradley Park off the route, no easy answer to the one-way routing in the Grange Estate unfortunately. 

Whilst on the subject of the 12, the May change saw the 0705 from Waltham to Grimsby withdrawn and the 1740 return cut back to terminate at New Waltham. The 1400 from New Waltham to Grimsby Monday to Saturday became a Saturday only 1410 departure. 

Returning back to the 7, and I doubt the service is missed too much along Bargate between the Grange Estate and Grimsby Town Centre, which is already very well served with buses. Elsewhere Ladysmith Road gained the 6 as a replacement - unless passengers were heading to the Colleges or Tesco Extra, the 6 is probably more useful with it's direct Cleethorpes link. Meanwhile in Humberston, the 9 and 10 were extended from North Sea Lane to Hewitt's Circus, providing for a more frequent local link every 15 minutes, albeit less attractive for journeys into Grimsby.

The remnants of the 7 now leave Grimsby via Hainton Avenue rather than Ladysmith Road, providing an off peak replacement for the 250. It then operates via Weelsby Road before providing a one-way loop via Windsor Road, Curzon Avenue, Warwick Road, Brian Avenue, Middlethorpe Road, Taylors Avenue and Humberston Road. Departures leave Grimsby hourly between 0857 and 1357 Monday to Friday and from 0857 to 1657 on Saturdays. A basic shopping link from Windsor Road, Curzon Avenue, Warwick Road, Brian Avenue, Middlethorpe Road and Taylors Avenue into Grimsby, with the peak time service not replaced, and no indirect through service to Cleethorpes Town Centre as used to be provided by service 7 interworking with the 9 or 10 at North Sea Lane. It should be noted the 4 and 12 do also operate in the broader area.

Things do get slightly better from the September Changes. The Windsor Road to Middlethorpe Road section will be served in both directions, with most of Humberston Road (that has no stops on the section concerned) omitted. A new loop is also added via Belvoir Road and the Humberston Road side entrance to Hewitt's Circus Tesco Extra; Belvoir Road is also served by the 12 so hopefully the 7 won't abstract from the 12 here. Timetable wise, there are two extra late afternoon services Monday to Friday, last departure from Grimsby Town Centre to be 1640 rather than 1357.

Turning next to service 8, which previously operated between Grimsby Town Centre, Grimsby Hospital, New Waltham, Humberston and North Sea Lane, where it then interworked with the 9 or 10 to Cleethorpes (and beyond). Since May that interworking has stopped with the 8 extended to Cleethorpes Town Centre via the more direct service 17 route avoiding the Thrunscoe Estate. Also the 8 has been diverted via Westward Ho and Chelmsford Avenue to better serve Franklin College.

Whilst these changes might sound good news, I'm not convinced. Taking the Franklin College diversion, most students could walk quite easily to Nuns Corner and the diversion could be omitted, helping to keep journey times low. The diversion could be more use if there was a stop nearer to where it skirts the Grange Estate, but one hasn't been provided according to

Along with the 9/10 there are now six buses per hour Monday to Saturday daytimes between Humberston Church Avenue Roundabout, North Sea Lane and Cleethorpes Town Centre, which feels a bit like over-bussing. Personally I would have kept the 8 terminating at North Sea Lane, interworked with either the 9 or 10 for Cleethorpes Town Centre. The other service out of the 9 and 10 could have run to Hewitt's Circus Tesco, reducing another perhaps over generous frequency. 

Focusing on service 9 and 10 between Waltham, Grimsby Hospital, Grimsby, Cleethorpes and North Sea Lane and the main change in May was the already alluded to extension beyond North Sea Lane to Hewitt's Circus Tesco Extra. Timetable wise extra Monday to Friday early morning journeys were added, partially replacing the early morning service 5 Cleethorpes extensions mentioned earlier. Daily evening services were withdrawn between Cleethorpes Town Centre and North Sea Lane, leaving the Thrunscoe Estate without an evening service, but this section of route, extended to Tesco, will be reinstated in September.

Finally, one longer distance change from May that isn't worth a separate post, the 1440 and 1540 service 51 journeys from Grimsby to Louth were merged into a single 1515 journey Monday to Friday; Saturday times were not affected, so there is still a 1440/1540 from Grimsby.

Overall there have been some welcome improvements from the Bus Service Improvement Plan, and September's changes make things slightly better, but it's certainly not been all good news.