Author Topic: X6 Stansted around 2003  (Read 2714 times)

Offline barryb

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X6 Stansted around 2003
« on: August 03, 2016, 10:50:08 PM »
I came across an old map of the area around my office, prepared when it was built in 2003 and that showed lots of bus numbers I didn't recognise, of which the ones starting with X fascinated me most. 

I've spent an interesting evening looking at old Campaign for Better Transport Cambridgeshire newsletters to follow the history of the longer distance services that were around at that time.

I understand why a lot of them are no more like ones that used the A14 (maybe they will come back once the A14 is a sensible usable road again???), and cross country ones to Peterborough and Wisbech that went through sparsely populated areas.  It's interesting to compare these against the fate of services to Oxford, which have gone from strength to strength (perhaps on the back of the A428 being a decent road?).

However the thing that I'm most curious about is the services to Stansted.  I've always been confused by how bad these services have been during the 10 years I've lived in Cambridge.  It's a route where coach can compete with train in terms of journey time (partly because of the location of the station), and in terms of timetabling (because people want to come and go from airports at funny times, and because the roads are available 24 hours a day but despite various rail operators desires the rails aren't).  The demand for the route is clearly there; the direct train service has roughly doubled and is always hideously busy. 

That demand is clearly also demand that *could* travel by coach; there are coaches and buses to Stansted from all over, and intense and very direct competition between coach and train operators on routes other than Cambridge.  Further, there are still 12 coaches a day from Cambridge to London (very almost as many as go to Stansted) even though that's genuinely quite a ridiculous journey to make in that manner!

At one point the coach service was half hourly, albeit before re financial crash and the decline in use of Stansted that followed.  However things have recovered since then; passenger numbers are back to normal and increasing; and the growth in train services described above has happened afterwards to reflect that.

But the current coach service is much less than hourly (with one three hour gap) and is generally priced higher than the train fare!

Why have coaches been left behind? 

 
« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 10:53:46 PM by barryb »

Offline Palatine One

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2016, 11:43:53 PM »
The X6 was the Peterborough - Huntingdon - Cambridge - Addenbrookes - Stansted service, wasn't it?

Stagecoach may be fairly good at coming up with new routes and ideas; promoting them is another matter. The X9 in its current and previous incarnations just seemed to appear with little or no publicity aside from timetables appearing - hardly informing any prospective passengers who aren't currently bus users.

Offline Cheltonian

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 07:05:01 AM »
If my memory serves me correctly the Peterborough- Stansted service was operated in Cambus Holdings days before Stagecoach took over. It was a two-hourly service that operated at the shoulders of the day, possibly filling a gap not covered by rail at that time. Even though it provided a direct Peterborough-Huntingdon-Cambridge it struggled to take off and was withdrawn. After that there was a gap of around 20 years when there was no direct Peterborough-Cambridge bus service although since the introduction of the National concessionary card, there was plenty of demand, hence the final introduction of the 'B' via the Busway.
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Offline Steven Knight Media

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2016, 09:14:01 AM »
The X6 was a Stagecoach initiative, initially using a strange mix of Volvo B10Ms which started life on Oxford Tube and then passed to the United Counties operation. I know it ran throughout the day and may have been around the time that Bedford and Peterborough depots also jointly operated the X46 Peterborough-Bedford service - however whilst Bedford use coaches, Peterborough would frequently use a Dart/ALX200!

The X6 vehicles also carried Stagecoach livery with Stansted Air Express livery. I know that driver provision was a problem at times and that Cambridge drivers were at times sent over to Peterborough to cover some of the duties.

Offline dennisdart

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2016, 05:31:21 PM »
I cannot lay my hands on any pictures of any X6 vehicles, but just to confuse the issue I have some pictures from 2000 taken in Peterborough of Stagecoach Express X7 to Cambridge, and an X55 with the helpful destination 'Stagecoach Express'.

I will look further for any X6 vehicles.

Offline Spoddendale

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2016, 08:17:42 AM »
I have front and rear shots of a Jonckheere Deauville coach in Emmanuel Street, Cambridge working the working the 1105 Peterborough to Stansted Airport service X6 on Monday 6 August 2001.

Insofar as Cambridge to Stansted Airport coach services in the past there was also the services of Premier Travel Services/Cambridge Coach Services that called in.

David

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Offline Spoddendale

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2016, 08:20:14 AM »
..... and the front (see previous message for the rear shot and text). I tried to upload the two at once but it didn't work!

David
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Offline Palatine One

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2016, 10:03:56 AM »
I cannot lay my hands on any pictures of any X6 vehicles, but just to confuse the issue I have some pictures from 2000 taken in Peterborough of Stagecoach Express X7 to Cambridge, and an X55 with the helpful destination 'Stagecoach Express'.

I will look further for any X6 vehicles.
The X7 / X55 were the Fenland routes via Chatteris and Ely, from what I recall?

Offline busman

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2016, 10:17:46 AM »
..... and the front (see previous message for the rear shot and text). I tried to upload the two at once but it didn't work!

David
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Offline dennisdart

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2016, 08:26:05 PM »
A couple more from the Peterborough end...Unbranded 402 taken in April 2001 and branded 403 taken in
May 2001

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2016, 09:08:27 PM »
Any chance of getting "WLT 471" back to attach to the front and back of RM471 (currently KVS 601) where the registration number ought to be?




Offline barryb

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2016, 09:21:44 PM »
Thanks for all the posts and memories!  I knew the forum would come good! :-)

Would anyone happen to have a timetable?  I'd be really fascinated to see one!

The X6 was the Peterborough - Huntingdon - Cambridge - Addenbrookes - Stansted service, wasn't it?

Stagecoach may be fairly good at coming up with new routes and ideas; promoting them is another matter. The X9 in its current and previous incarnations just seemed to appear with little or no publicity aside from timetables appearing - hardly informing any prospective passengers who aren't currently bus users.

This is very true, though as a consequence of the innovation often failing I'm concerned that in recent years they're going for more of a firstBus approach; constant retreat.

The X4 was a really good example of a problem I don't fully understand.  St Neots needed more buses to Cambridge as the X5 was overloaded and people were being left behind at rush hour.  The X4 did a wonderful job of providing duplicates + more.  But... nobody used it :-(  I really don't understand why.

I note that the pictures Spoddendale posted (the others are at time you'd expect the buses to be empty) show very sad and lonely looking empty coaches :-(
« Last Edit: August 06, 2016, 09:25:01 PM by barryb »

Offline Steven Knight Media

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2016, 02:14:02 PM »
I have now managed to crawl into the archives and have found a timetable for the X6 (attached)

As for other Peterborough-Cambridge services under Stagecoach I recall that these initially were routes via Whittlesey, March and Chatteris as well as a number of other areas.

There was also a route that used Thorney and Rings End before heading to March and on to Cambridge. I think there was also a Wisbech - Cambridge service at the same time that combined to provide a more frequent service between Rings End and Cambridge. Three coaches were transferred from United Counties (170-172 if I recall correctly) for this route which was to have been branded 'across the Fens'. There was a timetable with this branding on and I believe some bus stop flags also but despite branding being produced for the coaches, it was never carried.

Offline barryb

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2016, 10:31:49 PM »
Thank you so much!!!  That's really fascinating!

And such a fast service from Huntingdon to Cambridge!  Wish we had that nowadays!

Offline Elsworth Fox

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2016, 05:21:28 PM »
One wonders, if the X6 was operating today, how often it would be able to travel between Huntingdon and Cambridge in 35 minutes.  Equally, would a 16:10 departure from Stansted every make it to the centre of Cambridge by 17:00 on a normal Monday to Friday.

Offline Spoddendale

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2016, 07:11:09 AM »
I was curious as to origin of the three coaches pictured in this thread. Can anyone assist?

The registrations carried by the coach in my photo is of 401 (WLT 908) and Phillip’s photos are 402 (647 DYE) and 403 (WLT 682) have me in a quandary.

I think I read somewhere that the coaches were previously operated on the ‘Oxford Tube’ (Stagecoach South Midland/Stagecoach in Oxford/Thames Transit whatever). Bus Lists on the web shows that Thames Transit had 5 Jonckheere Deauvilles delivered in April 1994 which were registered L155-159 LBW.

In the British Bus Publishing ‘2000 Stagecoach Handbook’ all the batch was with United Counties ‘ex Stagecoach Oxford 1999’. In the 2002 book only two remained. These were L156 LBW and L159 LBW operated by Stagecoach East. The latter book quotes they carried 83 CBD and VLT 225 respectively before reverting to their original registrations.

In the 2000 book none of the registrations are listed in the ‘UK vehicle index’ so the donating Routemasters (RM908, RM1647 and RM682) don’t appear to have been in Stagecoach ownership at that time.

In the 2002 book the registrations are shown as carried by three Stagecoach East Northern Counties Palatine bodied Volvo Olympians formerly with Stagecoach London (cascaded in 2001). Stagecoach East 835 (WLT 908 formerly N335 HGK); 836 (647 DYE formerly N336 HGK) and 834 (WLT 682 formerley N334 HGK).

My photo was taken in August 2001 and Phillip’s in April/May 2001.

The fleet numbers 401-403 were not shown in the either of the two books as being applied to any Stagecoach East vehicles at the time.

David
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Offline dennisdart

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2016, 10:46:29 AM »
In PSV circle publication G254 dated June 2001, they are listed under Stagecoach Viscount:

401 ex United Counties 101 (L158LBW)

402 ex United Counties 102 (L157LBW)

403 ex United Counties 103 (L155LBW)

all re registered in May 2000



Publication G251 dated September 2000 shows them as United Counties 101-103 ex Thames Transit 31/30/18
in September 1999. 104 is also shown with registration 83CBD (L159LBW) ex Thames Transit 21

RM908 (reregistered BMJ919A) became UCOC 704

sold to Lister, Bolton in October 1991, scrapped by PVS in February 1993

RM682 (reregistered HVS737) became UCOC 703

scrapped by PVS in 1999

RM1647 (reregistered BNK32A) became UCOC 706

to PVS in 1999

exported to Cancun, Mexico as a night club in October 1999

This info came from 'Ians BusStop', an excellent website relating to the histories
of London Transport vehicles.





Offline dennisdart

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Re: X6 Stansted around 2003
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2016, 07:39:01 PM »
As a postscript, here are a couple of pictures of the routemasters with their original registrations.

UCOC 704 is in Bedford in 1988, and 706 is at the Peterborough bus rally in 1989