Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

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JustinTyme
Posts: 56
Joined: 20:20 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Solihull

Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

Post by JustinTyme » 21:16 Thursday 30th August 2018

Johnsons are withdrawing the X20 Stratford - Birmingham on weekdays after operation on Saturday 1st September. It will be replaced by a new hourly 20 running Stratford - Shirley Station. Reduced usage and bad traffic at the Birmingham end are given as the (valid) reasons.

The Sunday service will continue to run through to Birmingham. Since January Johnsons have been running the Sunday X20 and the Sunday 50 (Stratford - Chipping Norton) on Warwickshire tender. Buses run through, and from Sunday 2nd September both services will be renumbered X50 - that number comes back on this road yet again.

The usual vehicles on the X20 have been Johnsons' three Enviro 400 MMCs, although single decks have been increasingly been used in recent months, especially on Saturdays when two double decks are required on Stratford Park & Ride.

Unless the Enviro 400s are used on the 150 instead, it looks like the only non-National Express double deck service in Birmingham will be Arriva's 110, Birmingham - Tamworth.

Noggin1
Posts: 37
Joined: 13:58 Sunday 16th October 2016

Re: Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

Post by Noggin1 » 09:19 Friday 31st August 2018

It is sad to see another Red route go (almost). The train service to Stratford has improved over the years, but if you're actually close to the bus route, it must be a reasonable choice. Hockley Heath will be the most inconvenienced. Johnsons is a very decent company and I would have liked to see them prosper in the bus world, but they have had setbacks. Good news for Johnsons is that NXWM will stop running their peak time only 50 extensions from the Maypole through Wythall. Not so good news for people at Wythall but it should help Johnsons 150 service to Redditch survive. Johnsons have also somehow regained the 6/7 Stratford to Banbury service from Stagecoach Oxfordshire.

Of the old Red routes to Birmingham city centre, apart from those integrated into NXWM (some pleasingly had retained their Red numbers, though after tomorrow the 120 becomes the 12, and the 126/140 becomes the X8, plus there are a few 'ghosts' from the past - I always recall the 107 when seeing a 907 and the 114 when seeing the X14), the survivors from the MROC era are the 110, 144, and 146. It was Diamond which restored the 146 to a proper hourly service, and I am pleased to be able to say something good about them! I remember travelling the X6 when there were an X6, two X7s and two 147s an hour to Redditch. It was the cross city line which killed those services, but for all cross WMPTE border services the stretch from the boundary to the city is too great without picking up a passenger. Somehow that border is still there and buses enter a different world when they cross. We will see what effect the 3 cross city trains an hour to Bromsgrove has on the 144. As for the 110, that does actually pick up real numbers of passengers in competition with NXWM.

JustinTyme
Posts: 56
Joined: 20:20 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Solihull

Re: Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

Post by JustinTyme » 21:04 Saturday 1st September 2018

Good points Noggin1.

The 110 thrives because it has been successful in attracting local passengers, uses high quality double decks (Sapphire 64-reg Enviro 400s) and has a good presence (every 15 minutes M-F). I work in Birmingham city centre and I've had a number of fast lunchtime rides to Erdington and back along the Aston Expressway. A hybrid Wright Streetdeck demonstrator was used on the 110 for a week or so in the summer, but unfortunately wasn't around when I had my lunchbreaks!

As for the X20, Hockley Heath has a half-hourly Diamond service to Solihull nowadays, which I imagine has probably taken a good chunk of custom from the X20. Solihull is an attractive shopping destination, and Hockley Heath is in the Borough of Solihull as well. Delays on the Stratford Road through Sparkhill in particular has played havoc with the X20 timetable, and realistically it has probably often taken an hour or more to reach Birmingham from Hockley Heath.

Noggin1
Posts: 37
Joined: 13:58 Sunday 16th October 2016

Re: Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

Post by Noggin1 » 08:14 Sunday 2nd September 2018

Thanks for the reply, JustinTyme.
I'm from the BMMO era myself so I tend to forget the immense changes such as the rise of Solihull as a destination compared to the city centre. The Midland Red 150 to Stratford was basically only hourly, so I think that Johnsons have done well to keep the X20 going so long. They tried the S20 to Solihull, but I suppose it couldn't compete with the half hour Diamond service from Hockley Heath. Unfortunately I don't see any new opportunities for Johnsons in running commercial services.

Yes, for the knowledgeable the 110 is the quickest bus on the road to Sutton. The 110 has a small piece of Sutton to serve around Whitehouse Common and is the best way to Good Hope from Erdington. I've read somewhere that at one time Travel West Midlands feared that Arriva would move into Sutton in a big way. The Aston Expressway has kept the Sutton bus routes competitive with the cross city line.

I have often wondered whether First could have done something similar to the 110 with the 144 but the lack of a depot at Bromsgrove is a problem and I suppose that nowhere along the Bristol Road is a destination for Bromsgrove people in the way Sutton is for Tamworth people.

ANDREW
Posts: 210
Joined: 00:38 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Bromsgrove.

Re: Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

Post by ANDREW » 13:06 Monday 3rd September 2018

One of the "Bards Buses" double deckers was on the C1 college service in Bromsgrove this morning. ;)

DD12
Posts: 739
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

Post by DD12 » 13:11 Monday 3rd September 2018

ANDREW wrote:
13:06 Monday 3rd September 2018
One of the "Bards Buses" double deckers was on the C1 college service in Bromsgrove this morning. ;)
"Watch-out First" -- I don't want FMR to lose any DD work, and Johnsons might be looking this way !!

DD12
Posts: 739
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: Stratford - Birmingham ending (almost)

Post by DD12 » 14:46 Monday 3rd September 2018

P.S. -- Does anyone know if Johnsons newest DDs are Euro 6 spec ?

(If so, perhaps First could make Johnsons an offer for them :D )

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