Monday 23 May 2011

Ripley to Nottingham

From Richard Lomas
Trolleybus timetable dated May 1952

Timetable for A4 limited stop bus service in May 1952

Timetable for B1 peak hour bus service in May 1952

A hundred years ago the only public transport from Ripley to Nottingham was an infrequent train service of about 8 trains per day over the Midland Railway’s  Butterley to Langley Mill branch line and then changing trains at Langley Mill.
In 1913, the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Tramways Company built a street tramway from Ripley to the outskirts of Nottingham at Cinderhill where it linked with the Nottingham Corporation Tramways. Through running to Parliament Street in the city centre commenced in January 1914 with the journey time reported as 1 hour 40 minutes. The service interval was reported as every 15 minutes on weekdays and Sundays and every 12 minutes on Saturdays.
            The tramway suffered from a lack of maintenance during the war from 1914 until 1918 and then from competition from motor buses from the early 1920s. By 1927 the weekday tram service was every 20 minutes from Ripley to Kimberley with only early morning and late evening journeys running through to Nottingham  with a journey time of 90 minutes. On Saturday afternoons through trams ran every 15 minutes. A subsidiary company, The Midland General Omnibus Company was founded in 1920 and by 1930 was offering a 10 minute service from Ripley to Nottingham on weekdays and every 5 minutes on Saturdays with a journey time of 60 minutes. The trams had been reduced to a few peak hour journeys on weekdays and through journeys every 30 minutes on Saturdays. The tram service continued to be reduced until 1933 when new trolleybuses were phased in with through services to Nottingham King Street commencing in October. The service pattern was every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 10 minutes on Saturdays. The journey time was 68 minutes. Motor buses continued to provide peak hour extras with the running time on the few through journeys being 60 minutes. In timetables the trolleybuses were shown as Service 1 and the motor buses as 1P (petrol).
            In August 1936 a new system of route numbering was introduced with the trolleybus service being numbered A1 and the petrol buses B1. World War II saw reductions in services and longer journey times. By July 1942 the trolleybus journey time had been increased by 4 minutes to 72 minutes. In 1944 the city terminus for motor buses was moved to the new Mount Street bus station but this did not affect the trolleybuses. The April 1948 timetable shows the trolleybus journey time as 69 minutes.

            On 14th March 1949 a new hourly limited stop bus service A4 was introduced from Ripley to Nottingham (Mount Street) with a running time of only 42 minutes. To achieve this, it only carried passengers to or from Nottingham and only had 7 intermediate stops. The A1 and B1 timetables were not affected by this new service.
            In April 1953 the trolleybuses were replaced by motorbuses. The direct replacement was a new B1 bus service with a more direct route through the city to Mount Street bus station. It ran every 20 minutes on weekdays and 15 minutes on Saturdays with a running time of 58 minutes; 10 minutes less than the trolleys. A new bus service via Ilkeston was numbered B2 running every 20 minutes on weekdays and 30 minutes on Saturdays with a journey time of 62 minutes. A new peak hour bus service was introduced on weekdays and Saturdays. It was numbered A1 and followed the trolleybus route through the city but was extended to Huntingdon Street bus station. The A4 limited stop service was unaffected by these changes. In 1954 the B1 running time was increased by one minute to 59 minutes and this service pattern continued until 1971.
            In 1971 the A4 was withdrawn without replacement. The A1 peak hour service only ran on weekdays and was diverted to Mount Street bus station. In April 1972 Midland General and Notts & Derby became part of Trent Motor Traction (now trading as trent barton). Early in 1978 services were renumbered with A1 becoming 230, B1 231 and B2 232. The service pattern was service 230 weekday peak hours, 231 every 20 minutes Mon-Sat and 232 every 20 minutes Mon-Sat.  
            In 1979 more radical changes were made with the frequency of services 231 and 232 reduced to hourly from Ripley and the running times increased from 59 to 65 minutes and 63 to 69 minutes respectively. The city terminus was moved to the new Victoria bus station. The old 230 was withdrawn and a new infrequent limited stop service from Belper to Nottingham via Loscoe, Heanor and Langley Mill took the same number. The September 1980 timetable shows that service 232 no longer ran to Ripley and that the city terminus of the 230 and 231 had reverted to Mount Street bus station. The 231 had a half hourly service and the running time was 59 minutes.  In October 1981 the terminus was back at Victoria bus station and the running time for service 231 was 65 minutes. In August 1982 the journey time was lengthened again to 72 minutes.
            The 230 was withdrawn at the time of deregulation in October 1986. Service 231 continued to run every 30 minutes with a slightly reduced running time of 70 minutes. Skills Motor Coaches introduced a competing service 229 running hourly from Ripley to Nottingham Broadmarsh bus station in 63 minutes. By February 1988 the 229 had been withdrawn but the 231 continued unchanged into the 1990s. By 1995 it had been renumbered R11. By 2003 it had been branded ‘Rainbow 1’ and the running time had increased to 73 minutes. By 2006 the running time had increased again to 75 minutes. For a short while in 2007 K&H Doyle ran an infrequent service X48 from Matlock or Alfreton via Ripley and Codnor and then non-stop into Nottingham. The running time from Ripley was 45 minutes just 3 minutes longer than the old A4.
            On Mondays to Saturdays from 31st May 2011 the Rainbow 1 service from Ripley to Nottingham will be augmented by a new hourly fast bus to be known as Rapid 1. This will call at all stops between Ripley and Langley Mill (former tram depot) and then operate non-stop via the A610 bypassing Eastwood and Kimberley to Nottingham Victoria bus station. The journey time will be 52 minutes – just 10 minutes longer than the old A4.