Building your new transport network… in 1974

busmap 1974

A 1974 guide to getting about Walsall, Cannock, Lichfield and Sutton by bus and rail. Click for a larger version

I’m hoping some of the bus and rail enthusiasts can help with this one – a few weeks ago I picked up a 40 year old bus route map for Walsall, Aldridge Lichfield, Brownhills and Cannock, and it’s an interesting little time capsule all of it’s own.

This is the leaflet that was handed out just after Midland Read services were pulled into the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive – WMPTE – which was controlled and run by West Midlands Council Council and the individual boroughs (I Think).

Wallow in this, it’s great.

Four quid for a month’s free travel on busses? It’s a lot more than that now. Note there’s a reference to Birmingham ‘All Night’ services. All night? Really?

Also note the little rail map. Some interesting things to note there. No station at Telford, but one labeled ‘New Hadley’ between Oakengates and Wellington. Smethwick West served that grim estate, but Galton Bridge Station didn’t exist, and neither did Snow Hill and the Jewellery Line. Halstead was called Great Bar. No services north of Walsall yet, and some odd conjoined names; ‘Grimes Hill & Withall; Birches & Bilbrook; Vauxhall & Duddeston.

I welcome comment on this, and I know one regular used to drive at least some of these routes.

One thing that will surprise you – this flimsy, worn sheet cost more – by several orders – that the 6 foot long mining plan featured earlier. It’s an odd world.

Comments, clarifications? Leave them here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

busmap1974 rear

This is worthy of study; some interesting snippets mentioned here. Click for a larger version.

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4 Responses to Building your new transport network… in 1974

  1. Pingback: Building your new transport network... in 1974

  2. Andy Dennis says:

    The 1972 Local Government Act created West Midlands County Council and came into force on 1 April 1974. However, WMPTE was created some years earlier to coordinate across what became known as the Metropolitan Area – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The PTE was controlled by the WM Passenger Transport Authority, made up of councillors from these seven local authorities. When the old WM County was abolished in 1986 West Midlands Travel took over the assets of the PTE, but the PTA continued to control it until WMT was privatised.

    As abolition of WMCC approached a West Midlands Joint Committee was established to coordinate some affairs of the seven local authorities, again made up of councillors, but with representatives from some other organisations, such as West Midlands Police. The WMJC was advised, among others, a WM Planning & Transportation Sub-Committee, including on matters of transport policy, transport planning (aimed partly at securing funds for infrastructure projects, such as Midland Metro and the road improvements recently commenced in the Darlaston area), improved bus stops and stations, and Birmingham Airport. Recently, the WMJC constitution was revised and the transport functions were largely removed (though representing the seven authorities as shareholders in the airport were retained), and a new WM Integrated Transport Authority was established in July 2014.

    This is far from exhaustive – it always has been something of a maelstrom!

  3. David Oakley says:

    Hi Bob.
    Most interested in ‘Building your old transport network…in 1974’. As an old ‘Blue buses’ driver, leaving in 1968, I had never realised the extent of the renumbering of routes which occurred after WMPTE took over. In my time, most buses had a two-digit service indicator and numbers ranged from number one to number sixty, with no gaps. After a few years service, the schedules were so arranged that a driver would cover every route. Like a never-to be forgotten army number. route numbers have the same effect. Particularly routes who were singled out by the crews for special features, such as number 41 (‘Over the Alps’.) This service from Walsall to Willenhall, via Reedswood and Lane Head, took in so much undeveloped land full of quarries , old mines and potholes, that it was virtually impossible to collect fares on this section. Service 37/38, Wednesbury/Darlaston (‘The Shovel’) no explanation needed for this busy route. Service 24, Paddock (Cripple Creek) , most unkind, certainly, but born from the frustration of crews trying to compete with a tight running time and a route which seemed to have more than its fair share of elderly people. Service 39 (‘Round the houses’), a circular route in Cannock servicing a ‘built –up area. Service 8, Cannock to Rawnsley (‘Poverty Knob’) a reference to Williamson Avenue, the Rawnsley terminus, built on high ground. With the handbrake securely on, one could wait out time, watching the activity from two coalmines, The East Cannock Colliery and the Cannock and Rawnsley Colliery, in close proximity to each other. Service 13 (‘Kippers and Curtains’) the Walsall/Streetly route. This appellation was aimed chiefly at the inhabitants from the Longwood lane area who had one of the rare Bundy clocks, mid-route and were forever telephoning if the driver left a minute early. Not all routes were so negatively ascribed, Service 46, Gorsemoor Green. Lichfield to Gorsemoor Green, was always a delight, a single-decker service, generally full of farmer’s wives on a weekly shopping trip. In the autumn. Turkey poults and young chicks would make an appearance on the bus as the result of a successful bid at Winterton’s auction, ‘fattening up’ for Christmas proved a potential source of pocket money for these ladies. There were no bus stops. Passengers would be dropped off as near their homes as possible. One can only hope that these conditions prevail. If a similar service is still provided.
    Finally, there really was an ‘all night’ service from Birmingham. Unfortunately, this terminated at the Scott Arms, I think the service was hourly, throughout the night. Walsall passengers could be seen, setting out on the uphill gradient to Hillcrest, with quite a walk still facing them.

  4. Alan H says:

    Failed to spot this and sent an email.

    Some points already covered in other comments, but it’s interesting to note that at this stage they hadn’t gone in for the “methodical” renumbering of Walsall routes in the 300s, West Brom in the 400s and W’ton in the 500s. Walsall 16 (Walsall to Lichfield) had become 296.

    Worthy of note is what happened to the numbers of the old joint services operated by Walsall and Midland Red – 865 Dudley-Stafford and its shortworking 265 Dudley-Walsall. By 1974, 865 was being used for a presumably Midland Red service from Cannock to Stafford, while the route from Dudley, renumbered 265 now went to Hednesford.

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