It’s had it’s bus wars, operators have come and gone, trentbarton have finally turned their backs and handed the area on a plate to premiere! Where are we? Toton of course.
OK, it’s not strictly true trentbarton haven’t turned their backs on Toton as the Toton corner stop is as always well served by indigo. But let’s rewind to the very late eighties and have a look at how the Toton network used to look.
First of all there was NCT. These were purely competitive routes, in the shape of Fastline 506 Nottingham – Long Eaton – Sandiacre via Nottingham Road/Toton corner (the current indigo route between Beeston and Long Eaton green) and the 37 running via Dennis Avenue then via Derby Road into town.
Toton’s dedicated service from NCT was the fastline 507. I can’t remember exactly how frequent this service was (a friend suggests it was peak time only – can anyone confirm?), but Barton’s equivalent service number 1 was hourly and also extended via New Eatons Road into Stapleford. Service 1 continued for a few years after the war with NCT untill the reorganisation of the local services.
With the reorganisation, out went the number 1 and in came the 14/54 each running hourly. These services crossed the city onto what is now known as the Ruddington Connection, but 14/54 part is going a little further and we’ll go there later.
Back to the eighties and the rest of Barton’s services around Toton included a very different service 17 to that run by premiere, in 2011. Barton’s 17 at the time ran from Long Eaton Green to Sandiacre via Toton Stapleford Lane, New Eatons Rd, Nottingham Rd, Stapleford and Sandiacre Red Lion at an hourly frequency. Another service was the 27 via the current route of rainbow 4 to Stapleford “the Roach” and left into Toton Lane, New Eatons Rd, Stapleford Lane, Toton before terminating at Long Eaton Green. This service was also hourly, in addition service 27A ran at peaks via premiere’s current route 17 along Ewe Lamb Lane and Hickings Lane. I cannot remember exactly when the 27 disappeared, however the 27A managed to stay for a short while after the axe fell on 27.
Another long forgotten route is from another long forgotten operator, Stevenson’s or Erewash Valley Coaches, a service I used once and can’t remember the service number. Any help here would be welcome, it ran from Beeston, through Toton to Stapleford with an irregular timetable.
It can be said that Toton had quite a good network late eighties, even direct route into Long Eaton! My memory is a little tired with the dates and changes to the 14/54 but I know in the second phase of rainbow 5 (upping from 10 to 6-7 minutes) which happened sometime around 1999-2000, part of the resources came from the scrapping of Toton’s dedicated services. Out went the 14/54 and in came “connect 5”. Running using two buses every 15 minutes. This new concept for the area performed a circular service, connecting to Rainbow 5 at Westpoint and Chilwell Retail parks. Connect was great in theory, regular buses around Toton and a simple change for Long Eaton or Nottingham. Was that the problem? Didn’t people like to connect & wanted direct? Well the numbers weren’t there and not long after launch a half hourly frequency came about which lasted until very recently, when the service was cancelled completely!
So we’ve ended up in October 2011. What do we have left? Well basically the repeatedly reworked “local 17” from premiere, every hour with an extra morning and afternoon peak trips to and from Nottingham. Premiere are running this service currently as the old Bartons 27A route above from Nottingham to Stapleford, then as the Erewash Valley service from Stapleford to Beeston via Toton. I’m sure the Stapleford to Beeston section is supported by the County Council?
Taking a drive around Toton, it’s weird seeing the new modern county council bus stop posts with no timetable in the cases and the flags bare with no route numbers or service names. There are even bus shelters with no services and as a result no passengers to benefit from the investment in infrastructure!
Looking at Toton today, with trentbarton gone, leaving only premiere, something tells me there will be more to come from this part if town very soon. Are we about to see a new “Red” route along the current 17 corridor via Stapleford and the return of Premiere’s original 17 route which used to extend beyond Beeston via Dennis Avenue to Nottingham?
Well one things for certain, historic service 17 has been around the houses and stood the test of time, if anything it should be due another rework soon!