Public Transport in Whiston

A Chronology of Transport Services to the Village

In the first half of the 20th century, public transport in Rotherham was established as a mixture of buses (powered by different sources of fuel), trolley buses and trams. Amongst the first networks to service the greater Rotherham Borough was a tramway system; which commenced operation in 1903 and had reached the Stag roundabout (and the Stag Inn) by 1912. This was the nearest that public transport came to Whiston at this time.

In 1911 the Transport Corporation obtained powers to run both petrol-powered buses and electrically operated, rail-less buses (i.e. trolley buses). Thus on 30th October 1915 a bus service ran for the first time from the Cattle Market - the the town centre - to Aston, via Whiston and Aughton. A Sunday service later became available during the first half of 1925.

By July 1925, there was a regular Monday to Saturday bus service every 15 minutes from Rotherham Town Centre to the Stag. This ran from about 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and departed from a terminus on Wellgate. The Aston section ran approximately every hour with Whiston-only buses on Saturdays; whilst on Sundays the services started after midday and ran until 10 p.m. Therefore the timetable shows that 14 journeys were made per day. Lastly, in April 1927 the Rotherham terminus for the Aston buses was moved from the Cattle Market right into the town centre on Frederick Street.

In addition to this, A & C Wigmore's bus service from Dinnington to Sheffield (which passed through Whiston) was first established in 1928 and provided a good link to the city. In the undated photo (below), we see the vehicle parked outside what appears to be the 'Sitwell' public house, just off of Pleasley Road, Whiston.
Right-click on the photo and then select 'View Background Image' to see the full photograph.

By 1929 each public transport route had been given its own number. As such the Frederick Street to Aston - conventional bus service - was No. 4; Frederick Street to Whiston, No. 5; and Effingham Street to Broom ran as No. 21. Also in 1929, the tramway service to Broom (which as we discussed earlier had been running since the turn of the century) was brought to a close.

Next, adding to the services already running, a bus route to Ulley was established in 1932. This was followed in 1933 by a change of terminus in Rotherham Town Centre: most of the buses began to terminate in the recently constructed All Saints Square. Finally, at about the same time, a Sheffield to Maltby service (through Whiston) began operating and in November 1937 it was given the route number of 87.

Additionally, in 1935 a new trolleybus service began. This travelled down Broom Lane; then turned left on to Bawtry Road, to the Brecks. This new route was identified as number 30a and was later renumbered to 32. Later (in 1939) this service, having come along Broom Lane, began terminating at Worry Goose Island.

The Second World War caused some disruption to transport services. First, in 1939, the Sheffield to Maltby bus service began terminating at Whiston Crossroads; but then resumed its full route from 1940 onwards. Other routes serving the village continued to function but saw passengers travelling in blacked-out buses during the blitz. This apparently added a touch of excitement and mystery that has long since disappeared from bus travel!

After the war public transport in South Yorkshire began to change. First of all double decker buses were introduced in Rotherham (with the exception of a few open-topped vehicles that had operated in the very early days, roughly 40 years earlier). As such the earliest route to operate with these new vehicles was the service from the town centre to Whiston; doing so for the first time on 23rd December 1946. On the left we can see such a vehicle in situ on High Street during this period.

Other alterations to services soon followed: in January 1948, the East Midland service from Chesterfield to Swallownest was extended - through Whiston - to All Saints Square in Rotherham town centre and then in 1949 many of the route numbers were adjusted: Whiston's main bus service changed from 5 to 25; and Aston's from 4 to 26; however the Sheffield to Maltby route remained unaltered as 87; while the Chesterfield route was designated as no. 10.

In the same manner, the days of the trolleybus were now numbered. One of the first to be removed was the service to Worry Goose Lane as this was replaced by a diesel bus in June 1951. Moreover, two new routes were created: the 34 which ran from the old terminus up to the Sitwell Park gates, and the 35 down to Lease Gate Road. All of which was a reflection on the development of housing in this part of Whiston and in this area of Rotherham. Finally, in March 1952, a further route was added – the no.36 to Cowrakes Lane.

The year 1971 (which marked the centenary of the Borough) also saw the closure of All Saints Square as a centre for buses. To replace this, a brand new, purpose-built, Bus Station was opened on land adjacent to the River Don at one end of the town centre; and this is where our local buses terminate to this day.

Clearly, by the early 1970's Whiston had become firmly included in the local transport network - probably more so than it is now – as since then, the growth of motor car ownership has had a major effect on the public transport system in South Yorkshire. Today, the village is still served by a number of routes - with many passing through en route to other destinations, but only the no. 35 service is listed as 'going to Whiston'.

Conductors and Post Boxes

Initially, the 'little' buses that were used in the 1920/30s had no conductors on them. But later on, when 'saloon' buses came into being (i.e. with their doors further back along the vehicle) conductors were then introduced. This allowed faster, more efficient journeys; as the fares were collected while the vehicle was travelling, rather than all transactions being completed before the vehicle puled away from the stop, as is the practice today.

The final point of discussion is that, throughout this period, a post box (around 2ft square) could be found on the top step of the 9 p.m. service to Rotherham. People would stop the bus at a bus stop and post their letters and parcels. On these buses the door was at the driver's end of the vehicle so they knew when somebody has posted an item. Once the bus terminated, the post was received by the 'parcel boys', i.e. children straight out of school; who would then take it direct to the offices for sorting and thence delivery.

Proposed Sheffield Supertram Extension

In 2003, Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority (PTA) and the Department for Transport proposed three new extensions to the Sheffield Supertram network that would have seen a new line run out of Sheffield City Centre taking in the (now under construction) settlements at Waverley and Orgreave; Treeton; through Brinsworth; before turning right and joining the A631 West Bawtry Road towards Whiston. Trams would then have run through the village as part of the East Bawtry Road dual carriageway; with stations at 'Moorgate' (approximately between Whiston Crossroads and Flat Lane / Newman School); and 'Whiston' (near Worrygoose Island; opposite the end of Maynard Road); with a further station at the Brecks junction; before going on to Wickersley, Bramley; and terminating at the Hellaby Industrial Estate. The above image shows this proposed route.

By April 2004 Following a public consultation, plus a reply-paid questionnaire and interview-led survery with residents along the proposed routes; the plans were rejected The following is lifted from Sheffield City Council's final report: There is less support for extensions to Ranmoor and Hellaby:-*The Interview survey showed support at 48% and 43% respectively (although thesefigures were still greater than those opposing the proposals);*The leaflet survey showed support at 24% and 15% respectively.The majority of respondents to these two routes were concentrated in two specific areas: Endcliffe Vale Road in Sheffield and Bawtry Road in Rotherham. Their mainconcerns/comments were:-*Construction disruption*Impact on residential/conservation areas*Expensive and waste of money*Other solutions were more appropriate

The lack of public support amid concerns meant the proposed extensions were never built (at least, not in the short-medium term) a potential additional route into and out of Sheffield opportunity not taken up.