U is for Uttoxeter

Saturday 29th October 2022

No surprises that Uttoxeter has to be my mid size town for the letter U although it’s somewhat on the smaller than ‘mid size’ with a 13,000 population, but there wasn’t a lot of choice and besides it’s a very pleasant Staffordshire town to visit.

I paid a visit there a few weeks ago to check out the last day of First Potteries’ buses operating into the town from Stoke-on-Trent and Hanley on its Kingfisher branded route as well as seeing how Rotala’s ownership of Midland Classic was going a few weeks on from its August take over.

Uttoxeter falls within East Staffordshire Borough Council’s area, which also includes Burton-on-Trent, one of eight Districts/Boroughs within the county of Staffordshire.

Nearest towns are Stoke-on-Trent (17 miles north west); Ashbourne (14 miles north east); Derby (20 miles east); Burton-upon-Trent (14 miles south east); and Stafford (14 miles south west).

Its station is a minimalist affair with two platforms ….

….. a footbridge with a very long accessible ramp…

…. and no ticket office; just a ticket machine by the Derby bound platform.

It’s served by hourly trains operated by East Midlands Railway between Crewe, Derby, Nottingham and Newark (that’s Newark Castle) thus providing some very useful east west links to the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and almost to the East Coast Main Line (for Newark North Gate).

The station sits conveniently adjacent to the town’s famous race course and is not much more than a five or six minute walk into the town centre.

The town has a bus station with four bus shelters on the perimeter of a rather large parking area.

It seems to be a meeting place for refuse collection lorries – or has been on the two occasions I’ve visited the town.

Midland Classic now tentatively being rebranded as Diamond under its new owners but so far just with the application of an additional vinyl is the main operator into and within the town with a half hourly service from Burton-upon-Trent via three different routes – an hourly 401 and a two- hourly 402 and 403.

When buses arrive into Uttoxeter bus station they work a rounder on the half hourly town route 406 called the ‘Outer Circle’ which takes 20 minutes to perform the figure of eight shaped circuit.

Trentbarton run an hourly service into Uttoxeter branded as Swift ….

…. which links the town with Derby via Ashbourne on an inverted ‘V’ route trajectory.

Chaserider operates an hourly route 841 to Stafford with sister company D&G Bus adding a once a day link to Alton Towers as an X41 ….

…. and D&G Bus is also the company that took over route 32/32A/32X at the end of September from First Bus running hourly to Hanley and which used to be branded Kingfisher with a rather nice livery that sadly is no more.

One other bus route into Uttoxeter is the delightful Wednesday only shoppers circular route 411 linking the town with various villages including Stubwood, Hollington, Freehay, Upper Tean, Lower Leigh, Church Leigh, Withington and Bramshall. It’s run by Ashbourne Community Transport with a 10:46 arrival into Uttoxeter and a return at 13:00.

I had a ride on it back in 2018 when it was operated by Phil Smith taxi company and it really was a delightful ride with such a wonderful atmosphere among the regular passengers…

… with everyone being dropped off right by their front doors, so it’s good to see it still runs.

My more recent Saturday morning visit to Uttoxeter in September was on a very busy East Midlands Railway Class 170 from Derby with around a dozen or more passengers alighting as well as boarding.

On previous visits I’d noticed how well the station is looked after with community involvement …

…. and right on cue this time saw an artist renewing the artwork on the Derby bound platform by the exit.

Buses coming and going into the bus station in all the aforementioned routes were doing good trade and it was obvious the town route 406 was frequented by regulars with around eight or so leaving and arriving on each trip.

I took a ride in route 403, having previously sampled a journey on the 401.

It performs a town route function as it leaves the bus station, as all the inter-urban routes seem to, but we only dropped one of our four passengers on board off as we left the town; the other three continued all the way to Burton-upon-Trent for the 55 minute ride.

We picked up one more in Anslow as we came close to Burton-upon-Trent as well as six passengers travelling locally into the town centre. So not a very busy journey.

Back in Uttoxeter bus station the four bus shelters are what could be described as ‘adequate’ but with varying quality of information displays.

Trentbarton has customised its departure stand with branding for its Swift route …

…. together with bespoke departure informaiton.

Midland Classic, now Diamond, have similarly affixed smart branding to the shelter for its half hourly routes across to Burton-upon-Trent…

…. together with an easy to read and attractive departure listing and ticket/fares information.

But the bus stop used by its town route 406 and the 841 …

…. is sadly in need of some tidying up to enhance the presentation and image portrayed.

Finally there’s an old noticeboard with space for posters that looks at one time as though it had rail information.

It looks like it could usefully be disposed of in one of the dustcarts that frequent the bus station.

And that’s about it for Uttoxeter. Short and sweet. A 13,000 size town with a satisfactory level of bus and train services to a range of destinations.

Roger French

Previous AtoZ blogs: Andover; Bracknell; Carlisle; Durham, Evesham, Folkestone, Grantham, Harrogate, Inverness, Jarrow, King’s Lynn, Leamington Spa, Maidenhead, Neath, Oswestry, Potters Bar, Queensferry, Runcorn, Salisbury, Tunbridge Wells.

Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThS with occasional Su specials, but not tomorrow.

14 thoughts on “U is for Uttoxeter

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  1. Thanks for the write-up, Roger; Uttoxeter is a town I have frequently passed through or around (by train or car) but never visited. That (former) First Kingfisher livery looks more like Arriva blue.

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  2. The First Potteries area isn’t as well served as it was in PMT days, the Uttoxeter to Hanley services seem to be well patronised .

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  3. Uttoxeter itself is a right dump a godforsaken town that really isn’t good bus business. I remember at MRW when our Frontline Buses offshoot won a number of Staffs tenders to the horror of Stevensons ; yesterday’s Chaserider; after they moved in on Kiddy . Frankly they were unrenumative and quickly disposed off. Personally I simply cannot see Diamond Bus serving the town for long as with the Johnsons & Claribels services no doubt they will soon be deregisterd as they are not a strategic fit for Rotala; Uttoxeter doesnt really deserve Diamond Bus quality operation and no doubt it will be left to Chaserider and D&G which is frankly what the town deserves to be honest.

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  4. The rail service hasn’t been hourly for quite some time. There are a number of 2 hour gaps during the day, it’s always busy and that hasn’t helped one bit.

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  5. For W you could go to Warrington, large enough Town, with it’s own Municipal company, plus couple of others, Arriva the main other operator, & Go North West which operates the service to Manchester

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  6. W should be Weymouth. It’s a good example of a town which has fallen from grace in terms of bus provision over the past 20 years, so would be interesting to cover.

    As for the other letters:

    V: Ventnor
    X: Exmouth
    Y: Yeovil
    Z: Isle of Shetland (Zetland)

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    1. Ventnor would be a nice trip but hardly a network – I think two routes left now. Although pretty well served by them.

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    2. Exmouth is cheating as it begins with an E!And so is Shetland as it’s an archipelago not a town!
      But at least we do have a few Z’s Zeals,Zennor although I very much doubt that they have internal bus networks?For the X’s I suggest a well earned trip to China . Although I did find a place called Xirdalan near Baku in Azerbaijan but Europe seems devoid of them.

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  7. The Kingfisher livery included a rear advert for connections at Uttoxeter for trains to Derby, yet the hourly bus was timedvto just miss the hourly (at best) trains !! There was confusion whether the route should be called Kingfisher or 32, different media refereed to either. An oddity was that pm school time journeys omitted Kingsley, not to serve a school, but to avoid it ! The similar 32A that went via Alton was withdrawn many years ago, but D&G have reintroduced it, albeit only by convenience, by diverting 32s at relevant times via Alton Towers to save needing a separate bus. I find Uttoxeter is quite a nice place, so not sure why someone else finds it not to be, plenty of worse places come to mind !!

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  8. Forgot to mention that the public toilets next to the bus station are kept in very good condition, and proudly display many years of loo of the year certificates !

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