TRANSPORTS SCHMIDT

Blue buses from Cherbourg by way of Les Pieux to Diélette-Siouville and Carteret-Portbail




 
Nota  -  Il s'agit d'un site d'archives historiques et ne contient pas de données actuelles

NB - this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information


When I first visited Cherbourg as a teenager on a showery summer's day in 1962, this operator was one of the three remaining independently operated services from the town (the others were Transports Pasquier and Autocars Choubrac). The light and dark blue buses of the Schmidt company ran two routes from their depot and base in the Vallee de Quincampoix, in the commune of La Glacerie, just to the south of Cherbourg.  Both of the Schmidt routes passed the Quincampoix depot on their way in and out of Cherbourg.  

The principal twice daily route ran from the Rue de l'Ancien Quai terminus in the town centre of Cherbourg - where Schmidt had an office for some years during the late 1960s at number 44 - to the small market town of Les Pieux, and then on by way of Flamanville and Diélette before ending at the small summer beach resort of Siouville.  The basic weekday service pattern, worked from the town end, saw departures from Cherbourg in the 1960s at 0715 and 1700, returning from Siouville at 0820 and 1815.  There were additional middle of the day market journeys on Thursday and Friday for Cherbourg and Les Pieux markets respectively, plus scholars and works journeys (the latter to the naval arsenal and dockyard at Cherbourg).  Some market journeys served Sciotot between Les Pieux and Flamanville.  For many years there were iron mines in the Flamanville / Diélette area, perhaps unusual in that the mines went out under the sea.  After many years of fluctuating fortunes and several different owners, the mines closed in 1962 and the site is now used as part of the French nuclear power industry.

The second once a day route branched off from the first route at Les Pieux and went south through Surtainville and Les Moitiers-d'Allonne to the beach resorts of Carteret, Barneville and Portbail.   This had a morning journey inwards to Cherbourg, leaving Portbail at 0750, with a 1700 hours return departure outwards.  The timings of the two services were identical for the part of the route between Les Pieux and Cherbourg.  Some journeys passed via Le Rozel and a short-lived variation on Thursdays only in 1967 was to a deviation to travel via Grosville and Bricquebosc, to give those villages a service on Cherbourg market day.  The Portbail service was originally operated all year round but by 1969 is thought to have run only in the summer (July and August).   In earlier pre-war years this route too had been operated twice daily in each direction with a Cherbourg based vehicle.  In 1967 the single fare from Cherbourg to Les Pieux was 2.90 francs. The Sunday service on both routes was withdrawn by 1973.


Quand, encore adolescent, j’ai visité Cherbourg pour la première fois, par une journée pluvieuse de l’été 1962, ce transporteur faisait partie des trois dernières compagnies à assurer encore des services indépendants (l’autres étaient les Transports Pasquier qui entretenaient un service urbain vers Octeville et les Autocars Choubrac avec deux lignes de campagne). Les autobus bleus de la société Schmidt circulaient sur deux itinéraires et leur dépôt était situé dans la vallée de Quincampoix, sur la commune de La Glacerie, au sud de Cherbourg.

La ligne principale, desservie deux fois par jour, reliait la Rue de l’Ancien Quai à Cherbourg  -où Schmidt posséda un bureau les années soixantes au n° 44-  à la petite ville des Pieux, célèbre pour son marché, et puis de là par Flamanville et Diélette pour terminer à la petite station balnéaire de Siouville.

Pendant de nombreuses années, des mines de fer ont été exploitées dans la région de Flamanville / Diélette, de façon très inhabituelle puisque ces mines se trouvaient au fond de la mer. Celles-ci ont été fermées en 1962, après des fortunes diverses et de multiples propriétaires, et le site est aujourd’hui utilisé en partie par l’industrie nucléaire.


Le deuxième ligne, desservie une fois par jour, s’embranchait à la première aux Pieux et se dirigeait vers le sud, via Surtainville, jusqu’aux stations balnéaires de Carteret, Barneville et Portbail.  Les deux lignes dépassaient le dépôt sur leur chemin, en allant ou en revenant de Cherbourg.  En 1967, un billet de Cherbourg aux Pieux coûtait 2,90 francs l’aller simple.

Ces lignes étaient exploitées par la famille Schmidt depuis 1923 quand elles passèrent sous le contrôle de la STN (Société des Transports de Normandie, l’exploitant principal d’autocars du département de la Manche) en 1978. C’est pourtant en 1912 que l’on trouve trace de ces lignes pour la première fois grâce à la société des Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot. Une ligne d’autobus, à desserte journalière, reliant Cherbourg (rue des  Halles) à Flamanville, via Diélette, est mentionnée dans le Guide Bleu (Hachette), de 1921. Enfin, l’Indicateur Quillet de Tourisme d’août 1934  répertorie, dans ses tableaux 554 et 555, les deux lignes de Portbail et de Diélette exploitées par la compagnie Schmidt.


A view of the main street of Les Pieux in the 1950's

 

Les Pieux pendant les années cinquante

The routes had been operated by the Schmidt family since 1923 and the part of the route from Cherbourg to Flamanville was amongst the earliest bus services in the département of la Manche, having been approved at the end of 1912 for operation by the Société des Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot.  In fact Peugeot had offered to run the routes from Cherbourg to Les Pieux and Cherbourg to Barneville / Carteret two years earlier in 1910, an offer not accepted by the département for two years.  According to press reports at the time of commencement (Réveil, 11 December 1912) it was an immediate success with a surfeit of passengers beyond the capabilities of the 12-seater 'Peugeotte' used initially. In September 1913 a proposal was put forward for metre-gauge electric trams over these routes - this was being seriously considered until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, after which there was a period of uncertainty for the bus operation through shortage of fuel and requisitioning of vehicles. Another of the earliest bus routes in the département, second only to the Flamanville route, the Cherbourg - Auderville route was approved in August 1913. The Auderville route was operated by the Compagnie des Auto Messageries de la Hague.

In 1914 the Flamanville route had passed from the Société Peugeot to Monsieur Gros, who was an automobile and cycle dealer in Cherbourg - perhaps he was the local Peugeot agent.  After wartime suspension these routes were amongst the first buses to be reintroduced, being given first priority by the département.  Following the war, in 1919 the mayor of Cherbourg asked the préfet of Manche for a subsidy of 800 old francs/km/per year to create a bus network around Cherbourg. So two main routes were put in place:  Cherbourg - Auderville, via Équeurdreville and Hainneville; and Cherbourg - Flamanville, via Tonneville, Sainte-Croix-Hague, Branville-Hague, Beaumont-Hague, Biville, Vauville and Les Pieux.

view of Siouville
Siouville - terminus of one of the two routes from Cherbourg


Siouville - terminus de la route principale venant de Cherbourg

A daily bus service was listed from Cherbourg via Diélette to Flamanville in Hachette's 1921 Guide Bleu to Normandie, departing from a terminus at the Rue des Halles.  This was near to the premises of M. Gros on the Quai de Caligny in Cherbourg.  Schmidt took over the route from M. Gros in 1923.  There is known also to have been a SATOS service (road services operated in connection with the railway companies) in this area going from Cherbourg to Surtainville, Carteret and Denneville (beyond Portbail) from at least summer 1929; this is also mentioned somewhat obscurely** in the Indicateur Chaix for June 1932. The summer service in 1929 appears to have been operated by a single SATOS vehicle based in Denneville which made a morning return journey via Carteret and Les Pieux to Cherbourg railway station, and an afternoon return journey to Valognes railway station via Carteret and Bricquebec.  It may have been that Société Auxiliaire de Transports de l'Ouest et le Sud-Ouest (SATOS) had taken over operation of the route from the Société des Ateliers de la Manche. Alternatively the routes may simply have been a new initiative by SATOS.  The Société des Ateliers - known also more simply as ATLAS - were operating a considerable network of routes throughout the Manche département in earlier years, with ATLAS noted earlier in reference to the resumption of bus services after the war in 1919.  The expansionist national company SGTD - Société Générale de Transports Départementaux, founded in 1919, took over ATLAS as its local Manche subsidiary and assumed operation of their routes in 1925.  Certainly by 1932 SGTD were running Carteret - Bricquebec - Valognes, as well as Cherbourg - Auderville and the lengthy Cherbourg - Villedieu route. The Indicateur Quillet of August 1934 lists both the Diélette and Portbail routes as operated by E Schmidt in tables 554 and 555 (see below) but makes no reference to the SATOS service.

advertisement from 1950 Cherbourg guide

An advertisement from the 1950 Cherbourg town guide. At that time - as well as coaches -  Schmidt was also offering removals and working in road haulage.  The office and garage at that time was at 25 rue Delaville in Cherbourg. Next door at 25bis were the premises "Au Bar des Autocars". Also it was not uncommon at the time for tickets for buses to be sold by the local cafe or bar. The rue Delaville premises were demolished as part of town centre redevelopment of the area around Place Divette in the early 1960s.

Une publicité dans le guide 1950 de la ville de Cherbourg. A cette époque - ainsi que les autocars - Schmidt a également offert les déménagements et le camionnage.  Son bureau et garage était alors au 25 rue Delaville à Cherbourg. Juste à côté, au 25bis étaient l'établissement «Au Bar des Autocars». En outre, il n'était pas rare alors pour billets de bus à être vendus par le café ou bar du coin. Les locaux rue Delaville ont été démolis dans le cadre de la rénovation centre-ville autour de la Place Divette pendant les années soixantes.
Little detail is then known but operations by Schmidt continued over the years (see sample timetables below) until 1978 when the two bus routes - operated by then by Roger Schmidt as successor to E Schmidt, presumed to be father and son - passed to the STN Société des Transports de Normandie - the major country bus operator in the Cotentin area of la Manche département.  This was due to the retirement of the proprietor Roger Schmidt in 1977 after the family had been involved on these routes for 54 years, although falling passenger numbers would have been making the routes progressively less viable too. The private hire side of the business passed to CTC (Compagnie des Transports de Cherbourg).  Some of the Schmidt fleet were sold to Choubrac of Cherbourg and to Noel of Surtainville, together with school contract work.
Peu de détails sont connus, mais ensuite les opérations de Schmidt a continué au fil des ans (voir horaires ci-dessous) jusqu'en 1978 lorsque les deux lignes de bus exploitées par Roger Schmidt en tant que successeur à E Schmidt - présumé être le père et le fils - ont passé à la STN Société des Transports de Normandie - l'opérateur principal de bus dans le Cotentin et le  département de la Manche. Cela était dû à la retraite de propriétaire Roger Schmidt en 1977 après que la famille avait exploité ses lignes depuis 54 ans, bien que le nombre de passagers baisse constamment et les lignes devenait de moins en moins viable. Une partie de la flotte ont été vendus à Choubrac de Cherbourg et aussi à Noel de Surtainville, avec de travail scolaire.
Explanation of note ** above - the 1932 Indicateur Chaix does not include a timetable for the SATOS routes from Denneville, but does still list the route under the index of places entry for Surtainville. The same Chaix does include the Carteret - Valognes part of the SATOS route, but now run by SGTD. Is it then perhaps conceivable that SATOS had withdrawn and with Valognes covered by SGTD the other part of the route from Portbail / Carteret through Les Pieux to Cherbourg was now covered by Schmidt - either for the first time or by him having seen off the competition . . .

STN continued to operate the routes on a broadly similar timetable to Schmidt for nearly thirty years, although the two routes were largely amalgamated into one operationally, with the bus coming from Portbail and Carteret double running from Les Pieux through Flamanville to Siouville and back before going on to Cherbourg. Over the years increasing emphasis fell on school time operation, especially on the sector south of Les Pieux towards Portbail. Then in September 2007 these routes (along with all the other interurban and rural routes in the département) became part of the new manéo network introduced by the Conseil Général de la Manche.  The route from Carteret via Les Pieux to Cherbourg continued to enjoy a twice a day service, but the section from Siouville and Diélette to Les Pieux was then served only by schoolday journeys. But a more regular service was restored to Flamanville from July 2008 when the afternoon journey inwards to Cherbourg on manéo ligne 103, and the evening return journey outwards, were extended there.  Since 2009 there has been a transport-on-demand (Manéo Proximité) service based on Les Pieux and serving nearby villages (including both Siouville and Flamanville as well as Bricquebosc, Surtainville and Le Rozel), offering Wednesday afternoon service, Friday morning market service and Saturday afternoon service, the latter with connections to and from Cherbourg on ligne 103.
schmidt saviem autocar 1970s
A Saviem SC5 of Transports Schmidt at Cherbourg in 1964 (350 GW 50, one of a pair, the other was 349 GW 50, both 36-seaters)

 

Saviem SC5 de l'entreprise Schmidt à Cherbourg en 1964 (350 GW 50, un de deux, l'autre était 349 GW 50, chacun avec 36 places)

                             (photo John Carman)




schmidt autocar 1958
A Schmidt coach on a school private hire from Le Rozel in 1958

 

Un autocar Schmidt assurant un voyage scolaire en 1958




Schmidt coach cherbourg 1960s

An unidentified Transports Schmidt coach passes through the Place de Gaulle in Cherbourg in the 1960s


Un autocar inconnu de l'entreprise Schmidt dans la Place de Gaulle à Cherbourg pendant les années soixantes

                         (photo John Carman)



SATOS at Surtainville pre-war

The SATOS bus at Surtainville, probably in the late 20s or early 30s

L'autocar SATOS à Surtainville pendant les années d'avant guerre



This is the 1968 -1969 timetable for the main Cherbourg - Les Pieux - Diélette - Siouville service. 

Les horaires 1968 -1969 de la ligne principale Cherbourg - Les Pieux - Diélette - Siouville.

horaire_68

This is the 1967 timetable for the Portbail route (with Thursday deviation via Grosville and Bricquebosc).

L'horaire 1967 pour la ligne de Portbail, avec la déviation chaque jeudi par Grosville et Bricquebosc
1967 Portbail timetable


The 1968 timetable for the workers service to Cherbourg (on the right, Fermanville should of course read Flamanville!)

L'horaire 1968 pour la service ouvrier vers Cherbourg (nb  à droite, Fermanville veut dire Flamanville!)
service ouvrier

This is the 1934 timetable from the Indicateur Quillet for Schmidt's two routes -    Les horaires 1934 de l'Indicateur Quillet.

The route only extends as far as Diélette and not to Siouville - il ne fonctionne pas au delà de Diélette vers Siouville

quillet extract 1934

The SATOS timetable for their summer only routes in this area in July 1929.

From the fare rate given (0.40 per kilometre) The SATOS fare from Portbail to Cherbourg for 54.5 kilometres

would have been 21 fr 80 - much higher than Schmidt's 13 fr 50.

Denneville routes 1929

map of bus routes 1962

I would be very pleased to learn more about this operator if any French readers of this page have further information !

Si les lecteurs français de cette page pouvaient m’apporter des informations complémentaires à propos de cet autocariste,
je leur en serais reconnaissant !



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