Thursday 10 May 2012

Hopeless Experience at Hedge End [1]

Today's puzzle picture. What is this?
Answer at the end of this blog.
  Dateline : Thursday 3rd May 

fbb (and chum, Alan) are paying a state visit to explore the new Southampton bus network introduced from Sunday 29th April. The intrepid twosome travel by train to Hedge End ...
... where a completely new station opened c.1990. The station is small and perfectly formed, but located on the northern edge of the town which has, in the last 30 years, expanded to fill the intervening territory. On this 1940s map, Hedge End was nothing but a little village clustered round the church ...
... but now - WOW!
Bus services were exclusively in the hands of Hants and Dorset, then Hampshire Blus, then Solent Blue Line [SBL] now rebranded as Bluestar. SBL has struggled to maintain adequate services, especially to the newer (and car owning) parts of the town. All they can offer now is an hourly Bluestar 3 from Southampton via the Oaklands Estate and on to Botley (off the map to the right) with peak time extras.
The erstwhile SBL route from Eastleigh is now in the hands of former SBL MD Phil Stockley's Velvet Bus service "A" which also omits the "northern" development and the station.
Phil has had a bit of colour blindness with his company name. The first appellation was "Black Velvet" but the new black was purple; and very smart it looks.
Delving back into the distant past, fbb remembers an early attempt to serve the station with SBL route 25, bread van operated. In November 1990 the 25, scheduled to connect with the departure to Portsmouth, was being driven so slowly by a route learning rookie that fbb and Alan missed their train at the station and had just under a hour to wait for the next. Deep joy!
But, lo and behold, recent developments had brought First Bus service 8A to the delights of Hedge End Station.
The 8 and 8A provided a ten minute frequency to Bitterne via Woolston, with the 8s serving the Midanbury loop and the 8As going forward every 20 minutes via West End, the Rose Bowl (now dubbed the Ageas Bowl) ...
Floodlit? It's just not cricket!

... and the Superstores to Hedge End Station. But back to Thursday 3rd May. The Holmes and Watson of omnibology dutifully arrive at the Station to catch the revised bus service introduced as part of the Southampton Network change from 29th April.
All looks encouraging. There's some poor old saddo waiting at the stop. There's a nice little shelter with the emphasis on the "little" and a shiny bus stop pole with a bright a cheery flag thereupon ...
... and the numbers on the stop match the numbers used by First's revised service. Splendid.

Not splendid; definitely not splendid as we shall reveal tomorrow.
Puzzle Picture : Obvious, isn't it? It's a bird, as in "Millbrook Flyer". See "Aiming Higher with the Millbrook Flyer [3]" (read again)

 Next Blog : Friday 11th May 

1 comment:

  1. I never realised that Hedge End was so poorly served by public transport. Although I guess the planners have a lot to answer for in the first place.

    As for the Millbrook Flyer logo, if that's a bird...