Wednesday, 17 July 2013

London, Saturday July 6th : "Cool" or "Hot"? [3]

The Hassle of Hampstead Heath

fbb decided to break his journey round the Overground Great Circle at Hampstead Heath station, which, like many on the North London line is hardly the most beautiful of railway buildings.
Trains from Stratford run every 10 minutes whereas latterly under British Rail the frequency was just every 20. Four of these trains continue from Willesden Junction to Richmond and two run through to Clapham Junction. A half hourly "short working" from Willesden Junction competes the 15 minute frequency over the last bit of the circle.
The journey marked SN C is the hourly Milton Keynes to East Croydon train, the remnant of the reviled Connex's expansionist service between Rugby and Brighton. In amongst the frequent passenger service, the train planners have to thread substantial freight traffic. This huge train of empty car carrying wagons was waiting for its path when fbb arrived.
And, yes; there was a loco somewhere up the front!

Hamsptead Heath (The Heath) is huge swathe of greenery in north London covering nearly 800 acres.
Hampstead Heath station is right at the southernmost tip.
Presumably in 1860, when the station opened, it was almost a rural outpost of the city; this is the area in 1830!
Hampstead underground station (Northern Line) opened in 1907 and bus route 24 arrived at Hampstead Heath Station (South End Green) in 1910. 

Now fbb has had the privilege of inside geographical information. Mrs fbb, long before she was drawn to her future husband, had a flat in South Hill Mansions, just up the road from South End Green. 
A few yards above the flat was a footpath though to the ponds at the bottom end of the Heath.
All very pleasant and bucolic. Mrs fbb did not use her local station but her route to work in the West End was by London Transport's route 24. It should come as no surprise to see the New Bus For London trialled on this particular route. Over the years the 24 has had more than its fair share of experiments and "novelties".

Routemasters appared in December 1963 ...
... followed by experimental Atlanteans in 1965.
After a little over 6 months, "long" Routemasters arrived.
Then came one-manning and the Arriva(l) of the new order via Grey Green.
there were DMSs and Titans as well. And now it's the new monstrosity and/or beauty; opinions are greatly varied ...
... but it's that bulbous back end that fbb finds so un-appealing. But, as a chum suggested, fbb is the last person who should be ridiculing a bulbous back end! Can't think what he was implying.

Tomorrow we look at the current publicity for route 24; and, yet again, opinions are greatly varied 

Desperate to read more? Thought not!
fbb blogged a series about that route some months back, inspired in part by the 100th anniversary of motor buses in Sheffield. There the original route 51 was unchanged (barring extensions and some traffic management) as was the London  24. Here are the four relevant (?) links from the "24" series:-
24 - 3 (read again
24 - 4 (read again)
24 - 5 (read again)
24 - 6 (read again)

 Next Bus Blog : Thursday 18th July 

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