Monday, 6 July 2015

Loopy in Gillingham [1]

Hempstead Valley's Happy Varieties
An fbb confession; fbb has never explored the Medway towns, other than by passing through on a train. It is all a bit of a mystery. But the Chatham and Gillingham of old, clustered round the coast and navy, have both expanded southwards. Here is Gillingham pre Word War Two ...
... with loads of nothing much between the town and Rainham and even less travelling south to Bredham.

Today we have the Hempstead Valley etc.
The minimalistic community of Capstone (Capston in the 1930s map) still exists ...
... with the more recent country park across the road.
Services 113 and 114 from Chatham are branded as "The Capstone Flyer ...
... despite NOT running via Capstone! Buses operate every 30 minutes alternately via different bits of Hempstead ...
... then via the Shopping Centre ...
... to terminate in a mega one way loop at Wigmore. There is still a quality Arriva map for the 113/114 ...
Things get a tad more complex when we look at the "Wigmore" loop in more detail. Medway Council's map dates from 2014 but appears to show the current (but soon to change) Wigmore and Park Wood services. (click to enlarge the map below).
In trying to understand, we can quietly forget the 700s (commuter coaches) and the M1 (Saturdays only, three trips) which leaves, firstly, the  yellow  130 and 131.

These are operated by Nu-Venture, supported by Kent and Medway Councils and offer a combined hourly service from Maidstone.
Next we look at  yuk green  132 by Arriva. This runs fom Chatham direct via the A2 before swooping down to Hempstead Valley.
This route would be the main service from Chatham to Park Wood and the Shopping Centre. 

Which leaves the   yuk green  116. Recently marketed as the Xbus116 ...
This also runs from Chatham to Hempstead Valley but wiggles via Gillingham ...
... and taking a different route to Park Wood than the 132. The latter uses Lonsdale Drive ...

... whereas the 116 uses Maidstone Road ...

... then they both run via Deanwood Drive.
This banded service runs every 20 minutes Monday to Friday ...
... every 30 on Saturday and a big round zero on Sunday.

It is from this mix that Arriva's new Loop will emerge; as we shall see tomorrow.
 Sheffield's New Network - Again? 

Consultation documents (aka we're doing it anyway unless there is an enormous kerfuffle) are published today. fbb will proffer a headline review with tomorrow's conclusion of the Arriva Loopy saga.
 Next bus blog : Tuesday 7th July 


  1. Its Bredhurst not Bredham.

    The route (130/1) to Maidstone wasn't served by bus until 1973. Prior to that Boxley Hill had always been deemed to be too dangerous/difficult. Until an independent tried to register a service. They failed to get a licence but Maidstone & District jumped in using some small East Kent midi-buses. Can't remember the service number but it went to Farthing Corner. Not the M2 services of that name - but an estate adjacent to it.

  2. At de-regulation Roseway Coaches registered a commercial hourly service via what was primarily the 130 route through to Gillingham. Also a shopping service from Hempsted Valley something like the 113/114 but I think it stayed in the southern area estates (Lordswood/Walderslade?) and didn't go into Chatham?

  3. Small correction. The 700s on the map are not commuter coaches (we sensibly left those off!). The 700 is the Arriva service to Chatham and Bluewater - which will not run east of Chatham in this round of changes - while the 783 is the peak-hour rail link to Rainham railway station, a Medway Council funded service run by ASD Coaches.