Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A Bard is Bereft of Buses? (1)

A reasonably well-known beardy baldy man writes of his frustration with Public Transport

A bus, a bus! My kingdom for a bus!
Withdraw, my lord; I'll help you find a bus.
Slave! I have set my life upon a bus,
And I will stand the hazard of the wait.

To wait, or not to wait, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous delays, or to take arms against a misleading timetable.

Is this a decker which I see before me,
The doors toward my hand? Come, let me clutch them.
I have them not, and yet I see them still.
Art thou not, transport vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dream-bus of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?

With this in mind, our Northampton correspondent took a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, arriving by train. This involved a trip to Birmingham, then a journey south on the North Warwickshire line.
Travelling from London to the home of England's greatest dramatist is less easy. There are few through trains, so changing (e.g. at Leamington Spa) is almost always necessary; poor for a major tourist attraction!

The main station building is more-or-less unchanged ...
... although last year it did gain a new footbridge under the "access for all" policy.
As part of this "improvement" the new footbridge is open to the elements, unlike the horrid old one which had proper cover.
Now you can use the lifts and get wet doing so! Bonus! And Notwork Rail doesn't know that the new footbridge is there yet. The "station plan" pictures still show the old one.

The station is now a terminus with just a headshunt south of the road bridge ...
... but at one time the line continued south to Honeybbourne .
Now; part of the "yellow" line is a footpath ...
... and across a roundabout a new road takes up the old formation.
At a second roundabout situated roughly where the yellow and blue lines meet, the new road (Seven Meadows Way) strikes roughly east on the trackbed of the Stratford and Midland Junction Railway (SMJ) which served the second Stratford-upon-Avon Station, now long gone.
In days gone by, Alan could (if he were brave) travel cross country from Towcester on this quaint and little used line. Nothing remains of the station buildings but...
... what is this, almost hidden in the grass verge of Severn Meadows Way?

It is the edge of the northern platform of the second Stratford station, still there and still in good condition.
The original location of both stations is shown in this map extract.
The SMJ station closed in 1952 when correspondent Alan would have been too young to be allowed to make the journey!

In May 2013, Stratford regained a second station on its northern edge. "Parkway" is a decidedly uninspiring station with minimal facilities (no facilities) ...
... but adjacent to Bishopton Park and Ride.
It is a draughty trek across the car park to get to the shuttle bus!
Realistically folk are unlikely to use the Park and Ride to catch a train into town as the buses are more frequent.
It is not at all clear how frequent the buses might be outside the quoted times above.
Warwickshire County is perhaps optimistic to suggest that when the bus does not run, folk should use the train.

Whilst the bus service does not operate on an evening after 2051 or on a Sunday, please take advantage of convenient and cheap parking by using the train to travel to Stratford town centre. An evening and Sunday train service is available from Stratford Parkway (adjacent to the Park & Ride car park) to Stratford town station, with a journey time of less than 5 minutes and competitive fares.

But it was something at Stratford-upon-Avon's (non Parkway) station that interested our Alan.

 Next Stratford blog : Wednesday 9th November 

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately even Chiltern Railways could not make a success of through Stratford - London trains.

    As you no doubt imagine, Stratford Parkway is mainly used for travelling to Birmingham. Until June this year Stratford Town - Park & Ride bus services continued to Parkway Station. Low usage was the reason given for that short section being discontinued.