Sunday, 15 July 2018
Round About A Roundabout
fbb does not usually comment at length about roadworks, unless they radically affect buses. But a memory from his youth and a bit of trivial news come together to provoke the old man's interest.
In the mid 1960s, a slightly less f, and indeed a slightly less bb, would pay visits to London from his home on Northampton. One such trip involved a visit to Aldgate. For a country bumpkin from Northampton it was a terrifying place. Traffic was whizzing around at great speed;and getting from Aldgate Underground Station ...
... across the road to Aldgate Bus Station ...
... was, frankly, frightening. And this terror was 50 years ago! Think what it will have become today. Sadly, fbb never really new London's trolleybi and, as you can see from the picture above, the old notice (or even a more appropriate modern one!) no longer adorns the blank wall.
But a few days ago, the new Aldgate Square was officially opened with a performance from the local school choir and the usual adulatory speeches.
The aerial view shows how things were until recently.
See the mega "roundabout" (sausageabout) with the underground station in the middle and the bus station opposite. It even looked scary on a streetmap!
So what has changed? The bit of road linking Duke Place with Aldgate High Street has been closed completely to create the new square and traffic now runs in both directions around three sides of the former "sausage".
Apparently the result is that the whole area is less scary and much safer, traffic moves more freely and the buses don't get held up as much as they use to.
Well done whoever had the big idea!
fbb bought this book in the mid 1960s, at about the time he was being scared by Aldgate! At the end of a book full of many revolutionary ideas, the author, Colin Buchanan, suggested as a sort of "envoi" that authorities should try blocking off so-called busy road junctions with sandbags but without warning and "just see what happens".
Not many tried it.
Aldgate would suggest that bigger and whizzier is not always the best.
Another Rebuild Completed
When fbb opened his large tin of green paint to titivate his quarry rock face, he found that its contents had evolved into a slimy green alien life form. It had gone off! Big time.
Did fbb see the beginnings of an evolving eye in there?
Fortunately a brand called "Rustins" ...
... offered 250ml tins at a "reasonable" price (i.e. as expensive as any small tins thereof) and available post free on-line. Thus it was that a tin of Buckingham Green arrived in the fbb mail box.
With a bit more undergrowth at the base of the cliff things will look much better than Mrs fbb's decaying ex-bath towel. Job done!
Northamptonshire is in absolute turmoil. Another chief executive has just resigned and has sidekick, the Chief Finance Office has jumped ship as well. The County has, effectively, withdrawn all tendered bus work leaving the rural areas of the county a desert waste as far as public transport is concerned.
With consummate incompetence and last-minute-itis some services have been rescued from the political and financial debris. Publicity? What publicity?
Well there is some!
Service 87, round the little villages to Towcester, was operated (on tender) by Country Lion.
Parish Councils have been emptying their piggy banks, developers have been coughing up "Section 106" money and the results, although poor, are better than nothing.
Stagecoach will operate a much reduced 87.
Then fbb's former bus route (Yorks from Bozeat to Northampton), that took the lad from home to Northampton Grammar for eight glorious years, was due to disappear completely. (click on these timetable extracts to enlarge them)
It goes a different way now, is numbered W8 in the Wellingborough town service series and was due to be withdrawn completely between Bozeat (pronounced "Bo-zhut") and Northampton. All that would be left would be an hourly service from Wellingborough.
Up pops an upstart.
No one seems to know who "Village Hopper" is, but appears to be run as a "Community Bus". But a very nice lady from Cogenhoe parish council has supplied a timetable to Centrebus (at their request) so that the replacement service can be found by the bereft former passengers.
Well done Centrebus!!
Where Am I?
The bus is from Bristol; it is going to Oxford but from where and why?
What Am I?
A puzzle picture from fbb's No 3 son.
With no transport interest or content. Answer tomorrow!
Next rail diversion blog (possibly) : Monday 16th July