Thursday 11 August 2011

Delving into Dagenham Dock [3]

Trolleybuses at the Dockside?
fbb has negligible expertise on the history of London bus services. Two absolutely splendid experts have helped here, unknowingly, via the interweb. One is Mike Harris with his excellent historical London Bus Maps (website here); the other is "Ian" who has created a magnificent history of London bus routes from 1950 (website here). fbb gratefully acknowledges their innocent contribution ...
... which begins with Mike Harris' 1958 map. This shows the three services which passed Dagenham Dock station and rattled down Chequers Road to the dockside bus terminus. Chequers Road was not the most salubrious thoroughfare, being privately owned south of the station (?), not in the most pristine condition and liable to flooding. This more recent shot looks back towards Dagenham with the A13 flyover visible in the distance.
Certainly NOT very good "bus territory"  today.

But it was not always so. Three bus services plied their trade down the bumpy road in 1958 but by 1991 they had all faded away, declining as dramatically as did the employment of real people around the dock area. The 145 was the first to die on 2nd February 1985, having previously been limited to a few Monday to Friday peak journeys. Its successor gets closest to its former destination at Dagenham ASDA, a short but industrial walk from the "Dock" Station.
The 139 had Monday to Friday daytime journeys until 21st November 1987, when it too, expired.
The 148, however, managed to hang on until 25th May 1991 when its Monday to Friday journeys came to an end.
Leon Daniels, in his bus blog, (yes he's now something very important in Transport for London) reveals the unusual sight of London trolleybuses at the level crossing on Chequers Road!
Not, (obviously?), under their own power. They were being towed to the dock for export, two trolleybi being espied here in the yard prior to loading.
So, twenty years ago, socio-ecomonic change, the decline of  manual labour in docklands generally and the pressures of limited bus funding have all contrived to remove public transport from a fascinating but obscure corner of the great Metropolis.
Until February 2010 ...

Next blog : due Friday August 12th
       Dagenham Dock Week         


  1. Just out of interest, how far is it from Dagenham Dock station to stop S/C on Ripple Road, or to Asda (stop D)? It doesn't look very far, and you say it is a 'short' walk.

  2. door to door somewhat less that half a mile.

  3. Thanks - so even without a service along that part of Chequers Lane, no point is going to be very much more than a quarter of a mile from some form of public transport, which doesn't seem too bad.

    I seem to recall reading (many years ago!) that a quarter of a mile was considerable a reasonable maximum distance to expect people to be prepared to walk to and from a bus stop - at least in urban areas.

  4. If you are a decrepit (?) old fogey like me, R169, a quarter of a mile is a long way! Until the promised regeneration of the Dagenham Dock area happens, there is not likely to be a mad rush anyway!

  5. The 174 was actually the final route to provide a (very limited) service along Chequers Lane - a few select journeys were diverted down there (early 1990s?) after the 148 (which itself only had a limited service along there) was withdrawn and mostly replaced by the 364.

    Since at least the 1970s the 139 was the only regular service along there, the other routes down there being limited to a small proportion of the rush hour service being diverted away from their normal destinations.