Wednesday 1 January 2014

Post Festive Snippets [7]

   Some of fbb's old, decayed slides:   

 A selection will be presented in the   
 form of a post-festive quiz.           
 Answers and other information will be  
 posted on the following day's blog     

           yesterday's answer           
Woughton Dial-a-Bus, Milton Keynes.
Woughton-on-the-Green (pronumced Wuff-ton) was a small village on the road between Newport Pagnell and Fenny Stratford; the latter an historic staging post on the A5 Watling Street.
The early expansion of Milton Keynes was northwards from Bletchley (itself developed in the 1950s), with estates taking many of the ancient names on the 1940s map above. MK-geeks will recognise Bleak Hall, Coffee Hall, Peartree Bridge and Walton Hall, home of the Open University.
The village is now surrounded by Milton Keynes but does retain something of a rural character.
The church, the pub and Woughton House ...
... (now the tidily-named Mercure Milton Keynes Parkside House hotel) are still evident!
The Dial-a-Bus service used the name of the Parish of Woughton-on-the-Green and included places like Beanhill, Coffee Hall, Eaglestone and Netherfield.

To deal with the impracticality of a conventional bus service in the early days of the new districts, Milton Keynes Development Corporation decided in 1973 to adopt and adapt the American Dial-a-ride concept, initially in Woughton Parish. Users who needed a bus could call a central number from special Dial-a-Bus phone points and have a nearby (radio-controlled) Mercedes-Benz mini-bus diverted to the caller's street. The service began in 1975. Operation of the service was contracted to the incumbent operator, United Counties, which chose to operate it under its existing and expensive wage agreements with drivers. Although used and appreciated, revenue covered less than a third of costs so the service ceased after two years.

Youthful fbb and our present Northampton correspondent, Alan, took a toddle from Northampton to "do" the Dial-a-Ride. (Thanks to Alan for the pic of three DaBs above.) They alighted from a "main road" bus from Stony Stratford to Bletchley, phoned the office and about 10 minutes later were the only passengers back to Bletchley.
An an expensive-to-provide bus, but a cheap taxi for the travelling twosome!

Dial-a-Bus gave way to minibus services on internal estate roads ...
 ... with "big buses" on the main roads.

Today, there are few buses that penetrate the inner recesses of the former Dial-a-Bus estates.
Route 1 still runs via Coffee Hall whilst the 28 creeps into Eaglestone (top centre). Woughton-on-the Green village still has its own local service via Simpson etc.
fbb is hoping to pay a state visit to Milton Keynes as soon as possible; in particular to sample the UK's first induction charged electric buses on route 7, due "in January 2014".

Watch this space.
         today's puzzle picture         
Where and what?
 fbb wishes all his readers, regular and 
 occasional, all the very best for 2014. 
  Thanks for all your helpful comments   
  and contributions. Much appreciated.   
 Next rail / tram (?) blog : Thursday 2nd January 


  1. Is it something to do with Volk’s Electric Railway in Brighton?

    The building looks similar to that at Blackrock as seen on