Sunday 12 October 2014

Bemused by Ballinger Bottom (Bucks) [2]

394 and a Little More
A comment on yesterday's blog snippet re Gaydon Model Railway "do" (read again).
Leamington Spa
Perhaps not, eh? Anyway, one would expect model railways enthusiasts to spot the difference; ditto Hornby Magazine. Admittedly, to PR firms ANY red bus is a London bus (usually a routemaster); so perhaps any station with a bus will do!
Back to Ballinger ... 

First, a map:
 Great Missenden is the red station dot in the bottom left.

 This 1969 timetable extract ...
... shows route 394 as running from Tring to Chesham via Cholesbury erratically and continuing equally erratically to Great Missenden. And there is a time point for Ballinger, more correctly Ballinger Common.
By 1975, successor operator London Country were only running a 394 between Tring, Chesham and Chartridge.
Todays route from Tring to Chesham is the 194, having lost 200 from its number.
It now runs on Wednesdays only!
The other half, serving Lee and Ballinger, is now the 177 ...
... with an equally sparse offering!
Tuesdays and Thursdays only with an afternoon trip "the other way round". Saturday offers a short working to Great Missenden and, confusingly, a service for Monday Wednesday and Friday is provided by bus 190, not shown on the above map.
fbb does not know what happened between the withdrawal of the 394 via Ballinger (as in the 1975 timetable above) and the modern 177/190. Comments are invited!

The Amersham Bus Enthusiasts' running day timetable for the 394 shows two journeys anti clockwise via Ballinger ...
... and four trips in the opposite direction. It was on one of these tours that Northampton correspondent Alan spotted the stunning bus stop signs. 

And it wasn't one of these, standard Buckinghamshire offerings.
Nor was it even this non-standard erection outside Ballinger Common War Memorial Hall ...
... clearly designed to fit in with the rural delights of the community meeting place! No, this is what they spotted on the road between Chartridge and Lee Bottom, just past the Ashotts lane junction.
That stop is named "adj Cherry Tree Farm" ...
... and, amazingly, it is a standard London Transport flag; presumably missed by the Buckinghamshire bus stop beautification brigade. Here is the enthusiast bus at the stop with the passengers photographing and drooling over the anachronism. Sadly someone has stuck a Traveline label on it to spoil the image.
This bus, London Transport (Country Area) T792, HLX 462, dates from 1948 and has an AEC Regal III chassis with Mann Egerton bodywork, built in Norwich. T792 was one of the very last half-cab single-deckers bought by London Transport and is now the sole survivor of this (to my eyes) exceptionally handsome batch of essentially 'provincial' buses supplied to LT. They had relatively short lives compared with the long-lived contemporary RT-type double-deckers, many of which went on to achieve lives of over 25 years, which until the late 1970s, was a rare thing. Infromation from (here) where many more photos can be seen.

Perhaps the above now goes some way to explaining why fbb was moved to pen a parodical poem in yesterdays blog (read again if you haven't done so already!). The whole tale contains much more wondrous transport history than fbb can include in a short article and does, perhaps, explain why sad old men pay good money to travel the highways and byways of Britain on old buses. Bus stop signs can be equally exciting.

You can wake up now!

Thanks to Alan for the basis of these two blogs; and to considerate comment contributor Kentish Clive for sending the old 394 timetable pages.
As part of South West Water's improvement works in Fleet Street, a temporary bridge had been installed outside Oggy Oggy Pasties ...
... but as the first bus attempted to travel on the bridge this morning, it got stuck on the approach ramp. A South West Water spokesman said: "We installed temporary traffic lights last night between 9pm and 6am to allow a temporary bridge to put in place with the idea being that the buses could keep using the road.

However, the first bus caught its underside on the bridge structure. It appears that the gradient of the tarmac ramp that has been installed up to the bridge was too steep."

Fortunately a bystander was on hand to film the "Gold" vehicle in situ. Bus services have been heavily disrupted as Fleet Street is a main bus road in the town.
Whoops indeed!
 Next bus blog : Monday 13th October 

1 comment:

  1. At the risk of stating the obvious, what happened to the bus services to Ballinger (and indeed all the rural services in that part of Leafy Bucks) is twofold - regular bus user Mrs Scroggins has died, and her house has been purchased by Tarquin and Grizelda Aardvark-Clutterbuck, who have two Range Rovers for personal transport. They don't need the buses! There are various books (Capital Transport) that detail the decline, but one doubts if the (substantial) bus network in the area ever covered more than basic costs of operation since the 1950's, when increased numbers of people could afford cars.

    And the bus stop - wow - that's two, then! There used to be another at St Leonards (route 394 en route to Tring), but whether it's still there is unknown. Why the survival? Look at the pole . . . . . . it's of the telegraph variety, which occasionally has workpersons scampering up and down. Back in the distant 1970's, during the wholesale application of the standard NBC / DoT flags throughout the land, an early Elf'n person spotted that said workperson, if falling from said pole, would do themselves a bigger damage on a thinly-edged flag than the one illustrated, which is more rounded in construction. Accordingly, stickers to the approved design were stuck onto the flag, and thereby ensured the survival of the old-style stop.
    I seem to recall that another survivor survives in Wraysbury.