Saturday 28 March 2015

A Bit of a Caper : See All down the Drapery [1]

The Northampton bus station story seems never ending. A quick reminder:-
The new bus station, which was heralded as "perfectly adequate" for all the services that would use it, has progressively "shrunk" with more and more buses using the Drapery and National Express out on a limb at the laughably named "Coachway" (i.e. two shelters, a pay toilet and no information) on Victoria Street.

In the end, we were told, Bays 1 to 14 would be part of the new (suddenly much smaller!) Northgate whilst Bays (i.e. stops) 15 to 22 would be in the "extended" bus station; i.e. The Drapery.
In 1610, John Speede drew a map of Northampton ...
... and the town centre is still recogniseable today. "I" is the Drapery with the Market Square to its right. "P" is Bridge Street now leading to the south of the town. "T" marks the site of the former United Counties bus station on Derngate. "E" is Sheep Street with the now-demolished Greyfriars bus station at "H" and the new North Gate bus station on the site of the curved terrace of house below "E" The town's north gate is just off Speede's map, top left.

The facilities in The Drapery would be, we were told, of an equal standard to those on the new bus station. Of course buses have always used the Drapery but back in the days of fbb's youth we had no need of namby-pamby things like bus shelters ...
A railing, a pole and a "flag" were all that was deemed necessary. If it rained, you pulled up the collar of your mackintosh or overcoat; pulled your trilby or flat cap over your ears and suffered in resigned silence.

And, talking of Mackintosh, ...
... the worthy (?) leader of the Borough Council promised much in the Drapery ...

Along the Drapery new Yorkstone paving slabs will replace the pavements. The existing bus shelters will be removed to make way for new larger shelters with Real-Time Passenger Information devices. The road surface will also be upgraded and improved.

... but delivered ...
... draughty shelters and seating/leaning on nearby buildings. One shelter on the "up" side is situated in between two of the stops, thus ensuring that it provides adequate shelter for neither!
Note the comfy seating.

But, never let it be said that Councillor Macca and his cronies don't respond to public opinion. Having spent an arm and several legs on shiny new, open draughty, rain soaked, cold shelters, the Council is now beginning a programme of "extending" them.
Whatever that means?
But even this "improvement" is not without controversy as we shall see tomorrow. And, as a special treat, our next blog will be enhanced by the pearls of poetic wisdom dropping from the pen of self-styled Public Transport Laureate, Robert Peer-Hewitt.
The hazards of railway modelling outdoors
Next door's cat, Chloe, making use of land above Peterville quarry to stalk her quarry as she continues with her ornithology project.
Happy memories of "The Goodies" "Kitten Kong" episode!
Squashed Bus helps win top Award
The new Askham Bar Park and Ride site building has been awarded an "excellence in civil engineering in construction" by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). The award celebrates the success of civil engineers in the Yorkshire and Humber region, as well as outstanding examples of civil engineering.

In partnership with First, the new Askham Bar P&R opened in June 2014, which alongside the new Poppleton P&R, further increased York?s successful portfolio to six P&R sites making this one of the largest Park&Ride services in the UK.

The scheme was part of the £22.7 million project, 70 per cent funded by the government, which was created in partnership with contractors Balfour Beatty and designers CH2M Hill.

For the best possible PR impact, a single deck bus was carefully squashed out of shape to remind users of the poor shape they would be in if they tried to park in the centre of York.
Or that's how it seems to fbb. The full picture is below.
 Next bus blog : Sunday 29th March 

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