Thursday 30 August 2018

The Only Way Is Essex - 3 (Brightlingsea)

Various operators have plied the Brightlingsea Road, namely Cedric's ...
... and Horizon Bus which turns up today with a clutch of school services.
Back in the days of the great Great Britain Bus Timetable (in this case in year 2K) the "main line" service from Colchester was service 78/78A, running every 30 minutes.
In passing it is worth noting that services between Colchester and Clacton and between Clacton and Walton were much the same in Y2K as they were before the July capitulation.

First bus (and its predecessors) was king of the road for many a year, but recently the challenge of competition has reared its ugly head.

Headingham started their service 87 ...
... a direct copy of First's Brightlingsea offering, running every 30 minutes.
The route is the same.
Perhaps in response to competition, First uses green wedge branded buses ...
... and has a much better map!
The timetable differs, however, in a couple of ways. First maintains the long-standing half hour frequency through to Brightlingsea, but adds an extra half-hourly 62A plunging more deeply into Wivenhoe.
Everything serves the Co-op ...
... thence the 62 turns sharp left along Bellevue Road ...
... to rejoin the "main road". Likewise Hedingham's 87.

62a journeys continue along the High Street, then turn right almost at its end to serve an nice little turning circle layby thingey outside the railway station.
There is also a route 61 to Wivenhoe Station (every 30 minutes).
These services combine to give the University of Essex six buses an hour.
In Colchester, First runs to the so-called North Station - which doesn't actually exist!
As far as fbb is aware, it has always been just Colchester Station, never with North added to its name. There is a "Colchester Town" station, located more in the centre of the town - there's a clue in its name!

For countless generations local folk have referred to the main station as "Colchester North" and bus destination blinds and timetables follow this tradition.
From an outsider's point of view, it seems that First have been offering the better service of the two competitors ...
... so perhaps we should not be surprised to read this in Hedingham's web site.

Unfortunately route 87 will be discontinued from September 2nd 2018.

However, to say goodbye we will be offering a £2 a ride Farewell offer from Saturday 18th August until Saturday 1st September 2018. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Please be aware on Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th, Thursday 30th  and Friday 31st buses will only run

i.e. only an hourly service.

From Brightlingsea Victoria Place to Colchester at:
0544, 0721, 0751, 0827, 0900, 0957, 1057, 1157, 1257, 1357, 1457, 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2200.

From  Colchester High St only at:  0730, 0904 then every hour until 1604, 1710, 1810, 2006, 2106, 2306

On Saturday 1st September buses will only run

From Brightlingsea Victoria Place to Colchester at:
0727, 0757, 0900, 0957, 1057, 1157, 1257, 1357, 1457, 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2200

From Colchester High Street only at:
0904 then every hour until 1604, 1710, 1810, 2006, 2106, 2306

As T S Eliot did not quite write in his poem, "The Hollow Men" ...

This is the way the service ends
This is the way the service ends
This is the way the service ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Bus watchers will be interested to see if, with the removal of the competition, First begins to reduce its joint 61/62/62A frequency.

P.S. Alresford Creek Ford.
fbb referred to this in yesterday's blog (read again). But a gang of keen Land Rover enthusiasts were not going to let about three feet of gloopy mud impede their desire to ford the ford!

First, turn your Land Rover into a bulldozer and attack the gloop.
It takes several goes!
But, eventually, success!
After a rescue or two!
And there it is ... Alresford Creek ford available to all ...
... maybe not!

The various videos can be found on YouTube.

Presumably the next few tides filled it in again. Videos were dated 2008.

Tomorrow - how to spend £4 million plus!

 Next bus lane blog : Friday 31st August 


  1. Andrew Kleissner30 August 2018 at 07:24

    You're quite right about Colchester "North" station. And, until fairly recently (1991), it was the only station to bear the town's name, as the other one was called "St. Botolph's", after the nearby Priory church.

  2. Ah, the Great Britain Bus Timetable - summarised to the point of uselessness and with weird coding which looked like route numbers but weren't. Successive issues just gathered dust in our office.
    An idea of limited relevance, destroyed by awful execution.

  3. I've a couple of odd memories of Colchester Station sixty or more years back. The unit forming the train to Brightlingsea came in, and the crew ran some water off the engine to make tea, so we ran late. On a return journey we were ejected there to wait some time for our connection to our train home, only to see the same set picking us up.

  4. Andrew Kleissner30 August 2018 at 10:18

    Colchester Town (St. Botolph's) is on a triangle, so trains to/from Clacton and Walton can either go in and reverse, or bypass it. I wonder what the Brightlingsea trains did?

    Interestingly, the line between Colchester, Clacton and Walton was electrified on the 25kV system during the late 50s, as a self-contained "tryout" system. At that time the main line was electrified on the DC system between London and Shenfield/Southend. Later this was converted to AC and the wires extended to Chelmsford, but I think there was a "gap" between there and Colchester for some years. Can anyone shed light on this?

    1. The summer 1961 timetable shows that most Brightlingsea trains were shuttles from Wivenhoe, but some started at St Botolphs, and occasionally Colchester (mainly via St Botolphs).
      A through train from Shenfield ran on Sundays that did not serve St Botolphs.

      Andrew, you are correct on the electrification. DC reached Chelmsford in June 1956, but was turned off north of Shenfield in November 1960 (when the Southend branch went over to 6.25kV ac). Electric services did not resume until 1962, at 25kV. Colchester-Clacton (and I presume Walton) went straight to 25kV ac in April 1959. All dates from Ian Allan's "Eastern Electric" by Jon Glover.