Tuesday 27 August 2019

Back to Brackley : Bus and Builders (2)

Convenient Transport Links?
Correspondent Alan pointed out in yesterday's blog that the blurb from at least two of the developers of fine new housing estates referred to Brackley's "convenient" or "excellent" links with the outside world.
Maybe the authors of these pearls of wisdom live in another parallel dimension or, perhaps for "transport" links they mean "travelling by car".
Drivers going north via Birmingham have the M40 at Banbury and, driving south can join the M40 to London and onward motorway connections.
The A43 is now a good (bus busy!) road to the M1 just outside Northampton leading to the East Midlands towns and on into Yorkshire - where be dragons!

But what Brackley does NOT have is good PUBLIC transport links. 

One writer obviously looked at a map and spotted a (say it softly so as not to upset the car owners) railway station close by.
But what the writer of the above snippet failed to research is that the station at Kings Sutton is "basic" and, generally,the service is poor. 

The village is picturesque with a church ...
... a couple of quaint pubs ...
... a quaint post office ...
... and a lavishly appointed shopping centre.
This consists of the co-op, a hair dressers and the internationally famous Reg's Cafe(?).

Then there is the station - if you can find it.

Maybe start by driving past the church (which is fairly obvious) then down a quaint narrow road ...
... before continuing on into the wiggly and narrow Wales Road.
fbb has no idea why Wales; it certainly doesn't nor never did extend to the Principality!

There are more wiggles to enjoy, but ...
... at the dead end of the dead end road, assuming you have persevered in your search, you will come across Kings Sutton station.
When Google Streetview passed by, the car park (23 spaces) was completely full with two (above) on the approach road.

If you are seeking the station, please do not look for direction signs. There aren't any!

The station is unstaffed and is well equipped with lots of notice boards ...
... and a car park ticket machine; but, as far as fbb could tell from pictures and the station plan ...
.. no way pf buying your ticket before boarding. The rubric in the station's description does however aver that ticket machine(s) are available.

Probably the most interesting part of this minimalist "halt" is the shelter on the "down" platform ...
... which almost certainly dates from the station's early days when it was served by real trains and had a real station building.

So, as a "commuter" route - indeed for any practical use - Kings Sutton is less than ideal as a "rail head" for Brackley.

And, as for trains to "London and Birmingham" ... some sort of joke?

Chiltern (Arriva - currently Deutsche Bahn)  run a sporadic service to London Marylebone ...
... which is reasonably fast.

Great Western (First) run occasional local trains to Didcot.
This is early afternoon with a three hour gap!

Following the above timetable, the 1239 connects with the 1332 from Didcot which (note EAL) runs, oh so slowly, to Paddington arriving at 1501 - a journey of a little over two hours and twenty minutes. No doubt, however, you can hop onto a faster train at Didcot and overtake the stopper. 

Through services to Birmingham and sparse indeed with most (all?) trains requiring a change at Banbury.

Nope. fbb would never recommend Kings Sutton for access to the rail network from Brackley.

Your best bet, by far, for trains would be to go to Banbury and, as a bonus, you could get there by bus from Brackley.

We will explore this option tomorrow.

 Next Bus and Builder blog : Wednesday 28th August 


  1. If you are thinking the orange box is a car park machine, surely it is actually a PERTIS machine?

  2. It is a PERTIS - Permit to Travel - machine, but actually Chiltern have installed a ticket machine in the shelter on the up platform. Its blue base is just visible within the shelter. It does not accept cash.

  3. I know that, being anonymous, I will incur FBB's chagrin. Also, it's fair to say that no-one has to read this blog and yes, it is up to FBB to blog as he chooses.

    However, the strapline at the top is "Daily blogging is "the norm" and will continue until fbb runs out of ideas!"

    I'm beginning to wonder if the old boy has begun to exhaust the seam. We have the odd bit of railway modelling, some things usually courtesy of "number 3 son" in Switzerland or Germany, and the occasional bit of news etc.

    However, it is beginning to feel that it's FBB and his old chums consistently bemoaning the issues with buses in Northampton and Sheffield, accompanied with pictures of how things were so much better in the past and how there is no such progress in any area. Almost like Homer Simpson's father shouting at a cloud, and a wish to return to the halcyon days of the 1950s and 1960s before the forces of anarchy (as Jimmy in Reginald Perrin listed) removed everything that was good and wholesome.

    This isn't a troll (never believe it til it's denied) but a genuine request to the old boy. We all know that you're not a fan of South Yorkshire PTE, and that Sheffield/Northampton do possess a special place in FBB's formative years. However, variety in the spice of life and, in respect of Sheffield especially, it feels like we've been here too many times in the last year or two.

    I know I can always not read the blog but there are some genuinely interesting posts like the Guildford one (as one example). However, it does feel a bit Darnall/Duston centric so a genuine request - a bit less of that, and a bit more of elsewhere. Please!