Thursday 15 October 2020

Thinking About Thurrock

A few days back, fbb did threaten to complete his exploration of Ensign's timetable book. 

He looked at service 22, Grays to Aveley running every 20 minutes Monday to Friday, every 30 minutes on Saturday and hourly on Sunday. It is usually the stamping ground of Ensigns latest delivery of new buses ...
... and very smart they look! But there are some mysteries on the timetable as printed in the latest edition of their booklet.
There are 77s, 77As and Z1s which seem to be exactly the same as 22s.

That's because they are!
As the fbb map tells us, thr 22 is replaced by 7777A at certain times of the day. We now move on to the 73 and 83 which also link Lakeside and Grays but via a more direct route. Ensign gives the separate colours (GREEN and YELLOW) but fbb has used one color for both.

Why, you may ask?

Because the 73 and 83 follow a common route and an integrated 15 minute frequency timetable between Grays and Chadwell St Mary Cross Keys ...
... which might well be designated as the "centre" of the community.
At The Cross Keys, the 83 turns left and loops happily round Chadwell St Mary's main housing area ...
... whilst the 73 turns right to travel south to Tilbury. For the moment, was can ignore the PINK line (route 66) which goes a different way to Tilbury (seven days a week) then runs north to Chadwell on Mondays to Fridays only.

In the booklet, the 83 is straightforward ...
,... every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday with no evening or Sunday service. But, hold fast there! Notes tell us that the hinterland of Chadwell is served by 73A, 77 and 77A at various times of the day and days of the week, hence the RED (77s) and YELLOW (73A) dotty lines.

So on Sundays, when there are no 83s, greater Chadwell has a 73A, a normal 73 diverted via the estates (Heath Road and Longhouse Road and quite a bit more).
On Mondays to Saturdays (when there is no evening or early morning 83, we have 77, 77A and Z1 serving Tilbury and greater Chadwrll in various combinations, all shown on the 73 timetable.
The notes explain that the Z1 continues from Tilbury Civic Square to Amazon (note A) and the 77/77A trundle off to ASDA (note T)

Just for good measure, the good folk at Ensign also provide you with a full 77/77A timetable, all the way from Aveley to Tilbury and including tghe Z1 and the Chadwell diversions.
fbb's first "go" at a Thurrock map is somewhat evasive on the detail of these variations ...
... quietly ignoring the 73A.

Ensign makes a good fist of communicating these complexities, although fbb would like to see the 73, 77A and Z1 journeys shown on the 83 table as they are on the 73. That way, you always get the full information.

Presumable there is some contractual reason why some 77As are Z1s.

Presumably, also, there is some commercial reason why you couldn't operate the whole caboodle as ...

77  Aveley-Grays-Chadwell St Mary-Tilbury

77A Aveley-Grays-Chadwell St Mary-Estates

... with the 77As continuing via the Estates to Tilbury as now. It would all be a lot less befuddling if you could!

Thurrock : A P.S.
When nice David Storey whisked off the new Thurrock timetable, he also included the timetable book that never was.
Interestingly, back in March, there is no 77/77A. 22 and 73 run all day and well into the evening but unlinked, with the 73A variant when the 83 doesn't operate ...
... so there must be some good reason (a money saving ploy?) why the current timetable is so complicated by comparison.

What didn't happen, due to the exigencies of the situation, were the interesting new developments highlighted by the yellow stars on the front cover.
An intriguing overnight bus from Airport to London and back.
This would run when there are  no trains serving the station at the airport ...
... and designed to meet late and early flights. With a drastic collapse of passengers at thr smaller airports it is not surprising that the service did not continue. Likewise business at Gatwick has plummeted but all credit to Ensign for planning to extend the X80 (Lakeside to Bluewater) to Gatwick.
This would have been an hourly service offering a whole rang of travel opportunities from Essex and North Kent, providing airport links without travelling via London.
Maybe it will reappear when all our troubles are over - currently and gloomily predicted as sometime in 2022.

And an apology. In an earlier blog, fbb reported that the web site content was poor by comparison with the printed book. Ensign are currently re-fettling their web site and do apologise for any deficiences. As usual "bull-at-a-gate" fbb didn't read that bit.

Also on offer is a download version of the timetable book; so, as we often chorus ...

It really is all on line!

Although fbb has never ridden an Ensign bus, Northampton Alan has attended at least one of their running days when all sorts of  vehicles appear on the X80 (to Bluewater only!) - both bus watchers would probably agree that Ensign deserve their various awards.

  Next ??????? blog : Friday 16th October 

1 comment:

  1. It's some time since the Electric Blues hybrids were Ensign's latest delivery of new buses. Standard diesel Volvo B9TL/Wrights followed and subsequent new buses have been the BCI deckers for which Ensign is also the importer.