Friday, 1 October 2021

NOT Gannin Along The Scotswood Road

But "Gannin" To Blaydon - Eventually!

Historically, the A69 strode purposefully along the communities on the north bank of the Tyne until it got to Corbridge, where it crossed the river and met the A695. The A695 was the Scotswood Road, also on the north bank but much nearer the river (ideal for Gannin Along to get to Blaydon). It crossed the Chain Bridge ...
... and continued via Blaydon ...
... as far as Hexham where it fizzled out, leaving the road to Carlisle via Brampton as the A69 all the way.

The A69 as far as Hexham is much improved ...
... and the arrival of the Metrocentre in Gateshead has changed traffic flows on the south bank. So here  we see ...
... Paradise (in the song) on the Scotswood Road, the other Newcastle Paradise (viz the Metrocentre) and its main red-coloured roads and we just catch the A1 lower left. The A1 (GREEN) links with the A1(M) (BLUE) near Birtley and provides a super smashing western by-pass for the city.
There's Blaydon (centre left) and Stella where the later race course was built; the A69 (GREEN) zooms off upper left whilst the A695 (RED) serves Blaydon.

Some 40 years ago, when the Great Britain Bus Timetable last appeared (Shame!) it showed a joint service 685 by Northumbria (a k a Arriva) and Stagecoach along the full length of the A69 between Newcastle and Carlisle.

The service still runs, is still hourly and is still joint between Arriva and Stagecoach. But finding out is a struggle. Stagecoach in Newcastle seemed to disown it ...
... but it did appear later.

Arriva is continuing its national policy to make finding bus timetables a real challenge; but after some sweaty moments comes up with a really daft timetable.
They are all through journeys but Arriva doesn't want you to make long journeys. Probably Arriva doesn't want you to make ANY journeys. 

Joint service? What joint service?

Arrive certainly does NOT want you to even consider catching a Stagecoach bus, so misses them out.

Thankfully, Stagecoach shows the whole timetable.
The through journey now takes 9 minutes longer compared with 20 years ago!

But the buses are smarter!
Well, at least the Stagecoach vehicles are!
They both used to be in the same livery ...
A relatively recent development has been the arrival of Go Ahead on the A69 between Newcastle and Hexham.

Whilst Go Ahead may be good at route branding, their web site is poor on maps. There is no network map and most routes are accompanied by unhelpful Google based "live" maps that are often beyond comprehension.

Go Ahead's "fast" buses to Hexham are graced with a "proper" route map, but very much simplified.
The X85 has a non-stop section between West Denton and Horsley whilst the X84 serves Wylam, Ovingham and Ovington. (
The earlier Arriva route to Ovington was, effectively, extended to Hexham.
To balance running time somewhat, the X84 does its bit of fast running between Corbridge and Hexham. The "live" map is baffling.
The simple map stops at Hexham, so what is that extra "diversion" not shown on the "normal" map.

It doesn't matter how much you zoom in, the map is devoid of anything useful. But fbb, knowing no fear and, as ever, dispensing with a safety net, has worked it out.

But take a look at a timetable extract.
Note the 1608 runs to St Andrews Cemetery (which is on the "live" map). It's pretty much in the middle of nowhere on the link road from Hexham to join the extended A69.
The 0820 from Newcastle has its time shaded and served St Andrews Cemetery BEFORE Hexham and this is explained in a shaded note.
But Priestpopple? Confused again? How foolish of you. EVERYBODY knows that Priestpopple is one of the main streets in Hexham. And it is where the bus station WAS until it closed.
But it is not where the bus station IS. It is now on Dene Avenue which is a little further east and thus a little further from the town centre facilities ...
... but it is rather fine!
Presumably young Gavin (they are always called Gavin!) who was given the job of writing the timetable, felt that the "old" stop should be included. But without a map it will be meaningless to all but regular travellers.

At least the timetable says "Bus Station".

But none of these routes go via Blaydon. So in the next episode (sometime next week - see below) we will look at buses to Blaydon - and that will be fun again.

This weekend (Sunday and Monday afternoons) is the fbb's "Afternoon Tea" Christian meeting and we are linking Harvest with the Old Testament Story of Cain and Abel. 
It is all about Opportunity.
And there's egg and cress, cheese and pickle and Ardennes pate sandwiches at make. Mrs fbb does the cakes and hubby does the sarnies. Busy busy!

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 2nd October 

1 comment:

  1. Time might fly, but it certainly isn't 40 years since the GBTT came out!