Thursday 1 June 2023

Bountiful Buses In Bedfordshire

... But Only A Bit Of Bedfodshire

The press has been excited by events in this part of Bedfordshire.
Sounds great, does it not?
Improvements and at risk services saved - all paid for by "Section 106" money from the developers of the new estates that are now brought into the town's network, greeted enthusiastically by residents.

Or maybe not!

The locals are revolting - at least some of them are.

After the initial euphoria, the local press is now fuming in heated rage at the problems being faced by "angry elderly residents" - some of them not so elderly!
The local rag ...
... has also been trawling through social media to discover these anguished complaints.
Northampton Alan has forwarded the whole article; but, for it to make sense, we need to try and understand what has actually happened. Unfortunately (fortunately for the residents of the toen!) most on-line sources are showing the new network and the old timetables have vanished.

But fbb has dug out some comparative and corroborative detail which will help his and his loyal reader to understand what is going on.

It is worth emphasising as well that Arriva had already reduced its local services before the new network was delivered.

But let's begin with some geographical and historic background.

Leighton Buzzard is just off the A5 and lies on the West Coast main line south of Milton Keynes,
Except that it doesn't. Leighton Buzzard station is not at Leighton Buzzard but is at Linslade!
A branch once ran from Leighton Buzzard to Dunstable and on to Luton. There is nothing much left of the branch in the town except the obligatory diagonal line of greenery lower right in the Google Earth view below.
This is  now a footpath which runs from nowhere to nowhere else, starting between some very modern houses ...
... and finishing a road junction ... 
... near an industrial estate.

In the days of fbb's youth, buses in Leighton Buzzard were the sole preserve of United Counties.
But there was some excitement with the arrival of two midibuses for use on the local services.
But these rather unusual machines, with a bashed in look to the front end, did provide an "improved" service for the town.
These weirdo motors also appeared!
In 1979 the network consisted of five routes ...
... operating a "one-bus-in-steam" hourly service with gap for lunch.
But there was a lot less of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade than there is now.

With the chopping up of the National \bus Company. the Leighton Buzzard baton passed to Luton and District with a rich red livery and a similar network but a couple of real buses to enhance the image ...
... and the Buzza brand.   

fbb's knowledge becomes hazy from now on, except that Arriva became dominant in the area with the purchase of the Liton operation and, later, of Milton Keynes "Metro" bought from the great Julian Peddle.

Leighton Buzzard is a market town in Bedfordshire, England, in the southwest of the county and close to the Buckinghamshire border. It lies between Aylesbury, Tring, Luton/Dunstable and Milton Keynes, near the Chiltern Hills.

It is 36 miles northwest of Central London and linked to the capital by the Grand Union Canal and the West Coast Main Line. The built-up area extends on both sides of the River Ouzel (here about 2 metres wide) to include its historically separate neighbour Linslade, and is administered by Leighton-Linslade Town Council.        

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Leighton Buzzard and Linslade were both called Leestone.  

Of notable interest in the town is a small but delightful Heritage railway.
Based on local industrial clay quarry lines, this runs in a wiggle almost to Heath and Reach which, of course, is just one village!

The video shows the line's Centenary Steam Gala when it was a bit busier than on less auspicious operating days.
The railway was, until the recent changes, served by Arriva route D1, painted orange and branded.
This will be the first route to feature in fbb's "contrast and compare" blog, starting tomorrow.

 Next Leighton Buzzard blog : Friday 2nd June 


  1. Hmm. The usual complaint here is that out of date timetables remain on the internet long after they have expired. It doesn't sound as though praise is being given where praise should be due!

  2. Comment on the Yellow bus 12
    We used to holiday in Bournemouth in the late 80's, and I seem to remember some of the open topped buses on the 12 route going through to Christchurch, and, I think also all the way to Swanage at the other end. Yellow Buses also ran a evening open top vintage bus one season too ., if memory serves me right.

    1. Sandbanks - yes.

      Unaware of Swanage being on Yellows reach.

      In recent years they did a New Forest tour from Christchurch to Ringwood via Burley.

  3. If FBB needs an out of date Leighton Buzzard bus map, there is one here: