Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Number 204 Route

Sudbury Town Station to Edgware Station

Tuesday June 23rd 2009

Rather a strange way of joining a Piccadilly Line station to the end of the Northern Line, but for us bus travellers in fact the middle leg of a journey between the 18 and the 113. It was a glorious and sunny day as we walked the short distance between Sudbury and Harrow Road railway station passing a charming crocodile of nursery children in yellow reflective jackets (so as not to be left behind) and the departure point of the 204. The three of us admired them and settled ourselves upstairs in a very clean bus.

The children had in fact been in the Bartram Park and Library, which looked very pleasant but we had the less enjoyable experience of rather slow traffic back along the High Road. The bus retraced the route through Wembley, still in sight of the stadium arch, and past several South Asian restaurants including the Chennai Dosa, according to their publicity the fastest growing chain. Wembley has a fairly standard town centre with Brent municipal offices whose Community Services instruct you to Use Your BRAIN.

At Wembley Central we left our previous (18)  route, and the traffic, behind and headed over the hills – excellent view towards Harrow and beyond as we crested the hill – steep too and even the pavements had handrails, I noted. This part of the route was largely residential with post-war semis of varying sizes but similar in design. We are very much on the outer side of the North Circular here even when following a parallel contour.

This time we crossed the Metropolitan Line and the Chiltern railway near the Preston pub  and Preston Road (another stop on the Metropolitan Line) and up another hill to Kingsbury – this time tracking the Jubilee Line… really and truly in Metroland. We noted how many of these homes had bricked over their front gardens, presuming up on the hill they would not get flooded. As we crossed an open area called  Roe Green
 we noted a long low thatched house, as you might find in the country. However as the website tells you, it turns out to be something of a folly! They like to think of themsleves as a  village though!

Hay Lane had the most enormous Ford car showroom, which, if I had thought, I should have recognised from the other perspective of the Edgware Road, but on this trip we crossed it (the Edgware Road) to penetrate Colindale quite thoroughly. We were promised the RAF museum but did not actually pass it though we did confront both the Colindale Labs, where police forensic and medical specimens rare enough to need a more specialist analysis are sent, plus of course the Colindale Newspaper Library , which is in fact part of the British Library. They have a very strict admission policy – over 21 and no pens – but are in the process of digitising.

The bus took us in and out of various new but quite dense developments, the Willows and  Grahame- Park
 before rejoining Watling Avenue and the Edgware Road at Burnt Oak – much favoured as a shopping venue by RenĂ©e because of its excellent choice of fresh and quite exotic greengrocery. Most buses seem to have a hospital en route and so does the 204, and thus we passed the Edgware Community Hospital offering very modern out patients’ facilities, but few wards and no A&E for which you need to go all the way to Barnet. The bus swings right and into Edgware Bus station adjacent to the Broadwalk Centre where we could use the toilets and buy some lunch. I caused something of a health-and-safety stir in M&S by bleeding onto the conveyor belt (even though the wound was entirely self-inflicted: too much cuticle-chewing!).

We decided that with all its twists and turns through estates this route needed some memorising by the driver, as opposed to a straight up and down route.

1 comment:

  1. I love your diaries! Your reviews are a little window on the great unknown metropolitan area of London, everytime i read your posts i feel like i have experienced a part of your journeys from my desk chair :) That's amazing!!!
    And when i was young (well, when i was younger) i shared this idea of bus travelling after school. Unfortunately my city is nowhere as big as London, with just 16 bus routes!

    Soooo have a good time :)