Friday, 26 August 2011

The Number 208 Route

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Cold, cold day, though the snow was finally melting except on suburban pavements.  Linda and I (Mary was back at the dentist, poor her) met at Lewisham bus station around 10.00 (Lewisham is a real hub for public transport, and so a good place to start)
The 208 declared itself to be going only to Catford, rather than Orpington as we had thought, and needed.  later checking of the on line timetable offered the clue 'splits at Catford' so we got on around 10.05 and subsequently waited for another one in Bromley to complete the route.

We knew the first part of the route from the 47, down the Lewisham 'by pass', past the shopping centre, the Ladywell Leisure Centre and Lewisham Hospital: much bigger than when Linda originally worked there, and with the former Lewisham Library as a lecture Hall for its university status.  Then we were at Catford Theatre,  past the Goose Pub with its handsome iron work, and Catford Bus station, effectively a straight line since our departure point.
The Christmassy effect of the Homebase pond, still partly frozen, was echoed by the fact that the street decorations were still up.  We wondered if they were still up in Bromley's twin twin town, Neuwied

We crossed the London Loop (so that's why this look slightly familiar to the North London member of the team) and noted that the Bromley Snooker Club building has been 'sold for redevelopment'.  By the time you read this, it may be 50 apartments.  

The grounds of Bromley and Sheppard's Colleges, which prove to be old people's accommodation rather than educational places, were snow-covered and picturesque.  

We chose Bromley to change buses, and waited about 10 minutes before the next 208 rolled up.  We added 'Headmasters' to our collection of punning hairdresser names. ('Headmasters' is now - 08/11 - a substantial chain, with branches almost everywhere we go) At this stage a number of students joined us, for the short ride to Bromley FE and HE College, and we were off down the hill towards Biggin Hill, along Crown Lane.  The 208 is the only bus which serves this long road, so we were pleased that the driver waited for people struggling on the slippery pavements.  Just past Petts Wood Station we saw an ambulance with its attendant fast response car, and speculated that it might be a fracture.

 The 'suburbs' of Orpington had a number of handsome houses, some older than others, since Crofton Roman Villa is here, and we admired them as we hurried through. We were soon nipping round the roundabout that has the War Memorial on it (Pro Patria) past the station and on to Perry Hall Road, where the bus terminated, at about 11.20.

We'd had an interesting trip, with some remains of the village high streets that existed when these were separate places rather than a continuous run of London Boroughs.


  1. Hi LWB :-)

    I've been following your blog for a while now and very interesting it is too. I'm actually a bus driver at Bromley Bus Garage and drive the 208 amongst other routes. Just thought I should point out a couple of things

    Firstly, there's a photograph labelled Bromley Bus Garage - it's actually Catford Bus Garage

    Secondly, I notice that you did this trip around 18 months ago. Back then, we did indeed run the 208 in two separate sections; Lewisham to Bromley Common Crown Lane and Catford to Orpington. Early morning, late evening and Sunday journeys ran the full length of the route, Lewisham to Orpington. In September 2010, the dual working was abolished and the route now runs from Lewisham to Orpington all day, every day

    And as a final point I do believe we've actually met because I'm almost certain you boarded my 354 a few months ago. Hope you had a nice ride if it really was you! :-)



  2. Hello Paul, yes we did indeed ride the 354, though we were mainly doing the 176 that day, which is the reason you didn't get one of our cards. (We give them to the driver of the bus due to be blogged immediately) Sorry about the bus garage blunder.

    By the way, we think bus drivers are amazing: skilled, patient and friendly