Monday, 26 September 2011

The Number 228 Route

Central Middlesex Hospital to Maida Hill (The Chippenham)

Monday June 13th 2011

We had often passed through the forecourt to the central Middlesex Hospital as many routes call there but today was our first occasion for starting and finishing a route, both of which were easily achieved. The bus waiting area is nicely laid out with the beginnings of some planting and three clearly delineated bus stops.

We had no wait at all for a single decker which is very much part of the 28 Route family, overlapping as it does some of its route. We were pretty early in the day, just on 11AM so few passengers boarding here, as we presumed they were all still sitting in out-patients or pharmacy waiting to finish up their morning appointments.

If it’s the Central Middlesex can the Park Royal Trading Estate be far behind – no?

This was our umpteenth trip through here and by now we have noticed that even on the trading estate things are clustered according to type so there are care related services/food related areas, kitchen and bathroom outlets (last week on the 226 it was flooring) and just near the hospital you find removal firms – Anthony Ward Thomas – whose strapline is: ’When your work speaks for itself- don’t interrupt’ which did not seem the catchiest of adverts. Also nearby was Cadogan Gate a- a storage depot for prestigious auctioneers Christies amongst others.  Park Royal Salvage  always looks jolly as they have a very old red bus as one of their storage facilities, but we would say that.

We went on to Willesden Junction station and noticed the growing evidence of the Portuguese/Brazilian community mainly because their outlets – shop/cafĂ©/bakery general store generally sport the Brazilian flag colours and look quite bright in a drab area. The guestimate for Brazilians in the UK is for 200, 000 or so. We were a bit worried about two girls, who perhaps should have been at school hanging around by the upstairs window of the downstairs bakery, but of course we may have got their ages wrong.

The passengers had been few and far between and just as the drivers changed at Willesden a young man, disadvantaged by lack of teeth or lack of speech seemed to be asking, as far as we could tell for Shepherds Bush and the driver waved him onto the bus – surely not we thought, we’re heading in another direction.

Alone of the many 200 buses that run hereabouts the 226 takes a turn down Old Oak Lane and Common lane - how pretty and rural that sounds but the truth of the matter is that these are roads squeezed between railway lines going in all directions (Acton had seven stations at my last count) and this means more industrial units and workshops – along here we spotted  Hip Props and flash Film Transport – these lanes lead the bus to East Acton. There is an area of quite attractive small houses which nestle behind Wormwood Scrubs , both the park and the prison and I suspect they were originally built for prison officers – not sure what their current status is. Their names as in Wulfstan and Erconwald, conjure up some Tolkienesque idyll. 

Once we crossed Westway the size of the houses increased and there were several bus stops worth of Thirties and Forties semis, which line Old Oak Road.

There follows just a little sortie on the Uxbridge Road so we sat back smugly thinking this was our way to Shepherds Bush past the strangely secretive looking Telephone Exchange and the two Queens - Princess Victoria and Queen Adelaide (pubs) when the bus took a right hand turn up Bloemfontein Road and past both the side and the front of  QPR  a club who when I write this and when we rode the bus had finished top of the Championship League and hence earned promotion (though there was the possibility of some points deduction) it’s always good to have some more London clubs in the Premiership to counteract the Northern tendencies…

Then there we were both at White City Station and the BBC – getting a very good look at the familiar view and then we did a double tour, once on the road, once inside the bus station of the wonderful White City Bus garage – the cathedral to buses – today at mid-day very empty as all the routes were out working hard. By this time we had lost our passenger who wanted Shepherd’s Bush and taken on very few more – one elderly lady wearing socks and flip –flops – a more dangerous combination I cannot imagine – and a man with no socks inside his rather creaky black lace-ups.

Interestingly at no point does the bus announcement include the words ‘Westfield Shopping Centre’ though it speaks loudly of all the stations we pass. Anyway few passengers got on or off for the shops and we noted the car park had 2.500 empty spaces this morning. The bus has to brave the totally scary Shepherds Bush roundabout and then heads back along Holland Park Avenue (we agreed the only way from here was through Notting Hill). What had been Sylvia’s rather expensive but good local deli on the Holland Park avenue had become a Tesco Metro but the area has gained a branch of   Daunt Books.

Another fairly recent (1988) addition to Holland Park is a grand statue of St Voldomyr (Harry Potter anyone?) a patron saint much beloved of the Orthodox Ukrainians.

But this 228 was never going to play with the big boys and sure enough we were soon off the main road and heading up Ladbroke Grove towards the Grand Union canal and the big Sainsbury’s squeezed between the rail way and canal. Here also is the memorial to the train crash victims – already well over ten years ago since 31 people died and many others marked for life.

The last stretch of the route is along the Harrow Road – here firmly feeling like a combination of what it once was – local meeting up point for the Caribbean community ('Mo Better Cutz')  plus some outlets for newer overseas arrivals. The Harrow Road gets quite narrow here so our progress was comparatively slow but the round trip – as round it nearly was took just under an hour. Whether it is more popular at other times of day may well be the case but for today it was a quiet experience, albeit with some interesting passengers.

PS Similar route – similar photos – repetition rules!


  1. Can I point out that the link to Daunt Books is broken.

  2. Thank you Tim- we appreciate it when our followers are alert.