Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Number 346 Route

Upminster Park Estate to Upminster Station
Thursday November 3rd 2011

In contrast to our previous route, which felt interminable, this one seemed at the time we rode it, and still seems at the time we post it, to be a strong contender for the project’s shortest route...

We had disembarked from our key route – the very frequent and jolly double-decker 248 – on the Upminster Park Estate (Cranham) and just about managed to eat our sandwiches before the 346 sidled round the corner.  This was definitely the start of the route, although there already was a passenger aboard – we surmised it takes a slightly different route coming and going and she had stayed on in order to get closer to home.  We guessed this estate had been built as a large area of social housing but probably now heavily owner occupied: it seemed mainly to comprise clusters of houses built round greens.  You might have expected the bus to be ‘hail and ride’ but it had its defined stops on a thorough tour to take in the key streets before it headed down to St Mary’s Lane and the main road into Upminster itself.  The estate had areas of semis and then a more extensive outcrop of bungalows so we were not surprised when some more elderly and disabled passengers boarded, the driver allowing them enough time to settle before moving off.

The only site we have located for this route is the Upminster Depot. It is site much beloved of train spotters and rail buffs (as opposed to buffers) and was a popular venue when opened to the public on its 50th anniversary in 2009.    

From there the bus starts along Upminster High Street, still largely intact and used, then encourages its passengers to descend opposite the station while it goes down the side of the station to ‘lurk’. The railway line C2C logo is more prominent than the District Line insignia but sure enough there was a green coded tube waiting to take us home after a day spent in Essex.

The trip is time-tabled as taking 9 minutes – we timed it at 10 but we were a bit slow getting off.  Does our future hold anything shorter?


  1. I don't know for certain, but the 379 and T32 might give the 346 a run for its money in the shortness stakes.

  2. Thanks Chris - we'll let you know when (379), if (T32) we get there...