Friday, 3 August 2012

The Number 377 Route

Oakwood Station to Ponders End
Thursday January 12th 2012

Oakwood Station proved to be a very pleasant rendez-vous and we were both there before 10AM – however the ‘20p for charity’ station toilets were very rejecting of our cash so we had to tailgate an operative, with his permission.

This mattered as by the time we arrived at the bus stop we realised the 377 goes twice an hour on the half hours and we had therefore missed the 10AM bus. Fortunately compared to our last two Januaries today was mild enough for this not to matter.

At 10.30AM our bus drew up, having waited behind the station, and we asked the driver if she was heading to Ponders End as her blind said Enfield. ‘This is my first time on this route,’ she said; ‘I’m not sure how the blinds work!’ We were in fact very impressed with her driving of this quite convoluted back-streets route with no fewer than three ‘Hail & Ride’ sections. In some ways these buses navigate themselves as clearly ALL the passengers are very familiar with the route and got on and off at their leisure, mostly being elderly and on their way to the shops. The houses and a fairly large church that we passed are ‘all of a piece’ with the station and therefore part of the 1930s expansion generated by the Piccadilly Line.

Both sides were substantial homes with garages, though even then many owners had gone for additional off-street parking rather than maintain their front gardens. The pavements however were generous with additional hedging of different shrubs between pavements and road, presumably maintained at Enfield’s expense ? 
This is an old website but I am sure we passed over the Salmon's Brook. More interesting was the sign by 
Boxer's Pond  saying ‘Beware Wild Fowl on the Road’ – I was about to snort derisively  when Jo spotted quite a few swans, actually her least favourite bird, crossing the road. Swans do not scuttle and take no prisoners and all credit to the driver for her calm handling of the vehicle.

Soon we emerged from what is known locally as World’s End to come out at the very familiar ‘Jolly Farmers’ pub on the route between Trent Park and Enfield Chase, where we were heading. The road names are quite rural hereabouts – Windmill Hill and then The Ridgeway of which there are about 15 in Greater London, usually aptly named as they offer a straight road atop a hill. I only say that as we lived on one once and ‘wrong post’ was a frequent feature of life – less likely now with post codes, but even so.

Enfield’s delights came quick and fast today – Enfield Chase station, followed by the war memorial, crossing the New River (landscaped hereabouts), past the Thursday market and then right after the ‘George’ pub and another ‘Hail & Ride’ section as we entered Bush Hill Park, which has quite a long history back to Roman times. The 377 seems to be the only route calling at the station of that name so commuters using the line must know when they can catch it or not. There were few takers today and there are some narrow corners to negotiate before, rather to our surprise, we debouched onto the A10 at the major Southbury Road junction. The Travelodge building is making progress and I am sure will be properly sound insulated. Rooms are promised from £19, which may be so but if London City sight seeing is your plan quite some cash will go on fares to get you there. (Up and running by Olympics 2012 obviously) 

As befits a small local bus we turned away again and ‘Hailed & Rode’ through Southbury to come out at Ponders End and the end of our journey, which had taken barely 35 minutes and took us from the more affluent end of Enfield through its heart to the more Inner London-looking areas east of the A10. The novelty lay at the beginning of the route but we enjoyed all aspects along the way.     

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