Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Number 450 Route

 Lower Sydenham to West Croydon
Thursday July 14th 2011

Here was one of our more seamless transfers – just crossing the road – and not much of a wait for a bus that was very popular and full for all of its route.  It was late morning and many of the passengers had been or were going shopping, living as it later transpired in parts of London where food shops did not abound.

The single decker heads out of the Sainsbury’s bus stop area and straight up Sydenham Road, the first of many  hills.  As we left the gas holders  behind and the smaller cottages where the  gas company workers would have lived we climbed up the hill towards the highest point in SE London – the Crystal Palace Hill – which was all part of the Great North Wood (North being north of Croydon). I had worked in this area (a Children’s hospital absorbed into Lewisham in 1991) so had often walked up and down watching businesses grow, flourish and sometimes fail --- or sometimes just change its name.  I remember Slatters as the local bakers but now known as the Cake Store.    It continues to provide small and large, and often pink cakes for all.

Sydenham had an illustrious Victorian era when different musicians would visit George Grove, Master of the Royal College of Music, in his home and as we passed St Bartholomew’s Church we remembered the wonderful painting Pissarro made of this solid grey building. It can be seen at the National Gallery and is much more evocative than this photo!  Around the corner is Jew’s Walk, where Eleanor Marx, the daughter of Karl both lived and died; she committing suicide following an unsatisfactory relationship but had achieved much politically, particularly for the trade union movement.

By now, having swept up shoppers the length of Sydenham, we reached nearly to the crest of the hill and then took a deep downward turn along Fountain Drive mainly to access the Kingswood Estate – one of Lambeth Borough’s more inaccessible housing clusters. There are schools and nurseries round here, and the Paxton Green Health Centre, but if you have moved, or been moved,  from the more bustly north of the borough it must have seemed very remote. . What goes down must come up and sure enough having edged its way round the estate the bus then climbs back up to Crystal Palace Parade via College Road. The one-way system at Crystal Palace can often be slow but we moved round fairly quickly today noting that yet more ‘Vintage’ outlets had opened – what only a couple of years ago was verging on the derelict has now become quite vibrant and quirky.   A branch of the Blackbird Bakery should thrive here.  

We had only just turned left onto Central Hill, noting the Gypsy Hill Police Station (the highest Met station in London), when a young woman got on telling the driver that one of the 450s going the other way had ‘knocked a bloke off his bike’ – this came as no surprise to us having seen the minuscule bike lanes down and up the hills so far. We were pleased to hear that he’d got up and walked on but not nice for anyone. However the 450 was not to stay on Central Hill (where lurks a secret bunker apparently) but turned down Hermitage Road.
(The secret bunker, by the way, is not the only dark part of Lambeth’s history hereabouts: there used to be a notorious children’s home where the children were not well treated also.)

The Hermitage Road turn-off was to serve a little corner of Norwood, and serve it did with passengers boarding all around the Upper Norwood Recreation Ground where the bus does a tour.  Quite remote from railways and busy roads, this seems a quiet area of what is essentially Inner London.  Jo spotted the Capital Ring Walk signs, which I will leave a more experienced blogger to describe in more detail.

We continued uphill (yes: to use that cliché, this was a real roller coaster of a ride) crossing Beulah Hill and down the other side known as Spa Hill. We had just returned from Dorset where out in the country they warn you of  ‘Blind Summits’ and this was one such. As we descended the hill the houses got much smaller and more modest – none the less attractive for that – and it was really refreshing to be approaching Croydon by the back streets in the diamond shaped area between the more usual main routes.  Beulah Crescent turned out to be two crescents forming a circle – nice town planning someone.

We did surface briefly, so to speak, at Thornton Heath, where shoppers for Tesco’s (some difference of opinion here – Jo seeming to favour treating Tesco’s name as though a potato plural) got on and off and we passed the station – quite handsome but in need of a little TLC.

Back in the smaller roads off Belsham Lane we spotted a rather grand lodge which looked as though it might have been a workhouse but later research indicated is in fact the lodge entrance (now in private hands) to Queen’s Road cemetery, the original burial place for the people of Croydon – now full, so there are no longer burials there.

This last stretch into Croydon proved to be the most tricky – somewhere along Windmill Road was a major building site and three or four large lorries were trying to leave, bringing the traffic in what is quite a narrow stretch to a standstill. The bus was also being bullied by an ice-cream van, but we eventually succeeded in getting out and turning sharp right at the major 5 way junction and down the end of Whitehorse Road.  The fenced-off empty plot mysteriously dubbed ‘IYLO’ has, I suspect, gone into administration, so what was planned to be a 35 storey block has stalled. A nearby café called ‘Doodlebuds’ seemed a good play on words and reminded us of how Croydon had suffered from the Luftwaffe raids, leading to its characteristic modern rebuilt look….

So there we were, back at West Croydon station just under an hour from leaving Sydenham and still full of people, which as Mary remarked is quite unusual as it’s normally only us left to the bitter end – no bitter end this but a very sweet ending for a charming and useful service.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Numbers 445/6/7/8/9 Routes -Not

We are coming to a part of the list of London bus routes where the non-existent numbers almost outnumber the ones that remain.  But we feel it worth acknowledging them

There is a 445 National express Coach that takes you from Hereford, via Ross on Wye, Gloucester and other such places and lands up at Victoria Coach Station
And in the 1970s, there seems to have been a 445 around Windsor according to this website. Which reminds me, I am very grateful for the helpful explanations attached to my post for the missing 437/8/9.

The 446 is an Abellio Surrey bus which takes you from Staines to Woking;  the number was used for a variety of round ‘round there’ in the days of London Country buses.

Nowadays the  447 is a coach that runs from Victoria Coach Station to Lincoln.
But in the 1950s and 60s, there were several routes 447//A/B/C running into and out of Reigate and Merstham though they seem to have been infrequent and/or school journeys only.

448 is a National Express Coach that will take you from London Victoria to Grimsby.  This makes me think of that family board game, the Great Game of Britain, based on the railways of the 19th century.  One of the innumerable hazard cards read 'enticed to fish: go to Grimsby'.  Ah, those happy family games, when one could be sure that at least one person would slam out of the room in tears before the end.
There was also a 448 around Guildford till the 1960s, thanks again to E plates.  But I think if you wanted to ride a 448 today you would need to be in West Bromwich, not the South East.

And, finally, the 449 used to travel to and from Dorking but there also used to be one in and around Romford.

None of that being particularly interesting, I thought I would cheer you up by linking to a splendid website pointed out by the great Diamond Geezer. We LWB enjoy shop fronts, and shop names, and we have often mentioned and photographed punning hair dressers and butchers.  But we are beginners compared to the relentless collector whose site this is.

You get a proper bus again next.

The Number 444 Route

Turnpike Lane Station to Chingford Station
Tuesday August 30th 2011

While Mary was recovering from 'end of school holidayitis' with her grandchildren, Jo and I started a modest Essex jaunt at Turnpike Lane Underground, another modernist gem from Charles Holden.

Strictly speaking, of course, we started from the spacious adjoining bus station, where we caught one of the four-an-hour 444s to head both east and somewhat north. Unfortunately our single-decker 444 was a rather old rattling model, and as you can see the door fittings were in a poor state.

The bus passes Duckett’s Common, which apparently had been suggested as a name for the train station, and almost immediately goes over a bridge where allotments are well established along old railway or possibly tram lines.

This route skirts rather than penetrating the solidly Turkish community of Green Lanes, though we were interested that we passed the Anatolian Youth centre, and if we are close to North Tottenham and Green Lanes can White Hart Lane be far away?  The 444 does not actually pass the stadium and as I write this the controversy about whether Tottenham

  1. Should pursue a court case arguing that West Ham was allocated the Olympic Stadium under dubious circumstances or
  2. Should take up the Mayor’s offer (in light of the recent (August 2011) riots) of cash to help rebuild their stadium as well as the community.
By the time we blog this route the future of Spurs should be settled.
Option 2.  being the more likely outcome if the Mayor's offer holds good? 

From Haringey borough we moved onto Enfield, where they had also experienced violence and looting though all we saw today was more allotments including one with a whole field of maize – not that allotment holders are supposed to grow cash crops.

After a surprisingly swift passage up the Great Cambridge Road (alias the A10) we turned right along Wilbury Road in order to serve the North Middlesex University Hospital usually known as the North Mid – from a  relative who works there we know it’s not a ‘bells and whistles’ hospital but one that serves a dense and very diverse local community with appropriate specialisms for local folk. Not surprisingly a young boy with his arm in a sling got on at this stop.

Opposite the hospital was the Romeo Trading estate looking closed and run down and fresh out of Romeos for the Ladies Who Bus.  In fact from here on the route passes a range of tips, trading estates, business parks and similar. The reason for this is undoubtedly the proximity of the North Circular, and the fact that it is preferable to have used car tips, the London Waste Incinerator and sundry big warehouses like IKEA close to this busy and polluting road rather than attempting much in the way of residential homes. The London Waste Incinerator  is London’s largest and takes non-recyclable stuff from most of the North London Boroughs. You would not know from the jolly leafy website that their business is rubbish and filth, but then someone has to do it.

It was hard to see properly from a low level bus, but we did both sneak under and along the North Circular while it loomed above us, and over the River Lea, which at this point is a fairly modest trickle – we were to meet again in more scenic mode on a later bus today.

Once over the Lea we were in Waltham Forest and heading rapidly towards Chingford and what appeared to be the two most popular bus stops on this route – Chingford Mount and the one following. The bus pushes on up Larkshall Road and into a solid post war-residential area with its usual quota of bungalows and bricked over front gardens but some open spaces also. 

Talking of Greens – and it is quite pleasantly green hereabouts – the 444 passes Chingford Green on its last leg along the still commercially active Station Road, and into the adjacent bus and train stations at which point we remembered we had been here just about a year ago.

This worthy rather than enthralling route had taken us about 45 minutes with no significant hold ups. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Numbers 441/2/3 Routes (Not)

These numbers essentially belonged to buses that ran, with a range of short diversions, in the areas between Staines and High Wycombe, Windsor and Ascot, sometimes re-numbering themselves: for details see here.
As we have learnt TFL ‘take on’ vacated numbers from lowest to highest so it seems unlikely they will ever need these ones (unless they abandon all the letter routes?).

On one of our more recent trips we had overheard a conversation about the rise and fall of Croydon Athletic Football Club which led me to think about buses and football stadia – though in the case of the National Stadium we seem to call it an Arena.

In any case we have to thank the Romans for the excellent basic design of these structures, which has altered little in some three thousand years. An oval shape with tiered seats accessed by steep stairs linked by complicated arrangements of access passages/tunnels and with food, drinks and any other entertainment located in the shadowy spaces under the seating.  Nobs, nobles and sponsors have seats closer to the action or where the sightlines are best. Home supporters and visitors are separated.

So where do buses fit in? Not very much as far as the major London clubs are concerned. Often routes are diverted on match days, or even roads closed, so fans are more often required to the trains and Underground system where of course it is much easier to manage effective and safe crowd control.

While some of the Premiership venues are on major and multiple bus routes – Upton Park (West Ham) and White Hart Lane (Tottenham Hotspurs) notably – others are serviced by rather low key and certainly smaller vehicles and less frequent services – we think here of Craven Cottage (Fulham) and even Emirates (Arsenal), though several routes pass nearby on the Holloway Road. Stamford Bridge (Chelsea) and Queens Park Rangers have reasonable access to bus routes. However while one sees the odd football shirt on a bus it is not so usual to see them pouring onto buses, and one suspects it is thought slightly uncool to use buses rather than the Underground. After all if your club has a station named after it what could be better?  And we know Transport for London will lay on extra train services on match days. 

Arriving by car is not an option – or only for the very rich and disabled – my informant says.

So the relationship between football clubs and buses is not very strong – you get a good idea of the building’s structures and nearby amenities if you pass by on a bus and that is about it.

BUT there is one exception, as littlegooner has pointed out, and that is the Open Topped Bus Victory Parade, beloved not just of football cup winners but also Olympic Medal winners who also get to be transported along key routes and cheered along the way. While London football clubs remain nominally ‘local’ to their area many spectators come from much further away. An open bus parade does allow the locals (who will suffer some disruptions/litter/noise etc each home match day) and those unable to afford tickets to see their ‘local heroes’.

PS If you fancy organising your own parade, there seem to be innumerable companies that hire out buses for private functions. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Number 440 Route

The Number 440 Route
Stonebridge Park Station to Gunnersbury (Power Road) 
Thursday November 22nd 2012

This is one of the few routes that the Project has ridden twice...

Back in the early days, in August 2009, Linda rode this route alone. There were 5 rather mean little photos and we also discovered that in January 2010 the route had been extended by about 6 stops to Gunnersbury. On the whole it seemed easier to re-ride though I have included my original impressions at the end.

For ease of start we met at the rather unlovely Stonebridge Park Station, nestled – that sounds too cosy, let’s say squashed as it is between various North Circular underpasses, access roads and indeed bridges: there seemed to be a series of five or so massive bridges which made me realise one of them must have given its name to the area, Stonebridge, though the total lack of greenery made me wonder where the Park bit came from. The first (and only) non-industrial unit type building along this unlovely service road to the North Circular was the Ace Café complete with its Blue Plaque for Screaming Lord Sutch – in fact as the attached clip shows it is a very recent celebration.

Though the bus route crosses over the main dual carriageway A406 the industrial themes continued with the West London Waste Authority, which in a way was a comfort as I thought West London exported all its waste to South & East London.  Arco had one of those inflatable life-size dummies to promote their wares, whatever they might be, who was whipping around in the wind. After passing through the Tudor Trading Estate.
We emerged somewhat diffidently at the back entrance to the Central Middlesex Hospital, where we have called many times before. Again due to the wind perhaps we noticed the little oaks planted in the central reservations and wondered whether they had been specially trained or selected to stay slim, rather than bush out. Inevitably this also brought us to the back of the huge Asda, where the drivers changed – this took longer than you might think as they were having a good chat which would have allowed a passenger to get off, buy a coffee and get back on!

More Park Royal followed, through very many narrow streets already full of delivery and more likely collection lorries, so progress was slow. The Chase Centre turned out to be yet another industrial unit where many passengers got on. Nowhere could we see any cafes or shops that might sell lunch so we supposed workers needed to get ‘off-site’ if they wanted to eat. We emerged finally by North Acton Station passing the rather small Acton Cemetery, which feels a little constrained by the major roads and six-lane Gypsy Corner junction nearby.  Also familiar from an earlier trip was the ‘homage’ to Elvis Costello who had once worked at Elizabeth Arden, now the Perfume Factory.

Uniquely the 440 then heads into a triangle of housing, almost entirely surrounded by railway lines, and takes three sides of a square round North Acton Playing Fields where the prohibitions included: ‘The Playing of Golf is not permitted in this Park’. 

West Acton follows and soon we were back where we had boarded the 427 a few weeks ago, round the back of the Town Hall. This being one of the main thoroughfares, many more passengers boarded.  We were amused to see a notice proclaiming ‘Floreat Actona’ as there is more than enough of ‘Floreat Etona’ to go around at the moment and the latter needs putting in its place. Nowhere but Acton has quite so many stations to its name.

By now were closing in on the few visible pointers to the River Bollo, one of London’s many lost rivers, running from Park Royal/Ealing Common down to Chiswick, as we drove slowly along Bollo Bridge Road and Bollo Lane, which also follows the twinned Underground lines – District and Piccadilly.  Chiswick Park Station apparently stands on a hill, which once overlooked the river, though nowadays it does not really appear until the grounds of Chiswick House.   Shortly thereafter the 440 crosses a level crossing, which is not what you expect in a heavily residential area. Here for a real time crossing experience.

By now we had arrived at the bit of Chiswick called Turnham Green, which has a delightful open space crowned with a  Giles Gilbert Scott Church, and this is where the 440 had previously stopped. Also, finally, some more appealing shops.  Since January 2010 it has continued behind the church and green and past Gunnersbury Station, re-crossing Chiswick High Road and turning into Power Road, where it passes two lots of studios – regrettably, though Power Road studios were previously used by the BBC, it has been difficult to pinpoint their history, and current usage seems something between art and design studios and small industrial units.You can see from this that I was hoping to finish the 440 trip on a slightly glamorous note, having endured the early stages of the grey North Circular and waste disposal grime through more Park Royal Industrial Estate then you might wish for.To finish close to the M4 and North Circular Junction was not great compensation, especially when my travelling companion with the next route to write about was to benefit from 2 river crossings, 2 stately homes and 1 palace… Compared to such treats, one might deem the 440 as rather a utilitarian route.

Turnham Green to Stonebridge Park Station
Monday August 25th 2009

I was on my own for this single decker ‘hopper’ bus, the sort only comes four times an hour and steers clear of main roads. From Chiswick High Road it immediately turned off down a side street and went along the service road of the main shopping street, but tucking down an alley called Fishers Lane then emerging onto the really very nice Acton Green. Acton proves to be quite extensive, with Central, North and East stations all of which we passed (though not in that order).  We did skirt the rather lovely Bedford Park Estate, one of London’s better kept secrets, but the theme of the trip was industrial estates, so no shops except another Morrisons and a huge Asda towards the end (and this was where the passengers got on and off).  Instead there were endless warehouses, pallets and marble stockists, bookbinders, purveyors of slate and other building materials. Acton Town Centre is now dominated by the Morrisons and signs to the Ukrainian  / Episcopal Church, which looked to be a newish building. We were promised Acton Tram Depot but this turned out to be the Uxbridge Bus garage.

The bus was pretty busy with passengers whose first language was not always English, but all focussed on their children and their shopping.  Towards West Acton the bigger houses gave way to smaller 1930s semis and even a few bungalows, which are quite rare in Inner London, and by the time we came to cross the A40 some of the buildings looked quite abandoned, especially the high rise ones. Past Gypsy Corner we hit the third trading estate, this time the very extensive Park Royal Trading Estate.  A local caff has sportingly named itself the Café Royal. At ASDA the drivers changed (I suppose if gives them a good place for a proper break), and almost immediately the bus heads to the front of the new-build Central Middlesex Hospital – however the bus also skirts round the back, where the laundry functions much as it ever did.  By now we were definitely heading North and slightly East, so we glimpsed the Wembley Arch before skirting the Tudor Industrial Estate and crossing the North Circular.

Stonebridge Park is deeply unlovely, wedged as it is between multiple railway lines and the North Circular, but it apparently offers a free shuttle to Ikea! I eschewed such temptations and headed back south via the Bakerloo line. The 440 had taken somewhat over its predicted time of 35 minutes, being a combination of suburban back streets and crossing some of the busiest roads in London.   

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Numbers 437,438 and 439 Routes - Not

We like to check where these non-existent buses have gone, if indeed they have gone anywhere.  So here goes:

To start with the 437:  apparently TfL was wondering whether to use this number when, in 2006, they decided the number 77A was unacceptable:  but instead they changed it to 87, which had become available when the Number 5 Route was extended and the East London and Essex 87 therefore ceased to exist.  But I am not sure whether there was ever a 437 closer than Kent.

On the other hand, the 438 runs from Staines to Shepperton and counts as a Surrey Bus, and the 439 appears also to have run in Surrey, from Redhill.

The range of the London Passenger Transport Board had been enormous before the 1960s;  with the establishment of the GLC, bus services in the leafier areas were passed to London Country Buses. Many of the routes which are 'missing' from the London list were transferred at this time.  The LWB do not really understand why some were not, and why we have had London buses around Dorking, Redhill and other such far away places.

After all those complicated explanations, I thought I would celebrate the many green spaces that we travel past, even in the heart of London.  Sometimes we get just a glimpse, through the rain streaked windows of the upper decks, bus sometimes we get close to memorials and other art works.

In some places, like Kew, for example, protective walls prevent you from seeing anything much until you have paid the substantial entry fee.  But at least you can get in at a price, unlike those private squares in Chelsea and Kensington that the buses roll past.

We have been close to attractive trees and bushes, for example as we have passed Fulham Palace, or travelling around the edges of Regent's Park.

Probably, though, we enjoy the green spaces and flower beds provided by local councils as much as anything, and appreciate the importance of the Open Spaces Act of 1877 in preventing relentless building over every square centimetre of London.  The Corporation of the City of London, from that day to this, has stepped in to maintain areas like Epping Forest and Farthing Down for the benefit of us all.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Number 436 Route

Paddington Station to Lewisham Centre
Tuesday June 9th 2009

NB: You can tell by the date above, a mere three months after the Project started, that we were in our ‘early days’ of travelling, photographing etc. While the account below was written at the time, we seem only to have 5 photos actually taken on the day, which hardly does justice to one of the major cross London routes. You will also see that the journey took place on a bendy bus from which photography is most difficult (low, crowded etc). We also had rather older cameras, which tended to fade after a couple of bus rides. Cameras and buses both have been replaced by newer models- the LWB not.  
I have therefore augmented the pictures with a few archive shots, mainly of ghost signs, all of which can be found ‘en route’
Fairly grey and a bit chilly for the time of year. Jo had recently returned from Australia while Mary was entertaining an Australian visitor elsewhere (no connection), so there were just two of us.

Our previous journey (the slowish Number 15) having left us at nearby Paddington Basin, we crossed over the renovated canal basin and bridge and through Paddington Station to use its 30p toilets and buy Jo some lunch. The bus took a little while to come so we ate rather eagerly in the street. The 436 is a single-decker bendy bus, complete with old-fashioned hanging straps, and we sat near the back. Though the station is magnificent inside it has little or no outside presence.

This being lunch-time, the streets round Paddington were really busy with lunch time snackers and shoppers criss-crossing the street, which gave us time to note no less than two Hilton hotels (one the old Great Western Railway building) and the first of several pawnbrokers. We swept back round into the Edgware Road past Bechstein House,  where indeed you can hear an ‘underdamped’ piano even now!). We moved quite fast round Marble Arch and past the Animals at War memorial and the string of grand London hotels – Jo had actually attended a 21st birthday party at the Dorchester but it made no great impression on her. Hyde Park on our right was green but we were underwhelmed by the Queen Mother gates – a birthday present apparently, but better in the thought than the execution

The antipodean war memorials come thick and fast, with the NZ  ‘haka’ style posts apparently lit up like the Southern Cross at night. Grosvenor Place needed some re-surfacing as we bumped along, and Jo remembered she has shared a flat in Arlington Place. Unlike Paddington, Victoria Station looks the part, though we passed swiftly on, noting the Peak, a new building shooting up opposite to provide yet another retail and office opportunity! Neither Vauxhall Bridge Road nor the bridge itself detained us for long: Westminster has provided its residents with some good-looking housing and the private sector has colonised the south end of the bridge, though St George's Wharf has not won any fans for its building.  Many people got on at the Vauxhall station bus stops  (it’s a big interchange) and The Big Issue has its HQ just nearby on the ferocious, thank-goodness-I’m-in-a-bus-not-on-a-bike, one-way system.

The bus weaves its way round a couple of schools and alongside the Oval, where it was greeted by three inspectors and a back-up of 14 (honestly) community and other police officers, which seemed a bit of an overkill for what in the end was no more then a couple of transgressors. Still it sparked some lively debate for what had been, and continued to be, quite a quiet bus, with few mobile phone conversations. Just close to Archbishop Tenison school there was a nearly hidden blue plaque for Lord Montgomery of Alamein, who was apparently born here in 1887.

After Kennington, the Camberwell New Road does not have that much to recommend it – the bus garage where crews often change over and some quite modest but complete terraces of early Victorian houses before the less attractive buildings take over. Someone seems to have hung a random four face old clock from their frontage, and we also passed
Rat Records, which is really straight out of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, having graduated from Camden &Greenwich market stalls to the Camberwell New Road!

We shot across the Green, taking on ever more people, one of them grazing on Maltesers all the way, though trying hard not to…and along the Peckham Road and Queens Road, passing the Peckham Academy and wondering whether when it came to voting next time people would remember how many new schools had been built in the last ten years? Just further along comes the Bun House, which strangely is a pub not a bakery, though not exactly getting top marks from beer drinkers.  The Marbella Hotel on the Queens Road seemed an unlikely proposition, perhaps named in a spirit of escape?

New Cross has two rail stations, currently not offering the East London line, but still rail plus a substantial bus station, once you have negotiated the one-way system. Lewisham Way just misses Goldsmiths’ College but offers other educational delights such as Arthouse in the old Carnegie library and Lewisham College just opposite St John’s Station. We also passed the Celia Hammond Trust, much beloved and supported by an acquaintance  (who has several very cute rescue cats), and indirectly by us who supply items for the shop. That just about brought us back into Lewisham where the 436 snuggles down behind the Lewisham Shopping Centre offering a somewhat reduced, but perfectly OK shopping experience.

PS It is not surprising this was chosen as bendy route as it involves few turns or diversions from the straight. However since last year the double deckers are back in service and would offer anyone a really interesting cross London trip combining both tourist sites and local colour.