Monday, 24 February 2014


Beckenham Junction to West Croydon (and back)
Thursday February 20th 2014

Jo has explained that we had started the day dry and with a PLAN and finished wet and bailing out due to the peculiar nature of the trams.  Buses they are not, obviously. They are however very quiet, warm, accessible (each journey had at least two buggies, wheelchairs etc) and clean. (We watched two cleaners board, pick up the very little rubbish and get out at the next stop and whilst waiting for the next tram clean the station, such as it is. The stops are rather miserable, the shelter is not very  sheltering , the seat mean and wet and the information scanty. Jo will already have explained about combining Routes 1 & 4 as there seemed to be no way of telling them apart.
(We were looking in the wrong place according to our last comment!)

Meeting at Beckenham Junction was fine and two trams were waiting as we arrived, one pulling away almost immediately. We boarded the second to warm up and spent about five minutes reassuring an infrequent and somewhat slow traveller that this was indeed the service for Croydon, West Croydon we said. Apparently our reassurances were not robust enough and he moved down the tram and started asking some-one else.  It seemed fairly clear from the layout that this first section of track was former railway, running as it did over the still functioning tracks. The first sight of any significance were the generous allotments, as being alongside trams and tracks seems to bother the potatoes not one jot.
Still feeling like a train rather than a tram past Avenue Road stop there was something of a cutting before we passed the Beckenham Cemetery and Crematorium located close to Birkbeck stops and stations.

According to Wikipedia  this could have been another exciting/confusing  junction with the option of a link to to Crystal Palace but that idea died in 2008. 
The next bit of the route feels very countrified where, even at this time of year when the trees are bare, there were no houses visible (thus far we had peered   into people’s back gardens of mainly post-war homes) but through to Blackhorse Road the tram seemed to be cutting a swathe through thick blackberry bushes  which even if they fruited would not be accessible for picking from this side. However someone has found a way.. It is a most agreeable green ribbon.

One of the station adverts (there is not exactly much to see at these stopping points) was a poster announcing ‘Cats have taken over at Battersea Dogs’ Home’ which Jo said would guarantee her non-support. Blackhorse Lane was the next stop after the aptly named Woodside and this is not to be confused with last week’s Whitehorse Lane on the X68. After Addiscombe it was pretty much standing room only though a voice could be heard asking whether the tram went to Croydon – still.

Another curve, cutting and junction brought us to some of the better off and well established parts of Croydon. Some detached  homes, mostly semis, and pleasantly modest height blocks of flats line the route through Addiscombe.  What distinguishes this part of the tramline from most trains (Mortlake springs to mind as an exception) is whizzing across a road junction while the traffic is held on a red light – most satisfying.  By Lebanon Road stop we were close enough to the road and pavements to see the daffodils were flowering and then it was EAST CROYDON station where many folk got off, even more hastily as they saw an inspector get on.  Of course compared to both buses and trains at most stations access to the Tram stops is free of ticket controls, so this is the obvious point for them to board and well – inspect.  Having negotiated the big road crossing at Wellesley /George Streets we continued down, the only vehicle to do so as the next stretch forms part of ‘pedestrianised Croydon’.  It has to be said that having often walked here the silent tram bearing down on you comes as something of a shock. Going along Church Street this is very much the older parts of Croydon with what must have been the shopping streets, including the quite jolly market, before Mr. Hitler reconfigured everything.
We passed the back of Centrale – the other shopping centre – and sure enough arrived at West Croydon where we did not pause for long (I hope our Beckenham Junction passenger got off OK) and then followed the one-way system round along Wellesley Road and past the now quite venerable Whitgift. Then it was back up to East Croydon.
We noted that the tram goes more slowly through the built up areas, giving time to spot shops or notices, and fairly whizzes along  once ‘out of town’, especially on the straight bits, and so it was we retraced our journey, as far as Arena stop by which time it was definitely raining in an ordinary rather than deluge kind of way. Nearly a full loop had taken us about 40 minutes of smooth quiet transit, but we did rather miss the bumps and grinds of the buses. 

PS I expect most of you have by now seen Geoff’s record of our last BUS trip as launched on the Londonist website; we were pleased with his straightforward account and grateful for his robust defence  of our travels;  certainly one of our more positive media encounters. It was also great to meet some of our followers and we are grateful for corrections. I will at some point add some information from a ‘use of buses’ list.    

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Croydon Tram Routes 1 and 4

Thursday 20 February 2014

Well, trams are baffling.  Linda and I naively imagined that something that has only four routes and runs on 'predestinate grooves' (as the limerick says) would be easy and straightforward.  But the handsome trams of Croydon do not display their numbers, just their destinations; even the information notices on the stops don't talk in route numbers.  And the routes seem to loop round rather madly anyway.

We had got to Elmers End tram stop, which is conveniently next to the railway station if you want to go to, say, Catford. Our intention was to travel the Number 1 route, a circular journey which would loop us round and back to catch the Number 4 Route from Elmers End to Therapia Lane.  (I do hope you're keeping up)

So we climbed onto a tram at 11.10, only to discover that it was actually a 4 not a 1 (or rather that it was going to Therapia Lane, since as I have said, the route number does not appear to have any currency)  Of course the 1 may transmogrify into a 4 at some stage, but we are simply too used to buses which tell you what they are and where they are going all the time.  So this is a brief account of the 1 AND 4 tram routes.

Tram stops are rather bleak on cold, drizzly days like today, but the trams are smooth and comfortable (though ours had an intermittent squeak)  They travel rather too fast for photography, and the start at least of our journey was through the kind of cuttings that we associate with railways.  As Linda said, not like the urban trams of Vienna and such places.

Once we came to Blackhorse Road, the number of passengers increased:  shoppers and half-termers with buggies and shopping trollies.  We are impressed with the accessibility of the trams, with their doors level with the platform and no need to 'mind the gap'.  An adult wheelchair user got on with no trouble at all.  We always enjoy the ramp going down on buses, but this system is much neater.

Residential properties of all kinds sit very close to the tram, including some quite new flats which seemed to be having maintenance work done on them;  and there were always lines of cars waiting when the traffic lights favoured the tram.  A sharp right turn meant that we did not go through a tunnel, which we imagine may be to do with the railway system, not the trams.

Once we had passed Lebanon Road, we were in amongst the tall buildings of central Croydon, and came rapidly to East Croydon Station.  travelling along George Street and Church Street felt very close to the stops and other premises, as well as the shoppers and wanderers.

We noted that the Carers Support Centre is part of the Whitgift Foundation, and we also came past the end of the street where Croydon Market is held.  The colourful stalls were cheering, but the rain and speed meant that we could not get a clear photo.  We passed the Forbidden Planet Shop, where exciting things happen on Friday evenings.

There is now a pleasant little garden at Reeves Corner, a gentle reminder of the devastation of the riots of 2011, and as the tram went under the overpass, we admired the daffodils and yellow crocuses on the embankment. 

The New Life Christian Centre is here, and soon afterwards, the Pitlake Arms.  We could not see if it has recovered from the difficulties which afflicted it this time last year.  The Wandle Arms is also here, as we were coming to Wandle Park, and could see the river and the pond.  The river seemed to flowing quite calmly within its banks, unlike some rivers across the country. There is a stop for walkers and other park users, closely followed by a stop for the Waddon Marsh Retail Park, where we noted Kiddicare, which seems to be a more dashing version of Mothercare.  Next, of course, we came to the high chimneys of Ikea, and reached Therapia Lane, where our tram terminated, at 11.30.

So whether this was a 1 or a 4, we had covered the route of both, once we had got back to East Croydon Station on the other loop, and we baled out there.

A splendid transport system, clean, smooth and not infrequent:  but clearly designed for people who live close and understand its ways, rather than for visitors to the area.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The X68 Route

Monday 10 February 2014

At 15.50, Linda Mary and I stepped onto our last bus.  The brief wait (we are always early) was enlivened by meeting a number of followers, who announced their intention to travel with us.  We already knew the 63 Regular; and Stephen, who used to work at London Councils.  He is now walking in each London post code and his accounts of his exploration are very interesting. Then there were Geoff Marshall, from the Londonist website and Lucy from Alphabet Britain.  We also enjoyed the company of James from Lejogbuscountry.  And Paul, Bruce and Peter  ( I hope I have not left anyone out, but it was all very dizzy making)

The X68 runs from Southampton Row to West Croydon, only in the morning and in the afternoon and X of course stands for 'Express'.

There were quite a few other passengers, though not, of course, at the front of the upper deck.  According to Bruce, the bus runs every 15 minutes, so it clearly has a serious use.

We set off down towards the Aldwych, passing the hoardings which hide the relentless progress of Crossrail, as it heads from Tottenham court Road to Farringdon. The weather was less than wonderful, and of course we were all chatting and therefore steaming up the windows.

Once we reached Aldwych, we were able to notice that the former Broadcasting House is being done up: for offices, we supposed, gloomily.

Then we came down into the Strand, and past all those faces outside King's College, before heading across Waterloo Bridge, where we were rewarded with a rainbow over Canary Wharf, and so remarkable cloud formations.

The National Theatre will soon be losing The Shed when the Cottesloe reopens as The Dorfman.  Is £10 million enough to fund the theatre for long?  Does the name change again when the money runs out?  I'm not sure how this works.

 Waterloo Station was our first stop, and then we headed down towards Lambeth North, to turn right into Baylis Street, to pass the Imperial War Museum, which is of course closed to visitors at the moment.  We had passed the first of the four Evangelist Churches (St John) at Waterloo.  Remarkably, this route passes all four, culminating in St Luke's at Norwood.

We headed south through the terraces and offices of the Kennington Road, to reach Brixton's busy High Street.  By now the sun was shining, and the sky was blue.  We admired Windrush Square, and the lovely Ritzy Cinema, but this bus does not pause very much.

A huge supermarket has replaced what we think used to be a CarpetRight since the last time the Porject came along here, some months ago.  The nostalgia feeling was enhanced by seeing and overtaking a 1, a 2, and a 3 bus.

Earlier, we had had a brief conversation about the Necropolis railway, which we have admired when travelling on routes that use Westminster Bridge,  so we were pleased to pass one of the overspill cemeteries which it used to serve.  Lucy suggested that it might be our next project to visit all the cemeteries rather than just sweeping by them.  I feel that would need to be a summer project though of course many good walks make use of graveyards for a bit of green.

 The Tulse Hill estate is now surrounded by private residential accommodation, and so there are many schools around here, though Dick Sheppard School is no more.  There is a link to his career, however, in the name of St Martin in the Fields School for Girls nearby.

As we passed Tulse Hill Station, we were interested to note Afghan Stores, though we think it is more a general convenience store than one specialising in Afghan goodies.  We were briefly on diversion round St Luke's Church, and had clear views of the West Norwood transmitter before heading steeply downhill, with fine views towards Surrey, or at any rate Croydon.

From now on the bus behaves in a more normal fashion (or loses its Xclusivity, as Geoff wittily remarked) since it has gone beyond where the ordinary 68 terminates.  Actually, the 68 was the third bus of the project, because it returns one to Euston from where the Number 2 stops.

Crystal Palace Football Club, whose ground we passed, is due to play Everton tonight, so I hope they do OK.  

The next amazing sight we passed was the new build at Whitehorse Manor School, which was clearly rather controversial.  In my capacity as teacher in the party, I pointed out that 'lovely old victorian schools' had inadequate facilities, not to mention poor connectivity, and steps and other hazards around the place.

We also came past the Croydon Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia HQ, and Ye Olde Clocktower Pub.  This advertises 'Dart Board available here, come in and play' which must make it rather similar to other pubs.

The palatial Baptist Church was looking a tiny bit down at heel, whereas we were amazed and delighted to see that 'that' building in the middle of the road as you come into Croydon, which has been stalled since the project began, is now making some progress.  We may see it grow as we do the trams.

So we arrived at West Croydon Bus Station.  When one of our friends suggested it was the worst in London, the LWB in chorus suggested he should try horrible Mill Hill.  

The journey had taken 70 minutes, as the timetable suggests, and had taken us from central to extreme south London in a very pleasant way.  Once we got out, a number of school students wondered if we were famous (because of Geoff's video camera).  We were able to say with hands on hearts, no, but pretty persistent.

In response to several comments, we need to say that the Rules Committee, aka Linda and me, is firmly against the Night buses:  like 600-numbered school buses, they are not for us. But the trams, and possibly even the RBs are certainly on the schedule.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The PROJECT – end to end

 End to end not only of each bus route (I know I missed on the 84 in St Albans, and some other outlying routes outwitted our map reading skills – not difficult) but end to  end of our MASTER LIST of Routes.

It all started in Christmas 2007 when Jo said she would like to ride some bus routes end to end just to see where she landed up. Nothing happened so for Christmas 2008 I gave her a copy of each of the five London Bus Maps, one each for NE, NW SW and SE London plus the Central map. She and Mary started riding in March 2009 and I joined them on the Number 3. Originally she was going to send a postcard from the end point of each route to prove we had been there but taking photos seemed easier.  Jo had used a blog before at work and by the time we got to the Number 12 Route I too had been initiated. As Mary had been important enough always to have a PA she declined to do the writing/typing but has been invaluable as the most talented photographer and best map reader.  So there we were. ‘It’ll take 5 years,’ said Jo, adding, ‘if we’re spared!’ a phrase used by a long-dead relative.  Happily we have been spared and by the time we’ve ridden the trams we shall be on our fifth anniversary.
Jo had downloaded a ‘Master List’ onto a Word Spread sheet and as we completed each route we turned it from black to red.  Very soon it became obvious that certain routes combined naturally and as we became bolder, and the weather better, Jo strung together a ‘daisy chain’ of various routes which is how come we completed the 460 and 488 in 2009 though we did not actually blog them until late 2012/early 2013. The recently blogged W16 we rode back in 2011. Where routes changed we repeated them, but this happened far less often than you might think. A further few have changed since we blogged them and there would be scope to revisit these. By the time we got to Route 50 it felt as though we would continue and by Route 100 we were well on our way. In all this we only ‘lost’ two of our routes before blogging time came round.

Much has changed in the five years ;
  • ·         We saw the Olympic sites go up, the areas transformed (sort of)  and start to settle down
  • ·         Our start coincided with a recession which saw the closure of Woolworths (still identifiable in most High Streets), many other shops and quite a lot of pubs
  • ·         Video and DVD shops went and there was a depressing epidemic of pawn shops and ‘payday loan’ outlets
  • ·         Nail parlours proliferated (If we had used all the beauty products and services on our routes we would be greatly beautified and enhanced by now )
  • ·         Not to mention the tattoo parlours and  cake shops

Buildings have come down and many more gone up including
  • ·         The Shard
  • ·         Strata
  • ·         The Pinnacle
  • ·          The Peak,  Victoria
  • ·         Very many blocks of flats, mostly dubbed ‘luxury’ some undoubtedly are 
  • ·         Many of the ‘wrecks’ included in the 2008  book  ‘Derelict London’  have either been renovated or demolished

Transport has been the most transformed
  • ·         The Overground (East London extension) arrived in Spring 2010 and transformed the Project’s ease of access, and cross London routes.  The circle was joined in December 2012, and soon there will be an additional carriage to ride
  • ·         It took TFL Journey Planner a while to catch up on the above developments but once it did all was well , and we could track exactly via the ‘local maps’ and how to locate the start of a key bus route
  • ·         The ‘bendies’ have been phased out and the Thomas Hatherwick (unfortunately known as the ‘Boris’ or the 'Roastmaster' because of its inadequate air conditioning) bus has arrived on routes 38,25,24,15, and 11, not to mention the 390 which is one of Jo’s most used buses (I think that’s right)
  • ·         The Underground network got itself into shape for the Olympics after years of signal failures and intermittently successful ‘upgrades’  so since 2012 tube travel has become altogether more reliable
  • ·         Yes. there was a strike in 2010 about reducing station staff and guess what  with 950 job losses planned there is another strike in 2014
  • ·         Bus stop indicators came on stream so there was no longer the need to gamble and wait forever or walk and be overtaken.
  • ·         Even more sophisticated was the ability to text for news of the next bus arrivals or use the ‘bus app’ depending on your type of phone.
  • ·         TFL used to have links to detailed maps for each bus route (very useful if you can’t read your notes  a week down the line) but abandoned these late last year so now all you get is a silly little thumbnail…  a retrograde move..
  • ·         Journey Planner has had its flaky moments….
  • ·         Cyclists proliferated even if the facilities and traffic options for them did not

Politically there has been a change of government
·         A general election
·         No change of London Mayor (who, by the way, was chosen by  44% of a 38% turnout of Londoners. which sheds an interesting light on his comments about the recent RMT strike ballot)
·         Some riots in 2011, with little evidence of those areas being improved once the glass was back
·         Some hospital closures, in fact or in name via different trusts taking over
·         Fire-stations going
Occasional friends and colleagues have suggested publishing the blog as a book but on the whole we feel
·         It would be boring and repetitive for any reader
·         Comments from our early routes now look very dated
·         London keeps changing
On a personal note it has given family and friends inspiration for cards and presents, which have included some limited-edition prints, two Christmas tree ornaments, some biscuit tins, customized hoodies and notebooks, some London and/or bus related books and a range of cards.
Favourite Routes:
This is our most frequently asked question, which we occasionally answer, but I think it would be really nice to know which routes are popular, and why…
Looking at the Blog’s own stats the following 10 routes have received significantly more traffic than the remaining 500+ routes the reasons for which are not really very obvious: sometimes it’s a popular early route – say the 25 for e.g. -  or on more than one occasion we have been tweeted or linked in (especially by Diamond Geezer ) so our statistics soar, and sometimes I fear a random phrase has caught the blogosphere’s attention for not quite the right reasons. Obviously the routes which have been posted 4-5 years ago will have had more hits and at the same time the low numbered routes include some favourites by any one’s standards (12, 24, 25 and 63).
Route 77
Route U4
Route 25
Route 121
Route 12
Route 24
Route 63
Route 84
Route 107
Route 92

Stats compiled 27/1/2014 at 2PM GMT
So do these stats indicate these routes are more favoured or less known?
If you were to vote for your favourite ROUTE (not bus) NUMBER what would it be?
 The other frequently asked question is whether we have ever  been bored?

The first 100 or so routes truly were a voyage of discovery to parts of London we scarcely knew and of which we had never heard.  Of course when we approach a bus hub, of which there are many in Inner London it is sometimes difficult to find something original to say, but on the whole the trips have given us much fun and interest.  Had we thought things through more we might have ridden a few of the letter routes back amongst the numbers so as to avoid ‘Hounslow’ or Ealing overload …even when road after road of semis (especially out beyond the North and South Circular Roads)  could become a little soporific we were able to spot disgraceful weedy front gardens or beautifully tended shrubs in the same street and carry on.  And carry on we did through three more than unusually snowy  winters, two wet summers and another wet winter, hence our range of wishy washy photos.

PS The X68 has its Headstop in Southampton Row, opposite Russell Square. 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The X26 Route

West Croydon Station to Heathrow (Central Bus Station)  
Wednesday January 29th 2014

Well this was a disappointing outing for which we had had rather high expectations – I’m sure I have seen a double decker plying this route and though our single decker was nice and also clean inside and out – with very spacious luggage racks to accommodate serious travellers not to mention well heated in case you’re back from tropical zones – between the relentless rain and the steamed-up windows there was remarkably little to see, but we continued with dampened spirits.  As TFL no longer provide decent maps of each route I am including a link to this interactive site, which usually shows you the buses in ‘live time’ so you can track one on the map then rush to your window to see it pass by! The LWB have dubbed them the caterpillar maps because that’s what the little red moving dots passing over yellow bus stops resemble. 

X of course stands for EXPRESS and this route has very limited stops, especially towards the Heathrow end where numerous other routes and trains provide more than adequate alternative services. My initial thought had been that Customs Officers could put non-English speaking arrivals straight onto this bus which would deliver them to Lunar House and the Home office.  In order to verify this theory we would have needed to ride the route in the opposite direction.

Well, the three of us had assembled by our various Overground and train routes at West Croydon Bus station (a very poor substitute for last week’s Walthamstow bus hub) for what was to be the 9.50. However the X26 was almost 10 minutes late and this seemed to make the driver anxious about keeping to his pretty strict time-table which resulted in quite a lot of hooting en route – mainly other cars cutting in but once a pedestrian who strayed. With selected stops only the experience was more akin to riding a well sprung coach (the suspension was really good for once) than a bus.

The bus left Croydon via East Croydon station (some-one only took it thus far): there is much building going up on the corner of Dingwall Road and there seemed to be a new access to East Croydon station there also. There used to be a small theatre there, which has now been demolished.

We then left the dust (no, obviously not – mud would be nearer the mark) of Croydon behind us and noted this was one of only two routes to leave crossing over the Flyover where usually the views both ways are interesting. Through the gloom Mary spotted Ikea, and Waddon was one of the few stations we did NOT stop at. Croydon was looking very post Sixties and drab today and this very interesting website gives a more detailed critique of road planning and errors that lead to the anomaly that is this 'Flyover'.

A bit of hooting and we weren’t really held up today, so continued to cruise west along the Croydon Road towards Wallington – from what we could see roadside a surprising  number of bungalows and a certain amount of  rebuilding too, though maybe the fence round The Link School (for children with communication problems)   was for other purposes. A good name for such a school. Beddington in the summer can wiffle somewhat due to nearby sewage beds, but no sign of that from such an insulated bus.

We passed the scenic Wallington Green with its steepled church, and Wallington seemingly warranted two stops for the X26 so there was just time to capture the front of the theatre.  We paused briefly at the Carshalton Ponds (which mark the origins of the River Wandle for some people) For a more detailed account of this pretty and historic area I refer you back to the Route 407, where the photos are more worthwhile. 

As we headed out of Wallington westwards we passed again Saint Philomena’s School and given the narrow roads we made good time to Sutton and its familiar sights at the southern end – the ‘Cock & Bull’ pub, the oh so solid (not crew) but Police Station, war memorial and Secombe Theatre – no one way system or shopping centres today and the stop named for the Post Office rather than the station.

After several months of twiddling round the backstreets, which is what characterizes most of the letter routes, it was clear that an Xpress bus was going to take the straightest way possible as it headed on to Cheam with its appealing crossroads and village sign (erected 2001); this is where we had a few more closely grouped stops. North Cheam ( it might as well be Tony Hancock’s  East Cheam, said Jo) still looks blighted with the boarded up and empty corner building which in spite of promises to the contrary in 2012 has not yet been demolished…
The bus continued to Worcester Park (this is where I had spotted the double decker X26 once after a return trip from the station) passing the HG Wells pub – another man whose private life was no shining beacon said Jo – then the North End Tavern, while the Worcester Park pub had evidently closed.  Jo thought she saw a sign ‘twinning’ Worcester Park with Delft in Holland, but I have failed to find confirmation of this – one would want some kind of ‘pottery link’ given all those Delft tiles, which would more aptly go with the City of Worcester?

I’m not sure that the warm fug/steam now partially obscuring the windows did us a great disfavour from this point on as the main road through the Maldens old, new and Manor are not that scenic, especially not the crossing over the Kingston by-pass (matched only by its twin at Tolworth) which, according to my newly discovered website is a ‘near-miss Clover Leaf Junction – I know, how nerdy can you get? 
Straight along the Kingston Road we went entering said centre via Norbiton, not at its best in the continuing rain.

The X26 stops three times in Kingston itself, once near the station of course, and we lost what we guessed were some of our Kingston University students. Here the traffic slowed us enough to recognise our familiar landmarks of the toppled telephone boxes, John Lewis and the final leaving of South London by Kingston Bridge.  Our last trips to Kingston had been dominated by the news of the ‘fatberg’ that was being dug up and we hoped all the rainwater had washed away its remnants.
After the bridge the X26 takes Sandy Lane which runs alongside the very pleasant Bushy Park – you see what I mean about a potentially very scenic route? For today you will have to make do with some Internet Pictures of the scenery – self-referring I saw that we had travelled the rather rare (1 per hour) 481 back in rainy November 2010 so not much joy then either in terms of any better photos to illustrate today’s trip.

Not surprisingly, we did not stop along here but continued into Teddington, a very pleasant half way point between Kingston and Richmond; it’s not that long since we were here on some of the proper R for Richmond routes (as opposed to their Orpington cousins) and even recognised a random Tesco Metro that still bore its original name as the Horse and Groom pub on the crossroads. The in-bus announcement said the next stop would be Hatton Cross (?Teddington to Hatton Cross without stopping?) though I see there are some stops marked on the maps, but not on  the time-table, which  allows  21 minutes for this bit of the journey. Our only passenger who had boarded with what you might call ‘serious luggage’ became a little anxious and asked if the bus finished at Hatton Cross so we told her it went onto the Central Bus Station and the non-Terminal 5 terminals but she pressed the request for Hatton Cross regardless, and left with her luggage to go where I wonder?

Somewhere along here – between Hampton and Feltham – we passed some grassed open space.  ‘I expect that’s Hounslow Heath’ I said,  a phrase guaranteed to strike terror into Jo’s heart, after we had really gone round in circles  on Hounslow Heath in a fruitless attempt to join two H routes a few months ago.

Once past the edge of H****** H**** it was along some dual carriageway approach to Hatton Cross – the less you pay for your long term parking the further away you are likely to be and the whole Heathrow area is a series of ‘supporting industries/services’ for the main airport consisting of cargo traders, parking lots, hotels, packing and other transport options (hire cars) which extend both sides of Hatton Cross – there are swathes of residential areas as well but for those you need to be on an H bus route.

From Hatton Cross we followed the Eastern perimeter loop in order to access the central Bus Station which allows passengers to get to Terminals 1, 2 and 3; we had been underway for between 85-90 minutes, somewhat shorter than the time advertised. The rain of course had not stopped by the time we transferred onto the Piccadilly line.

This felt a bit like a ‘revision test’ of many of our previous SW London routes but we would  have  done better and given you a more exciting and informed account had we had better weather. We debated whether anyone would actually take this route from Croydon to get to the airport – maybe if you worked there rather than had plans to travel it would prove viable.  

So, I had miscalculated thinking the W19 would be our last single decker...
Making no promises about size or type of bus our last route will be the X68, which we plan to ride on MONDAY 10th FEBRUARY 2014 leaving Russell Square at 15.50, end destination West Croydon.

There are three tram routes we plan to cover as they appear on TFL's bus maps, but they are not really buses so will form something of a postscript/farewell.