Author Topic: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories  (Read 7635 times)

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Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« on: September 02, 2016, 05:10:26 pm »
Mike Allen who manages the Welham Green website has been sharing some of the wonderful images from the area's past, which he has been collecting and digitising. And we've decided to share a few here from time to time in order to help people learn more about the local history, and jog some memories from the recent past.

This week's picture is of two students arriving at Brookmans Park Station - presumably from school - on May 22, 1969. Did you travel to school by train in those days? Do you have any memories you'd like to share? You can do so here in the forum, or, probably better still, add your comments to the article we have just posted in the history section; that way your comments will form part of the story and add to the local history records.



Note: The image above was taken by R Kingdon, and was given to local photographer/historian Mike Allen who enhanced and digitised it.
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2016, 11:12:39 pm »
The young lady on the right is wearing Sherrardswood School, Welwyn Garden City, uniform. I suspect this wasn't her normal train, in view of the low numbers on the platform. I state this as she more usually joined the train which brought me home from school in Hitchin, departing WGC around 16:40 to discharge a good dozen students at Brookmans Park around 16:52. Had I not been such a shy lad, this not particularly helped by attending a single-gender grammar school, I might have been able to share more!


Some of us then had a wait for a 343 to take us forward to Welham Green and tea-time. After which a good couple of hours homework.


As a postscript: The Sherrardswood School blazer was bright blue, with a triangular badge. (Mine was a more sombre maroon with dark blue pocket trim and a conventional shield-style badge.)
 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2016, 07:55:08 am »
Some of us then had a wait for a 343 to take us forward to Welham Green and tea-time. After which a good couple of hours homework.
Hi Nimbus, thanks for sharing that. Would you like to add that memory to the foot of the article page, or I could do it on your behalf. I suppose this picture of the 343 at Bradmore Green in June 1966 is similar to the bus you used to catch. Perhaps that's you hopping on at the back?  :)

How long was your total journey from home to school - there and back - each day?

Note: Image below was taken by R Kingdon, and was given to local photographer/historian Mike Allen who enhanced and digitised it.
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2016, 10:02:36 am »
I state this as she more usually joined the train which brought me home from school in Hitchin, departing WGC around 16:40 to discharge a good dozen students at Brookmans Park around 16:52.
Some of us then had a wait for a 343 to take us forward to Welham Green and tea-time. After which a good couple of hours homework.

Hi Nimbus

Not much of a wait for the 17.05 and back in Welham Green by 17.09.....
 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2016, 02:36:28 pm »
I did visit the referenced page, but on discovering that a 'megacorp' account was required in order to contribute, I came back to the forum.


My daily journeys to Hitchin varied as the BR timetables evolved.


Initially in 1963, just a few months too late to witness regular steam, there were a choice of two trains, depending on which end of the journey we wished to rush. 07:43 sticks in my mind for some reason. A Brush Type 2 would trundle to a stand on the fast platform with what I would now consider a fascinating assortment of gangwayed coaches. The other was just after 08:00, possibly 08:02, which used the slow platform. I have a feeling that this made up time by passing Welwyn North non-stop. It was normally hauled by a shiny Brush Type 4, which were still being delivered. Though one week, we had the honour of being hauled by English Electric's prototype DP2, which by all accounts was a superlative machine, sadly written off in a high-speed collision with a derailed freight train in 1967. I eventually settled on the 08:02 option, which I considered progressively downgraded from Brush Type 4 to Brush Type 2, from gangwayed coaches to non-gangwayed, then to a rattling Cravens diesel multiple unit and finally a drab blue Cravens diesel multiple unit. Not particularly conducive to finishing off that tardy Latin homework! Hitchin seemed a big station, despite only having two platforms, on account of having its own lady announcer in a dedicated booth, and a Smiths where I could buy the latest Ian Allen ABC to record my sightings.


At the Hitchin end was a brisk walk down the hill, past the bacon factory, perhaps stopping at the paper shop for sweets, with the hope of arriving for 08:45 assembly.


The homeward leg also offered two options, unless detention had been invoked! A smart departure and brisk progress could see me onto the Cambridge Buffet Express at around 15:55. This was sufficiently prestigious as to sweep disdainfully through Stevenage, Knebworth and Welwyn North. At Welwyn Garden City, the onward 16:40 railcar might already be dozing in platform 4, but the time gained then permitted another brisk walk to HA Blunt's model shop in the town centre to spend my pocket money on an Airfix kit, or raw materials for the latest hobby project. Occasionally one of the dainty GS buses might blurt its way out of the adjacent bus stands to wend its way back to Hertford. One afternoon, I spent a spare couple of pennies on what turned out to be one of the last Hornby-Dublo leaflets. Having been brought up on Tri-ang, that was quite an eye-opener for me, and I'm still afflicted! This undoubtedly magnified by the opportunity to compare its contents with what was being shunted in the still busy yard alongside the dozing railcar. The more leisurely urchin would prefer to catch a lower status all-stations train just after 16:00, but still connect with the same railcar around 16:40 for our 16:50~52 arrival at Brookmans Park. This service initially commenced at Welwyn Garden City, but in later years it covered the entire journey as the timetable was rationalised.


You may have noted that briskness was a feature. This was particularly honed in the morning after the bus timetable became incompatible with the trains. I was eventually able to refine the walk from near the Memorial Hall to Brookmans Park station platform to a repeatable 12 minutes, which I did in all seasons. Then my legs must have stopped growing! The legacy of that is that even today, I find it almost impossible to dawdle.


Homeward, the bus remained the preferred option from Brookmans Park. There was never uncertainty about the type of bus which would arrive - the AEC RT was the bus of our district for many years, until the end of my schooldays. Advanced in their day, still fine vehicles in the 60's, and given the choice between one of those in crisp Lincoln Green and a modern rattly whining turbo-box, I know which I'd choose to ride on. I note epiphany's timetable is dated just a couple of months before London Country took over London Transport's country area, so is probably the final issue of its era. Reading between the columns as it were, you can discern emerging difficulties which have led us to where we are now; in my mind I associate the 343 with a destination blind showing 'Dunstable'. Clearly it was becoming impractical to run the whole route as a continuous trip and the timetable shows it being worked effectively as two segments.



 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2016, 03:04:05 pm »
I did visit the referenced page, but on discovering that a 'megacorp' account was required in order to contribute, I came back to the forum.

Hi Nimbus, thanks for sharing those wonderful memories; a great read. (I understand your reluctance to use Twitter, Facebook or Gmail to log on to the comments box, but it would be nice to find a way of combining such great writing with the original feature).
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2016, 10:09:43 am »
Homeward, the bus remained the preferred option from Brookmans Park. There was never uncertainty about the type of bus which would arrive - the AEC RT was the bus of our district for many years, until the end of my schooldays. Advanced in their day, still fine vehicles in the 60's, and given the choice between one of those in crisp Lincoln Green and a modern rattly whining turbo-box, I know which I'd choose to ride on.

Hi Nimbus, was your preferred bus one of these? (Four more images from Mike Allen's collection, shared with this site.)



Image above: 343 on Holloways Lane, Welham Green, July 1966. Image by R. Kingdon





Image above: 343 at Nash's Corner, Welham Green, July 1966. Image by R. Kingdon





Image above: 343 at Dixons Hill Road looking towards Welham Green in July 1966. Image by R. Kingdon





Image above: 343 at Dixons Hill Road at the crossroads with the Barnet Bypass in July 1966. Image by R. Kingdon


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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2016, 11:49:23 am »
Well, you (and Ron Kingdon) have more or less demonstrated why there was never any doubt as to the type of bus employed on the 343! In later years, after London Country took over, things became less well-ordered. They immediately lost access to the extensive London Transport maintenance facilities, which could overhaul these RTs on a production line basis, and were under pressure to adopt one-man-operation (in the terminology of the time), which implied forward entrance vehicles.


The RT had been introduced in 1939, being designed jointly by LT and AEC in west London. AEC was the Associated Equipment Company, which had been spun out of London General Omnibus Company, hence the enduring close ties with LGOC's successor. Barely a handful of RTs had been delivered when war suspended production for the duration. Production resumed with minor revisions to the design. A characteristic of LT's road vehicles, trains, buildings, signage and publicity of the time was the investment in design; the view of an RT, nor its RF or GS contemporaries, is not diminished as you get closer. Instead, you begin to appreciate the design attention given to the smallest details, neat functionality being the watchword. I've tried the same with modern buses but all that reveals itself, to my eye at least, is where cost has been shaved off. My last encounter with a local RT was RT604 which was still in light service from Hatfield in 1976. I rode it from the town centre to Hilltop and back during the early part of that year's heatwave. The poor old girl boiled over when she got to the top of the hill!


Occasionally a preserved green RT will still pop up. I've encountered them in Garston and on the Great North Road out of Hatfield and on both occasions I was struck by the comfort of the view, how they looked like they still belonged. Perhaps it is the dignity of the design and livery which epitomises unobtrusive service. But then the world in general was a good deal less 'shouty' in their heyday.


What does surprise me in the photos is the absence of a 'Dunstable' destination blind. Perhaps my memory is skewed.


The photo at Nash's Corner is just a little too blurred to recognise the faces. But the lad examining the bus is probably Ron's son Neil, and the two girls are in Loreto College, St Albans, uniform. There were only a handful of attendees from Welham Green, further subdivided between "White's Corner" and "Nash's Corner", so it's just possible that one of them is my sister! The other could be a near neighbour of Ron's in Skimpans Close.
 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2016, 06:20:59 pm »
Well, you (and Ron Kingdon) have more or less demonstrated why there was never any doubt as to the type of bus employed on the 343! In later years, after London Country took over, things became less well-ordered. They immediately lost access to the extensive London Transport maintenance facilities, which could overhaul these RTs on a production line basis, and were under pressure to adopt one-man-operation (in the terminology of the time), which implied forward entrance vehicles.

Hi Nimbus,

Another great read. Thanks. Would you have time to write a feature for the site's history section about bus travel through North Mymms in the 60s? Mike Allen has loads of great pictures to illustrate such a piece.

David
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2016, 06:29:34 pm »
Can any local residents remember catching the 717 in the 60s? If so, where did you go? How often did you make the journey? What were the buses like? Have you kept any tickets? Have you any pictures? The image below is the Green Line 717 at Nash's Corner in Welham Green at 9am on a summer morning in 1965. Image by Ron Kingdon and digitised and shared with this site by local resident, historian and photographer, Mike Allen. I've zoomed in to see the destination board in case that helps jog memories - see second image below.


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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2016, 07:09:59 pm »


A 717 bus at Dixons Hill Road, Welham Green in July, 1966 by Ron Kingdon and digitised and shared with this site by local resident, historian and photographer, Mike Allen.



A 717 bus at Dixons Hill Road, photographed looking towards Welham Green in July, 1966 by Ron Kingdon and digitised and shared with this site by local resident, historian and photographer, Mike Allen.
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2016, 07:33:07 pm »
A few more pictures of the 343 from Mike Allen's collection, shared with this site. This time in colour.



343 heading over Brookmans Park railway bridge on the way to St Albans  in August 1966. Image by Ron Kingdon.



343 crossing Brookmans Park railway bridge in 1983. Image by Ron Kingdon
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2016, 07:35:45 pm »
I did, but only once, for a special treat. So I'll wait to give someone more qualified a chance to jump in!

 

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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2016, 09:29:34 pm »
Apologies for the typo in the attribution sentence earlier. It has now been corrected after it was pointed out by a forum user who took the trouble to mail the site. I am rubbish at spotting my own mistakes.  ::)  Thanks to the forum user for reporting the error.
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2016, 09:16:53 am »
I used to take the 343 to St Albans in 1981 when I was an apprentice at Marconi Instruments, once the town's biggest employer. Now the sites are a housing estate and Morrisons.
 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2016, 02:04:40 pm »
I travelled on the 303A to school at Queen Elizabeth's in Barnet (Barnet was then in Hertfordshire) from September of 1959 to June of 1965. Most of it was uneventful, though we did get let out of school early if it got foggy and one year (probably 1963) it was so snowy that the bus was terminated at Potters Bar as were other buses which left an enormous crowd of people to get on the Potters Bar to Barnet buses.  About six of us decided to walk to Barnet.  The next day was just as bad and about 20 of us walked it.  After that from '65 to '67 I  travelled on the 343 to St Albans College (now Oaklands).

I remember the station master in the top picture but not his name.  At first I thought it was Perce but think he was later than that.
 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2016, 02:11:38 pm »
I didn't ride the 717 very often as we could not use our school bus passes on it.   However I did once (mid 60s) ride it all the way to Brands Hatch to watch some motor racing.   My mother used to ride it (when dad was at work and my brother and I at school) to watch the cricket at Lords.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 03:47:31 pm by Mary_Morgan »
 

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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2016, 02:15:16 pm »
I travelled on the 303A to school at Queen Elizabeth's in Barnet (Barnet was then in Hertfordshire) from September of 1959 to June of 1965.

Hi Mary, thanks for that memory. Was this your bus? This picture taken in Welham Green in May 1966. Image by Ron Kingdon.



I remember the station master in the top picture but not his name.  At first I thought it was Perce but think he was later than that.

Hi Mary, we will have a feature on the station master, Ernie Wicks, in the near future. He retired June 13, 1969.
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2016, 02:28:52 pm »
I travelled on the 303A to school at Queen Elizabeth's in Barnet (Barnet was then in Hertfordshire) from September of 1959 to June of 1965.

Another of Ron Kingdon's pictures of the 303A for your Mary, this one heading the other way through Welham Green.

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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2016, 02:47:53 pm »
I've merged the various threads about travelling by bus or train in the 60s and 70s, and will add more old pictures of local buses and trains over time in an effort to jog memories. Here is one more. This is the 315 at Nash's Corner, Welham Green in the 60s. Image by Ron Kingdon, digitised and enhanced by Mike Allen. Did you used to catch this bus? Where to and why? Any memories welcome.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 02:56:46 pm by Editor »
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2016, 07:10:44 am »
Another local route from the 60s, the 303. How would such a huge bus get down Bell Lane? Did some 303 buses terminate there? I find the image of the woman walking towards the back of one of the buses haunting. More images taken by Ron Kingdon and digitally enhanced by Mike Allen. Any memories/enlightenment welcome.





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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2016, 11:00:37 am »
The answer to one of your questions lies in the photos themselves. Which only goes to demonstrate their value of course. RT4190 (LYF249) is the subject of both the Bell Lane shots; the first shows it arriving, unfortunately with a lazy destination blind, and the second shows the rear, evidently after turning, with the 'BELL BAR' destination shown. In 1969, RT4190 returned to the LT Central Area fleet, repainted red, and saw active use until the end of RT operation by LT. Happily, it lives on in preservation, though not active at present.


Note the Bell Bar garage forecourt full of Austins and Morrises. Brookmans Park Motors was a BMC dealer, and I recall a hoarding to this effect somewhere near the station, with the BMC rosette logo prominent. Their liveried breakdown truck is parked alongside.


I don't know whether it was my impressionable mind at the time, but my sense of local geography is still defined by the destinations served by the bus and train services through Welham Green. These are still the places I tend to want or need to visit from time to time, but find the modern routes very cumbersome. A bunch of us used to hop on the 303a to go to primary school in Welwyn Garden City. Not a practical proposition today!

 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2016, 02:56:07 pm »
Another of Ron Kingdon's images to jog memories, this is from 1978. It's a single deck 722 Green Line Express to Stevenage at the Rookery roundabout Marshmoor near Welham Green.



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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2016, 07:25:56 am »
Some more pictures taken by Ron Kingdon at the Hawkshead Triangle in the '60s. These are of the 717 and the 303A.



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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2016, 11:15:49 am »
I'd suggest that the story sequence in the last two photos is the other way round; the shot of the RF single-decker reveals the roof of the northbound RMC on the 717 approaching past Bolton's Farm. Although apparently large, the road footprint of the double-deckers is less than their modern single-deck equivalents, and their turning overhangs minimal. The size of buses was controlled by legislation, and certain aspects by the police. The Metropolitan Police for instance were averse to pneumatic tyres, so in the early days Country Area buses had pneumatic tyres while their Central Area siblings retained solid rubber! The new RMCs replaced the RFs from 1962, but I suspect these photos are later than the transition period, so the RF is probably a substitute.


I've mentioned previously LT's eye for detail in design. Look at that bus stop flag pole. Someone considered the form and function of that, then committed it to an engineering drawing for creation of moulds for manufacture in reinforced concrete. Carefully blended in is a plinth for timetable display, the whole topped-off with a sculpted colour-coded finial. The flag itself has a considered curving taper in planform, and is decorated in vitreous enamel. It was such a considered act to create and erect such a stop that even this photo communicates a reassuring, if subliminal,  permanence about it; one could confidently plan to build a life around this service, it would clearly still be here next week.


This is a Request stop. If it weren't so labelled it would be a Compulsory stop, where it wasn't necessary to hold an arm out to stop the bus. This practice seemed to be a LT peculiarity, when I moved away to University I was somewhat surprised when buses didn't stop for me!
 
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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2016, 11:55:40 am »
Another piece of nostalgia for '60s bus lovers, this one of the 303 at the junction of Dixons Hill Road and the Great North Road in Welham Green in 1966. Image by Ron Kingdon digitally enhanced by Mike Allen. Looks like a bit of dodgy overtaking by the van. Good job a vehicle wasn't pulling out in front of the bus and turning right.

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Re: Did you travel by bus or train in the 60s & 70s? Pics & memories
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2017, 10:26:18 am »
Two more bus pictures from Mike Allen's Images of North Mymms CDs. These from volume three.



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