Supposedly speedy, the Fastrack B takes 28 minutes to amble from Bluewater to Gravesend whereas “normal” service 490 takes just 23 minutes.
Whist the 480/490 just gets one colour on the map, the service runs in two distinct sections during the day. 480 runs from Dartford to Gravesend and Riverside Park whilst the 490 starts from Bluewater goes beyond Gravesend to Singlewell.
But once meeting up at Greenhithe (A226 NOT station) both routes simply follow the main road into Gravesend.
Fastrack B does other things.
Ingress To Ingress Park
Looking at an old Google Earth aerial view, the area between the A226 and the river …
… includes some relics of wartime, but was basically rural, being the estate lands associated with Ingress Abbey.
The original house on the estate …
… was demolished to make way for a new Thameside harbour which was never built. The present mansion was completed in 1833 and has had a chequered history.
It ceased to be a private house and the grounds have been developed for housing, but the property remains in place with an avenue leading down to the river bank,
Wikipedia says the property is now back in private hands but surrounded by modern housing.
According to the Fastrack web site, Ingress Park is served by route B in and out.
The way in is via that bit of extra busway beyond Greenhithe station …
… and at the end, there is a bit of bus only road leading into the estate and viewed below from the opposite direction.
Just round the corner past the red bit there is another chunk of carriageway which lets buses out into London Road and thus on to Gravesend (seen below on the left).
Here is this philosophically complex junction but in aerial view.
Difficult to understand? Can’t quite see it? Don’t worry because the Fastrack web site map is wrong! A new road leads out of the far end of the Ingress Park estate and joins the A226 further east!
Google Streetview shows the road ready for the buses and paved for the bus stops.
Arriva’s network map shows things correctly, but simplified!
Please note: fbb is grateful to correspondent Peter who sent him a selection of Arriva network maps. fbb still doesn’t know where to fnd them for himself.
Excursion Via Ebbsfleet
No sooner has the Fastrack diverted (slowly) via Ingress Park and back, than the route has to find its way to Ebbsfleet International station.
Helpfully, the very useful Google tells us the Thameslink and South Eastern Railway call at this Swanscombe bus stop ..
… as per the Google map …
… but the timetable shown above suggests that Fastrack B joins the trains at the bus shelter although Google does not mention the “B”.
The bus then finds its way round to the High Speed and local stations.
The big station is for trains through the Channel Tunnel and thus well-blessed (?) with Customs and Security stuff. The smaller local station carries the South Eastern Javelin trains which remain resolutely in the UK!
The stops are in the “V” between the two sets of station buildings.
There is plenty of car parking!
Arriva’s network map shows a wide variety of buses at Ebbsfleet stations …
… but you do wonder whether there is a wide variety of bus passengers.
But a much slower Fastrack ambles alongside Sawyers Lake …
… and in to Gravesend.
Pre Ebbsfleet there wasn’t much there …
… not even Sawyers Lake!
But we can see now that Fastrack B is Slowtrack between Bluewater and Gravesend. Whether its wiggle route is spoiling the brand is debatable but the image of this section of the “award winning” and “prestigious” Fastrack is, at best, disappointing.
Tomorrow we go to Paris where trams are really prestigious and would be award winning except that Parisians treat such things as normality. Vive la difference!
Next Tram T10 Blog : Wednesday 5th July