It’s Bluewater Innit?

It started in 1999!

If you want to go to Bluewater by train, you might try Greenhithe for Bluewater station. But you would probably want to catch a bus! Fastrack B will get you there.

But let’s indulge in a little;e nostalgia.

Once upon a time the village of Greenhithe sat happily on the lush and verdant banks of Old Father Thames between Dartford and Gravesend. Ruddy cheeked children could play safely in the street …
… or continue along Station Road to see a train thunder through – slowly! 
Dad could enjoy a pint at the White Hart …
… whilst mum took her washing down to the banks of the river and scrubbed away enthusiastically. 
Ah, the joys of living in the Garden of England!
Sadly someone’s gone and built on it!

Bluewater is bus border territory where Transport for London meets Arriva! and there is a huge bus station at Bluewater …

… with only one stop marked on Google Maps – for everything!

The Sapphires (probably no longer so branded), the 483 and the Fastracks are Arriva, the red ones are TfL and the X80 was Ensign and is now First. At a cursory glance, fbb could not identify Connect 1 and 228 but maybe a little morre effort will resolve the anonymity!

TfL, of course, provides no timetable information, just departure lists …
… and Arriva’s web site is unreliable and awful even when it works.
Kent County Council has joined the BOSTIC club. (Bus Operating Service Total Information Chaos). fbb could find nothing of any use whatsoever on the County web site, except, of course, information about service withdrawals and reductions.
But it was the news that the contract with the BOSTIC people had been awarded to GoAhead, and furthermore, that Arriva had not submitted a bid,  that encouraged fbb to explore!
fbb was very interested in Fastrack. It was ages ago BBC** that the less old man took a tour of Fastrack – it was in the early days when empty buses were zooming through building sites, green fields, along half made-up roads  and carrying very few passengers!
** BBC – Before Blogging Commenced.
The services ran evey 10 minutes …
… and the 10 minute headway remained on the two routes …

… until 2020 when both were reduced to every 12. 

There are various versions of the supposedly current A and B route map displayed on line …

… and fbb has found it difficult to spot which one is current. 

But nowhere could the frustrated blogger find anything that resembled a network map that offered any sense of reliability. An Arriva map from 2013 on an Ebbsfleet web site was clearly useless.

Even if it had been current it is very difficult to follow. But it isn’t up to date so fbb didn’t try.

fbb also wondered how things were going with the proposals for Fastrack C and Fastrack D, proposals which were revealed a few years back and duly blogged by fbb.

Then there was a map of the development plans.

And the map still features on numerous web sites.

It looks as if the above expansive plans have been chopped back a bit, because a more recent map (still described as a “proposal”) shows only A B and C routes (no “D”) …

… split into two sections to enable our readers to compare them with existing (or possibly non existing) maps and diagrams.

Another struggle develops to match this with the existing network.

And then there’s Fastrack AZ? fbb has not found that yet.

Now thoroughly confused …

But it’s all on line 

… fbb will attempt to create a definitive geographical map of the current Fastrack A and B for tomorrow’s blog.

He may fail.

But maybe, just maybe, the electric buses are coming!

More tomorrow.

Poachers Rest Cottage
With the rebuild of the outdoor layout indoors, fbb had a gap in his townscape. The gap wasn’t very big, but would be OK for a small cottage. In the far distant past (a modest 60 years ago!) he had constructed an Airfix thatched cottage kit purchased for two whole shillings.
But that was too easy to glue but too hard to paint neatly. 
Then he happened upon a vintage (well, 2003) Hornby resin model, ready to plant, entitled Poachers Cottage. And it was well priced on EBay.
It would definitely fill the gap nicely.
The “Skaledale” range was new back then but models are rarely repeated and the Poachers Cottage is not often seen on EBay with most retailers showing “sold out”.
However, as a matter of modelling pride, ALL fbb’s buildings have been adjusted in some way to make them just a little different from their “as sold” state.
Maybe the cottage needs a small extension?
More from Kent tomorrow.

 Next Fastrack blog : Thursday 29th June 
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