Not A Good Day At The Office

In Tuesday, fbb was really struggling with the interwebnet. He found out of date maps, incorrect information and battled with badly designed web sites; all to renew his acquaintance with Kent County Council’s “prestigious” Fastrack “network between Dartford, Bluewater and Gravesend. It is so “prestigious” that its frequency has been reduced for every 10 to every 12 minutes.
Three speifics caused fbb grief. Firstly, whilst virtually at Bluewater mega shopping hellhole, he spotted two bus routes co Google Maps that he could not identify.
Connect 1 is operated by GoCoach and brings a selection of villages within the ambit of Bluewater.

One end is a large loop …

… which is not well shown on tthe timetable.

If it were shown from Darenth to Darenth via Longfield those opportunities for travelling round the loop would be clearer.

Then there was the 228. It’s not much!

It runs on Tuesdays that are schooldays.

Then there was the paucity of network maps. Somehow, your slightly befuddled blogger found a more recent Arriva network map; not complete of course.

Interestingly this geographically accurate map was dated 2023 also shows route AZ which fbb was also hoping to find.

Please do not ask where the old man found it, but it was on a bit of Arriva’s web site hitherto hidden from fbb’s inadequately prying eyes.
So we now know that route AZ serves an Amazon ‘Fulfillment Centre” in the environs of the Dartford Bridge/Tunnel.
It’s a big shed.
Once upon a time there were three power stations on the banks of the Thames near Dartford.

They were built line astern from the banks of the river and named, imaginatively, Littlebrook A, B and C. Later they were joined by and then replaced by Littlebrook D.

The bridge runs along the top of the above picture. fbb is not sure, but those tanks suggest that the power station was oil fired.

The remnants of all this were demolished in 2015 and we can follow the development of the site thanks to Google Earth. Here the power station area …

…  then the bron fields …

… and then Amazon!

Eagle eyed readers will observe that there is no vast swathe of car parking space for the 1300 employees; but, above picture upper left, there is – tada – …

… A bus station.

It is to here that Fastrack AZ hies, joined by other workers services from further afield that Kent’s Fastrack area.

Two years ago, Roger French visited said bus station to explore the workings of the AZ. 
But en toute from Dartford to Amazon, buses pass through Joyce Green.
Joyce Green was an isolation hospital initially for the often lethal disease of Smallpox. In its latter years it morphed into a training hospital specialising in infectious diseases. To maintain its isolation, patients were delivered by boat ambulances in the Thames, Indeed, before the hospital was built, smallpox victims were cared for in hospital ships moored offshore.

“Castalia” had what were almost buildings constructed on the deck.

The others seemed very well designed to encourage the spread of the diseases that brought the hapless patients there after a ride on an ambulance boat on the Thames.

When the hulks were retired, a new hospital was built at Joyce Green just inland from the river. But it was quite a way inland.
So “ambulance trams” were installed and operated.

The “system” was quite extensive …

… tunning on four foot gauge track. You can just about see the track rncitcling the site in the picure below.

Trams were horse draen.

As an experiment, they tried hauling cars with a motor vehicle, a World Wat i ambulance “lorry” …

… but, for unspecified reasons, internal combustion haulage was deemed unsatisfactory and the idea was not pursued. The use of trams ended during WW2 and the track was all removed in the  mid 1940s.

The hospital has long gone, but a few of its paths and roads can be spotted on a recent map …

Part of joyce Green is now green!

But other parts of the former site are served by Fastrack A, B and AZ.

And fbb did not have to draw a map because he has found a proper one. Phew! The old man would have got it wrong.
 Next Fastrack blog : Friday 30th June 
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