Is It Great – The 908?

Another newcomer for the residents of Stevenage and south thereof is the “Herts Connect” 908. No one seems to know why such obscure route numbers were chosen, but doubtless there is a grand plan for a growing network of 900s in the county. Even so, why start with 907 and 908?
Once again, the indefatigable Roger French rode the route in its first week when there was very little publicity. The 908 had not appeared on the County’s network map, and, as of yesterday, it still hasn’t.
Well done Hertfordshire!
Here is a timetable extract which might help us.

If we look at the 908-less map we can begin the process of trying to understand. It runs via Knebworth where the map shows a 301 in black …

… and continues to Welwyn Garden City (WGC) as does the 301.

At first glance the 908 looks just like an Arriva 301, which, way back, used to have a modicum of route branding.

A look at a timetable extract for the 301 and 302 suggests that it is almost the same route as the 908 between Stevenage and WGC.

But not quite. The 301 is timed at Digswell Park between Welwyn and WGC. 

The 908 isn’t. 
For that detail we will have to go to the WGC town map.
The 301 does a couple of wiggles as it approaches WGC, whilst the map (upper left) gets it across the A1(M) and, en route, serves the old London Road, well displaced by the motorway.

Fun isn’t it?

Although Digswell Park is a time point on the 301, the name doesn’t appear on the WGC town bus map. It is odd that timetable designers and map drawers never seem to speak to one another! But it is that “bubble” via Monks Walk School.
So where does the 908 go in this area?
For this we need to turn to Intalink’s computer generated on-line route map for the 908.

So, instead of wiggling across the motorway, the 908 continues non-stop on the B147 (old A1) over the big road …

… and turning left at the next junction south …

… before joining existing route 366 along Valley Road and into the town.

Here is the 366 timetable.

If the average passenger can unravel the complexity, it is simply one journey each way Monday to Friday tweaked to serve school requirements. So Valley Road gains an hourly service.

This route is on the edge of a large (former?) council estate called Handside …

… served by the 302, as on map and timetable above. 

So the residents of Valley Road will be grateful for a shorter walk to the extra hourly service. Whether the links provided to Stevenage will be an attraction is yet to be decided.
When Roger rode, admittedly in the first week of operation and before anybody had thought of publicity (!), all those who rode with him (a dozen or more) were folk who could have used the 301. New users (e.g. from Valley Road) had yet to discover their new service! What a surprise! 
Just for esoteric amusement, have a look at the equivalent 908 route between Welwyn and WGC back in the 1930s, when it would have used a road called the A!, and, by contrast, today’s map when that old A1 has been demoted and moved to make way for its motorway successor.
Valley Road existed in the 1930s …
… but not housing at Digswell Park.

And while at Digswell Park,  readers may remember that the celebrated east coast main line bottleneck …

… is, more correctly, known as Digswell Viaduct. See below for an aerial view c/o Google Earth.

Looking westwards, he viaduct runs along the bottom of the picture, Digswell Park estate is at the top.

721 and 725 to come!
 Next Variety blog : Saturday 25th November 
Generated by Feedzy