L For An “L” Of A Mess!

Back in 1979 there were no local buses on Billington Road, only the 71 to Edlesborough. Likewise there was no service via Grovebury Road as part of the new midibus town network.
But step forward in your Tardis to 2012 (approx) and something very exciting happened in the area.
It is an Arriva Bus, painted orange and branded for service D1, Dash Direct. This route has been replaced in the new dispensation (of which more tomorrow), but the Dash Direct Twittering site is still all on-line for all to see, to refer to and thus to miss their bus!
It is also all very un-Arriva-like! There are promotions …

… fares …

… and even a special pre-Christmas SUNDAY service – shock horror!

It is exactly what a small-town bus service should be, fully community orientated.

There is even, fbb dare hardly utter the words, a timetable. Sorry it is shabbily reproduced, but fbb guesses that it is a poor quality scan of a timetable leaflet. Remember when such things were normal practice? 

Well, fbb can, but he is ancient.
It is really too fuzzy to print, but you can get the idea.

The Monday to Friday service runs every 30 minutes but, to spoil the delight of Dashing Direct, the Saturday service is a mind bendingly stupid every 45 minutes. Note also that the Monday to Friday service shows arrival and departure times of trains at Linslade station (called Leighton Buzzard).

Of course there is no point in even bothering with train times on Sunday. If it were an hourly service it would be more attractive, more memorable and could connect with an hourly train service.
But that would be sensible.
Here is a Google Earth shot of Sandhills.

The time point is on Kestrel Way which we can match to a Streetmap extract.

An on-line map posted by Mid Bedfordshire council … 

… shows buses trunding further east along Johnson Drive towards that bit of grey road (top right) on the map below …

That is the car park for a sports “facility” …

… and a good place to turn a bright orange minibus – unless the gates are locked.

But another on line map shows this extension as unserved,

To add to the confusion on-line and the confusion for any unwary web surfer who comes across this so-called information, there is a very weird map from a bit of recent vintage Arriva.

Here the buses seem to be extended further down Grovebury Road and (maybe) diverted away from Chartmoor Road (industrial area) to serve new housing further south.

The extra Grovebury Road bit serves a retail park.

Life in all its richness is there; Sub, CostaLot and KFC PLUS Topps Tiles. Deep joy!

The housing development (on the above aerial view, bottom right) is called Roman Gate, presumably where a totally fictitious gate stood to allow the Roman invaders into the retail park.

But it never did! 
The D1 never ran via Roman Gate, Theed Way and Belladonna Drive. (fbb is not sure he would want to live on a road named after a poison.) Eyeball failure; it’s not Belladonna!

fbb can write that with utter confidence because Rogers French’s bus got lost down there when he visited to sample the new Leighton Buzzard network way back in Mid May.

Roger travelled on the new route L1 which replaces the orange D1.
And what excitement he enjoyed!
How Much? You Are Joking?
After the £525 locomotive, the model railway industry has now come up with the £150 railway carriage. Suspicions are roused by the Dapol sub brand …

… which implies something special and therefore something expensive.

Manty of the railway companies in the good old pre BR days had special carriages for special black label purposes. Sometimes they were called “directors” coaches, and sometimes “inspection saloons”. 
They were propelled by an engine …
… and had large windows through which the inspectors could inspect. They also had comfy armchairs, so inspections could be a little more luxurious for the hard-pressed inspectorate.

For your £150 you get a choice of SIX different liveries, so why not order all six?

The model is packed with “features”.

18 pin DCC socket
Directional red/warm white lamp
Stay-alive capacitor
Plug-less light bar connection
Light switches for DC use
Several different body variations
Removable rooffor further detailing
Cables, wipers, lamp irons
Horns & gong – non working
Separate moulded curtains
Gloss metal-like paint finish
Diecast chassis
Cosmetic pipes and coupling
Sprung buffers
NEM sockets
Highly detailed bogies
Blackened DOGA spec. wheels
EM & P4 compatible
Chairs, tables & luggage racks
Blue interior base and white ceiling

The mind boggles. 

And they have left out an OO scale model of the food hampers which would have accompanied the inspectors on their outings. including; roast meats, pickles, game pie, game chips,  crusty bread, fine english cheeses plus a selection of fine English wines and beers …

 … a modest £500 from Fortnum and Mason (today’s price).

It’s a tough life, but someone had to do it!

Variety blogs will follow on Sunday and Monday.

 Next Leighton-Linslade blog : Saturday 3rd June 
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