One afternoon out of curiosity I decided I would follow the route of the stages listed on this Red Rover ticket on a map. Not being from that neck of the woods and only being familiar with two of the places listed Aylesbury and Buckingham, well three if you count Whitchurch but then I think everybody knows at least one Whichurch. I presumed that the journey would be from Aylesbury to Edgcott passing through Buckingham on route, Wrong!! I have enlarged the side of the ticket so that it is easier to read.
Leaving Aylesbury on A413 in a northerly direction you soon pass through Weedon and Hardwick before arriving at the Buckinghamshire Whitchurch. It is here where the route leaves the A413 with a left turn on Oving Road to Oving the next place on the stage list. Leave Oving in a northerly direction to a junction where a left turn to North Marston followed by Granborough which is abbreviated to Granboro on the ticket and eventually arriving at Winslow. It is here that the route rejoins the A413 to Buckingham via Adstock and Padbury I wonder if the bus entered the small village of Adstock or did it just stop on the A413. It was on leaving Buckingham where I realised it was not going to be straight forward as I could not find Waddesdon. After awhile I found Waddesdon on the A41 about 4kms north west of Aylesbury, now why does the stage list go back to the Aylesbury area. The stage list follows the A41 to Kingswood where a right turn through Grendon Underwood to Edgcott I was not quite sure why Edgcott was the terminus as it is in the middle of the countryside. In cases like this first port of call is ‘Google Earth’ it comes in handy for spotting old RAF fields and the like and sure enough I found the answer, “H M Prison Grendon” and “H M Prison Spring Hill”.
I have been caught out before by one ticket doing two routes so was this ticket for Aylesbury – Buckingham and Aylesbury – Edgcott I do not think it was for Buckingham – Edgcott via Aylesbury. Does anyone have any ideas as to why the stage list is as it is.
One amusing little thing I came up with whilst researching this post was that In April 2003, thieves broke into Spring Hill Prison, stealing £650 from a safe and taking valuable personal effects, including mobile phones, from inmates’ lockers.
21/02/12 – 10:34
The two first main routes that Red Rover operated, fed into their London Aylesbury service. They did not display numbers until the post-war era but had the a sequence of /1 and /2 in the old road licensing series.
Aylesbury – Buckingham and Aylesbury – Edgcott. The ticket could be used on both routes, and I suppose theoretically sold on the London one as well! Red Rover had always been innovative and economical. They brought their London bus operation (14) expertise out into the countryside, may well have bought their way onto the Edgcott road by purchase of Mr A J Raisey’s Yellow bus. Buses at Edgcott (RT’s!) used to turn by reversing into a small unclassified road just south of Edgcott church. A decrepid bus shelter awaits passengers on the northbound stop at Adstock!
18/06/12 – 08:23
In c1970 I drove awhile for Conway Hunt Coaches out of their yard at Ottershaw, Surrey. They also had a depot at Kingston-on-Thames. During and just after the war they had half a dozen Bedford OWB utility buses with slatted wooden seats (as they had the contract for carrying Italian prisoners of war to and from the fields for agricultural work) and my backside can still remember the suffering of riding on one of these from North West Surrey as a child to the South Coast on a Summer Sunday School Outing. The pain was so intense that I stood all the way back!
Anyway, in my time there Conway Hunt had the contract to run a works bus every weekday from Chobham (location of the famous treacle mines) to Aylesbury, for workers who had opted to stay on when their firm at Woking was bought up and closed down by a competitor at Aylesbury.
After arrival at Aylesbury I was free until clocking off time at the Aylesbury factory, when I had to work the return journey, so I usually drove out to the vicinity of Quainton Road station, explored the old tramway to Brill, read a bit, and set my alarm clock to get a good sleep on the back seat. The firm gave me the oldest and most decrepit coach they had as my own – for the simple reason they expected their drivers to wear a suit, but the only suit that I owned and was comfortable wearing was a well worn boiler suit!
Nevertheless, after they put me on the Sunday Evening Mystery Tour from Kingston & Richmond to finally kill it off when the passenger load had dwindled to half a minibus load, I had a chat with one of the old-timers to find out how I should handle it, and his advice was really good. "Whatever you do, DON’T do what all the other drivers do, DON’T belt down the main road to Windsor Castle, tip the passengers out, and tell them you’ll pick them up in a couple of hours", he told me. So I did it my way, and after a couple of weeks, even wearing a boiler suit and driving the most decrepit vehicle on the fleet, I was regularly earning twice as much in tips on a Sunday night as I earned in wages for a full week’s work. And it really was a full week’s work! In the summer, if you weren’t behind the wheel driving, or in a cafe getting some food inside you, you could invariably be found on the back seat trying to catch up on some sleep. You didn’t see your home except fleetingly in passing from one week’s end to the next, and you knew when it was your rest day because you were only scheduled to work from 5am to 2pm. And all that for £18 a week.
Sadly, my income took a tumble after the firm had to put on three relief coaches on a Sunday night – they did it THEIR way, of course – and a riot started outside the Kingston office on Monday morning that spilled out into the road and stopped the whole of the traffic in Kingston stone dead, when those waiting to book seats with me the following weekend realised that there were too many to fit into my coach. The irate Police Superintendent who called on my Governor later that morning told him in no uncertain terms to take me off the Sunday Night Mystery Tour, or HE would be up before the Magistrates for obstructing the traffic for miles around for three solid hours!
Well, to get back to the point, one of the Red Rover routes passed nearby when I was parked up in the vicinity of Quainton Road, or in one of the nearby villages getting a pub lunch, and I really admired the fleet of former London RTs that they ran on a very frequent service. I reckoned that RTs were the nicest motors I had ever driven, bar none, and wished I lived in the Aylesbury area so I could drive one too. At a pinch I’d even have volunteered to sign on as a spare driver without pay.
As to reversing into a side road to turn, this was very unusual for an RT in London, though a few Country area RF routes did this, but it was normal practice to reverse into field gateways hardly wider than the bus to turn on most BET country services – even if the bus could be turned by driving in a forward direction only a few yards further along the road.
RTs had a ridiculous little round mirror hidden up under the canopy on the nearside that was useless for driving. I think it was only there so that drivers could check if anyone was getting on or off if the conductor rang the bus off from upstairs. If Red Rover drivers had to reverse on that side to turn, I hope that the buses had been fitted with decent mirrors.
The offside mirror on an RT was adequate both for driving and reversing, and turning by backing into a side road on that side was no problem if you knew how to drive a bus. After dark you needed the conductor to turn the interior lights off – only those on an RLH were controlled by the driver – and as buses didn’t have reversing lights and there were usually no street lights where you needed them, you simply relied on your rear lights, supplemented by the rear trafficator lights. Not easy, but perfectly practical.