Wednesday 12 December 2012
This is the route that was called 369 when we began the project, but had vanished into the East London Transit incarnation by the time we got there. So we were pleased to be able to make a quick dash in and out of Ilford, having done the 462. We had taken the EL2 all the way to Dagenham Dock, and then told the rather baffled driver that we were going back to Ilford but needed to do it on the EL1 rather than on his bus. Although, being a sensible chap, he was not entirely clear about this, he took us back to the Thames View Estate, whence we picked up the EL1, boarding at 12.30. The driver told us that on these new buses the ‘not in service’ notice, which had concerned us as he rested, automatically changes to the destination on departure: ah, progress.
We had seen on the way down that the bus stops were due to be closed ‘at the times specified below’ and our change of buses had enabled us to see that this was to be every night for a week for resurfacing.
We have to admit to being baffled that there should be two frequent double decker routes which repeat the journey from Thames View Estate to Ilford Station, though the EL2 does extend to Dagenham docks. This is not a densely populated or highly commercial area. Still, as you know, we feel that the more buses there are the better London is so hooray for the EL routes.
We waited by some great traffic slowing signs and hopped on with a number of other people, presumably heading for the shopping opportunities of Barking or Ilford. We came past the Short Blue Pub, now very shuttered and derelict and indeed having suffered a couple of fires. It actually closed in 2009 but was originally named for the Short Blue Fishing fleet which was based in Barking until it relocated on the East Coast in mid Victorian times. Perhaps by the time you read this the proposed flats will have replaced it.
Next we passed the enormous Thames View Health Centre, and came up to the huge A 13. We noted that the cycling Superhighway 3 goes along here, but mercifully on the pavement at this point (pic), not among the many lanes of fast traffic.
Once we were over the main road, we rolled alongside Greatwood Park and to the massive Ripple Primary School.
This brought us into Barking with its fish sculpture on the roundabout, a reminder of Barking’s past as a fishing town, and also the mosque.
We were passing lots of lovely Indian dress and jewellery shops, but alas at too brisk a pace for decent photographs. And then we were into Ilford, past rather a jolly preschool and Sainsbury’s, to pull up within a short walk of the station at 12.55.