Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The H98 Route

Hayes End (Kingsway) to Hounslow Bus Station  
Thursday July 18th 2013

Having missed our weekly outing last week (work and other family commitments taking up all spare time) we thought we should press on and complete two H buses this week, as Hounslow was beginning to lose its charms. Our previous route, the H28 had left us at the Bulls Bridge Tescos and the original plan had been to walk along the canal to Hayes and Harlington, find some other sort of bus and then get lost looking for the H98 start.   In the end, after a certain amount of faffing we called a cab from Tescos and a rather surprised driver delivered us to the resting place of the H28, tucked away in a corner of Hayes called Wood End. Extravagant yes (Linda never takes cabs) but not in the scheme of things when you think we have spent about £10 over a more than 4 year period, so this has been a really cheap hobby. It was hot and we had started later than usual due to Linda’s detour back to Feltham YOI – see the postscript for the H26. Another excuse? We had been rather traumatized by getting lost trying to follow the Crane, and did not want a repeat trying to follow the canal.

Hayes End, or possibly Wood End as it seems to be locally, was a spacious residential area with a triangle of (by now parched) green adjacent to which the buses had a stand. We were really pleased to see the H98 was a double decker and were about to leap aboard when the driver explained he was not going anywhere as he had broken down and while we were chatting the single decker behind drove off without us. We asked why some were single and some double and he told us he had started this morning on a single decker, which had broken down, so they (Hounslow Bus garage) gave him a double decker. We said they were unlikely to be giving him a third bus by which time another single decker rolled up and let us sit on board while the driver had a 6 minute break.  From this you can see it is a pretty frequent service, though also not busy at mid-day.

Leaving the residential area with its intermittent parks, floral roundabouts and other delights behind we drove away from what clearly used to be country lanes to join a straight dual carriageway, bordered by some shops and other civic buildings such at Hayes Police Station and handily close Uxbridge County Court for quick dispensation of justice (or not).

The bus turned right off the main road, passing down the rather pleasant Church Road complete with Church Green and a distant view of St Mary’s Church – apparently the oldest building in Hayes, which was largely farmland or brickfields until 20th century manufacturing firms set up shop here and the housing followed.  The Fountain House Hotel had some sort of plaque, which we could not see but it probably relates to its earlier history as a school where the totally unqualified (in teaching terms) Eric Blair aka George Orwell taught.

Much more 21st Century is the Holmesgate Place development.  And I can see anyone moving there would need the H98 to get to more important transport links.

As we joined Botwell Lane there was some traffic queuing but the driver let both doors open to cool the bus, which made it a more pleasant ride than our previous 1-door only trip.  As well as St Mary’s we had passed a chapel and then came one of those really recognizable RC modern churches that seem very typical in the suburbs all round London’s fringes, this one dedicated to the Immaculate Heart. Hayes Town has probably been spruced up; the roundabouts were newly paved and cobbled and there was an exuberance of hanging baskets and quite a few local shoppers as well. Traffic is managed too with a bus only lane taking a service road behind and crossing over the Grand Union canal. Here is where the various lighter and heavier industries developed and flourished as this part of outer London offered a choice of routes from the West into London: road rail and canal. Just past the bridge there is a large building labelled YMCA though from this website it seems more about local Youth work rather than cheap accommodation??

At the station – Hayes and Harlington – more people got on and the smell of coffee was very evident, not surprising as the Nestle factory is just nearby, though unfortunately for Hayes not for much longer.

The railway station’s name implies it serves both localities though I would have to say it seems nearer to Hayes but sure enough the bus, having crossed over the M4, then arrives at Harlington  Corner, and much slower traffic along the Bath Road. Being on the main road we saw little of what remains of old Harlington save for the White Hart. The proximity of the airport means there is that mixture of bargain accommodation – Travelodge, Premier Inn – airport parking and warehousing type facilities.  Although a Red Route, traffic seemed very slow today and combined with the heat led to a kind of torpor in your author which meant that after several trips in this area it took till today to twig that Cranford, as in Cranford Technical College is named for the River Crane.

Once we left the slow moving main roads behind this was in fact a very pleasant approach into Hounslow – residential with enough shops to serve the locals and the usual sprinkling of schools and places of worship. They also have the only other Mornington Crescent outside of Camden, the Northern Line and Radio 4. This route calls at all the key Hounslow stops: tube, shops etc and is one of the few routes to finish at the Bus Station – actually more of a garage with stops than a true bus station.
This is a long route combining old lanes with major arterial roads and as a result the times given on the bus stop – 32 minutes is way off the mark as today we took 50. And so we say goodbye to the H routes from Harrow through Hatton Cross to Hounslow...

No comments:

Post a Comment