A Summer on the Buses
Part 3 - July 1967
Monday July 10th, 1967
325 at the garage a few years later and alongside 323. By then, they'd been modified for OMO (and in the background a rare sighting of the SCT taxi)
Weather sunny and hot.
Back to earn some money after a camping holiday in France and a week with some friends on the Norfolk Broads.
In by car for a 10:00 start, 9 other students starting that day so I felt distinctly like an old-timer. Picked up my number badge, uniform etc then went to see Paul (Bateson) in the traffic office who gave me an afternoon duty.
Home, on the beach for lunch and had a swim, then back by car for a 15:40 sign on.
With driver Maurice Everitt (wrote in my diary "good fun but a fast driver" which meant I had to be on my toes inside the bus).
Out in Lowlander 325, the 16:03 route 7 from Southend to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, the 16:26 route 8 to Rayleigh High Street, the 17:32 route 1 to Southend, the 18:15 route 1 back to Rayleigh, the 19:01 route 8 to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel and 20:11 route 7 back to Southend Central Station where handed over at 20:28.
After break W.A.R. but after a bit called out to take over Bridgemaster 320 on the 22:13 route 8 Southend to Shoeburyness, the last route 7 to Hockley Spa at 22:41 and the 23:32 route 8A from there back to Southend, arriving at Central Station at 3 minutes past midnight. The route 8A was a very occasional route but also the shortest route from Hockley back to Southend which I guess is why they slotted one in at the end of the day. Finished at 00:18, must be one of the latest finishes for crewed buses.
Tuesday July 11th, 1967
Weather sunny and hot.
Up at around 10:30 and in by car for a 12:30 start, with the same driver as yesterday.
First hour spare and then in Lowlander 326 on the 13:28 route 7 from Southend to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, the 13:56 route 8 to Rayleigh High Street, then the 15:01 route 8 back to Southend where handed over. Very busy on the seafront but pleasant once out past Rochford.
Break at 15:45, then second half in Highbridge PD3 337, the 16:31 route 3 Southend to Shoeburyness Blackgate Road, the 17:00 route 3 to Benfleet Station, the 18:10 route 3 back to Shoeburyness again and 19:20 route 3 to Southend and back to the garage. We took it over 5 minutes late and didn't really make up the time until about Leigh Elms at 18:40 on the journey back from Benfleet Station, not helped by the timetables with only a 4 minute turnround time at Shoeburyness and 3 minutes at Benfleet Station.
We left Benfleet Station 2 minutes late just as a train from London arrived - I noted that only a few fast runners and good jumpers made it - I'll have to ring the bell a bit quicker next time - mind you, if we'd been on time, they would have not even have seen us. Took £17 the whole day, home about 20:30.
Wednesday July 12th, 1967
Lowbridge PD3 311
Weather sunny but not so hot.
In by car for a 13:26 start, with the same driver again, the same duty as I did on May 10th.
First half in highbridge PD3 340, the 13:43 route 3A from Southend to Shoeburyness, the 14:11 route 3A to Canvey Leigh Beck and the 15:31 route 3 back to Southend where handed over. Picked up a lot of school children on the last 3, also there had been an accident between an ENOC bus and a bicycle at West Leigh Schools which caused a big blockage.
Second half was in PD2 309, route 7 Southend to Kursaal, the 17:33 Kursaal to Hockley Spa, the 18:15 Hockley Spa to Kursaal, the 19:03 Kursaal to Hockley Spa, the 19:45 Hockley Spa to Golden Cross where waited for a bit and then ran route 7 duplicate back to Southend and dead to Garage. The first Kursaal to Hockley Spa was extremely busy, holiday makers mixed with rush hour.
Then some overtime with driver Terry, in lowbridge PD3 311 on the 21:00 route 1 from Southend to Rayleigh, the 21:46 route 7 to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel and finally the 22:56 route 7 back to Southend and dead to the garage. Fairly easy apart from the Southend to Shoeburyness section. Left garage at 23:20 and gave Terry a lift home.
Thursday July 13th, 1967
246 on one of its proper routes
Weather hazy sun morning, sunny afternoon.
One of the memorable days.
Up mid morning, to the beach for lunch - I should explain, we had a beach hut and my Mum used it when the weather was hot so the only place that a 18 year old could get any lunch was to follow the food to the beach. Not much chance of a swim since the tide was out which meant the sea had disappeared over a mile from the beach, leaving the famous Southend mud.
In by car for a 15:10 start, with the same driver. First part was on route 23 which was one of the few routes that didn't go via the centre of Southend. Officially you caught a bus to Leigh Elm Hotel but we went in his car instead. Picked up PD2 278, one of the oldest in the fleet, on route 23, Leigh Elm Hotel to Eastwood Belgrade Road, back to Leigh Station, to Belgrade Road again, back to Leigh Elm Hotel where handed over and back in his car to the garage.
Now the interesting part - there was such a shortage of buses that we were given open topper 246 on one of those miscellaneous duties. First on route 25A, usually an ENOC route, the 17:19 from Southend to Rayleigh Station and the 18:09 back to Leigh Station, then the 18:44 route 23 to Eastwood Belgrave Road and a route 29 relief back from there to Southend and dead to the garage. We picked up a lot of commuters from Leigh and Rayleigh Stations on both the 25A and the 23 who seemed to enjoy the open top ride on a sunny day. One old lady went upstairs and got off somewhere near Rayleigh and said it was the best thing she'd done for years. I spent a lot of time upstairs at the back enjoying the view but you had to avoid the trees especially around Dawes Heath - the tree lopping on these routes would not have been as thorough as on the normal open top routes.
After a break, 30 minutes W.A.R. then in Lowlander 324 on the 21:11 route 8 Southend to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, the 21:41 route 7 to Rayleigh High Street, the 22:47 route 1 to Southend where finished. These journeys were nice and quiet, stopped at Hadleigh for some chips on the final journey back.
Friday July 14th, 1967
299 a few years later when it had become a full time driver trainer
In by car for a 15:54 sign on, with driver Maurice Everitt again.
In PD2 299 dead to Kursaal, then the 16:18 route 7 Kursaal to Golden Cross, the 16:48 to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, the 17:36 to Golden Cross, the 18:18 to Kursaal, the 18:48 to Golden Cross, the 19:18 to Kursaal, the 19:48 to Southend and back to the garage. The run from Shoeburyness to Golden Cross was in the rush hour but empty because three buses were in front and we all arrived at Golden Cross together (an 8 to Rayleigh, us, a 7 to Spa and a 7A). My ticket machine broke on the last trip and had to use the handwritten emergency tickets which was very slow.
Break, a bit of W.A.R. then took over the 21:58 route 7 from Southend to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, the 22:26 route 8 to Rayleigh High Street and the last route 8 at 23:31 back to Southend scheduled to arrive at 13 minutes past midnight. Busy on the Southend to Hockley Spa section but bus empty between there and Rayleigh and only 3 passengers on the journey back (including one, an off-duty conductor).
Saturday July 15th, 1967
303 in Southchurch Road two years earlier
Weather mainly sunny but late evening drizzle
In by car for a 15:06 start with the same driver.
Took over Highbridge PD3 334 for the 15:23 route 3 Southend to Shoeburyness, the 15:51 route 3 to Canvey Leigh Beck, the 17:21 route 3A back to Shoeburyness, the 18:41 route 3 back to Southend and then dead to the garage. Remarkably quiet, for example had no passengers on the 3A between Benfleet and Leigh Elm Hotel.
After break in 303 on short service route 7s, the 20:08 to Kursaal, the 20:18 to Golden Cross, the 20:48 to Kursaal, the 21:18 to Golden Cross, the 21:48 to Kursaal, 22:18 to Golden Cross, the 22:48 to Southend and finished. The trips from Kursaal were all busy as opposed to the trips back.
Due to arrive at Central Station on the last trip at 23:08 but reached Victoria Circus at 23:00 and no passengers left on so straight to the garage, then rushed to the Odeon with today's driver and another for the midnight (well just before) showing of the latest James Bond film, You Only Live Twice.
Pay for the week £15/15/8 which after deductions (including 11s/5d for conductor shorts) gave me £11/14/2 in hand.
Sunday July 16th, 1967
Weather cloudy, sunny periods, dry
Day off today
Monday July 17th, 1967
331 at Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel 4 years earlier
Weather sunny, hot, close
Up at 05:15 and caught the 06:01 bus for an 06:26 sign on.
With driver Bill Reynolds who I'd been with before one Sunday on hospital limited stop services, start in highbridge PD3 339 on the 06:46 route 3 from Southend to Canvey Leigh Beck, the 07:51 route 3A through to Shoeburyness and then route 3 back to Southend. The 07:51 from Leigh Beck, along with the 07:31, had the reputation of the busiest runs in all the rotas but although filled up and three bells on Canvey, suprisingly quiet otherwise.
Break at the ENOC canteen in London Road, then second half in Lowlander 331, route 1 from Southend to Rayleigh High Street, route 7 to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, route 8 back to Rayleigh and route 8 back to Southend where handed over. The trip down to the sea front on the 7 was busy and the bus was hot inside so not sorry to finish.
Home at 15:15 and down to the beach.
Tuesday July 18th, 1967
Weather sunny and hot after a 4am heavy thunderstorm
Up before 5 and in by car for a 05:53 signon, with Bill again.
In Bridgemaster 322, the 06:13 route 8 from Southend to Rayleigh, the 07:01 route 8 back to Shoeburyness, the 08:11 route 7 back to Rayleigh and 09:17 route 1 to Southend where handed over just before 10. Moderately busy especially at the start of the 7 but no full loads.
When we reached Shoeburyness on the 8, Bill jumped out of the cab and went straight to the cafe so when we came back we forgot to change the blinds. Got right through to Blue Boar before he noticed the reflection in a car rear window so did a quick change but no inspector had spotted it and no passengers were on the wrong bus.
Break in the ENOC canteen again, second half on short route 7s in PD2 308, Southend to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel to Golden Cross to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel to Golden Cross to Southend. Getting hot now and Southend down to the Kursaal busy and tiring with all the trippers. Managed to get the scrolls wrong again - this time Bill had started winding the scrolls before I got to the front and he'd gone the wrong way - when he reached Cambridge Hotel again I told him to stop thinking that was right - must be the heat. This time the inspector did notice but got us to change it, didn't "book" me.
Finish at 13:40 - the car steering wheel was so hot it was practically unholdable. On the beach to cool off and low tide, way out on the mud nearly as far as the wrecked Mulberry Harbour.
Wednesday July 19th, 1967
309 at Thorpe Bay Corner about to return to Golden Cross
Weather not so hot, sunny periods
In by bus for a 06:05 start, with driver Shute in Highbridge PD3 343 on 23As, rare for the newest in the fleet to be used on these routes. Dead to Kent Elms Corner then the 06:29 route 23A to Leigh Station, the 06:44 to Eastwood Rise, the 07:04 to Leigh Station, the 07:24 to Eastwood Rise, dead to Kent Elms Corner, the 07:59 route 23A to Leigh Station again, dead to the Woodcutters Arms, a route 29 to Pier Hill, dead to Central Station, 6 to Newington Avenue and back to Central Station where handed over. A plesant mix of routes although a lot of scroll changing, last 23A and 29 were quite busy but manageable.
Break at the National again, second half on short service 7s again in 309, Southend to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel to Golden Cross to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel to Golden Cross to Southend, same as yesterday but different times. No trips too bad, unlike yesterday although did have 30 odd schoolchildren on the first trip from Pier Hill to Thorpe Bay.
Finish at 13:15.
Thursday July 20th, 1967
Weather cloudy, sunny periods, warm
In by bus for a 05:55 start. A driver had booked up the whole shift as overtime but didn't turn up so 3 different drivers through the day.
With driver number 1 in PD2 310, route 29 from Southend to Woodcutters Arms and back to Central Station, then more short 7s, Central Station to Hockley Spa, to Kursaal, dead to Thorpe Bay Corner, to Hockley Spa, to Kursaal and to Central Station where handed over. All journeys quite quiet, ran early the whole time.
Break at the canteen, then with driver number 2 in PD2 299, route 6 Central Station to Newington Avenue, to Central Station, to Newington Avenue, to Central Station.
Driver number 2 then disappeared and driver number 3 arrived but sadly still stuck on route 6 in 299, Central Station to Kent Elms Corner, route 6A to Newington Avenue and finally back to Central Station.
None of the journeys too bad apart from the second to Newington Avenue where we were full downstairs.
Finish at 13:43 and home.
On the duty sheet for tomorrow, my number was up but no duty and Derek King was at lunch when I finished so phoned up later to find out what time I was on tomorrow.
Friday July 21st, 1967
337 approaching Central Station two years earlier
Weather good with occasional sunny periods.
In by bus for a 06:30 start, on spare today and did nothing apart from take the waybills to the Civic Centre around 08:15 - a nice walk.
Talked to two of the conductors I'd started with back in April - one had passed his driving test on Monday - they were complaining about all the students, obviously didn't realise I was one so I kept quiet! The main gripe was more students means less overtime.
Released at 13:30 and home by bus. Then back in by car for overtime at 16:06.
In Highbridge PD3 337 on the 16:23 route 3 Southend to Shoeburyness Blackgate Road, the 16:50 route 3 to Canvey Leigh Beck, the 18:21 route 3A to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel and finally the 19:45 back to Southend and dead to garage. On the run to Canvey really "clobbered" especially at Cambridge Hotel, Southend and Benfleet Station. Issued 232 tickets on this one trip and about 20 more escaped.
Finish at 20:15 and home.
Saturday July 22nd, 1967
Weather good with occasional sunny periods.
In by car for a 06:40 sign on.
First half, with driver Percy in Bridgemaster 321, the 06:58 route 7 from Southend to Rayleigh (I think with a transfer of passengers from an early morning OMO duty), the 07:47 route 1 to Southend, the 08:30 route 1 back to Rayleigh, the 09:16 route 7 to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel and the 10:26 route 8 back to Southend Central Station where handed over. Quite easy and nothing very busy.
Second half with Ken Curtis in PD2 280 on route 29A circulars, 4 times "in" and 3 times "out".
Home by 15:30.
Pay for the week £15/15/8 which after deductions gave me £12/5/7 in hand.
Sunday July 23rd, 1967
Weather some rain early morning, mainly sunny.
Day off today.
Monday July 24th, 1967
330 at the Kursaal a few years later
Weather mainly sunny
In by car for a 15:25 start. With driver Mays on duty 322 again - the first one I ever did in training.
First half in Highbridge PD3 337 on route 29, four journeys to Belgrave Road and back. The first three trips out of Southend were excessively busy. The driver also managed to lose the nearside wing mirror on the first trip out on a bus stop that had been turned so the bus stop plate stuck out into the road. We had it changed when we next reached the Pier Hill terminus.
After a break, took over in Lowlander 330 on a route 7, the 20:58 from Central Station to Rayleigh at 21:40, the 21:47 route 1 to Victoria Circus, the last route 1 of the day at 22:30 and arriving at Rayleigh at 23:08, turning back into a 7 for the last one back to Southend, leaving at 23:16 and reaching Central Station at 23:58. Quiet, only 10 passengers on the last route 7.
Tuesday July 25th, 1967
247 at Shoeburyness East Beach
Weather morning cloudy, more sun later
Up late and in by bus for a 16:01 start. Another notable day, my first full open-top duty. There was a separate rota for these duties, a much more peaceful existence, and they were very much taken by the old timers.
With driver Jim Potton, first half in 242 on route 68, Kursaal to Shoeburyness East Beach, to Leigh Thames Drive, to Kursaal and time for a break.
Open top duties like this had a short 30 minute break with no return to the garage, you got an extra allowance (2/-) to cover the extra cost of food etc at one of the cafes on the seafront.
Second half in 247, route 68 again, the 19:25 Kursaal to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 19:45 to Leigh Thames Drive, the 20:28 to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 21:15 to Leigh Thames Drive, the 21:58 to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 22:45 to Leigh Thames Drive arriving at 23:27 and dead to the garage.
All the trips were quite easy apart from the very first one. Duty finished at 23:46 but cashed up quickly and caught the last 3 home at 23:41.
Wednesday July 26th, 1967
293 at Cambridge Hotel a few years earlier
Switch shifts today because I was doing something in the evening so up at 04:15 after less than 4 hours sleep (! ... I wanted an early shift but that early?) and in by train for a 04:58 start although I was about 10 minutes late.
With driver Percy Nicholls in PD2 293, route 7 Central Station to Hockley Spa, route 7 to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, route 8 to Rayleigh High Street, route 1 to Southend and than a single loop of route 29A. Quite easy, the route 1 was the busiest.
Break at the National then second half in 337 (again), route 3A Southend to Canvey Leigh Beck, route 3 to Shoeburyness Blackgate Road, route 3 back to Southend where handed over. The 3 from Canvey was busy, not on time at any stage, lots of return tickets paid for with notes, big prams to clog up the platform, everything designed to fray your temper.
Home by bus just after one.
Thursday July 27th, 1967
311 at the Kursaal on route for the Cambridge Hotel
Weather cloudy, rain late evening.
Back on late shifts. In by car for 16:05 with driver "Steptoe". First half in PD2 305 on short service 7s, Central Station to Golden Cross, to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, to Golden Cross, to Kursaal, to Golden Cross, to Kursaal and back to Southend. First three out journeys were busy and we ran late most of the time.
After a break, one hour W.A.R, then in Lowbridge PD3 311 on the 21:58 route 7 Southend to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, the 22:26 route 8 to Rayleigh and the last 8 at 23:31 back to Southend, scheduled to arrive a few minutes past midnight. Only 4 passengers on the last trip who got on at Hawkwell and travelled through to Southend so fare collection was hardly onerous.
Friday July 28th, 1967
Weather quite heavy rain in the morning but sunny in the evening.
In by car for 16:01 sign-on, open top duty X12 again, the same one as I did on Tuesday but this time the driver was Ray Smith.
First half was in 245, second half in hired Eastern National KSW 2384. These were unpopular with the drivers because of the crash gearboxes and 2382 which was originally on hire at Whitsun had been replaced after heavy use by the drivers. By comparison the Southend Daimler CW open toppers 242-7 had preselector gearboxes which were the easiest in the fleet (when they worked properly which was not always).
Easy duty, no trips crowded, official finish at 23:46 and home by car.
Saturday July 29th, 1967
245 two years earlier
Weather morning rain, cloudy afterneoon, rain again in the evening.
In by car again for 14:31 and on open-tops again, back with driver Jim Potton who was good fun. First half was in hired National KSW 2384 on route 68, the 14:55 Kursaal to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 15:15 to Leigh Thames Drive, the 15:58 to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 16:45 to Leigh Thames Drive, and the 17:28 back to Kursaal. Busy especially the Thames Drive to East Beach trip where we were nearly full.
Break at the favourite cafe on the promenade by the Kursaal. Jim had his own tea mug which the cafe owner kept hanging up for him.
Second half started in Daimler 245, route 68 again, the 18:25 Kursaal to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 18:45 to Leigh Thames Drive, the 19:28 to Kursaal. By the time we reached Thames Drive it was raining quite hard but one family determined to enjoy their trip went upstairs at the front - I left them alone and collected their fares when they got off.
Next was half hour officially W.A.R. but zero chance of being needed down at the Kursaal. We went in one of the slot machine halls (possibly to shelter from the rain) and I managed to lose about 2/6 !
Finally more route 68s, the 20:25 Kursaal to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 20:45 to Leigh Thames Drive, the 21:28 to Shoeburyness East Beach, the 22:15 to Leigh Thames Drive due to arrive at 22:57 and dead to the garage.
We were so short of drivers that Giles was driving up and down on Seafronts.
Gave Jim a lift, home just after 11.
Pay for the week £15/17/3 which after deductions (and plus an extra 6/- for seafront expenses) gave me £12/6/6 in hand.
Sunday July 30th, 1967
Weather cloudy and dry
In by car for a 09:31 sign-on, on summer seafront 7s with Bill Raymond.
First half in highbridge PD3 335 on four route 7s, Southend to Shoebury Common and back, a 16 minute trip each way. Very quiet, especially the first two trips, only took £2/15/0. The highbridge PD3s were rare visitors to route 7 but that was because of low bridges at the other end of the route so they were fine for summer weekend workings like this.
Second half was spare but didn't get called out, read all the newspapers etc, released at 15:45.
Monday July 31st, 1967
Bridgemaster 318, 5 years earlier
Weather mainly sunny.
In by car for a 05:42 start, tried a record breaking run, 6 mins 10secs from gate to gate.
First half in Bridgemaster 318, dead to Shoeburyness Cambridge Hotel, the 06:11 route 7 to Rayleigh High Street, the 07:17 route 1 to Southend, the 08:00 route 1 back to Rayleigh and the 08:46 route 7 to Southend where handed over just before 09:30.
After break in 337 the 10:36 route 3A Southend to Canvey Leigh Beck, the 11:31 route 3 back to Southend where handed over around 12:30. Busiest was on Canvey - lots of holidaymakers not knowing where they were going.
Then 10 minutes W.A.R. and finished, a very short duty (I guess the 10 mins WAR was to take it up to the agreed minimum shift time). Took £17 in total.