Sunday, 25 March 2018

Day Twenty nine the No 53 and then quite convenient No 54

I had intended to get the 0941 train to London but actually only managed the 1002 which took me to Clapham Junction where I changed for Waterloo. After a brief visit to the Ian Allan shop in Lower Marsh I walked across Hungerford Bridge to Whitehall from where the No 53 departs.
Looking north along Whitehall
towards Trafalgar Square

 There appeared to be two bus types on this service but the bus that came along was of similar type to the No 47 route Stagecoach No 13071 based at Plumstead rather than Catford.

Stagecoach 13071 approaching the first bus stop of the No 53
My bus left at 1112 heading towards Parliament square but the  turning left over Westminster bridge where I could view all the scaffolding around the Elizabeth tower of the Houses of Parliament.
Crossing Westminster Bridge
Beyond the bridge we headed for the Elephant and castle
The general melee that is the Elephant and Castle roundabout

and then east to the Bricklayers arms roundabout. Here for the first time I crossed the flyover over the roundaboutbefore passing onwards to New Cross and via the A2 to Deptford and Blackheath. Travel was only slow on this route until we started across the heath but very quickly we swung NE towards Charlton House, Woolwich Barracks and then down into the town of Woolwich. This would have been a convenient place to alight to catch the No 54 but the No 53 continues through Woolwich mirroring the route of the No 51 until Plumstead Common
Descending from Plumstead common towards the river Thames with another No 53 heading up the hill.

The actual railway station is
just around the corner.
before then diving back towards the river and finally coming to rest at Plumstead station at 1225.
Disembarking from Stagecoach 13071
at the final stop

In order to reach the start of the No 54 I had to get back to Woolwich which meant I needed to cross to the main road the other side of the railway station and pick up a No 96 or No 99. This was because as I wanted to get back quicker to Woolwich than the rather windy No 53 would have afforded me. Two buses came one of each and I chose the second one only to find as we were adjacent to Plumstead garage they were going to change drivers.
Despite this we arrived quite quickly at the start point of the No 54. There were two buses at the lay over point, and as I knew I now had negative credit on my oyster card I quickly scanned for a recharging shop. I saw one and exchanged £2.20 as quickly as I could but the bus was already at the stop as I returned. Hence I do not have a picture of the starting point of the bus, which was at 1235 but one as it turned south towards Woolwich Arsenal railway station. This bus route is also operated by Stagecoach from Catford garage No 12291.
Woolwich Arsenal railway and DLR station

From here we retraced the route of the No 53 back towards Blackheath before diverging South towards the Blackheath village and on towards Lewisham. Once again, presumably because I was in a hurry to meet my wife for lunch, the bus drivers were changed at Catford garage. From here the bus heads to Downham before turning right to Beckenham and eventually to Elmers End which was reached at 1348.
The final stop at Elmers End interchange
with tram just visible in far platform

Stagecoach 12291 turning to await its return to Woolwich

 Prior to the Croydon tramlink development the No 54 used to run to Croydon but the route  now ceases at the Elmers End interchange where I caught a tram to Sandilands. Here I changed to a New Addington destined tram, but only travelled just the one stop to Lloyd Park and walked to the Beefeater at Coombe Lodge for lunch.

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