Introduction. The following scheme is intended to cover Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk. It aims to provide an efficient integrated network for the region, where service levels are increased from what they are at present when this is essential to the network. All these additions should be eligible for money from the Rural Transport Partnership Fund except for the extra train stops at Whittlesford (see Section 1, route 103) and the diversion of Felixstowe buses (see (n) of Section 4).
Routes not mentioned at all below would remain unchanged, unless changes can be justified for other reasons. Some of the routes as described below could be split for operational reasons.
We do not deal with town services. However our proposals involve significant changes to ``town'' sections of some inter-urban routes, and this wil necessitate some adjustments to existing town networks.
We understand that Essex CC routes 601 and 603 (linking Saffron Walden, Castle Camps, Haverhill, Clare, Long Melford, Sudbury, Bures and Colchester) are under threat. We strongly condemn any proposal to withdraw these services unless replacements are provided. For our proposals along these lines see 113, 504 and 757 (Essex) and Saffron Walden to Bury route 649 (Suffolk).
The network described below would replace most existing inter-urban services except in the south of the county. It is based on a network of nodal points which buses would be timed to serve near the hour. The nodal points are shown in bold type, and, except for Ipswich, all regular interval inter-urban buses serving them are included. The ``default'' frequency, which would apply to the whole network as described below except where otherwise stated, is 2 hourly. This means that we will generally have to indicate whether a given nodal point is to be served on the odd or even hours; to show this we use the symbols o and e respectively. All buses serving the same nodal point on the same hour are assumed to connect; this also applies to buses serving neighbouring nodal points (such as Writtle and Chelmsford, or Long Melford and Lavenham).
The most important change from the existing network is that Chelmsford is served on the hour rather than on the half hour.
10: Rochford to Wallasea Island, hourly, summer only. Connects at Rochford with 7/8 to/from Southend and Rayleigh, at Wallasea with ferries to/from Burnham.
11: Chelmsford (e) to Rayleigh and Southend (existing route).
31 (winter): Chelmsford (o) to Danbury, Maldon, Maylandsea (e) (existing route).
31 (summer): Chelmsford (o) to Danbury, Maldon, Tolleshunt D'Arcy (e), West Mersea then direct to Colchester (o). Replaces 31 (Chelmsford-Maldon section) and 76C (West Mersea-Colchester).
70: Colchester (o) to Marks Tey, Coggeshall, Braintree (e), Felsted, Dunmow, Stansted Airport, Bishops Stortford (o), Puckeridge, Buntingford, Stevenage, Hitchin (via rail station) and Luton (via Airport and connecting for Aylesbury etc.). Replaces 70 (Colchester-Braintree), 133 (Braintree-Bishops Stortford), 408 (Stevenage-Hitchin) and 97/99 (Hitchin-Luton).
71: Romford (e) to Brentwood, Chelmsford (o), Witham, Marks Tey and Colchester (e). Replaces 351 (Romford-Chelmsford) and 71C (Chelmsford-Colchester).
74: Colchester to Clacton, hourly, alternately via St Osyth and Weeley (existing 74B and 76A).
75: Colchester (o) to Maldon (e) (existing route).
76 (winter): West Mersea (o) to Rowhedge, Colchester, West Bergholt (e) (existing route 76C).
76 (summer): Rowhedge/Fingringhoe to Colchester and West Bergholt, hourly. Replaces part 76C (route as above) and 601 (Colchester-West Bergholt section).
78: Colchester (o) to Brightlingsea (e) (existing route).
93: Colchester (e) to East Bergholt, Ipswich (o) (existing route at higher frequency).
102: Colchester (o) to Dedham, Manningtree, Harwich (existing route).
103: Cambridge (e) to Duxford Imperial War Museum, Saffron Walden (o), Thaxted, Finchingfield, Braintree (e), Cressing Temple, Silver End, Witham, Maldon (o). Section south of Saffron Walden runs summer only; all journeys serving Saffron Walden should either run through to/from Cambridge or have a connection thereto. Connects with trains making extra stop at Whittlesford for villages both north and south as well as Imperial War Museum; this replaces existing connection with 102 at Audley End station. Route between Braintree and Silver End is shortened. Replaces 102/103 (Cambridge-Saffron Walden), 633 (Saffron Walden-Braintree) and 632 (Braintree-Maldon).
113: Cambridge to Linton (o), Horseheath, Haverhill, Clare, Long Melford (e), Lavenham, Hadleigh and Ipswich (o). Connects with 757 for journeys between Haverhill and Colchester, Bury and Ipswich, Sudbury and Ipswich in either direction. Route between Horseheath and Clare is either Haverhill bus station, Chalkstone estate, Kedington or Haverhill southern estates, Haverhill bus station, Stoke by Clare. Buses run direct between Long Melford and Lavenham. Evening short workings between Cambridge and Kedington may serve Sawston as now. Replaces at higher frequency 113 (Cambridge-Clare), 603 (Haverhill-Long Melford section, also catering for Saffron Walden passengers who would change to/from 504 at Linton) and 156 (Lavenham-Ipswich section).
140: Chelmsford (o) to Billericay, Basildon, Horndon on the Hill or Stanford le Hope, Orsett Hospital, Grays, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Dartford and Swanley Rail Station. Hourly between Basildon and Lakeside. Rail connections at Dartford and Swanley for the rest of Kent. Replaces 140 (Chelmsford-Basildon), 352/3 (Basildon-Grays section) and, at higher frequency, 477 (Dartford-Swanley).
222: Romford (o) to Brentwood, Billericay, Rayleigh, Southend. Extends existing 222 (Brentwood-Southend).
250: Waltham Cross to Upshire Village, Wake Arms, Loughton, hourly. Connection at Wake Arms with 254 for passengers between Epping and Loughton. May extend locally beyond Loughton, or run through to Romford. Replaces 517 (Waltham Cross-Upshire) and 240/250 (Wake Arms-Loughton section, plus through journeys to/from Waltham Cross and Abbey).
254: Epping to Wake Arms, Waltham Abbey, Waltham Cross, hourly. Replaces 200/201 (Epping-Wake Arms section) and 240/250 (Wake Arms-Waltham Cross section). Either 250 or 254 should connect at Waltham Cross with 242 to/from Potters Bar.
352: Epping (o) to Ongar, Stondon Massey, Writtle, Chelmsford, Braintree, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Colchester (e). Hourly between Writtle and Braintree. Buses to/from Epping connect with 11 to/from Southend and 353 to/from Woodham Ferrers. Runs direct between Halstead and Colchester omitting detours on existing route. Replaces 201 (Epping-Ongar section), 45A (Writtle-Chelmsford section), 352 (Chelmsford-Halstead) and 88C (Halstead-Colchester). Links three rail preservation sites (Ongar, Castle Hedingham, Wakes Colne).
353: Chelmsford (e) to Danbury, South Woodham Ferrers (o).
500: Bishops Stortford to Harlow, Epping, Theydon Bois, Abridge, Collier Row, Romford, hourly. Route between Abridge and Collier Row is via Stapleford Abbots or Lambourne End and Chigwell Row. Does not serve Epping tube station -- passengers to/from Underground change at Theydon Bois, and connections to/from 254 and 352 are on former A11. Route in Harlow changed to avoid double running to/from the Stow. Alternate journeys serve St Mary's Hospital, providing hourly service with 352. Connects with 724 at Harlow. Replaces 504/512 (Bishops Stortford-Harlow section), 500 (Harlow-Romford) and 200 (Harlow-Epping section).
504: Bishops Stortford (e) to Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End (Fighting Cocks), Saffron Walden, Linton (o). Replaces 504 (Bishops Stortford-Saffron Walden section) and 512 (Bishops Stortford-Elsenham section).
631: Summer circular with 2 hourly departures from Maldon (o) to Maylandsea, Bradwell, Southminster and Burnham on Crouch or in reverse. Replaces 631 (Maldon-Burnham on Crouch) and 31 (Maldon-Maylandsea section).
757: Colchester (o) to Sudbury, Long Melford, Waldingfield, Lavenham (e), Bury, Mildenhall (o), Burwell, Bottisham, Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge. Does not serve northern estates in Bury, but does serve Hospital. Route between Colchester and Sudbury is via Bures in winter, Nayland in summer when Bures is served by trains. Replaces 601 (Colchester-Sudbury), 757 (Colchester-Mildenhall) and 14 (Cambridge-Bottisham/Anglesey Abbey). This service may be less than 2 hourly on some sections, as is the existing service, but should conform to the above pattern.
Our proposed network for most of Bedfordshire is based on a single nodal point -- Bedford, where buses would meet every hour. In the network as described below, we envisage routes X1, X2, X5, X52, 159, 177/178 and 223 meeting on one ``phase'' and X5 and 131 on the other.
X1: 2 hourly to Luton via A6 corridor (as now).
X2: 2 hourly to Northampton (as now but more regular). Morning journey from Bedford, with connection from Cambridge, in summer when Northants CC ``Saunterbus'' is running.
X5: Hourly between Cambridge and Oxford. Alternate journeys run via Hardwick and Eltisley and via St Neots town centre, replacing existing facilities on route X3. All journeys serve St Neots station bridge, which would be used as an interchange by rail passengers to/from Huntingdon and Peterborough. Buses serve Finmere Market when open. First arrival at Cambridge (currently 08.45) is advanced to connect with 08.44 to Yarmouth (route 200).
X52: 2 hourly to Rushden with some journeys extended to Kettering and Corby as now.
131 and 159: Hourly combined service to Newport Pagnell interworking with town buses to Milton Keynes and Bletchley. 131 runs via Lavendon and alternates with X2 to provide an hourly service. 159 runs via Cranfield.
177 and 178: 2 hourly combined service to Ivel Valley. 177 runs from Bedford to Shuttleworth, Sandy, Potton, Biggleswade, Langford, Henlow, Hitchin. 178 runs from Bedford to Sandy, Shuttleworth, Biggleswade, Potton, Gamlingay, Hatley, Arrington (for Wimpole Hall), Comberton and Cambridge. 177 and 178 connect somewhere in the Ivel Valley.
223: 2 hourly to Flitwick, Toddington, Dunstable, Whipsnade Zoo, St Albans. Connects at Flitwick with new route from Milton Keynes to Luton via Woburn Sands, Woburn Abbey, Flitwick, Harlington, Sundon Country Park.
In addition, we call for the diversion of Bucks CC routes 61A (Aylesbury-Whipsnade Zoo) to Dunstable and Luton instead of Whipsnade, and the extension of 372 (High Wycombe-Chesham) to Berkhamsted or Hemel Hempstead (connects Herts CC 501 Aylesbury-Watford), Studham, Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable and Luton. These extensions would replace Beds CC 60 which serves the villages west and south of Dunstable.
Several of our proposals for Cambridgeshire have already been mentioned, where they also impact on Essex or Bedfordshire. Here are the rest.
HO2S: (Peterborough-Sutton Bridge via Spalding) diverts via Showcase Cinema (when open) and Flag Fen, and extends to/from Kings Lynn.
19: (Cambridge-Ely) replaced by a 3 hourly circular from Stretham to Wicken Fen, Downham, Soham, Prickwillow and Ely, connecting at Stretham with X56 to/from Cambridge and thus strengthening the Cambridge-Ely service.
X56: (Cambridge-Kings Lynn) curtailed at Wisbech but increased to hourly replacing X55 (Cambridge-Peterborough via March). Route is via Waterbeach Slap-up, Denney Abbey, Stretham, Sutton, Chatteris, March (town centre and station) then alternately via Friday Bridge and via Guyhirn and Wisbech St Mary returning by the other route. Connects 104 at Waterbeach Slap-up, 19 at Stretham, 477 at Sutton, X94 and 701 at Guyhirn and Wisbech. X94, unchanged except for a diversion via Eye, connects with X56 for journeys between March and Peterborough (changing at Guyhirn) and Kings Lynn (via Friday Bridge and changing at Wisbech). The 701 is recast to leave Peterborough hourly for Whittlesey, with alternate journeys extended to Guyhirn to connect with X56 to/from Wisbech. The other 701 journeys may also extend to Coates.
104: (Cambridge-Cottenham) replaced by an hourly circular from Cambridge to Histon, Cottenham, Landbeach, Waterbeach (via Slap-up crossroads) and Milton. May interwork to provide a through service for places south of Cambridge City Centre such as the Rail Station and Addenbrookes.
150/153: (Cambridge-Peterborough) -- all journeys run via Houghton (see 477 for replacement) and some journeys via Warboys and Ramsey instead of Sawtry. An hourly service would be desirable.
477: (new service) from St Neots Tesco and station (connecting with X5 and WAGN) to Ely via St Neots town centre, Buckden and Grafham Water, Huntingdon, the Hemingfords, St Ives, Somersham, Earith and Sutton. 3 hourly. Buses between St Neots and Huntingdon serve either Littlehey Prison and/or Kimbolton (at times suitable for visitors) or the Offords, Grafham Village and Brampton Wood Nature Reserve. Connects at Sutton with X56 in both directions. This replaces 153 between Huntingdon and St Ives: this route uses north bank of Great Ouse and enables some diversions of 150 on this section to be ironed out.
Cambridge feeder: (new service) -- links outlying parts of the City with morning ``day trip'' facilities.
Here the main new feature is the Bury Interchange whereby 4-5 buses (depending on season) arrive at Bury St Edmunds bus station at around the same time in the morning and evening, connect with each other, and leave in different directions. Here is the morning network -- the evening network is the same in reverse. Note that several of the services listed below are part of route 757 as described in Section 1.
(a) Cambridge-Bury via Newmarket (replacing part 200, 640).
(b) Ely-Bury via Soham and Mildenhall. Replaces part 156. Section east of Mildenhall runs as 757.
(c) Saffron Walden-Bury via Haverhill. Section west of Haverhill replaces existing 603 and provides day trips between Saffron Walden and the coast. Section east of Haverhill replaces part 649.
(d) Colchester-Bury, connecting from Ipswich by route 113, forms part of 757.
(e) Lakenheath-Bury via Brandon and Thetford, summer only. Replaces part 200.
(f) Bury-Cambridge, forms part of 757.
(g) Bury-Yarmouth via Diss and Waveney Valley. Replaces part 200 and 649.
(h) Bury-Colchester, connecting to Ipswich, forms part of 757. In summer may extend to Walton, while the Ipswich connection may extend to Clacton via Manningtree.
(i) Bury-Southwold or Walberswick via Stowmarket, Debenham, Framlingham, Easton, Wickham Market, Campsea Ash, Tunstall, Orford, Snape, Aldeburgh and along coast. Route may vary in winter. Timed to connect with boat trips at Orford -- I'd also like to see a regular guided walk which may start with a boat trip to Orfordness or elsewhere.
(j) Bury-Hunstanton via Thetford, Brandon, Wereham. Summer only.
The following services would run to connect with this network.
(k) With (g) at Diss, Ipswich-Cromer or Yarmouth via Debenham, Bressingham, Banham Zoo, Attleborough. If connection with Bittern Line at Norwich station can be made, bus would continue via Broads route (Woodbastwick, Ranworth, South Walsham) to Yarmouth. Circular tours should be possible in summer using the Norfolk Coastliner, travelling out on this service and returning on (j), or vice versa.
(l) With (i) between Wickham Market and Framlingham, Ipswich-Lowestoft via Woodbridge, Wickham Market, Easton, Framlingham, Laxfield, Halesworth, Southwold. Connection may also be made at Blythburgh or Southwold -- the bus may take a break en route to allow this.
(m) With (j) at Wereham, from Cambridge via villages to Ely, Littleport and Welney Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust returning by same route to Ely.
In addition to the above:
(n) Ipswich-Felixstowe buses run to Landguard Fort when required to connect with ferry. Connections should also be arranged at Shotley.
(o) Through services or connections between Ipswich and Lowestoft by the coastal route should be restored, providing access to Dunwich and RSPB Minsmere.