Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Saturday List #41 - Places which have lost a direct service from Mill Hill Broadway

I recently sent an emai to Robert Elms, which he read out, discussing long lost bus destinations from Mill Hill. I thought it might be interesting to expand this and include train services. I am using as a baseline the late 1960's so the criteria is that it is in my time as a user of public transport. I don't know if anyone has any nostalgia for these routes other than me.

1. Moorgate on Thameslink. As part of the Thameslink upgrade program, the Moorgate branch of the service has been closed, to allow a longer platform at Farringdon.

2. Victoria on the 52 bus. The 52 no longer serves Mill Hill. This was replaced by the 302.

3. Heathrow Airport on the 140. The 140 now doesn't reach Mill Hill, it was replaced by the 114 to Harrow.

4. Oxford Circus. The 113 Bus now goes to Marble Arch. instead.

5. Stanmore. The 251 bus now stops at Edgware.

6. Aylesbury / Oxted. The 707 Green Line bus ran from Oxted to Brent Cross via Mill Hill, with a stop on the Watford Way.

7. Kings Cross. The 221 bus used to go to Kings Cross, now it only reaches Turnpike Lane.

Although the passenger service stopped long before, the rail line from Mill Hill East to Edgware, which was used for freight, also closed in the mid 1960's. There are plans to reopen a section of this as part of the Brent Cross Light Railway.

As I mused over these routes, one has to conclude that for most of these routes, this hasn't caused too many problems. For many of these destinations, there are better ways of getting there. The exceptions are the 707 and the 140. If you wanted to get to Aylesbury it would be a fairly lengthy process by public transport. The 140 bus to Heathrow was a bit of a time consuming journey, but probably less hassle than the 2/3 changes you'd make by tube, which isn't ideal.

What drives me mad about transport planning in Barnet is just how hard it is to get around the Borough by bus. One destination that most people need at some point is Barnet General hospital. This takes 10 minutes by car from Mill Hill but well over an hour by bus usually.

I was making a list of places which should have good transport links in Barnet, how can you get from your house to them by public transport.

Saracens RFC (Barnet Copthall), Mill Hill
Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon
Barnet General Hospital, Barnet
Arts Depot, Finchley
National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill
Middlesex University, Hendon
The Welsh Harp, West Hendon

Here's a little game - put the destination the TFL journey planner and see how long it takes and how many changes -
then put the same route in the AA car route planner

See the difference in terms of hassle and time. That is why the roads are clogged with cars.


baarnett said...

I imagine the leading politicians of Barnet rely overwhelmingly on the private car, so the subject isn't of importance to them.

I wonder how council officers get from NLBP to Hendon Town Hall?

Jim said...

Buses can never go everywhere but a decent cycle infrastructure would largely solve this problem.

The vast majority of people could do journeys of under 2 miles in 10-15 minutes or so, including locking the bike up. When you factor in finding somewhere to park this would often be faster than driving.

For those who couldn't take part in low intensity exercise for 10 minutes or so (very frail people, disabled etc) there are still many benefits from a decent cycle infrastructure unblocking our town centres.

Time and again we've seen that in countries where decent infrastructure is introduced it quickly becomes the main way for people to do short local journeys. This includes visiting local shops and taking children to school. Would you really want a 6 year cycling old on Barnet's roads? In cities with decent facilities this happens all the time.

A few London boroughs like Hackney are finally waking up to this. Unfortunately you just have to look at Finchley High Street to see Barnet isn't one of them. Is it supposed to be a pleasant place to wander and shop or a fast road to move cars through as quickly as possible? By trying to be both it wins at neither.

We're realistically 40 years behind the best town planning that you'd find in the Netherlands.