Friday, 29 January 2010

Trip the Shrewsbury 23-01-2010


2705Harlescott Park & RideCastle St, ShrewsburyOrangeArriva Midlands
6008Shrewsbury BSRadbrook, Crowmeole Lane Jct (opp)20Arriva Midlands
6002Radbrook, Radbrook College (opp)Shrewsbury BS12Arriva Midlands
2723Shrewsbury BSWhitchurch Road, Rosedale Jct (opp)24Arriva Midlands

Matthew had indicated in the week that he wanted to go to Shrewsbury. Mum had been to college on the Thursday to see Matthew using an iPod Touch and software as a communication aid. When asked where Matthew would like to go, he typed "pub" into the iPod. Mum said he go go the a pub on saturday, and he typed "Sat town". Mum reeled off a list of some of the places he usually goes to and when mum said "Shrewsbury", Matthew repeated it back to her. Having made that decision on Thursday, I did some research on buses and times and also to see if Shrewsbury Town were playing at home. Shrewsbury were at home to Dagenham & Redridge, so I knew there would be few extra buses around on the Prostar Stadium park & ride services. Setting off a fraction before 12:00, first stop was to be a pub in order for us all to have lunch. We choose the Elephant and castle pub in Shawbury, just a few Miles north of Shrewsbury.

Elephant & castle (Matthew)

We all chose Breakfast, except Uncle Dave who had a sausage sandwich. The meals were around £5 and were OK. Unusually, Matthew did not photograph his meal or the sink in the toilets! After we had finished, we made the short trip to the Harlescott park and ride car park. Immediately as we got there, there were 2 buses on the Prostar park and ride service. They were Tanat Valley double decker 510, and coach E131 PLJ

Tanat valley 510 (Matthew)

Shortly after this, weed travelled on the park and ride for the first time. Arriva Midlands 2705 was the bus that we caught and, it was painted in the blue Park & ride livery. When we reached Shrewsbury, we discovered that this bus did not go into the bus station, so we alighted and castle street and walk through an alleyway and down some steps to the bus station. The alleyway passes behind the back of the bus parking area, and you can photograph buses quite well of this raised area. Eventually, when in the bus station we spent half an hour just looking at and photographing buses, the best of which was Tanat Valley 509, another double decker on a Prostar Stadium park & Ride.

Tanat valley 509 (Matthew)

Mum was getting bored and wanted to go to do some shopping so we decide to go on a quick out and back bus journey. Bus timetables consulted, we decided to do a #20 to Radbrook College for a #12 back. 6008 turned up on the #20 and we did this to the stop after Radbrook college.

Arriva Midlands 6008 pulls away from Radbrook, Crowmeole Lane Jct (opp) stop (Matthew)

Now, we were using the tiny little maps that are provided on Arriva timetables, which are really useful to see which services travel along which roads. What we did not anticipate is the scale of the map! We crossed the road, and waited at the bus stop, only to see the #12 appear from the next street closer to Shrewsbury...Drat! As we walked back up the hill towards the next stop, the #20 that we had caught out of Shrewsbury passed us on it's return...Double drat! There ensued a best part of 30 minutes wait for the next #12...Still, whilst we were waiting, we did see a coach and saw a Minsterley motors services which we may be able to catch next time we visit Shrewsbury...Eventually 6002 arrived on the #12.

Arriva Midlands 6002 arrives at Radbrook, Radbrook College (opp) stop (Matthew)

Eventually, we get back to Shrewsbury bus station and we passed the reason why that traffic around town has been so bad today. On 3rd January, there had been a gas explosion that I remember seeing on the local news. The demolition work being carried out because of this meant that all southbound traffic towards the Welsh Bridge had been diverted around town. When we got back in the bus station we told Matthew he could catch 1 more bus in the direction of Harlescott. he spent a further 20 minutes taking bus photos, the best of which were Tanat Valley 230 and Arriva Midlands 2359.

Tanat valley 230 in Shrewsbury bus station (Matthew)

Arriva Midlands 2359 Leaves Shrewsbury bus station on an #8 service (Matthew)

He chose to catch a #24 to Moston Road. Once again, I used the Arriva map to try and work out which stop to get off at, before the bus turned into a housing estate off the main road north out of Shrewsbury. Once again I got off at the wrong stop (one stop too short!). Mum said she was going to kick me every time we passed a bus stop between where we got off and the car, for making her walk too far. We passed 3, though strictly speaking, only the one stop was on the #24 route...
Mattthew photographed a plastic sheep, a few buses and then barged his way into the bus drivers crew hut at the park & ride. Thankfully they took it in good spirits! :-)

Plastic Sheep, corner of Harlescott Tesco (Matthew)

Arriva Midlands Park & ride 2707 at Harlescott (Matthew)

All that was left was the drive back home... (Mark)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Trip to Ellesmere Port & Chester 02-01-2010


2435Ellesmere Port BSChester BS401Arriva NW&W
50025Chester BSPlas Newton Lane51First Potteries
50025Plas Newton LaneChester BS51First Potteries

Matthew started the Christmas holidays with Flu, and was in bed for most of the first week. After the Christmas itself, I was working and the weather was awful, so we were only able to take Matthew to some nearby shop where he took a few bus pictures. In order to make sure Matthew got at least one good trip out, mum arrange to have the weekly shop delivered between 18:00 - 20:00, which should give us plenty of time to take Matthew to Ellesmere port & Chester.

Setting off at around 12, the sky was a little bit dark, although the forecast for the Chester area was suppose to sunshine and snow showers. By the time we got onto the M6 it was black skies, heavy snow and poor visibility due to spray! Having fought our way through the storm, it was sunny by the time we reached Ellesmere. Even though it was sunny, the wet floors and the only just above freezing temperatures made dining al fresco at the Grace Arms a non starter today. Instead we opted for the Cafe on the high street, which we have been once before. Matthew chose a brunch (Breakfast and chips) with extra hash browns...

Brunch... (Matthew)

Matthew also checked out the toilets at the cafe, as he often does and found a different sink that he had not seen before.

Fordham Sink... (Matthew)

After dinner we drove to Asda, so mum could go shopping, and Matthew could go to the bus station. We spent about 3/4 here in the cold awaiting a 401 to Chester, in which time Matthew took a few bus pictures. During this time we saw a doudle decker on a #401, but it was heading in the opposite direction...:-(

Arriva North West & Wales 3308 on a Liverpool bound #401. (Matthew)

Eventually 2435 turned up on #401 ,a little more crowded than usual, probably because it was late!

2435 at Chester on the #401 back to Liverpool (Mark)

Once we got to Chester at around 15:00 Matthew stood in his usual spot and took pictures. The highlights of this trip were GHA bus N9_GHA, and GHA bus Dennis dart M166 XMA

N9 GHA on the #82 at Chester bus station. (Mark)

M166 XMA on the #H4 at Chester bus station. (Mark)

Mum got to Chester at around 16:00, and the plan was to let Matthew choose a bus to catch and I was going to pick them up from a convenient point. Having just missed being able to catch M166 XMA, Matthew chose to catch First PMT bus 50025. the bus was displaying Kingsway on the roller blind and had a Plas Newton board in the front window. Assuming it was a #53 Kingsway, I had told mum to take him to Gorse Stacks where I would pick them up. Unfortunately after I had left them they found out that the bus was a #51 Plas Newton, which did not stop at gorse Stacks! Mum decide to do the full circuit, and I said I would get the lottery and met them back at the bus station...

50025 on the #51 Plas Newton at Chester bus station. (Mark)

Matthew and mum got back just before 17:00 and we set off home via a petrol station. Back on the M6 we encountered heavy traffic due to an accident! We eventually got back home at 18:50 to find out that Asda had tried to deliver the shopping at 18:35...Drat!