Monday, 18 July 2016

Day 24 Littlehampton to Rottingdean

11th July 2016

I had based myself in Brighton for the next few days, travelling out and back to the route by train. So it was that I arrived in Littlehampton by "Southern Railway" - a trouble-free journey despite the industrial relations problems and staff-shortages that that operator was experiencing at the time.

A brief view of the sea at Rustington
It is possible to travel from Littlehampton to Brighton all on one bus - the "Coastliner" 700 service, but it doesn't always follow the most coastal route and in any case I wanted to stop off in  a number of places along the way.  My first bus therefore was Stagecoach service 9 leaving from Littlehampton's less-than-inspiring central bus terminal and heading for the coast at Rustington before heading inland to Angmering station, where I alighted and waited a few minutes for the 700 that had left Littlehampton shortly after us.

At Angmering I got into a brief conversation with another passenger, an elderly gentleman who came huffing-and-puffing up to the stop carrying a large bag containing what looked like sporting equipment. "I'm getting too old for this", he said  "I'm 84".  Unfortunately the bus arrived before I had the chance to find out just what he was getting too old for.

I have to say that the route of the 700 between Angmering and Worthing was one of the more tedious
Worthing Pier
and uninspiring sections of the entire journey. An unrelieved sprawl of suburban semis and bungalows, not helped by the bus following a convoluted route to take in as much housing as possible - and all on concrete-slabbed roads that didn't exactly give a smooth ride, so I was glad to arrive in Worthing and break my journey with an extremely windy walk along the pier.

Heritage Buses

The main bus stops on Worthing sea front are next to the Stagecoach bus garage and popping my head round the main gate I saw this bus - painted in the original Stagecoach livery but also carrying the "Southdown" fleetname, Southdown having been the original bus company in this part of the world and taken over by Stagecoach after privatisation of the National Bus Conpany in 1986.

Later on, in Hove, the bus I was travelling on passed another "Southdown" liveried bus- this one dating from long before Stagecoach had even been thought of and pre-dating even the National Bus Company.

Both vehicles - and others - were repainted last year as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Southdown Motor Services.

Left Behind Again

For the second time on this expedition I was left behind by a bus failing to stop as expected. In Weston-super-Mare it was clearly the driver's fault (although I never received an explanation or an apology from the bus company - merely an acknowledgement of my "alleged" complaint). The situation in Shoreham-by-Sea was less clear-cut.

The One That Got Away - in Shoreham
I was waiting for Compass Travel's service 19 to Shoreham Beach - a small diversion to ensure I followed the coast as closely as possible. The stop in Shoreham High Street is shared with other services and there were a large number of young people waiting for the bus to Worthing, but also a few older folk who I assumed, wrongly, would be waiting for the 19. The stop is a timing point and when the bus appeared it was at least 3 minutes early.  Given this combination of circumstances I don't think I was being unreasonable in expecting the bus to stop without any action on my part. Indeed as you can see from the photograph it would not have been easy to hail the bus anyway so as I am attempting to take a photograph of every bus I travel on I concentrated on photographing the oncoming bus rather than stopping it, which was a mistake as it went straight by!  No one else at the stop seemed bothered so my assumption about the other passengers was wrong, but I have to say Compass Travel handled my subsequent complaint much more professionally than First Bus, whilst making it gently clear that it was really my fault all along!

I still got to Shoreham Beach, via a newish foot/cycle bridge over the inlet that divides it from the town before continuing to Brighton on yet another service 700, this by now being by far the most-used bus service of the entire trip.

A Transport Curiosity

I had allowed myself a day off in Brighton later in the week to explore the town so paused only briefly 
Volk's Electric Railway - Black Rock station
before continuing east and sticking literally to the edge by making use of one of England's transport curiosities: Volk's Electric Railway, a Victorian narrow-gauge railway (or tramway?) running along the beach and drawing its power from a third-rail rather than the overhead wire method usually employed, although of course in this part of the country the "third rail" system has been used for main line trains for many years.  The "Volk's" took me to Brighton Marina, where I boarded a bus to Rottingdean to end the day's journey.  I could have gone further but Rottingdean was a good place to start the next stage due to a combination of bus timetables and rules regarding use of bus passes that will become clearer tomorrow.

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