Thursday, 21 July 2016

Day 26 Hastings to Folkestone

14th July 2016

Bus/rail interchange at Hastings
I was surprised when I came out of the railway station at Hastings to find a newish bus station built right outside the entrance. Such road/rail interchanges are uncommon in the UK although how much easier they make travel, particularly for strangers like me and occasional users.

My bus to Lydd was running through from a large hospital on the outskirts of Hastings and it was 10 minutes late in arriving. The scenic route along the coast and across the marshes to the ancient town of Rye and then on to Lydd wasn't the sort of route where a driver could make time up, and we were also quite busy with passengers, especially to and from Rye. Three minutes "recovery" time had been built in to the timetable at Lydd Camp, just outside the village so we were seven minutes down at Lydd itself.

The timetable advertised an ambitious spot connection at Lydd Church on to service 102, which was the bus I needed. Needless to say it had gone, although the next 102 was due thirty minutes afterwards (as has happened a few times when I've missed a connection, the next connection worked perfectly).  The 102 runs to Dover as does the 101 I'd come on from Hastings but it follows the more coastal route and turns right in the village to head out towards Lydd-on-Sea across more marshland and with Dungeness Power Station looming in the distance.

Another Transport Curiosity
Dungeness Station - on the edge!

I alighted at the Pilot Inn for a 4 kilometre walk to Dungeness, unserved by bus and with a very strong feeling of being "on the edge" of England. I'd come here to start the next leg of the journey, not by bus but by train - or rather what can only be described as a miniature railway: the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch  (why no mention of Dungeness?) which is a 1/3rd scale railway that has been serving this part of the coast for 88 years.  Despite its size it operates very much as a main line (even to the extent of having closed some of the smaller stations including that at the Pilot Inn, which would have saved me a walk) and even runs school trains throughout the year. Strictly speaking, the 102 bus follows the more coastal route, but the RH&DR was not to be missed. You can read more about it here.

Folkestone bus station, complete with gatekeeper.

Hythe station also has good bus/rail interchange, although here a single bus stop suffices, and I was soon on my way to Folkestone, where the bus station presumably has a problem with unauthorised vehicle access and needs to be guarded by a gate, complete with a gate-keeper! Something that I've not seen before on this trip, or indeed anywhere else.

I will be returning to Folkestone to restart the trip later in the year so didn't spend much time here; just a look around the bus station and a lengthy walk to the seriously-misnamed "Central" railway station for a train back to Brighton. If Hastings has one of the country's better interchanges Folkestone must have the worst with the bus and "Central" rail stations being a good 20 minutes walk apart!

The trip will re-start later in the summer.

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