Last crew day on the 36

This page created 5th February 2005 by Ian Smith

Part One: 36B with RT1702

I just couldn't miss the last crew day on the 36. The 36B was one of my "home" routes, and although the 36B itself had lost its Routemasters years before in favour of Titans and Olympians - and now Tridents - and its range and number, becoming the 136 between Grove Park and Lewisham only, I had to come. When I saw that RT1702 was timetabled to travel up to Grove Park as a 36B I knew where I wanted to be! So just before 9 am I alighted from a Trident at Catford Garage. There was RT1702, sitting on the forecourt. I asked the gateman, and walked across to join the Preservation Group aboard the bus. It seemed that they would not be operating in public service, but were allowed to operate on the routes "for the benefit of society members, enthusiasts and professionals".

RT1702 on Catford Garage forecourt RT1702 sets off on 36B

The first run of the day was on the 36B, as far as Camberwell Green. At least, it should have been. Traffic control reported severe vcongestion in Lewisham as the result of a fire just off-route, so the decision was made to go via Brockley instead. So I was going to get a 179/141 routing in place of the 69/36B one. We set off into Catford. I had the top deck to myself, and quickly found that the front drop-lights worked, so that I could keep the windows clear from the scattered rain-drops. You cannot do that on modern buses!

As we headed past Catford Bridge and St.Dunstans, and up towards Forest Hill, it became clear that we had not avoided the jams. Buses came the other way: PVLs and VWLs representing the modern generation of low-floor buses, with their own kind of style and interest.

Go-Ahead London PVL94 on 171 East Thames Buses VWL43 on 185

Turning right into Brockley Rise took us ages. We reached the Chandos (terminal for the erstwhile 36A), and the decision was made to head directly for Peckham. Another left turn took us towards Peckham Rye. We joined the 12 route, and crawled behind a bendi-bus for a while. An LDP - a Low-floor Dennis Plaxton - slipped past to take the back-roads eastwards. It seems odd that the earlier members of this class too are being sold off now as old!

Down in Peckham we joined the one-way system and headed west along Peckham Road, back on route for Camberwell Green. We put the blinds back up, and followed a 436 bendi-bus towards Camberwell.

MAL73 on 12, Peckham Rye LDP177 on P12, Peckham Rye MAL33 on 136, Peckham Road

RT1702 on Peckham Road RT1702 in Camberwell Garage Before we reached our short-working terminus RT1702 pulled into a stop for another photo-stop, displaying the ultimate destination "West Kilburn" blinds for a few moments, before the Camberwell Green went back on and we continued to the Green. Not that the blind seemed to make much difference: still the hands went out from members of the public at every stop, even though we were going only two or so stops onwards!
We crossed Camberwell Green and turned left before the railway bridge to find the back-entrance to Camberwell Garage. We had not lost time by our short-cut, so had a few minutes to spare before the return 36B.
With most of its allocation out on the road, Camberwell Garage was mainly inhabited by trainer vehicles: blue double-decker NVs, and bright yellow Dart-Marshalls from Metrobus.

NV144: blue/red-banner trainer Metrobus trainer Dart/Marshalls

Part Two: 36B to Grove Park and back to New Cross

Bus Stop Part Two: 36B to Grove Park and back