Saturday, 27 June 2009

Chapter 13 Decline

During the seventies there was a steady decline in coach passengers and I believe two things contributed towards this decline.
Green Line has always been there for the long distance commuter. We had many passengers who not only travelled from Aylesbury and Tring to London but many who went on to South London and Croydon. It was often the case in the evening peak at Aylesbury that upon pulling up at the departure point you would have to tell waiting passengers that you could only take those travelling to Berkhampstead and beyond, any one else would have to board the 301 bus which duplicated our route as far as Watford.
Because of falling revenue Watford council came to an arrangement with London Country which allowed old age pensioners in Watford to use their passes to obtain half fare travel on the Green Line coaches towards Hemel Hempstead and Aylesbury. We managed to keep to time all the way from Croydon to Watford, making sure the 142 red bus was in front of us at Stanmore Station as local bus passengers would grab a coach ride up to Bushey Heath given the chance. With a full load on by the time you had climbed up to the Alpine Restaurant at Bushey Common the cab would resemble a sauna with steam from an overheated cooling system pouring into the cab. Now we were severely held up by many old age pensioners getting on the coaches and of course being older and slower we would then lose time to Tring. Some would use the coaches for the longer journey to Hemel Hempstead or Aylesbury, but many would use the coach for shorter journeys instead of getting the local buses, therefore our punctuality began to suffer.
The second major cause in the decline of patronage was the introduction of the Leyland National bus. This mass produced cheap fit all bus was intended to replace the aging RT fleet. It was a very innovative bus and quite unlike anything we had ever driven before, it was a very noisy bus and should never have been placed onto Green Line coach workings. It had hard plastic covered seats and only by sitting at the back of the bus could you get a decent view, however if you sat at the rear of the bus you couldn’t hold a decent conversation because of the noise from the rear mounted engine. The heating could only be controlled from a panel at the rear of the saloon. I say controlled, it was either on or off, if it was off you froze and if it was on you cooked. People deserted us in droves.
The original Leyland National was 11.3m in length. All of the drivers at Tring had a days instruction on this vehicle under the watchful eye of Bob Spence who was now the Chief Driving Instructor. Of course Bob was quite happy to correct many of the bad habits that we had picked up over the years.
Tring was the second garage to be allocated the Leyland National, and in March 1973 the 706 lost its comfortable RF coaches. So uncomfortable were the LN buses that upon arrival at Two Waters, Hemel Hempstead passengers would ask us if the 708 was due, the RF was still allocated to the 708 at that time, and rather than get on us they would wait for the 708 to London.
In due course some one at the top must have had a twinge of conscious as in October 1974 Tring received an allocation of the shorter 10.3m Leyland National with coach seats installed. This was only a minor improvement to this noisy vehicle. As well as the noise and the heating there were two other odd design faults which would often throw the driver.
The gear change lever was situated on the right hand side of the dash board with the hand brake situated right below the gear lever. The hand brake was fitted with a very sensitive spring and could be applied with very little pressure. The placing of the brake in very close proximity to the gear lever could produce a most alarming and puzzling occurrence when pulling away from a bus stop. Immediately after pulling away you would normally change from first gear to second, a small movement of the hand on the gear lever, unfortunately the drivers hand would then come into contact with the hand brake and the bus would suddenly come to a halt. Wondering what on earth had happened the driver would then see that the hand brake had sprung on, make some spurious comment to the passengers, release the brake and then proceed as if nothing had happened.
The other fault, equally alarming, was the fact that both the hand brake and the gear lever were held on by a small screw and washer, underneath which was a strong spring. After some hours of driving one of the screws would invariable come lose. A loud bang would occur and pieces of hand brake or gear lever sleeve along with screw, washer and spring would go flying around the cab.
The exhaust system was another weak point in the Nationals design. It was prone to snap off. One day I arrived back at Tring to be met by the Garage Manager and a mechanic. “where is your exhaust pipe driver?”
“Underneath where it’s supposed to be”
“No it’s not” they both said “it’s in Cricklewood garage, it fell off as you went past and one of their engineers went out into the road and retrieved it.”
After a while we had at Tring 10.3m Leyland buses some with plastic seats and some with coach seats and also 11.3m Leyland Nationals.
One of the coach duties at Tring was a spread over. It consisted of two trips to London, one in the morning peak and the other in the evening peak. You would also be allocated the same vehicle. Although the 706 normally had the 10.3m Leylands with vehicle shortages it was sometime necessary to allocate a Long Leyland to the London duty. One morning I had gone to London with the 10.3m bus and arriving back at Tring reversed the bus up against the fence in the yard. Later on I returned to do my second trip to London with what I assumed to be the same vehicle, which was parked where I had left it. I duly went to London and back and having arrived back at Tring commenced to reverse the bus up against the fence, only this time I managed to knock down the fence. Some what puzzled I got out, the front end was level with the next coach, unfortunately the back end extended another metre beyond it. During the day unbeknown to me someone had swapped my 10.3m bus for a 11.3m version. I had gone to London and back with out even noticing it, you automatically adjusts your driving to the size of the vehicle, except when reversing it seems.
Mind you I was not the only driver who had problems with the Leyland National. Both the RT and the RM had flat windscreens whereas the Leyland National had a slightly protruding curved screen. With the RT and RM in heavy traffic we would always pull up tight to the bus in front, this way you could lean out of the cab and chat to the clippie on the platform of the bus in front. Unfortunately my friend Johnny Hercules had forgotten this and proceeded to pull up tight to the rear of a 109 bus outside Streatham garage and much to his dismay saw the windscreen slowly disintegrate in front of him. We soon learnt to leave a little bit more of a gap between us and the bus in front.
Being mass produced and cheap it was very light. This was self evident one evening when coming back to Tring garage one night during a very fierce storm. Approaching Tring I could see a large tree had blown down right across the road. The only way to reach the garage was to go along the by-pass and approach the garage from the Aylesbury side. I explained this to the passengers and set of down the rather exposed by-pass. Whenever I encountered a sudden gust of wind the whole of the front end of the bus would lift off the ground leaving the steering useless. This was a very scary experience and something manufacturers should bear in mind when manufacturing rear engined vehicles.
As far as vehicle allocations to the Green Line was concerned the best was yet to come. As the 301 bus route had been converted to one man operation in May 1975 we had spare conductors and conductresses and so in June 1976 RT3530 from Garston garage was allocated to Tring and was put on the 706 spread over duty covering the two peak journeys to London. This wonderful double deck working lasted from June 1976 until February 1977. RT 3530 returned to Garston in September 1976 but we were lucky enough to get RT3631 from Luton to replace it.
Although different drivers worked this duty as it occurred on our rota the same conductress worked this duty all the time and this was Peggy Williams.
Being a spread over duty meant that you would get paid from sign on to sign off and that meant twelve hours pay so for Peggy that became a nice little earner. But for us coach drivers working with Peggy could have its moments.
Having worked with Peggy before as I have already mentioned earlier I knew she was a bit dizzy but this one time really sums up how dizzy she was.
Peggy’s husband David was a driver at Tring and this particular day David was on a late turn and Peggy and I were on the 706 to London. She told me she wanted to stop somewhere and get something for David’s supper. When we arrived at Cannons Corner between Stanmore and Edgware Peggy came around to the cab and said to me,
“I’m just popping over to the shops to get something for David”
A few minutes later she came back with a very puzzled look on her face,
“The man in that butchers shop didn’t half give me a funny look when I asked him for some ham for David’s supper”
“Peggy, look at the name over the shop will you, J. Silvermans, it’s a Kosher butcher, they are Jewish and Jews don’t eat pork”
Poor Peggy a heart of gold but not wise to the world beyond Tring.
Double deck operation of the 706 spread over duty continued until February 1976 and I was fortunate enough to be rostered to cover the last morning trip to London, we had a full bus and were met at every road junction by hoards of photographers who would jump in their cars as we passed and chase us until they reached the next vantage point.
An advantage of the spread over duty was that the driver or conductor was paid from sign on until sign off. That meant about twelve hours pay although one would only work four hours in the morning peak and four hours in the evening peak and have a break of four hours. At Tring as in other garages the same duty would be worked for five days. So you would work five days of the same early turn then two days rest would be followed by another five days of a late turn then following two days rest one could work five days of a spread over. This system meant that every few weeks one would receive a very good pay packet. The schedules representative at Hemel Hempstead, Vic Edwards (later to become the Chief Driving Instructor) following representation from the drivers asked that the week of spread over duties be broken up so that the weekly pay would be more equal yet slightly higher. As a legal 10 hours rest was required between duties it followed that if a spread over duty was worked each week then you would commence the week on an early turn then move to a middle turn then a spread over duty followed by a late turn with rest days no longer consecutive. This made for a very disruptive working life style and we at Tring wanted none of that and voted to keep our old system. Many years later when privatisation came in and money took preference over all other considerations spread over pay was done away with and now we work different shifts every day.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Chapter 12 Depot Inspectors and Paying in

Ron Wright was a very dedicated Inspector, even to the extent of booking me for running four minutes early into the garage at midnight. Most inspectors would have gone home hours earlier, not Ron. One time the schedules had been misprinted and rather than have us work the incorrect schedules Ron stayed at the garage into the early hours writing all our schedules out by hand for the next morning.
When I started at Tring the Depot Manager was Charlie Hall and the Depot Inspectors were Dave Davis and Vic Cooper. Dave was once a coach driver who was promoted to Depot Inspector. I still enjoyed driving and asked Dave why he had come off the road. His reply was that when I had been driving as long as he had I’d want to come into the office. Well after forty years I still enjoy driving.
Charlie the Depot Manager was always nice to you if he wanted you to do overtime or come in on your day off to work your rest day. Other than that if you wanted Charlie he was likely to shut the window between the office and the conductors room and ignore you.
All money paid in at the end of a duty had to tally with the read out on your ticket machine. In the case of crew operation the ticket machine was the Gibson whereas the coach drivers machine was a six band Almex. This had six rows of levers the first two were green for the fare stage a yellow band for the pounds and two more green bands for the pence and a final red band for the ticket type. Leaving Tring early one morning for Aylesbury and being half asleep I started of by setting up the fare band as the Tring fare stage 68 and then proceeded to sell passengers 68p tickets instead of the correct fare which to Aylesbury was 30p. Fortunately by the time I’d got to Aston Clinton I realised what I had been doing and had to withdraw a lot of tickets valued at 68p and reissue ones of the correct fare. That could have cost me quite a bit when it came to paying in had I not noticed my mistake.
Even to this day the travelling public still believe the company issue us with a float. They never had and never will do. ( A year ago in 2005 Hemel coach drivers were given the option of accepting a £20:00 float on the condition that failure to pay in the exact amount of takings shown on the ticket machine would result in discipline being taken against the driver. Needless to say I refused this offer and continue to carry my own float). It is often a constant battle to find change for passengers who so often do not bother to find the correct fare. In the days of London Transport and even later if a passenger did not have the correct fare and if the driver did not have change the passenger could elect to send their fare into the bus garage by filling in an unpaid fare form. This procedure was always avoided if possible because of the time required to fill in the form one half given to the passenger with details of the fare due and journey undertaken the other portion filled in by the driver and given in to the garage at the end of the duty.
However after a week with the same passengers boarding at Bushey Heath and not having the correct fare I had had enough. On one particular morning every one received an unpaid fare form. Needless to say there were plenty of moans and groans and we were of course quite late getting to Stanmore and all points to Victoria, but low and behold next week they all turned up with the correct fare.
Some times of course the tables are turned and the passengers not only have the correct fare but it will be in lots of pennies or five pence coins. It was often the custom therefore to bag up lots of small coins in small paper bags, blue ones for fifty pence of copper and beige bags for silver. I had the habit of also putting fifty pence pieces in copper bags and putting them in my ticket machine box already to pay in quickly at the end of my duty. One afternoon I was due to finish at Tring garage. I pulled up at Tring Rose and Crown and a young girl got on with a pound note for a 25p fare. Thinking I’ll teach you, I gave her all small change including what I thought was a blue bag containing fifty pence of copper. Imagine how I felt when I went to pay in to find I had given her a bag of fifty pence pieces instead, £10:00 worth. I told the other drivers what I’d just done and one of them, Kenny Edmonds ran out to his car and chased after the coach and waited for the passengers to alight at Bedgrove where the young girl had asked for. Unfortunately for me it would appear she had got off earlier. I’d learnt the hard way, don’t try to be clever and keep a careful eye on the companies money. Charlie Hall the Depot Manager was full of sympathy and said I could soon make up the loss by doing extra overtime. Ten pound may not seem a lot to day but in 1975 my take home pay was about £50:00 so I had just given away 20% of my earnings. I felt really sick and was dreading what Annette would say when I got home. However she realised how bad I felt and was very sympathetic and said we would manage somehow, I knew we would have to cut back on food that week. Charlie true to his word did find me plenty of overtime and I managed to restore the £10:00 to the housekeeping. In fact I did earn a bit more than that and gave the extra to Annette as a thank you for her understanding.
With some of our regular passengers if we didn’t have the change they would either tell us to keep the change or say they will collect it the next day. One of our regulars an elderly lady known only to us as ‘aunty handbag’ travelled regularly from Tring to Marble Arch. So as not to forget her change I wrote on her ticket the amount of change I owed her. It was not until a few weeks later that I was called in to see our Chief Inspector Reg Goodchild. Reg was in charge of both Hemel Hempstead and Tring and would come over to Tring every couple of weeks to hold disciplinary hearings. Reg asked me if I remembered writing on a ticket. When I replied that I did he said “well lad you better go and pay that change in as I’ve just had to pay Mrs **** out of my own pocket.” Apparently on the way home from work ‘aunty handbag’ had asked a driver for her change. He told her he couldn’t do that and she had better call into Hemel and see the Chief Inspector with her ticket and this she did.
Sometimes our passengers were much more appreciative of our efforts. One such was Olive Pepperdine. Olive used to travel every day from Berkhampstead to London. Many passengers were by now buying weekly tickets. These were issued to the drivers by the depot inspector to be sold to the individual passenger. Every Monday Olive would purchase her ticket from the driver at Berkhampstead. One morning I had Olive’s ticket but no coach, a rare mechanical failure. Knowing Olive would be waiting for her coach I caught a 312 bus from Tring to Hemel Hempstead and on arriving at Berkhampstead called out to Olive to board the 312 were I gave Olive her weekly ticket and advised her to travel on the 312 to Hemel Hempstead and then transfer to the 708 Greenline coach to London. Olive always remembered that little bit of help and would always ask after my family even into retirement when I would occasionally see her in Berkhampstead.
Earlier I had mentioned that the Chief Inspector who controlled both Hemel Hempstead and Tring was Reg Godchild. Reg was a somewhat fatherly figure who kept an eye on both his drivers and his garages. One wintery morning we were told the snow was so heavy that we had to terminate at Victoria. Approaching Berkhampstead with a full load of passengers and by now running quite late because of the snow we came to a halt outside the Yeovil café. After some time having ceased to move, one of the passengers asked if we would all like some hot coffee, to which the passenger got off the coach and went into the café and bought all the passengers and myself coffee. After another hour we passed Hemel Hempstead and much to my surprise there was Reg clearing away snow from the forecourt of the garage with a large shovel. I have never seen any other Chief Inspector (now known as Garage Manager) before or since clearing snow.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Chapter 11 More Coach Workings

Under an agreement with the T&G and London Country, coach drivers could be required to do bus work up to three quarters of an hour prior to commencing their coach duty. I mentioned earlier that the 387 Tring to Aldbury was the exclusive workings of drivers George Prentice and Fred Sennet, except on Mondays when one was resting and the other scheduled a late turn. So it fell to the coach rota to provide a driver for a couple of trips. Well George and Fred knew all the regulars and they knew George and Fred, no putting out the hand for the bus to stop, no waiting at the bus stop if you were a bit late, everything ran quite smoothly and every one caught their train to London from Tring station, but not on Monday mornings they didn’t.
The phone never stopped ringing at the garage on Monday mornings.
“Why didn’t the driver stop, George and Fred always did, alright I know I didn’t put my hand out”
“Why didn’t the driver stop, I know I wasn’t at the stop but George and Fred always stopped for me”
Perhaps as coach drivers even forty five minutes of bus work was too much. Mind you things have sunk much lower these days as will be seen later.
Since arriving back from Australia my only means of getting to and from work was a motor bike a humble Honda 50 . Not long after starting at Tring one of the drivers had a Honda 125 for sale. We had just moved into our maisonette and were very short of money and my mother who was very generous and visiting us at the time said I'll give you the money for the bike. To go with the bike I required a good pair of motor cycle boots. These I had seen in a motor cycle shop by the bus stop in Norbury south London. So the next day I thought I 'll stop there and go into the shop and get those boots. Unfortunately the coach which I had taken from Tring to Aylesbury bus station that morning decided to break down on me, the engineer from Tring Harry Ketteringham was soon on the scene and rapidly got the coach started so no time was lost, as I left Aylesbury Harry called out "don’t forget to leave it running when you get to Chelsham otherwise you wont get it started again."
Needless to say Harry’s words had deserted me by the time I’d reached Norbury and pulled up outside the motor cycle shop. Switching off the engine I explained to the passengers that I’d only be a couple of minutes. I soon returned with a brand new pair of boots, got into the cab, pulled the starter lever, nothing, one dead Green Line coach. The passengers knowing nothing of Harry’s instructions not to turn the engine off just assumed the coach had broken down then and there. Fortunately all the passengers were going to Croydon so I was able to transfer them onto a 109 red central bus for the remainder of their journey. I then crossed the road to Norbury bus garage where I rang up Tring for instructions. I explained that the coach had stalled, something that you cannot do with a pre-select gear box, was called a stupid idiot and told to take my meal relief at Croydon bus station after the engineers at Norbury had got the coach started, by means of shorting out the starter motor with a screw driver. It never ceased to amaze me how engineers could fix any broken down RT or RF bus with just a screw driver and a wooden mallet, these days if a single warning light comes up on the dash board it means you can be stuck somewhere for ages and the bus can be off the road awaiting a new light bulb for weeks.
I don’t know about fixing things, but one night at West Hendon we were nearly all fixed. During the early 1970s the IRA made habit of leaving nasty packages on buses and trains. Just after leaving West Hendon one evening a lady passenger informed me that there was a suspicious bag under a seat at the rear of the coach. As luck would have it I was about to pass Hendon police station near Brent Cross. I pulled up outside the police station, went inside and informed the duty sergeant that we had a suspicious package on the coach. The duty sergeant called for a police officer to go and check out the package. I took the police officer out to the coach and then took him to the rear of the coach and showed him the package which was in fact a sports hold all. Now who was the most stupid, us or the police officer. We all stood around him whilst he pulled out the hold all, held it up, and proceeded to shake it. “No its not a bomb” he said. Just as well as we would have all been blown to pieces.
Mind you what does happen when someone dies? There have been a few occasion when drivers I have known have been involved in fatal accidents. In each case the fatality has not been the drivers fault. None the less in all cases the drivers have been traumatised. But with careful and patient handling by our senior driving instructors all have managed to get back in the cab and resume there normal duties after a while. It also leaves the rest of us with the thought that there for the grace of God go I. There is however one strange experience that will always stay with me and make of it what you will.
One of the bus drivers at Tring was Ray Taylor. Ray was always happy and had this disconcerting habit of coming up behind you when you were paying in your takings and standing on your right and tapping you on your left shoulder. You would instinctively turn to your left and find no one there only to turn quickly to your left to see Ray grinning at you.
One evening at home with my family I was standing in the kitchen when I felt a tap on my left shoulder, of course no one was there as I could see Annette and the children sitting the other side of the room, I told them what I had felt explaining it was the sort of feeling like someone tapping you on the shoulder. I put the feeling down to a muscle spasm. The next day I was in the town (Aylesbury) when I met Johnny Hercules. John asked if I heard about Ray Taylor, I said no. John told me that Ray, who was only in his thirties, had died the previous evening of a massive heart attack.
Keeping to time was something we took pride in years ago, but there was one day every year when timings use to go out the window and that was the Thursday before Easter. Maunday Thursday was the busiest day, traffic wise, of the year with everybody trying to get away for the Easter holiday. You would start to lose time from the moment you reached Croydon and by the time you arrived at Tring you could be over an hour late. Yet there was one Tring coach driver who seemed immuned from this and that was Jack Webster. One particular Easter I had suffered from an upset stomach and phoned in sick, however the Tring Inspector Ron Wright persuaded me to come in on standby and just rest at the garage rather than lose a days pay, in fact it would be double pay for Easter. So there I was sitting in a deck chair outside the garage watching late running coaches when Jack Webster pulls in on time. “I don’t know” says Ron “I’m sure that bloke has his own way of getting from Chelsham to Tring that we don’t know about, I’ve never known him to run late”
Another reason for Jacks ability to keep to time was told to me recently by my good friend Vic Hillsdon who was at one time a conductor on the coaches.
Vic as a young conductor was asked to pair up with Jack on the Green Line from Tring to Aylesbury and back. Vic recalls that travelling at speed towards Aylesbury near Aston Clinton Jack saw a car parked on the nearside of the road and traffic was coming towards them, without slowing down Jack called out to Vic and asked if there was room to get through. Vic couldn’t believe they would make it but Jack sped on through with about an inch to spare. “well why didn’t you say something, you’ll have to be a lot quicker than that if you ever want to be my conductor”
I guess Jack knew instinctively the size of his coach, that plus a good turn of speed, always allowed him to always keep to time.
There was one piece of work I was required to do that day. Near the end of the standby shift Ron asked if I was fit enough to do a piece of driving, thinking maybe Ron wanted me to do a relief coach to Aylesbury I said I was alright. “good, grab that single deck bus, I want to collect some fencing from the Worlds End garden centre at Wendover” and so we drove over to Wendover and I waited outside while Ron went and collected his fencing which we loaded onto the bus and I drove him to his house in Tring where he unloaded the fencing and then we drove back to the garage, I signed off and went home.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Chapter 10 One Man Operating Instructors

Remembering how nervous I had felt on my first trip to Chelsham I thought it would be a good idea if new one man bus and coach drivers were accompanied by an instructor and obviously so did the powers that be. So it was no surprise when a notice was posted on the notice board at Tring for volunteers to apply for the position of OMO Instructor. I applied for and was accepted as an Instructor subject to successful training at the Central Driving school at St Albans garage. So one Spring morning I and the other successful applicants from the London Country garages met up with Driving Instructor Bob Spence and Conductor Instructor Wilcox for a pleasant days outing. Each of us in turn would be either a driver or an OMO Instructor whist the two Instructors would be either very awkward passengers or Instruct us to handle both the ‘passenger’ and the new driver.
From this time onwards all new drivers when converting to one man operating would have five days of training with an Instructor showing him how to handle both passengers and the correct procedure for issuing tickets. We, as OMO Instructors were not there to criticise or correct a driver’s way of driving, as the driver was deemed to be competent having passed a PSV test. However if the poor driver was getting flustered or making a few mistakes it was preferable to let him have a break and take over the driving rather than have a new driver give up and leave the job because of the extreme pressure a new driver could find himself under for the first week or so until he had settled in to a routine.
May 1975 saw the conversion of all of our 301/2 buses from crew operation to OMO operation and the introduction of the horrendous Leyland National bus which we had had to endure on the 706 coach route since its introduction to Tring in March 1973. Therefore new drivers coming to Tring after 1975 had no opportunity to learn conducting before becoming drivers and were literally thrown in at the deep end. Additional OMO instructors were required now. All new drivers spent three days with an OMO instructor on bus routes and a final two days on the coaches with an OMO instructor, at Tring that was me. I really felt sorry for those drivers I took out, as many of them had never driven into London before.
I would be at the depot to meet them and to familiarise them with the workings of the depot, rotas, duties, duty plates, signing on procedures and at the end of the day paying in and signing the coach off. Next I would show them over the RF coach, let them settle in, change the blinds, set up their ticket machine, the Almex, get them relaxed and ready to pick up their first passenger.
Naturally some drivers found it easier than others. One driver was losing quite a bit of time and by the time we had reached Brent Cross an irate passenger was asking me if we would arrive at Victoria on time for him to make his onward connection at Victoria coach station. Knowing we wouldn’t I asked the trainee driver to pull up and I got out and hailed a London Cab and told the passenger to get in the cab and send the bill into us. He did, and I got quite a dressing down from our Chief Inspector Reg Goodchild for doing so, but I explained the passenger was of paramount importance and should be treated as such.
One interesting new driver was Anna Chadfield our first female driver and like me many years previously the youngest driver with London Country. Anna was full of confidence and learnt very quickly and was very competent. She was also very quick with a witty retort when ever confronted by an awkward passenger. One male passenger boarded at Victoria and looking at Anna said “oh a woman driver”
Anna took a quick look down the inside of her blouse and without hesitation said
“ you are quite right sir I’m a woman”
The man somewhat abashed sat down having received his ticket and a smile from Anna.
Bus and coach rotas rarely changed in those far off days unlike to day when rotas seemed to be changed every couple of months much to the confusion of both drivers and depot inspectors. At Tring the only change we had was the introduction of the summer coach rota when instead of terminating at Chelsham the coaches would continue to Chartwell, the home of the late Sir Winston Churchill. This meant that when Tring drivers arrived at Chelsham instead of pulling into the bus parking area at Chelsham we would stop outside the garage and a Chelsham diver would take over for the remaining journey to Chartwell. Most of the Tring drivers would stay on the coach and ride on to Chartwell and have a break there and then take over back at Chelsham for the trip back to Tring.