The Number 85 Route

Friday 28 February 2020

The 84 used to go from Barnet to St Albans, and still does, but it is no longer a London bus and so falls outside the parameters of this project. So here we were, on a very nasty wet day, boarding the 85 at 11.40 It leaves from the little warren of streets around Putney Bridge station, and had to wiggle round a huge tow truck before reaching the dripping customers outside the station.

Crossing the bridge was faster than it had been on our previous bus, because going south there is a bus lane. The bus was rather cold, but at least it wasn't one of the useless new(ish) Routemasters: from March 6 as I am sure you know, it will only be permissible to board at the front by the driver, though it is not clear how the poor drivers are meant to enforce this.  So just to sum up Mr Johnson's vanity project:  open back for boarding? no; air cooled so no need to open windows? absolutely not, for those of us who remember to summer of the roastmasters; three entrances for speedy boarding? not a chance, since these buses proved to be as 'free' to ride as the bendies they replaced.

Still, enough of this wingeing, and on with our soggy trip, through Putney and therefore in Wandsworth, and passing Putney Railway Station.  There can't be many areas with their names on stations both sides side of the river


We travelled down through Roehampton, alongside residential areas, and Putney Common.  I can only hope that you regard Linda's valiant attempts at photography as 'Turneresque'.

We noted that several of the bus shelters had solar panels on their roofs, not that these would  have done much good on a day like today, and we also came past the extensive Happy Valley Cemetery. We had been reading about the possibility of composting our bodies, but it's a long way to Seattle, so we have to hope that things have changed before we need the facility.


The next event was the little circuit that buses do to serve the enormous A3 Asda, and then we trundled on to cross the Beverley Brook and several of the campuses of Kingston University.
 There were some lovely spring trees, just about visible through the rain, including hazels all adorned with catkins, and cherries, and then a mimosa just behind a northbound bus stop. Along here there are some very substantial houses, as well as a number of apartment blocks.

Then we reached Kingston Hospital, and for the first time since Putney High Street were slowed by traffic. This gave us time to notice that we were passing the UK HQ of VSO, before we swept past the Fairfield Bus Station to wiggle round the High Street, and over the Hogsmill River. Whatever else might have been wrong with today's trip, one can't deny the pleasure of going over two of London's small rivers, as well as the big one.

So this brought us to Kingston Hall Road, where this route finishes, and we were off the chilly bus at 12.30 

The weather reduces the enjoyment of any trip, I think, but this south London outing had had its points of interest. 

The Number 85 Route