Discussion in 'Brixton' started by transportbloke, Dec 22, 2008.
Is this the Rendlesham forest incident? I'm intrigued.
Yes, you guess correctly dessiato. As I said in my last post to Puddy Tat on here, my friend driving on at least one of those nights gave me some interesting information which doesn't appear to have been picked up by anyone else researching the incident. But without knowing what nights that service ran, I can't take it any further. You know there's a movie about some aspects of the RFI -'Capel Green' - coming out soon?
Copy of info sent by PM to Mike Stones in case it's of interest to anyone else:
I can confirm what 'orangeluxury' previously wrote on this forum - there was no actual boarding platform for intending passengers at Brixton and definitely no cafe! It really was just a typical bus or coach depot with no provision for passengers as such.
I'm open to correction on all the following - it was over forty years ago - but these are my other recollections:
No doubt coaches originating from elsewhere did pull up outside on the main road (Effra Road) facing the Tulse Hill direction (I'm guessing coaches from further down the line in South London heading northwards would have swung round the cut through before the traffic lights almost opposite the coach garage in the (then) one-way system around St. Matthews Church, to pull up outside. Once boarded, they would then re-enter the one-way system and swing round at the other end of St. Matthews to travel north again).
I can't remember services starting from Brixton boarding passengers on the forecourt - though they might well have been done - but I seem to recall that on some occasions at least a coach would be brought out of the garage and parked outside in Saltoun Road. This was the side road alongside the garage, and there was vehicle access and exit to and from the garage interior through large openings with the standard sliding or folding doors, though I don't remember them ever being closed. The coach would park only on the right-hand side of Saltoun Road facing the main road, with little room to walk between the side of the garage and the coach itself. Passengers would get on there and upon departure, the coach would turn left into Effra Road and then proceed round the one-way system as above.
There was indeed a booking office at one side of the forecourt at the front of the garage facing Effra Road, and this structure can be seen clearly in the 'Lambeth Carnival, 1961' photo link posted by 'lang rabbie' near the top of this thread, behind the white wall which divides the adjacent Esso garage from the coach garage. I too remember the signs on the wall and the A-Boards, advertising both excursions and scheduled services. There was always a big choice of excursions all year round, both half and full day, and they were very popular - I can remember taking one with my girlfriend to Mickleham Priory in Sussex, just for the trip. We'd never heard of the place and the booking clerk tried to put us off, saying it was 'just gardens', but it turned out to be a pleasant and enjoyable afternoon nonetheless!
I have a vague recollection though that around the time I last took a coach from Brixton - around 1975 I would think - the booking office had been moved to make more room on the forecourt and was now in a converted office on the Saltoun Road side of the garage, overlooking the street. This was next to one of the vehicle openings and may even have been the old manager's office mentioned in 'orangeluxury's post. I seem to remember that when I went to make my booking, I was quite taken aback at how cramped and spartan it was compared with the former booking facility at the front!
Here's another kind of Ghost Bus!......
and the envelope it came in........
Apologies everyone, I'm having problems resizing these - I can only seem to print thumbnails or a massive image that takes up the whole page! Can anyone (Editor?) help?. The receipt is for a 'Ghost Hunting Weekend' in York which began at the Brixton coach station.
There is a glimpse of the excursion and service advertising signs on the wall outside the forecourt booking office in this 1950s photo link first posted on here by 'orangeluxury' on 18 October 2011:
That's a relief! Cheers!
If you ever fancy putting this altogether for a Brixton Buzz article, feel free!
Gosh, you sure know how to put a man on the spot don't you! That's very kind of you to ask. I've probably just about exhausted what I remember about the coach station (although I think I still have the actual itinerary for the above Grey-Green Coaches Ghost Hunting Weekend, I'll try and dig it out), but I might be able to combine those memories with my recollections of the Esso garage my father ran next door, to make one article. If you think folks really would be interested, I'll have a go although it won't be immediately. Cheers. TGB.
I just thought it would be good to collect all the memories and document them. No rush, of course!
Further to previous (and your posts on SCT61 - I'd rather not go too far making it obvious on there who i am on here and vice versa)
I'm now at home (I was away over Xmas) and do have a few old National Express timetable books. I've got Winter 78/79 and Summer 79 to hand, but not Winter 80/81
For what it's worth, the latest departure I can see in the summer 1979 one is a 1910 London - Great Yarmouth (arriving 0040), but in the winter 78/79 timetable the same journey only ran as far as Cambridge - the last Great Yarmouth arrival was at 2145 (the 1545 ex Victoria, due through Woodbridge at 1950)
Christmas operations are listed as - 25 December was no service, 26 December was special / limited service, 27 December was normal service.
You've mentioned on SCT61 that friend had worked for Eastern Counties but had gone coach driving - it's possible that he stayed with EC - until privatisation, most 'National Express' coaches carried the name of National Travel South East (and so on) but this was in effect a trading name for the coaches owned by the individual National Bus Company subsidiaries in each region, so Eastern Counties coaches would have carried the National Travel fleetname and done National Express services. Bus drivers with NBC companies could (when vacancies happened) go coach driving - usually summer season only for a few years to start with but eventually full time. (apologies if this is stating what you already know)
That having been said, the 'East Anglian Express' network seems to have been a collaboration between Nat Ex and Grey Green.
Nat Ex tended to hire in independent operators to run duplicate coaches at busy times (27 December might well have been one) but I think it highly unlikely they would have put on extra coaches at times they didn't normally run.
Good to hear from you again and many thanks for your further endeavours.
You'll see on SCT61 the latest post from one fellow in particular and my replies - and the can of worms this has opened!
One of the problems for me in researching this is, as you mention above, that I was sure my friend was working directly for Grey-Green but this then gets tangled up within the whole 'East Anglian Express' operation with National Express. Now I'm not so sure he wasn't, as you say, still Eastern Counties contracted to National Express, as Eastern Counties driving for Grey-Green is a possibilty dismissed by the information I've been given on SCT61. Also, my recollection is that my friend's reference to the alleged events in 1980 were absolutely linked to the existence of this late 'Ghost Bus' service and that it ran from Kings Cross, not Victoria (which puts it back into Grey-Green operations territory) but this doesn't appear to pan out either. I'm therefore now having to reappraise this information - but not discard it - to see if we can still place him on the A12, driving a passenger-carrying coach, in the early hours of one of those three nights in question.
I fear we are in danger of going off-topic here on the Brixton Urban75 and outstaying our welcome. I would be happy to blind copy you in to the PMs I'm hoping to set up on SCT61, or alternatively PM with you direct from here. That way, I'd possibly also be able to give you some background information which it wouldn't be appropriate to post here or on SCT61. What do you think?
Thanks again for your help and interest
Might not have to go the PM route after all - big breakthrough this morning, may be close to solving the mystery.
There was indeed once a 'Ghost Bus' service out of Kings Cross but this has got mixed-up with what I am trying to establish happened in December 1980 - it seems now that the service I'm interested in was a different service altogether. Also, the specific event on the A12 that I was told about occurred much earlier, in the evening on one of the days in question and not in the early hours of the morning.
Could you take another look at that Winter 78/79 timetable of yours please? It's two years prior of course but it'll do as a template.
I've now been told that the event on the A12 occurred after a departure from Ipswich at 1845. Your timetable would, I'm guessing, show 1945 ex-Ipswich for the arrival at Woodbridge at 1950 you quoted for the 27th, possibly the one hour discrepancy is due to the timings being put back an hour in the intervening two years between 1978 and 1980?
I need to find whether there was an 1845/1945 departure from Ipswich on both the 26th and 27th (If there was an earlier 1845 departure as part of the 'special/limited service' on the 26th.... bingo!) but I'm guessing the timings for the 26th would have been in the special leaflet you referred to in your first post?
Ditto, it would help if I could find out if this service worked through from Victoria on both days or did the 26th start from Ipswich only?
Does your timetable show a timing for Wickham Market on the 27th?
Anything in the notes that says this service was operated by Grey-Green?
As it stands, using these new details, the Rendlesham info I was given checks out perfectly - and confirms that my friend was driving a coach where he says he was - bar being able to pin it down to either the 26th or 27th.
Many thanks (and apologies to Brixton Urban75 for continuing with this on here after all - hopefully the end is in sight!)
1978/9 timetable shows a journey on service 083, daily 1545 ex Victoria, Ipswich arrive 1915 depart 1930, Woodbridge 1950, Wickham Market 2000, Great Yarmouth arrive 2145. This journey is listed as one of those running on 26.12.78
Quite possible that the journey was re-timed a bit from one year to the next.
No indication whose coach it was - it's just listed as 'East Anglian Express' - from the passenger perspective, it was one service even if some coaches were owned by different companies. It may have been that GG always ran certain journeys, or they may have done different coach diagrams in different weeks to balance an agreed share of mileage.
Grey Green (and Norfolk Motor Services) certainly ran some journeys on NX 083 in 1980 - more and picture here
It's quite possible that duplicate coaches were out on 27.12 - The 1978/9 timetable shows some NX services to / from holiday camps running on 23 and 27 December 1978, and from what I remember, the habit of taking the whole Christmas / New Year period off work was less common in the 70s than it is now, so (Saturday) 27 Dec could have been a busy day with people going home after Christmas. Sometimes, depending on how many passengers are / were going to what points, drivers of duplicate coaches are told to skip some intermediate stops, so will arrive earlier than the scheduled time (some passengers then moan about waiting for an arranged lift / connecting local bus - you can't please all the people all of the time and you can't please some of the people any of the time)
I agree with John C on SCT61 that it's most unlikely for a coach driver to do something 'unofficial' over any sort of distance - the greater the distance, the greater chance of someone noticing it, and the deeper the shit if the coach breaks down / has an accident.
The other thought that had occurred to me is that GG may have run coaches for military personnel going on / off leave, and there could have been a coach to / from London for the holiday. The network of 'forces leave' services operated from the army / RAF camps around Salisbury is fairly well documented (Silver Star then Wilts & Dorset included basic details in their public timetables) - I don't know if there were similar in East Anglia.
Was just editing and updating my last post as this one of yours came in.
This is good stuff. So now we know the scheduled timings for both the 26th and 27th - many thanks.
Interestingly, the timing of 2000 at Wickham Market corresponds with what I was told in an old e.mail from my friend that I've just found. So the 1845 may be a typo for 1945 Ipswich departure - a 15 mins alteration two years later is quite possible. Also he was writing this from memory 28 years after the event. It's still unclear whether he brought the coach out of Victoria or took over at Ipswich, which acccording to John C was usually the case (but would he be subject to driving hour regulations for the full 6-hr journey or was that covered by any comfort break on route and the lay-over at Ipswich?). He just makes a reference to 'coming from London'. But of course, as this was the holiday period, my friend might have just been returning from London on the cushions and then took over his shift at Ipswich. Really, it's not too important now as I think we have established that he was where he said he was.
If it was the 27th, possibly it was a duplicate service and that might explain the 1845 recollection. He did say that he only had half a dozen passengers on board by the time they left Ipswich. The holiday camp duplicates... Caister and Hemsby among them? My god, there's some memories there. I suddenly feel very old.
Yes, I think we can discount the notion of an unauthorised use of a coach... on this occasion anyway!
I'll run some of this past John C but I can do that by reference to the new information I discovered earlier and without mention of what you've told me here, to protect your anonymity. I'll keep you posted here for as long as Urban75 will have us - I'm sure there are people looking at this thread going: "What the hell has this got to do with the Orange Luxury coach station?" All I can say is "Well, it kinda started off from there and at least I hope the mysterious references to Rendlesham are entertaining if nothing else!"
Again, the public timetable doesn't go in to driver duties, but I don't think the 6 hour journey from Victoria to Great Yarmouth would have been within the UK drivers hours rules at that time (and doing the full return journey in one day would certainly have been outside the limits.)
The same timetable shows a 1600 Great Yarmouth - Ipswich - London journey due Ipswich at 1815, so it's probable that a Yarmouth based driver did that, handed over at Ipswich, then brought the 1930 departure back. I've never been that closely involved with coach driver scheduling / allocations, and I know that some express services involve(d) drivers lodging overnight at the other end, or having two drivers on one coach sharing the driving in a long day, but both of these would have cost more money than straightforward duties.
You're right on the money again PT. Elsewhere, my friend did definitely mention overnights in London - that's what caused some of the initial confusion with the 'Ghost Bus' - but looking at the info provided by JC, I'm guessing now that these overnights of his were undertaken when drivers sometimes worked through to London and back in the summer. I think too now that it was those trips he was keen to do for reasons that shall remain undisclosed!
You'll also have noticed that JC appears to have sight of a Winter 1980/81 timetable. From what he's stated regarding no Christmas Day or Boxing Day service, it appears we're looking at 27th December for when the events in question occurred.
To pinch that old British Rail slogan..... "We're getting there!"
Aliens landing in Suffolk, right?
Note this is associated with American airbases. I'm sure the sleepy folk of Suffolk could not possibly interest aliens - though Suffolk people near airbases could be sensitised to possible nuclear attack and unexpected air traffic movements.
CG Jung in "Flying Saucers - a modern myth of things seen in the sky" suggested that flying saucers are a reaction to existential stress (eg fear of nuclear oblivion). In the case of Hildegard of Bingen - it could have been calls for Crusades from the likes of St Bernard of Clairvaux perhaps combined with a belief in an imminent second coming or (he suggested) simply a symptom of epilepsy.
This is some way from Orange coaches - but I think this topic deserves a thorough airing!
Hi teuchter - welcome to this relatively calm sanctuary of reasoned factual discussion and debate after the positive insanity of the Windsor Castle thread.
I've always kept an open mind on Rendlesham but yes, I'm now veering towards the opinion that something untoward happened there. Not sure if it was alien craft(s) per se, or even little Grey-Green men (Grey-Green? Geddit? Well, I thought it was funny! Just about keeps it relevant to this Orange Luxury topic too). What prompted my input on here regarding the coach my friend was driving in that area was that what he told me doesn't seem to have been picked up by any of the thousands and thousands of researchers who have looked into the Rendlesham Forest Incident for the last 38 years... until a few weeks ago when by complete chance I heard someone on a podcast who was local to Rendlesham at the time partly confirm what my friend had told me. And these are not the kind of specific details that you'd automatically assume were part of what did or did not happen over those three nights - but they do support the case for something out of the ordinary occurring in that area.
The truth is out there somewhere.... as it was in Mayall Road!
Couple of points you made I can follow up on:
Yes, this is very much an American airbase thing. One of the reasons I've come to think something happened here is the growing number of American Air Force personnel who have come forward as eyewitnesses or with first-hand information in recent years (possibly as they come up to retirement from their sevice). Add to that the famous (or infamous) 'Halt Memo' from the Deputy Base Commander, the tape recordings of the search parties in the woods (although I'm not so convinced of the authenticity of those) and the various books and public presentations by other USAAF as well as British security staff, and a picture forms of alleged events centred on the two airbases, Bentwaters in particular.
As to the nuclear element.... thirty years later, it was finally admitted that, contrary to all so-called 'agreements' and what the public had been told, nuclear weapons were stored at Bentwaters - in fact it was the largest nuclear arms dump in Europe I think. Many of the locals already knew this of course. And then there are the alleged witness stories (we go into stranger territory here where the actual truth becomes much murkier and more difficult to discern) of how this arms dump was interfered with by alien craft on one of the three nights.
Certainly, I think there is some basis to some of the various claims, or my name's not Larry Warren.... No, really, my name's not Larry Warren!
Doesn't really mean anything. Once a story is going round, people will interpret things that they otherwise would have seen as insignificant, as significant. Each report needs to be assessed independently of the others. A thousand reports that each of which can be explained by something mundane don't really point to anything more interesting than five reports each of which can be explained by something mundane.
And reports from people long after the event? Fairly much worthless. People's memories are rubbish.
As you wish but I would point out that Halt's memo and some of the physical evidence now being produced such as notebook entries and documents from official British sources were contemporary and made at the time. And my friend had no reason to lie about what he told me either. But you're welcome to your opinion and have obviously done your own in-depth research - I'm not going to pursue the matter here.
Not much in depth research is necessary; no reliable evidence for anything extraterrestrial (except for meteors and the re-entry of a spaceship capsule) exists. Of course, when presented with a choice between a boring but plausible explanation, and an exciting but highly unlikely one, some people will always go for the latter.
Good summary here.
The Rendlesham Forest UFO
A Skeptics website whose content is deliberately manipulated and slewed for skeptics? Are you serious? This is your idea of a 'good' summary? You probably think Wikipedia is a completely trustworthy, impartial and accurate source of information in that case, I'm surprised you didn't suggest that too. No mention of Brenda Butler and Dot Street, Georgina Bruni and Jenny Randles. The old 'lighthouse' chestnut (yawn). Ian Ridpath - later proved to be a complete and utter fruitcake. Vince Thurkettle - actually shown on film changing his mind once it was pointed out to him that he was looking at the wrong spot! No mention of any of the other airmen who have come forward like Steve Laplume and Adrian Bustinza and so many others. Why not? No mention of Nick Pope, former UFO desk at the Ministry of Defence - he actually co-authored a book on the incident. But don't let that get in the way. Not even a mention of Larry Warren - if you knew anything at all about Rendlesham, you'd know that is an incredible omission! (But one that alone says it all really). This 'summary' isn't just laughable, it's absolute garbage. I'm not saying that all its conclusions are wrong. Maybe it has got everything right. But without weighing up the huge amount of testimony, evidence, and other research that isn't included here, something as biased and superficial as this really isn't worth the paper it's written on.
You see, that's the difference between painstaking, thorough, time-consuming, in-depth research and the lazy way out by allowing ridiculous sites like this do all your thinking for you. You believe what you want to believe. Me? I try not to believe anything except in myself. I'll go on spending a lot of time and effort in trying to find facts - real facts - and assess them accordingly, rather than rely on the opinions of others or the first potential 'source' of information that happens to come my way. It's called critical thinking. I can thoroughly recommend it. But then, as you have so clearly stated, in your view 'in-depth research isn't necessary'. An interesting position to take - must stand you in good stead in life.
I could go on at even more length but I'm bored with this now. Unless you have anything to contribute regarding the original queries I raised on this thread - and somehow I don't think you will have - then please, no more of this and no more of the silly and not very constructive assumptions as to how people act and think when faced with seemingly improbable situations.
Well this thread has taken an unfortunate twist... :/
Ha, yes. Blame it on Mike Stones, he started it.... literally!
PS I still think 'Little Grey-Green men' was one of my better ones
For someone who claims to be a critical thinker - you have a funny idea of what skepticism is.
Have fun with your researches.
Separate names with a comma.