Taking the Bus to Work

Memories of travelling to work in Chelmsford

An Eastern National bus outside the chequers
Ian Fuller

The double deck bus shown above at the Chequers junction with the High Street shows the route number as 34A. This service and service 35A were special Eastern National workman buses using part of the routes linking Basildon, Wickford, Ramsden Heath,  Ramsden Bellhouse and Billericay with the Marconi’s factory and Hoffmann’s ball bearing factory in New Street Chelmsford via Stock Road and Galleywood.

The journey to work

I was an apprentice electrician at Hoffmann’s for a short while in 1969 through 1970  and the 34A was the first bus of the day in Billericay and it left the High Street stop near Burstead Lodge at 06:10. I needed to catch this bus as my job clocked in at 07:30 at the apprentice training school deep inside the complex that was Hoffmann’s factory. Hoffmann’s was a good 10 minutes walk from the terminus stop out side The Marconi factory, where the bus arrived at 07:15. The 34 was routed from Basildon via Nevendon to Wickford Railway Station then on to Runwell Church linking back to Brock hill and thence to Ramsden Heath arriving in Billericay through Norsey Road, the High St.,  Chapel Street and Sun Street before proceeding back up  the High St. to Chelmsford. The 35A left Billericay half an hour later having come there via Wickford and Ramsden Bellhouse, Ramsden Heath and then following the route of the other buses.
If you caught the later buses you were late for work.

Homeward bound

There were two different routes starting from New Street for the journey home. The Hoffman factory whistle blew at 16:00 so if you were quick you could board the 34A which left from Hoffmann’s corner and took a route via Rainsford Road to the Compton Parkinson factory near Wood Street and thence to the Chequers at Billericay where I got off.  This bus then turned at Billericay using Chapel Street,  Sun Street and High Street before proceeding to Basildon via Ramsden and Wickford. The 35A left from outside Marconi’s at 16:40 and proceeded via Markham Street in Chelmsford to Billericay using the main road and turning like the other bus when it reached Billericay so it could get to Ramsden Bellhouse and Wickford. If you  were quick and caught the early bus it meant you arrived home much earlier.

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