Friday, 29 August 2014

Highbury Barn-A Misleading Name

     Is there a barn there? No. Were there any other animals other than dogs being walked in sight? No. So why has this area north of Highbury Corner been called this? Perhaps there was a barn there many years ago? Anyway, a new bus route has entered the Highbury Barn area recently, and that is the 263. It has been extended to Highbury Barn to ease overcrowding on the Holloway Road corridor, as there are not an adequate amount of buses serving the area. Still, a route extension is another bus change to cover, and on the 23rd August 2014, I went to Islington to cover this.
    Having alighted a 277, which is a very interesting route from Leamouth-Highbury And Islington, I waited for the 263 at Highbury Corner. I'd already seen the Highbury Barn terminus on a 4, so there was no need to go up there again. Before I'd even boarded, I knew that TFL had made the right decision to extend this route. If the route hadn't been extended, I've have to take 2 buses to get to East Finchley, which isn't ideal, especially when I had to catch an hourly bus straight after (the H3).

TE895 picks up passengers at Highbury Corner.
       The reason I wasn't going all the way to Barnet Hospital, was purely because I didn't think it was an especially nice area, and I'd already been as far out of London as Lakeside at 8am earlier in the day. Even Emma Hignett, the iBus voice, didn't think that Barnet Hospital was interesting. The iBus announcement said "263 to" in a completely normal, average tone of voice. When Emma got to say "Barnet Hospital", she made it sound like a complete dump, with her voice being so low and fierce during the second half of the announcement. The bus stopped at every stop on Holloway Road, and the bus was nearly full up by the time it had reached Holloway Nags Head, where the route formerly started. Clearly, the extension was necessary.

A non-repainted Enviro at Highbury Corner.
   As no other Metroline route terminates at Highbury Barn, new blinds were required. However, only the 263's batch have had them fitted, so when I saw an Enviro from the 82's batch passing the other direction, I wasn't surprised to see it displaying "Holloway, Nags Head" on the front. Obviously, Potters Bar (PB) weren't fully prepared for the extension. The bus quietened down through Archway, but TE895's speedy progress slowed to a crawl after a contraflow near Upper Holloway Station.

A repainted TE passing in the other direction.
By East Finchley, the bus was nearly empty, and because I had 40 minutes to wait for an H3, I stayed on the bus until North Finchley, to get more pictures and the iBus displaying Highbury Barn.

iBus displaying "263 to Highbury Barn", on TE899.

A clear stretch of road!
   Overall, my experience on the 263 was good. The route passes some interesting areas like Highgate and East Finchley (and I think it also goes to some dull ones at the north end of the route), but most importantly, I'm sure the extension was beneficial for many people, and it has made the route more interesting. Thanks for reading, and sorry for the big gap between posts recently!