|One of the new vehicles on the route.|
|A line up of buses at Waterloo, with the Shard providing a lovely backdrop.|
A staggering 21 routes serve the Waterloo Bridge/South Bank stop, which is fairly popular for tourists. After a few more people miraculously found seats, the electric vehicle got up to its maximum speed, a dismal 20mph, as the bus entered the far lane on Waterloo Bridge, something that only 521 buses achieve. The bus dipped into the Strand Underpass, which is always a lovely experience, especially with the underground twists and turns the bus has to navigate under Aldwych. The journey time difference is fairly significant, although most of the time I find that the tunnel is closed for works, so travelling through it is a rare treat! The bus re-emerged on the Kingsway, where the next stop was Holborn Station. Lots of people alighted here, but an equal number joined, giving me time to admire the unique architecture on this road. Due to a complicated one-way system around Holborn, the bus had to overshoot High Holborn and turn right onto Theobolds Road for a couple of seconds, before heading back South again on Procter Street, where four 98's were taking a break from the tedious journey up to Willesden.
|These Irizar electric prototypes left the route recently.|
To the left I glimpsed St Bartholomew's Hospital, the terminus of 2 routes outside a phone box containing hundreds of letters to Sherlock. I do hope it's still there. Another array of coffee shops appeared on King Edward Street, before St Paul's Station emerged in the background. Another one way system forced the bus to take the long route through Angel Street, which then allowed the bus to break free from the Central Line corridor and onto New Change. Lots of people boarded the bus outside the Shopping Centre, which also contains a splendid view of London on the roof garden. An array of tourists admired St Paul's Cathedral as my bus waited at the traffic lights to turn left, through more workplaces in Mansion House. Less than 60 seconds later, another District Line station presented itself. Cannon Street is a busy station, offering Southeastern services which can't fit inside Charing Cross, as well as onward connections on the tube. It only opens for half a day on weekends, because it really isn't needed then. The bus passed the umpteenth Pret A Manger before Monument Station, the penultimate station that this route serves.
The sun decided to shine just as the bus crossed the River Thames, offering a brilliant view of Docklands and Westminster; I also spotted another 521 crossing Waterloo Bridge, at the start of a 30 minute journey around the City. Most passengers alighted on the bridge itself, although the 521 continues for one stop into London Bridge Bus Station, conveniently located just before the NR station, where I took a break and admired the new, confusing concourse.
I love the 521 for it's unique character and features and I strongly recommend that you take a ride on it if you have some spare time. For me, it's the second best single deck route in London, only beaten by the glorious C10 from Victoria-Canada Water.
Thanks for reading and stay safe!
p.s: There have been a lot of bus changes recently and I'm covering all of them in the next week, so expect a flurry of Busageddon posts from now on!