Friday, 16 August 2013
154 Bus to Foxton Locks
Spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon at Foxton Locks just past Market Harborough into Leicestershire. The journey there was a not the most comfortable perhaps but certainly a little different! The '154 Northampton Bus' was first delivered to Northampton Corporation Transport in 1947, this Daimler CVG 6 worked on the local bus routes covering 620,790 miles within the town boundary until it was withdrawn from service in 1964. It was then converted and used as a driver training vehicle during the period 1965-1969. After this, 154 saw little use and was eventually de-licensed in 1973. With the advent of the Greyfriars Bus Station in the mid-seventies. However, the 154 was given a further lease of life as a promotional vehicle to distribute information about this new town facility. After this task was over in 1978, the vehicle was simply stored in a shed at the back of the St James bus depot. Gone perhaps, but certainly not forgotten. The 154 Preservation Society was formed in 1990 and, since then, has spent over £10,000 restoring this wonderful vehicle. Having subsequently purchased a 1968 example of the same type of vehicle (JVV 267G), this is now operational after the fitting of a replacement engine. During her many outings during the dry summer months, 154 has travelled as far as Halifax in Yorkshire and has now completed a grand total of over 650,000 miles. Foxton Locks is the largest flight of staircase locks on the English canal system with two 'staircases' of five locks. They are located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal.Staircase locks are used where a canal needs to climb a steep hill, and consist of a group of locks where each lock opens directly into the next, that is, where the bottom gates of one lock form the top gates of the next. That is how I understand it anyway. Building work on the locks started in 1810 and was finished 4 years later in 1814. The actual transit should take approximately 45 minutes to one hour to complete; it is made quicker by the fact that the locks are narrow beam and the gates are light. There were several places for the visitor to enjoy fine Ales and decent food too so well worth a visit. Really good trip and a step back in time too - Happy Days!