|Trumpington Local History Group
Forty Years of Public Transport
in Trumpington, 1968-2008
|An Enthusiast's View
Barry Clarke, 2008
I was born in Trumpington on New Year's
Day, 1942, and spent my childhood and
formative years living at 51 Shelford Road.
My maternal grandfather, Reuben Ellwood,
had moved to this new house in 1933, when
he had retired from the post of accountant at
the Bradford Dyers' Association.
One of my earliest memories of Trumpington
is walking with my mother, Nancy Clarke,
along Maris Lane towards what we used to
refer to as the Church School. I was
extremely unhappy the first morning of school
and kicked the leaves as we walked. We
moved to Chesterton for a few years and I
went to Milton Road Primary School. When
my grandfather died in November 1950, we
returned to 51 Shelford Road, and I attended
the new Fawcett School for three years.
The house on Shelford Road was only 100
yards from the summit of a road bridge over
the former London and North Western
Railway Line (LNWR), which connected
Cambridge with Oxford, via Sandy, Bedford
and Bletchley. A further 100 yards brought
you to Bishop's Road bus stop. Fawcett
School was excellently sited for train
observation. These accidents of geography
were instrumental in an enduring interest in
railways and buses.
|Reuben Ellwood, 1940s.
Photo: Reg and Barry
|Children running along Shelford Road, on their
way to school, Trumpington, c. 1947. Photo:
I was entranced by the trains and loved to watch the steam drift across the gardens on a still
evening, when the 6:15 pm to Bletchley passed through the cutting. I would charge up to the
north east parapet of the bridge on my tricycle when a train was due - my grandfather kept me
informed of this. One of the distinguishing features of these trains was that they were often
hauled by Stanier Black Five locomotives, which were fitted with a hooter which would be
sounded as they approached the crossing from the allotments. When there were few
movements on the line, I would cycle through the allotments, skirting the new housing estate,
taking the path over the LNWR line towards Red Cross Lane and waiting beside the main line
for trains to and from London.
If the weather was wet, I would head for the bridges on Long Road which afforded a great
view of passing trains. Sunday mornings were particularly enjoyable, as the trains working the
route included some of the premier locomotives from the King's Cross depot, doing a trial run
after regular maintenance, a 'running-in turn'. This left King's Cross as 6:50 am and returned
from Cambridge at 10:05 am, so I had two viewing opportunities. These elegant locomotives
were fitted with distinctive and melodic chime whistles, which would fill the flatlands around
Hobson's Brook with noise, a sound once heard, never forgotten. The locomotives used on this
turn were invariably Gresley A4s, streamlined engines known to us as 'streaks'. We saw named
trains such as 'Sir Nigel Gresley' and 'Dwight D. Eisenhower' and the record-breaking 'Mallard'.
|An ex-LNWR Cauliflower
Class locomotive running
from Cambridge to
Bedord and Bletchley,
passing under Long Road
permission from Bletchley
to Cambridge, Vic
Mitchell and Keith Smith,
Middleton Press, 2007.
|A model of 'Mallard', one
of the Gresley A4
locomotives, Pacific 4-6-2,
600022. Photo: Sophie
Another of my favourite locomotives was the Britannia class, used on the lines between
Liverpool Street and Norwich. Some of the trains were sent on the alternative route through
Cambridge rather than Colchester. Colchester itself was linked to Cambridge via the Stour
Valley and Colne Valley lines. For many years, there was a Sunday Special service to Clacton,
which stopped at practically every intermediate station and took over two hours to reach the
seaside. If you loved trains, this was a child's equivalent of one of the Great Railway Journeys
of the world!
I remember that I persuaded my mother into allowing me to make my first train journey in one
of the school holidays, from Cambridge to Bishops Stortford. Soon after, I made a trip with a
school friend, on the Bedford line to Sandy. The East Coast main line passed through that
station and if you walked to Sandy Warren there was grandstand view of the main line.
See the Railways page for other recollections of railways in Trumpington.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Bishop's Road was the terminal point of Eastern Counties Omnibus
Company Ltd. (ECOC) City Service 115. The stop was also served towards town by Service
103 (Cambridge - Sawston or Cambridge - Pampisford via Great Shelford and Stapleford) and
Service 112 (Cambridge - Saffron Walden via Duxford). Service 103 ran approximately hourly
through Trumpington on the way to Great Shelford, whilst Service 112 ran irregularly but
approximately every two hours between Cambridge and Saffron Walden.
|Eastern Counties service 115 in
King's Parade, Cambridge.
Photograph: Maurice G. Doggett,
|Model of an Eastern Counties double
decker bus, Leyland PD1A, similar
to those used in Cambridge, in this
case the service between Downham
Market and Kings Lynn. Photo:
Sophie Clarke, 2008.
Late in the evening, I would listen with
interest to hear how long the last bus on the
103 service took to return from the White
Horse at Sawston (the 10:45 pm from
Drummer Street on Tuesday and Friday). I
reckoned that 20 minutes was good going!
That time of night seemed outrageously late
to a 1950s teenager, like listening to Radio
Luxembourg at 11 pm.
As I am still a resident of Cambridge, I have
been able to observe the sweeping changes
to the bus network since Stagecoach UK
took over and set up a number of 10-minute
interval services which ECOC could only
have dreamed of! Bishop's Road,
Trumpington, is now served by the Citi
Service 7, which traverses High Street,
Trumpington and Shelford Road every 10
minutes (daytime), with extensions hourly to
Duxford and Saffron Walden ('plus ce
change... plus c'est la meme chose!').
One of my favourite outings as a young
child was to go with my mother on Service
103 to Great Shelford, where a Mrs Mott
kept a wonderful shop, which sold sweets
and toys, next to Robinson Bros. dairy,
where my wife-to-be lived. Indeed, my
father-in-law-to-be bought items from this
same shop for his extensive Hornby railway
layout. I would usually come out of the shop
clutching the latest Dinky Toy model.
|Front cover from ECOC
timetable for 1968.
In the 1950s, ECOC provided Service 108 (Cambridge - Royston) two-hourly via Barrington
Green and two-hourly via 'Main Road' (the A10) and Foxton. Today Stagecoach Service 26
provides an hourly Cambridge - Royston service via the A10 and Foxton. While I was busy
misspending my youth, I would also try to catch the last 'country bus' home. An additional
attraction of catching the last 103 was that I used to see an attractive young lady who would
prompt me to leave the bus when we reached Bishop's Road. This lady would become my
sister-in-law in years to come. She has recently moved to Bognor Regis and I have sampled the
delights of Stagecoach UK's Service 700 from Bognor to Portsmouth.
In Cambridge in the 1950s, I used to ride all the way to bus termini, which appealed to me.
Meadowlands Service 102 (St Thomas Road via City Centre) was one such route, which to my
child's mind was a bit of a disappointment, as was Green End Road Service 101 (Railway
Station via City Centre) - I had high hopes of Elysian Fields at both destinations, but my hopes
The scene is about to change yet again in quite a major way, with the arrival of the
Cambridgeshire Guided Bus which will use the track bed of the old LNWR to reach
Trumpington Park & Ride site from Huntingdon and St. Ives, via the projected new village of
|Extracts from ECOC timetable
for services 112 and 115, 1968.
Another pursuit in my Trumpington childhood was to stand with the AA man (Mr Pike of
Pampisford) outside the AA box. Mr Pike had a rather smart Hillman Minx in an avant-garde
metallic silver. The box was on the former A10, opposite today's entrance into the Waitrose
store. I would watch the passing traffic in the hope of spotting newly-registered cars. In the
case of goods lorries, there was a series of booklets listing the depots and vehicles belonging to
British Road Services. I've certainly earned my anorak!