Saturday, October 1

Hub Marketing Board: Telford

Friday 30th September and the latest meeting of the Hub Marketing Board involved a scrutiny away-day in Shropshire assessing the hub capabilities around and about Telford…

The meeting time was set for 9:30 but the Chairman endured Metro delays and a coronary-inducing sprint down to Wolverhampton Station only to be told that the Secretary had made a complete horlicks of the train times.

After a plan reshuffle we regroup onto the 10:25 service to Oakengates, admiring the Shropshire countryside and stations such as Albrighton, Shifnal and Cosford.

Arrival at Oakengates is now at 10:54 and we make it to the ‘hub’ bus station just in time to see our 55 connection disappearing into the distance. The Chairman does at least track down a closet for his collection whilst we await the next Green Line service.

That subsequent 55 is on hand at 11:20 for a ride through Trench, Wombridge and Donnington. More rehashing is needed so the proposed call at the Hadley hub is aborted but can remain up the Secretary’s sleeve for future reference.

- Getting cocky with a Blonde -

Now in need of some urgent liquid refreshment, we alight outside the Cock Hotel in Wellington. The Chairman’s presence must’ve been detected as the door creaks open right on cue with Joules’ Blonde being the preferred tipple. You may notice the Cock figurine inspecting the Chairman’s bald spot!

Suitably quenched it is time to test out the robustness of some thick blue lines with the 44 route providing our link back into Telford via Ketley and Oakengates. The service was popular and might just make enough of a big fat profit to negate the need to save a bus.

A very robust interchange at Telford connects us smoothly onto the 12:50 88 which introduces us to Dawley Bank before braving the narrow lanes of Little Dawley and Doseley to drop us off in Horsehay.

- Horsehay, All Labour in Vain -

Horsehay is a personal favourite of our esteemed Secretary who soon set to work taking photos of the derelict All Labour in Vain pub. The Foresters Arms is very much still going so we are treated to a Tribute amongst the ceramic jug collection. Lunch is provided courtesy of the CodFather as we enjoy the scenery of Horsehay Pool and a quick peek at the Telford Steam Railway.

Testing timetables is a core feature of hub scrutineering and the 77 at 14:09 passed with flying colours, collecting us promptly from Horsehay Crossroads and embarking on a well-paced jaunt through Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge and Madeley.

- On with the suntan lotion -

The afternoon itinerary involves a roam around Coalport, Jackfield and Ironbridge. Our Chairman makes the requisite call back to base and we thereby receive clearance to enter the All Nations, a classic Shropshire home brew house hidden away off Coalport Road. Some Dabley Ale is much appreciated as we commandeer a table in the beer garden so that the Chairman can apply some sunblock.

A rummage along the Silkin Way reveals the Great Hay Incline, an engineering solution that enabled boats to be transported up and down a slope between two sections of the local canal. We enjoy a look around Coalport village where the Chairman attracts the attention of a chihuahua down by the Tar Tunnels.

- The Chairman makes a new friend -

Across the river from Coalport is the village of Jackfield where the Boat pub has markers on the door pinpointing flood levels from years gone by. There’s no sign of any flooding today thankfully as we make use of another sunkissed beer garden.

We pass Maws Craft Centre and the Tile Museum to make our way towards Jackfield Bridge with old letter boxes, telephone kiosks and a couple of pubs catching our eye – the Black Swan and the Robin Hood.

- An old-fashioned bald spot photo -

In an example of being anything but TUAG, the 99 threatens to derail proceedings by keeping us waiting well after the scheduled 16:50 departure time – in the end we were just happy to see the bus at all but some more plan-juggling is required in order to squeeze in our desired conclusion back in Oakengates.

Matters are completed with a trinity of tightly positioned taverns on Market Street. The Crown is holding a beer festival where the Secretary goes all Dark & Dangerous, the Station involves a near head-on collision with 'Elvis' and the Fighting Cocks stoutly brings the curtain down. 19:05 provides the return train to Wolverhampton and the meeting is adjourned at 1930 hours. The sun definitely shone on Telford today!

- Cheers! -

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