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Aberbargoed Hill

In South Wales and Monmouthshire much of the value of the bus lies in making connexions over the mountains from one steep-sided narrow valley to the next.

The following piece of brisk writing is taken from Everyday Knowledge in Pictures, a book whose title has doubtless been overtaken by circumstances. Do such books still exist for the thoughtful child, half-tone pictures illustrating sensible chapters such as "How Coal is Brought to Your Home" or "What Happens when You Send a Telegram"?

Special circumstances call for heroic measures.
Served by the West Monmouthshire Omnibus Board, Aberbargoed Hill is a steep pitch, falling at 1 ft in 4¼ ft over a loose surface and ending up with two right-angled bends the second of which leads under a low and narrow railway bridge little better than a cattle creep.
Eight specially picked drivers are employed, and great skill is called for on their part in judging the turn under the bridge. It is a tribute to the drivers' care that no accident has marred the use of the route.

Expressed in modern terms, that's a gradient of around 25%. It can accurately be said that I have driven a bus, but ten minutes happily manœuvring a South Yorkshire Transport double-decker round the yard at Greenland Road depot hardly compares with having people's lives in your care day in, day out. Didn't crash any of my gear-changes, though.

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