Red Double-Decker Bus Update and 22nd Feb 2011 Christchurch Earthquake

On the 10th February 2011 I wrote about the Red Double-Decker Bus. Since writing that article, on Sunday 13th February, I enjoyed travelling on the red double-decker bus. I have been intending to write an update to that article with my experiences, but yesterday Christchurch was hit by another large close and shallow 6.3 earthquake, which as most people around the world will now know, has caused loss of life, injuries, and a massive amount of damage to buildings.

It is for that reason that I write this article with very mixed feelings. I have spent a lot of my time photographing the central city, talking to and taking pictures of locals and tourists, in the very streets that now look like a war zone. I realise how lucky I was not to be in the city centre at 1:51pm on 22nd Feb 2011. If I had been, I may not be here today able to write this article. I fear for the many people, the many acquaintances, who could have been in that area at that time. My very best wishes to all of those affected.

The whole of the city centre is now closed, the whole of the area enclosed by the "four avenues", Bealey Avenue, Fitzgerald Avenue, Moorehouse Avenue and the east edge of Hagley Park, along Rolleston Avenue:


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Many of the wonderful old brick and stone buildings have been damaged, including the Christchurch Cathedral, which has lost its spire.

The pictures that follow were taken from the top and front of the double-decker bus, which offered fantastic views of the city on a very comprehensive tour. I include them with very mixed feelings, because I know many of those views no longer look the same, and will never look quite the same.

This is the view from the bus looking towards Hagley Park while it was standing on the bridge across the river on Worcester Boulevard. On the far left is the arts centre, and in the far middle the musuem:

Sunday 13th February was a superb day, the weather was good, it was the day I attended the Woolston Brass Band in Hagley Park and the tourist areas were very busy with buskers and with other musical entertainment. I hope to write more about that. From the bus I took this picture of a band on bicycles, again from the bus on the bridge:

From the height of a double-decker bus, one gains a different perspective, which includes looking down on the tram:

When the bus starts its journey up Worcester Boulevard, one can see right along the Boulevard, including the statue at the end, which I understand is now no longer there:

The bus turned right into Montreal Street:

The bus looped back up Worcester Boulevard, via Rolleston Avenue, giving a view in the other direction up to Christchurch Cathedral, which is now severely damaged:

The route was complicated and comprehensive, and therefore difficult to remember, but at one point the bus travelled east along Armagh Street, offering this view, the slight hump in the road being the bridge over the Avon river:

At one point the bus was directly behind a tram, it started to rain, and I managed to get this unusual picture:

After the earthquake on the 7th September 2010, there have been many signs of the damage. The following picture, looking south down Colombo Street, has large bright detour signs. It is with sadness that I include this picture, because on the left is the Christchurch Cathedral, with its spire, a spire which is now on the ground:


The tour was very good, informative and enjoyable, and as expected Arjuna is enthusiastic and knowledgable. I doubt I can remember half of the facts she mentioned, but I did learn things I'd not known despite living here. The route was slightly affected by roads closed due to the 4th September earthquake, but nothing significant.

If it had not been for the 22nd February 2011 earthquake my article and conclusion would have been very different. Unfortunately my memories of that day, and the pictures I took, now serve to remind me of what the city used to look like. Only time will tell what it will look like next time I walk around. After the first earthquake I was pleasantly surprised by how little was missing. I fear that next time, there will be far more missing, and it will not be quite the same.

Written on 23rd February 2011 by Steve