RF679 at Halstead

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday July 12th 2009

Prepared by Ian Smith, 23rd July 2009.

431: Sevenoaks, Orpington, Dunton Green: RF679

RF679 came into Sevenoaks bus station just after RF315, having completed a trip from Brasted on the 413. Driver Colin Rivers was due a forty minute break before his next trip out, on which I was going to join him, so I boarded the bus for the short hop round the corner to park. Suddenly it seemed to be green RF time at the bus station, as RF28 pulled in on a 704 for Green Street Green, followed in the other bay by RF633 to complete the 413 journey to Chipstead.

RF679 on 413. RF28 on 704.

Colin went offto get something to eat while I minded the bus. RMC1500 pulled out from the bus station on a 704 to Green Street Green, having taken over the run from RF28. The Westerham destination blind was presumably the closest Roy had.

A few minutes later came a service actually going to Westerham: RT3148 on the 403.

RMC1500 on 704. RT3148 on 403. RT3148 on 403.

Back in the main bus-park SC390 was resting after a trip on the 55 to Kemsing, next to RF489 which had been on the morning trip to Orpington. Green Line coach Routemaster RCL2260 passed through en route to Tonbridge on the 704.

SC390, RF489. RCL2260 on 704.

The M&D Reliance started up and came round past RF679 to take up an afternoon trip on the 106 to Fawke Common, bringing back pleasant memories of this trip last year. RT3183 came into the bus station stands on a southbound 403 from Westerham.

SC390, RF679. RT3183 on 403.

Colin returned, and it was time for us to head round into the bus station with RF679 for the afternoon trip on the 431 to Orpington.

RF679 ready for 431. RF679 ready for 431.

We followed RML2330 round to the bus station. The big Routemaster was taking over the 403 journey from RT3183.

We pulled into the other bay and loaded well for the 431 trip. The infrequent 431 always did go down St.Botolph's Road to the railway station, so that way we went, pulling in at the station bus stop for a quick picture.

RML2330 on 403. RF679 at Sevenoaks Station.

Then it was on northwards to Riverhead, through the notorious junction there and on into Dunton Green. We saluted the ex-garage as we passed the housing block there, and continued up through the village, bearing left to cross the M25 at the foot of Star Hill.

To say that we romped up Star Hill would be a gross exageration, but RF679 took it steadily and confidently, affording us some excellent views southwards towards the sandstone Weald. Soon we were up into the trees on the top of the chalk escarpment, passing the back door of Fort Halstead towards Knockholt Pound.

Star Hill. Top of Star Hill.

We bore left at the fork in the village, to pull up outside the Three Horseshoes.

RF679 at Knockholt Pound. RF679 at Knockholt Pound.

Then it was a sharp turn round the triangle and down the lane to Halstead. There are London style bus-stops here. We noted that the service bus again goes both ways round the Cudham loop, with different route numbers, and that both do a double-run to serve Halstead. We paused at a Halstead bus-stop.

Then it was on, past the Cock Inn and down the lane to emerge on the old main road south of Knockholt Station. We went down the hill towards the station, then turned steeply up right, up Wheatsheaf Hill, to meet Hewitts Roundabout on the main road to Orpington (and nowadays the M25). We crossed over into Hewitts Lane, which is barely wide enough for the bus, and these days impassable for double-deckers. Even in the RF we had to watch for dangling branches. But we made it through to Maypole without meeting any traffic, and continued down Maypole Lane to emerge at Chelsfield.

RF679 at Halstead. RF679 exiting Maypole Lane, Chelsfield.

We sidled into Chelsfield, where there was bunting and lots of cars. We turned right into Chelsfield Lane - a bus route , and left into Warren Road, also a bus route. There our luck ran out, as a stream of cars came the other way. Most wriggled past, but one irate lady was unable to do so, and eventually backed off. We continued to the Orpington by-pass, and turned right, down the gentle hill past Goddington Lane to Spur Road, where we turned into Orpington.

At the War Memorial roundabout we met a stream of red buses. Metrobus 252 Darted round the corner ahead of us to head for the station on R3, while East Lancs bodied 257 bustled past the other way on the R1 for Green Street Green. Selkent offered Trident 17971 on the 61 as we approached the turnoff for the station.

Darts 252 and 257. Selkent 17971 on 61.

We turned up the Station Approach. Everyone had to alight at the station entrance while the bus was turned in TfL's bus stance, then rejoined the bus at the bus stops. It is all a far cry from the old days when it was just a yard where buses turned.

We set off back towards Sevenoaks. Another Dart, Metrobus' 274, whirled round the War Memorial on a B14 from Bexleyheath.

RF679 at Orpington Station. 274 on B14.

RF679 at Orpington Station. We trundled out from Orpington, and climbed the gentle slope up the Orpington by-pass to Chelsfield. Warren Road caused fewer problems this time: oncoming drivers were polite and competent. So we squeezed through Chelsfield without difficulty, and turned into the narrow opening of Maypole Road. Maypole, and Hewitts Lane beyond, were likewise negotiated without problems, if slowly. We emerged onto the hurly-burly of Hewitts Roundabout, and dived into the peace of Wheatsheaf Hill, dropping down over the railway cutting to reach the old Bromley Road. We zig-zagged across it into Halstead, and climbed up through the village to pause outside The Cock.

Then it was on, still climbing gently up the back-slope of the North Downs, to reach The Three Horseshoes at Knockholt Pound.
RF679 at Knockholt Pound. RF679 at Knockholt Pound.

We swooshed down Star Hill to Dunton Green, where I alighted at the Dukes Head, opposite the old garage, to await the arrival of RCL2260 on the 704.

RF679 at Dukes Head.

Part Four: 704: Green Street Green

Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part One Part Two Part Four: 704: Green Street Green