RF28 on 704, Bromley High Street

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday 15th May 2011

Prepared by Ian Smith, 24th May 2011.

Getting There

I went to Tunbridge Wells on the train, to catch XF3 back towards Sevenoaks. But I missed it. Not the train, XF3. It must have been a matter of a few seconds, but by the time I found the bus-stop there was no sign of it. I hadn't seen it go, so hung on for ten minutes or so in case it was late rather than me. Coastal's Dart SLF GU52HAX arrived on the 254. Then it was back into the station, to catch a train north to Sevenoaks. You always need a fallback plan in case the feeder does not work out, for whatever reason.

Coastal GU52HAX at Tunbridge Wells on 254, 15th May 2011 375917 at Tunbridge Wells Station

I came out of Sevenoaks Station wondering whether I could face the walk up the hill to the bus station, and was about to get a taxi when I saw RT604 coming on the 403 from Croydon. "'Calloo callay, O frabjous day', he chortled in his joy". I quickly crossed the road to the stop, and joined the others waiting at the stop. RT604 pulled up, and actually had spaces aboard! I climbed into the saloon, and we were away, up St. Botolph's Road, under the magnificent trees, up to the War Memorial, then along the ridge road into the town and to the bus station.

RT604 on 403 at Tubs Hill Station Inside RT604, St.Botolphs Road

Sevenoaks Bus Station

When RT604 turned the tight corner into Sevenoaks Bus Station, it was to find it bursting with buses ready for the day's activities.

XF3 had arrived, and was wearing 402 blinds for its journey up from Tunbrige Wells.

SNB340 was also wearing 402 blinds ready for its first foray northwards towards Green Street Green, towards which it could venture as far as the LEZ boundary at Pratts Bottom..

RT604, Sevenoaks XF3, Sevenoaks SNB340, Sevenoaks

Sister SNB449, one of the later, cheaper Series B models without the air processing pod, was set up ready to venture along the narrow lanes beyond Otford to Kemsing.

RF600 wore blinds for the 413 to Chipstead. The 413 and 413A were a pair of featured routes for the day, lacking only the Sunday special journeys to Chevening Church and Covney Green.

SNB449, Sevenoaks RF600, Sevenoaks

RF146, wearing its still-new London Transport canary yellow and Lincoln Green livery on its modernised body, was also dedicated to the 413, while Country Area RF633, waiting across the road, wore blinds for the 404, which route took over the remaining 413 journeys in later years.

RF146, Sevenoaks RF633, Sevenoaks

Another pair of RFs awaited turns too: RF315 was to work on the 421 through to Heaverham, while Central Area RF429 was to join the 413 allocation. Dunton Green - the Sevenoaks Area garage - not only borrowed red RFs for Summer Sundays, but had some allocated for a while.

RT604 had had its blinds reset for the morning working to Orpington on the 431A, a variant that worked via Knockholt Station and Green Street Green rather than the 431's Chelsfield (not amenable these days to double-decker working). The return would be via another variant, the 431D, that served Green Street Green, Fort Halstead and Polhill rather than Halstead and Knockholt Pound.

RF315, RF429, Sevenoaks RT604, 431A, Sevenoaks

More buses were still arriving: Green line RF28 came in, followed by Maidstone & District Reliance SC390, which would work on the M&D routes going east from Sevenoaks.

RF28, Sevenoaks SC390, Sevenoaks

RML2323, in its London Country light green and yellow, was tucked in behind the two RFs, and was scheduled to work on the Westerham duties. Next to it was Leyland Titan T1101, working today on the 401. It had already arrived in service from Dartford.

Also here for the Westerham runs, wearing the later 483 number, was preserved Metrobus Olympian 395.

RML2323, T1101, Sevenoaks 395, Sevenoaks

Behind the Olympian was parked a bus that had caught my eye as I arrived. Now I went to have a look at the Malta Bedford...

Part Two: Short Run, Long Run..

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

Ian's Bus-stop Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5