GS15 on 471, Knockholt Pound

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday May 13th 2012

Prepared by Ian Smith, 18th May 2012.

401: Sevenoaks to Otford Garage: T1030

I largely missed out on the Titan era in London. I probably did travel on some of Bromley's allocation during their time on the 261, on periodic visits to the parental home. But I admired them. They were solidly built, and somehow seemed like a proper London bus, not just a "cornflakes box". I know my Dad had dealings with them at Aldenham Works, where their orange, yellow and black seat moquette proved difficult for the trimmers to work with.

T1030 at Sevenoaks for 401 T1030 at Sevenoaks for 401

So I enjoyed my trip to Otford on T1030, sitting inside the surprisingly dark interior. As we turned north from the bus station I espied RML2699 coming along on a 402, and snapped it from the big side windows as it passed.

Inside T1030 T1030 at Otford Garage

We descended through St.Johns to Bat & Ball, and headed north along the broad main road towards Otford. Then we made a right turn into Vestry Road. We crossed the Old Otford Road, and delved through the estate to find the Go-Coach garage right at the back.

T1030 at Otford Garage T1030 at Otford Garage

Very obvious as we alighted was the line-up of the Go-Coach Volvo Olympians used on their schools contracts. Smartly turned out in yellow and mauve, the ex-Dublin machines made a very impressive sight. There was L707SGW, S869SCG, L709SGW, and L47VDM, not all of which I have traced back to their Dublin roots yet.

Dublin Olympians at Otford

Opposite them, in the entrance to the garage yard, stood another Titan: T684 in London red.

T684 at Otford Garage T684 at Otford Garage

I went in to the maintenance shed, which was open to visitors. Go-Coach was having an Open Day to welcome in people from the running day at Sevenoaks.

Inside was ex-Stagecoach London Trident 17291 (once TA291), raised up on sturdy jacks to allow access to the underside. TA291 has been prepared for service, and repainted in Go's livery, unlike sister TA302 (17302), which was lurking in the background, still in Stagecoach London red, with a for-sale notice on it.

17302 in Otford Garage TA291 in  Otford Garage

I went through into the backyard. Ex-Metroline Dart SLF DLD95 was there, in Go livery, blinded for the local Hildenborough 200 service. Next to it was ex-Metroline Dart/Marshall DMS19, with blinds for the 401.

DLD95 in Otford Garage DMS19 in  Otford Garage

On the other side of DLD95 was a step-entrance Dart, once DP327 with County Bus, and subsequently with Arriva Kent & Sussex at Tunbridge Wells and Gillingham. Then it went to Go-Coach, who painted it yellow and mauve, and now it is in Nu-Venture two-tone green, outstationed here at Otford for the 404.

Parked beside that was Volvo Olympian NV116, privately preserved but earning its keep. After a period on hire to Griffin Bus, it is now used by Go-Coach on schools contracts.

I wandered back through the garage. The cry went up "Anyone for Sevenoaks?" The Malta Bedford was about to depart on a shuttle service.

NV116 and DP327 in Otford Garage Malta Bedford at  Otford Garage

401: Otford Garage to Sevenoaks: Malta Bedford

I crossed the road and boarded the Bedford. The journey up to Sevenoaks was brief but noisy, with its engine roaring as we climbed up through St.Johns, and occasional blasts from its air-horn.

Malta Bedford at Sevenoaks

Part Four: Lunchtime at Sevenoaks

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

Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six