RF633 at Fort Halstead

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday May 17th 2015

Prepared by Ian Smith, 28th May 2015.

404 with DML41356

404: Sevenoaks to Whitton: DML41356

RF633 was back from its short trip to the White Hart. But what was that behind it? A preserved Dart Marshall! DMS41356 is one of the more travelled of its kind with First London. It started on the Roundabout routes in Orpington, but then served at Uxbridge, Northumberland Park, Hackney Wick, Lea Interchange, Dagenham, Greenford, Harrow (London Sovereign), Bracknell and Slough, before being acquired by the Bromley Bus Preservation Group in May 2013. Now it was being used for one of the shuttle services to Go-Coach's Open Day at Otford Garage. It was set up as a 404 to Twitton.

RF633 at Sevenoaks DMS41356 at Sevenoaks

I boarded the little red bus. Little? It is only about four inches shorter than an RF, and nine inches wider! It went well. I chatted to the crew as we headed north, out past the War Memorial and down the long hill through St.John's to Bat & Ball. We went straight on, towards Otford, meeting RF28 coming the other way as we passed the industrial estate. At Otford Pond we saw RT1700 at the stop on the other side.

RF28 at Otford RT1700 at Otford Pond

We turned onto the road west out of Otford, and met RF146, also on 404 duty from Twitton Village. Why Twitton rather than Shoreham? Past experience has showed CBR that getting buses along the narrow lane to Shoreham Village past the parked cars, and then doing a reverse turn at Shoreham Village, is a little difficult, so their 404s only go as far as Twitton, where the lanes are narrow and clogged up by cars, but reversing can be done by a loop, up over the railway on the Polhill lane, and round to The Rising Sun at Twitton.

RF146 on 404, Otford Narrow lanes, Twitton

404: Whitton to Otford: DML41356

We paused outside the Rising Sun, then set off back to Otford. We called at Otford Pond for photos (What happened to those?), then headed for Vestry Road, the garage of Go-Coach, where the DMS came off duty with a faulty alarm circuit.

DMS41356 on 404, Twitton DMS41356 on 404, Otford Vestry Rd

Otford Vestry Road: Go-Coach open day

I went into the garage, looking for the facilities. Refreshed, I looked around. An elderly but very good-looking AEC Militant rescue truck (375UXK) stood massively between one set of jack-hoists. Up on the other set Arriva's LT327 looked down like a Xylon from Battlestar Galactica.

AEC Militant LT327, Otford Vestry Rd

Opposite the garage was a line of single-deckers, including Dart SLFs V303MDP in standard yellow and purple, and YT51EAC in the mauve "Dart" livery for the Dartford local routes.

V303MDP YT51EAC, Otford Vestry Rd

Ex-Eastbourne Cadet 6101 was next in line, followed by Dart SLF X713CCA.

Cadet 6101, Otford Vestry Rd X771CCA, Otford Vestry Rd

Further along were a couple of Routemasters: RML2472, the Go-Coach RML used on the Sevenoaks Town Tours to and from Knole, and locally preserved RM1063.

RML2472, Otford Vestry Rd X771CCA, Otford Vestry Rd

Also standing near the garage was visitor RT593. Across the road was Dart SLF GJ52HDZ, that earlier had been duty bus on the 401.

RT593 GJ52HDZ, Otford Vestry Rd

404: Otford to Sevenoaks: LY53UUX

I now needed to get back to Sevenoaks. What was going? Oh! The King Long, LY53UUX. I climbed aboard the ex-Malta coach, and was whisked back up the hill to Sevenoaks in comfort. Not the same as when I had done this journey in an ex-Malta Bedford, but good nevertheless.

LY53UUX LY53UUX, Otford Vestry Rd

Now there was just time for a cup of tea before setting off to work..

Part Five: Works Journeys

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