SV6107 climbs up to Sevenoaks War Memorial

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday 16th July 2017

Prepared by Ian Smith, 21st July 2017.

Part One: to Sevenoaks

Orpington Station

I was almost an hour early at Orpington Station: the trains were every half-hour, but I did not want to risk the one half an hour before the off. Besides, Orpington Station is a busy bus place. Like Bromley, it tends to show the trends in suburban bus provision.

As I left the station one of the Metrobus EnviroDarts, 154, was living up to its name on one of the Roundabout routes. More sedentary was a double-deck Scania, Stagecoach 15122, enjoying its end-of-route break on the 51.

154 at Orpington Stn 15122 on 51 at Orpington Stn

Next in was a longer EnviroDart, a 10.8m rather than 8.9m variant: 761 on the terminating R9. It was followed in by Citaro K MEC54 off the 358, wearing the more orangey shade of red.

761 on R9 at Orpington Stn MEC54 on 358 at Orpington Stn

Surprisingly MEC54 was followed immediately by MEC64.

MEC64 on 358 at Orpington Stn

Then started a run of new Wrightbus Streetlites, starting with WS4 on the R3. These have a certain style - a worthy successor to the GS perhaps - certainly quieter! It was followed in by WS1 on the R6.

WS4 on R3 at Orpington Stn WS4 on R3 at Orpington Stn

There were other red buses coming and going, but I resisted the urge to photograph everything. I only had one camera battery with me. and I didn't want to run out before the end of the day. So for the next half-hour the camera stayed in my pocket.

Then just after 0915 a different red bus brought the camera back out: RF429 was coming up the Station Approach. Alan Charman parked neatly at the rear of the bus stance to change the blinds for the southward journey.

RF429 comes up Station Approach, Orpington Stn RF429 parks at Orpington Stn

431C: Orpington Station to Badgers Mount (RF429)

Alan chose 431C blinds for the works journeys to Fort Halstead from Orpington via Green Street Green, pulled round onto the stop, and loaded up.

We headed off, down the Station Approach, and left to the War Memorial. A right turn took us on the road to Green Street Green, where we passed Go-Ahead Enviro Dart SEN24 on the R11 - the older Dart Marshalls have now all gone. Time changes. We turned left for Pratts Bottom. I saw Alan glance across the roundabout at the entrance to Cudham Lane, and asked him if he was tempted. He admitted it with a grin.

RF429 loads for the 431C, Orpington Stn SEN24 on R11, Green Street Green

But we headed along the main road, past Pratts Bottom and up to the turn for Knockholt. We paused at the station - an important point for the Works journeys. Then we were off up the hill again, to Badgers Mount, where there is a suitable bus stop to pause and change the blinds for the journey on to Sevenoaks. We did not have a 431D blind, for the Fort Halstead to Sevenoaks via Polhill, so made do with a 431 blind.

RF429 on 431C, Knockholt Stn RF429 at Badgers Mount

431D: Badgers Mount to Sevenoaks(RF429)

We continued on, soon passing the Polhill Arms (now renovated, but not a pub) and the access road to Fort Halstead. We rolled down Polhill, and turned left at the foot to cross above the M25 and enter Dunton Green. We continued down through the straggling village, to stop at The Dukes Head, opposite the site of Dunton Green garage - now housing.

RF429 on 431, Dunton Green

After paying our respects, we continued to Riverhead, negotiating the twin junctions with the A25 that caused such delays before the M25. We undulated over the moirane field to Sevenoaks Station (Tubs Hill), where we stopped to pick up, and turned up onto the Sevenoaks Weald up St.Botolph's Road. At the top we turned right to roll along Sevenoaks High Street to reach the bus station.

After unloading, we pulled forward to clear the stands and park the bus. Time for breakfast.

RF429 off 431, Sevenoaks Bus Station

Part Two: Sevenoaks

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