Sevenoaks Running Day
Sunday 16th July 2017
Prepared by Ian Smith, 31st July 2017.
Part Six: South & NorthMy planned RT trip to Tonbridge and back was almost derailed. I went to say hello to Brian Catchpole in Maidstone & District Reliance SC390, about head for Fawke Common on the 106. Greetings exchanged, he asked me if I was available, as a responsible person to supervise the reverse turn at Fawke Common. Fortunately I found that Nigel Henty was already aboard, and "volunteered" him instead.
In the next bay stood Optare Versa 4213 on Arriva's 402 service, terminating here. The 402 ceases to work as far as Bromley next week, the section beyond Dunton Green being deemed uneconomic. Arriva has batted the problem back to Kent, to see if they wish to offer it as a tendered service between DG and Bromley. Some hope.
402: Sevenoaks to Tonbridge Station and back: RT3183We set off round the block, turning south at the lights to head along the High Street, past the lodge for Knole Park and Sevenoaks School. We were quickly into countryside, passing the White Hart, then descending River Hill. We stayed on the old road, taking the slip-road before the roundabout for the modern A25 by-pass. We rolled on down into Hildenborough, a long piece of strip development. We passed Hildenborough Church, limit for validity of Green Rovers, and turned down at the lights in Tonbridge. We crossed the Medway bridge by the castle, then crossed the railway. We had to alight there, at the station stop, and cross the road under our own steam, as the bus went off to turn at the roundabout.
The RT came back, and pulled up behind Arriva's EnviroDart 1641, which, with engine off, was not telling where it was going or by which route.
The RT set off again. This is the slow direction, up from the Medway onto the top of Sevenoaks Weald. We climbed up from the river bridge and turned left onto the old A25 to Hildenborough. Gentle going at first, but with the gradient increasing. Going north you cannot charge River Hill. Yu have to circumnavigate the roundabout above the new road first. River Hill was a trial. RT3183 crawled up the long bank, needing first gear in places. But we made it to the top, and went up through the gears past the White Hart, to rumble along into Sevenoaks.
431: Sevenoaks to Orpington Station: RF429The return feeder service to Orpington was leaving early - at 1645. Not surprising, as the journey north is in the wrong direction for Alan and his bus. The bus filled rather fuller than in the morning, but within Alan's load tolerances. We dropped one passenger off at Tubs Hill station anyway. We headed up through Riverhead and Dunton Green, and up to the foot of Star Hill. We turned right: not via Knockholt Pound then, but Polhill. The Regal Four went up Polhill beautifully, past the erstwhile Polhill Arms (now a furniture design agency) to the Badgers Mount roundabout. Which way would we go? Green Street Green via Knockholt Station (431A) or via Chelsfield? Actually neither. The lane via Maypole to Chelsfield is notoriously twisty and narrow, so Alan took us down the Orpington Bypass, to rejoin the 431 route and turn left down to Orpington War Memorial, and thence up to the Station. Nice one!
Many thanks to the CBR team for organising this excellent day, that conjours up so many memories of Green Rover days. Thanks especially to Peter Aves: organising this day from his retirement in Leeds cannot have been easy. Thanks too to all the vehicle owners, the drivers, conductors, programme vendors, timetablers ....
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six