RF679 at Orpington Station

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday May 13th 2018

Prepared by Ian Smith, 15th May 2018.

Part 1: 413D: Orpington Station to Sevenoaks: RF679

Orpington Station was quite busy, as in addition to its normal Sunday services it was the end-point for a replacement railway service to Beckenham Junction. Go-Ahead Metrobus at Green Street Green supplied EnviroDart SE290 for the R1 to St.Paul's Cray, while Metrobus at Crawley provided Scania OmniCity 6981 (recently transferred from Brighton & Hove) for the train substitution.

SE290 on R1 to St Pauls Cray 6981 on railway duty

At the north end of the bus station was a line-up of buses awaiting service: Go-Ahead Commercial Services PVL398, presumably on railway replacement; Metrobus Scania MEC64 for the 358 to Crystal Palace via everywhere and everywhere else; Streetlite WF WS8 for local R6 to St Mary Cray and Stagecoach ADL hybrid 12370 for the 51 to Woolwich.

Orpington Station line-up

More unusual was Metrobus 717. This MAN/MCV is one of those that spent most of its first nine years allocated to Croydon for the 202, before a move to Green Street Green, where it seems to be a spare for the EnviroDart fleet. I have seen it several times on the 126. Now it was working the R9. More normal fare was 171, a short, 8.9m EnviroDart, with a mid-offside emergency doorway, working the estate-penetrating R3.

717 on R9 171 on R3

Time was rapidly approaching for our bus to Sevenoaks. Stagecoach hybrid 13080 was not it. But it was soon followed by a green RF, RF679, with Colin Rivers at the wheel.

13080 on 51 RF679 arrives

Colin pulled right round onto the departure stop, and loaded up for the 431/431A trip to Sevenoaks.

RF679 loads for 431A

We set off down the station approach, and turned left to head for the War Memorial. Putney's preying-mantis hybrid WHV131 was sitting at the bus stop on the main road, waiting for a turn playing trains.

Down at the War Memorial we met 717 again, back from its pan-shaped 3-mile local route R9.

WHV131 for rail duty. 717 on R9.

We turned right, round the War Memorial, and headed for Green Street Green - the 431A/D route. We passed through the tall railway embankment. We met a refugee from Northumberland Park: EnviroDart SEN21 on the R11, and then an indigenous EnviroDart, 154, on the R1.

SEN21 on R11. 154 on R1.

At the Green Street Green roundabout we left the Central Area behind, and turned left towards Pratts Bottom - solidly green territory (Summer weekend 47s apart). The trees alongside the road were magnificent in their spring blossom as we climbed up to Knockholt Station, where we took the old road up to Badgers Mount, not turning right for Halstead and Knockholt Pound. We crested the North Downs at Polhill, and coasted down the long drag to the Dunton Green turn-off.

We rolled on down through the village, past The Dukes Head, over the surviving bridge of the Westerham Branch railway, and on to Riverhead. Then it was over the bumps to Sevenoaks Station (Tubs Hill), and left up St.Botolphs Road. The climb up the hill under the alternating pink and white chestnuts was spectacular.

St Botolphs Road. RF679 at Sevenoaks.

Now it was time for breakfast: the bus station cafe was open specially today..

Part Two: 403 to Tonbridge and back

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