RF679 at Orpington Station

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday May 13th 2018

Prepared by Ian Smith, 21st May 2018.

Part 6: A Garage run and a home run

402: Sevenoaks to Dunton Green - and back: RM1397

RM1397 came round onto the stand, wearing blinds for route 61. Quite appropriate really, as this was one of the closest RM routes to today's running day, touching its area at Orpington Station. (The 51 got closer, terminating at Green Street Green, but why spoil a good story?) I have called this a 402 trip, as Country Area practice was to label garage runs with the lowest route number serving that route.

Anyway, enough burbling. I climbed aboard, and sat downstairs near the front nearside window, behind the bonnet.

We set off by the now-familar route, along to the War Memorial, down St Botolphs Road to Sevenoaks Station and over the bumps to Riverhead. The seat was comfortable. The big Leyland engine rumbled very quietly. I nearly went to sleep. I would have been very happy if the bus was indeed going to Bromley South. But we rumbled up into Dunton Green, over the last remaining bridge on the Westerham Branch and the site of Dunton Green garage. Not even a bus stop now. We continued up through the village, and just before the motorway bridge met RF271 heading south on the 704.

RM1397, Sevenoaks RF271 on 704, Dunton Green

We turned at the roundabout at the foot of Star Hill and rolled back down through the village to The Duke's Head - the bus stop opposite the old garage site.

RM1397, Dunton Green garage

After a pause we set off back into Sevenoaks, to terminate at the Bus Station. RT604 had arrived just before, having been to Chipstead and back as a 454.

Another arrival was the M&D Dart 3238, back from Borough Green.

RT604 off 454 3238 off 9

Around the corner stood another two buses that I had seen only fleetingly during the day: M&D Olympian 5928, that had been working the 401 to and from Farningham, and RF406, which had been on several routes, including the 421 to Heaverham.

5928 off 401 RF406 off 421

413A: Sevenoaks to Orpington Station: RF679

Most strangely I did not get any photos of RF679 on its return trip to Orpington. It started from the carpark, not the stand, and on arrival at Orpington my train was due NOW. But I did watch out as we breasted Polhill and passed the Indian restaurant. I thought I had espied an LNWR carriage standing there, earlier in the day. I was right. An internet search showed that it was a semi-royal saloon built by the LNWR, and initially preserved by the Bluebell Railway, who had painted it in LMS maroon. It was bought by a film company, and then the Calcutta Club Indian Restaurant as a diner. It has been restored to its wonderful LNWR livery.

LNWR 74 at Polhill

I missed the train. I heard the distinctive whine of Networker electronics as I hot-footed it through the subway. Never mind, it had been a good day, and the trains were every 30 minutes.

Many thanks to all who participated: organisers (especially Peter Aves), bus owners, drivers, conductors, programme compilers and sellers, cafe staff, insurers, permission granters, Go-Coach (for the bus station and more), and not least to the travelling public, who seemed to much enjoy the day out in a gentler age.

RT604, RT1798*, RT3148, RT3183
RF28, RF271, RF406*, RF429*, RF600, RF633, RF679
RM1397*, XF3, SMS274
M&D SC390, 3238, 5928
Camden Coaches 900SAF

Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six