RF627 at Welwyn North Stn

Hertford Running Day

Sunday June 4th 2006

Prepared by Ian Smith, 26th June 2006

Part 1: Roving on RF627

This year too I travelled to Hertford on RF627. I was up very early on Saturday morning for the drive south to Coventry to meet up with Ken Eveleigh and his big green RF. He showed me his new garden garage: 40ft by 20ft: just big enough for a 30ft by 7ft6in bus. Then we were away, along the A45 to meet the A5, then south-eastwards through Milton Keynes.

We reached the fringes of the old London Transport Country Area at Dunstable, which still has an active bus population. We passed buses of several companies, including a very new Scania with Wright Solar body, Arriva The Shires 3606, on the Luton - Dunstable service 38. Another, older, bus went down Dunstable's main street issuing smoke or steam ahead of us.

RF627 at Ken's RF627 at Ken's Arriva 3606 at Dunstable

We continued down Watling Street towards Markyate. Lutonian Mercedes-Benz 811D with Wright body, Number 71, recently with Milton Keynes Metro, came roaring up the Roman Road past us towards Dunstable on service 34.

We turned off at Markyate, and headed east to Luton.

366 route: Luton to Lemsford

We used the central dual carriageaway to get onto the Lea Valley road towards Wheathampstead, on the old LT route 366 (Luton - Welwyn Garden City). This was a Limited Stop service replacing the closed railway along the valley. It shared the road as far as Wheathampstead with the all-stops route 365 to St.Albans. Whatever, it was a very pleasant route, initially between the infant River Lea and the electrified Midland Main Line. The latter then crossed over us and headed for St.Albans, while we continued by the river to Batford Corner and Wheathampstead. We met a Centrebus Dart SLF (#578) heading for Luton on route 320.

Lutonian 71 on Watling Street Centrebus 578 in Lea Valley.

We continued down the 366 route as far as Lemsford, where we turned north. There was not room to park the bus at the attractive-looking pubs at Lemsford, so we went under the A1(M) onto the old Great North Road (now the B197), and headed north for Welwyn. We passed an Arriva Volvo B6, heading south, not in service. LOTS records show that this is an ex-Southend bus, now #3351, transferred at Christmas to Stevenage. We swooped downhill towards Welwyn, and recrossed over the A1(M). We by-passed Welwyn, then turned off at a roundabout to head for Welwyn Church. I discovered that the direct access from the next roundabout was not permitted. Round the roundabout, back up the hill, turn right and wiggle down to the church. I had intended to take a break on the bus-stop here, but an Arriva Wright Renown (3304) was sitting on the stop opposite. If we had stopped we would have blocked the road. So we went on.

ex-Southend 3601 on Gt.Nth.Rd Renown 3304 on 300 at Welwyn Church.

388 route: Welwyn Church to Hertford

I missed the turn in Welwyn, so we had another trip round the by-pass and several roundabouts to get onto the main road to Welwyn Garden City. We did not stay on it for long, before continuing along the minor road to Digswell Viaduct as the main road headed off south. Beyond the tall viaduct we turned up left, and up left again to reach Welwyn North Station, where we stopped for a break.

Digswell Viaduct RF627 at Welwyn North Stn.

RF627 at Welwyn North Stn. RF627 at Welwyn North Stn.

After a break at the station, watching while massive coaches came and went on the weekend rail replacement service, we set off again along the 388, through Digswell village and Harmer Green, the latter with its curious twist in the road between green and pond, and out through decreasing suburbia to reach Burnham Green. We turned right at the crossroads, and pulled up at the stop, opposite the brick-built bus shelter.

RF627 at Burnham Green. RF627 at Burnham Green.

We found another similar brick-built shelter a mile and a half down the road, in Tewin, where we pulled up for our next stop, opposite the Rose and Crown.

RF627 at Tewin. RF627 at Tewin.

From Tewin we headed on along the narrow section of the route, along twisting lanes through intermittent woodland. Very picturesque, but not where you want to meet oncoming traffic. Fortunately we didn't, and soon emerged onto the wider B1000 for the two miles into Hertford North. We did begin to meet traffic - and more buses - there, as we headed into Hertford to find our parking place. Notable were an Arriva DAF (3449), still on Green Line work on the 724, and a Uno Dart in its purple and pink livery on the 341.

East of Tewin. 3449 in Hertford.

341 route: Hertford to Essendon Mill and back

We found Eastbourne Regent V No69 at the rendezvous already, and after exchanging greetings we piled aboard for the traditional tree-checking on the 341 route between Hertford and Essendon Mill. The hard suspension on the large capacity double-decker bounced us up and down and backwards and forwards as we rode west through Hertford, and up over the hill past County Hall, and down to Horns Mill. We kept a careful watch out for low-hanging branches along the B158 for the next three and a half-miles, but there waere no problems. We turned up onto the main A414 and headed back into Hertford rather quicker.

Back at our bus-park we met up with RML2613, and supplied the crew with the materials to make a set of 390 blinds for use the next day.

RF627 and Eastbourne 69. RML2613 in Hertford.

Then it was into town to find our hotel and a snack.

Part 2: Gallivanting with GS62

All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: Gallivanting with GS62