Early on the Sunday morning Peter Aves and I went to collect GS62. After all the usual checks the Guy Special was started up and we returned to Hertford, parking outside our hotel (The Ram) while we went in for breakfast.
On our way out of Hertford in the sunshine we paused near Fairfax Road, where LT had its Hertford garage. Then we went on, out along the main road to Ware, still quite empty of traffic at this early hour on Sunday morning. We turned over the level crossing at Ware Station, and drove up through the empty town to Ware Abbey, where we had another photo stop. The bus shelter here was cast iron and glass: quite classy.
We headed out from Ware into the countryside, crossing the A10 and heading up the A602 past Tonwell. We roared up the hills, and swooped down the other side, as far as the Sacombe turnoff. Now the lane was much narrower. We carefully made our way along to Dane End, where we stopped before the acute corner into Whempstead Lane. A man in a car stopped. We thought it was to compliment us on the bus but no - it was to ask us to move so that he could get into his house!
We turned the tight corner, and set off up the narrow lane towards Whempstead, hoping not to meet anything coming the other way. At Whempstead we turned north again, and hurried on through the lanes to Burn's Green and Benington. We were due to meet RF4 at Benington Green, so pulled up at the stop, opposite the wooden bus shelter.
Folk meeting our bus at Benington told us that RF4 had not appeared at Letchworth, so after a short period watching the ducks and babies on the pond we set off again along the narrow twisting section to Walkern. There we paused at the London Transport wooden bus shelter before driving on into the increasing urban spawl of Stevenage. We made our way into Old Stevenage, then round the traffic management system to locate the bus station.
I went off to find the toilets, and emerged to see RF4 departing for Hertford on the 384, after a late start from the north.
Stevenage Bus Station went through a flurry of connecting services. University Bus Dart/Caetano 154 was on a service to Lister Hospital, (with one of the new horizontally scrolling electronic displays that are nearly impossible to photograph). Arriva's Volvo B10BLE/Alexander 3454 was on local service 4. Dart 3809 came through on service 3. Volvo 3846 arrived on trunk service 301, heading for Hemel Hempstead via St.Albans.
We headed back up through Old Stevenage, then headed west to Fishers Green, where we passed close to the site of the old LT garage. We crossed the A1(M) and left urban Stevenage behind. Back in GS territory, we passed through Todd's Green, then paused opposite the pub at Titmore Green. No bus shelter here.
We went on, turning right to cross a bridge over the main Stevenage-Hitchin road. We turned sharp left in Great Wymondeley and pulled up outside the pub, a sidly redbrick massive building. No shelter here either.
We went on towards Hitchin, burrowing under the East Coast Main Line, then climbing over the top of the town before descending towards St.Mary's Square. I was going to stop at the old LT concrete bus stop at the top of the hill, but it has been provided with kerb ramps and a new perspex and metal bus shelter, so we didn't bother to stop. We went on down the hill, to cross the road at the bottom into the bus lay-by.
We set off again to Hitchin Station, dived under the main line and continued to Walsworth. We turned right into the Purwell Estate. But no short-working today. We went on across country to Willian. There we rejoined the old 384 route briefly. When we reached the A6141 we had to turn left, and go for the best part of a mile to a roundabout, turn round and come back again. We crossed the A1(M) and found that we could no longer turn right onto the B197. Another long digression to a roundabout and back. We soon pulled left off the B-road to climb Lannock Hill and progress towards Weston.
Would we get round the triangle? We let a car pull in front of us, then it parked at the corner. Turning was now more difficult. But Peter made it, and pulled up at the old LT tubular shelter, almost opposite the Red Lion.
I was going a different way from GS62 now. Peter quickly rechanged the blinds to show the Letchworth destination, and after just a few minutes he was away again.
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1 Part 3: Navigating with SNB257