RF627 at Welwyn North Stn

Hertford Running Day

Sunday June 4th 2006

Prepared by Ian Smith, 26th June 2006

Part 2: Gallivanting on GS62

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.

Ram Inn GS62 outside the Ram

384: Hertford to Stevenage

After breakfast we drove round to the bus station at Bircherley Green. Once again I was going out with Peter on the early turn. But this year it was not a 329, but a 384 to Stevenage, via Ware, Dane End and Walkern. There was a small number of folk waiting for us - people who had bought a programme in advance and worked out what was happening. We unloaded the spare tyre and various bits for the Country Bus Rallies stall, and waited for eparture time. Golden Boy's new Dart came in on a Sunday working of the 395 from Ware, making a change from its weekday operation on the 333 to Bengeo.

GS62 at Hertford Golden Boy Dart GS62 at Hertford

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.

GS62 near Fairfax Road GS62 at Ware Abbey

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!

GS62 at Dane End (two pictures)

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.

GS62 at Benington GS62 at Benington

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.

GS62 at Walkern RF4 at Stevenage

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.

Uno154 at Stevenage Arriva 3454 at Stevenage

Arriva 3809 at Stevenage Arriva 3846 at Stevenage

386: Stevenage to Hitchin

Meanwhile Peter Aves had reset the blinds on GS62 for our continued journey on the 386 to Hitchin. The London connection came through in the hands of DAF R455SKX, then we were off too, with a rather better load.

Green Line R455SKX at Stevenage GS62 at Stevenage

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.

GS62 at Titmore Green GS62 at Titmore Green

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.

GS62 at Great Wymondeley GS62 at Great Wymondeley

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.

383: Hitchin to Weston

Peter reset the blinds again, this time for the 383 to Weston. Garage plates were swapped to HN plates too. The bus shelters at the stops here were Adshel standards (I think).

GS62 at Hitchin GS62 at Hitchin

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.

GS62 at Weston Weston

807: Weston to Stevenage

Once more Peter reset the blinds, this time for the 807 service that used to link Stevenage, Weston and Letchworth. We had permission for just two journeys on this, one each way, due the narrowness of the connection at the St.Nicholas end. We rattled through the country lanes, then missed a turning. Almost at Chesfield Park, we found a place to turn, and were soon heading down into the Stevenage estates. We found the narrow turn to Rectory Lane, and wriggled down to the church. We made our way into Old Stevenage, and then went round to the Bus Station.

GS62 at Weston Old Stevenage

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.

GS62 at Stevenage GS62 at Stevenage

Part 3: Navigating with a National: SNB257

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