Ken did his pre-flight checks, then carefully reversed the RF out of its purpose-built shed.
We were away by about 11am. The A45 took us past Daventry to meet Watling Street (the A5), and soon we were hustling south on the old Roman Road. The RF, fresh from an engine rebuild, was running very sweetly. We skirted Milton Keynes, then rejoined the Roman Road for the run south to Dunstable. It was only there that we started seeing buses. First up was one of several two-year-old Scania/Wright Solars, Arriva The Shire's 3603.
A familiar shape coming the other way looked like an ex-London Olympian, and so it proved. L67 has since worked in the Isle of Man, but who operates it now I do not know.
We turned left for Luton. We met Volvo/ Wright Renown 3264 heading for Leighton Buzzard on route 31. A little further on we met Centrebus' sole Northern-Counties bodied Dart (189) heading for Hemel Hempstead.
Another 31 came along, bound for Dunstable, serviced by massive-looking East Lancs bodied Scania 3167.
We skirted round the north side of Luton onto the Hitchin road and bowled eastwards along the dual carriageway. Much faster than the 364 route! We headed towards Hitchin Station, then turned back to reach St.Mary's Square, where we paused briefly.
The St.Mary's Square stops are still busy. Arriva's Volvo / Alexander 3458, looking a bit tired, was taking time off from its branded local services for a dash to Luton on the 100. Centrebus Mercedes/Beaver 451 was still sporting smart Sovereign-style livery, and still operates the 304 from St.Albans.
Arriva The Shires' Volvo / Wright Crusader 3249 passed by on a SB8 service to Symonds Green: no brilliant special livery these days, just Arriva standard. That was followed by Dart SLF 3491 on the 55 to Letchworth.
Centrebus has been re-equipping with Optare Solos, and one of its March arrivals, 393, came north through the Old Town on the 30 to Hitchin via Letchworth.
Now we had to turn right and skirt past the railway station and bus station to the south end of town. There we met another new acquisition by Centrebus, DAF/ Plaxton Centro 605, coming in on the 178.
Going on, we turned out of the village at the south end, back onto the main road, and headed south through Stapleford, under the railway, on through Waterford and down to pass under the railway again at Hertford North Station. We wriggled through Hertford.
We did various jobs on the buses, including taping up and fitting the blinds for their Sunday duties. Then we looked for a bus to take us into Hertford to find our hotel.. and Steven Woods arrived with his Eastbourne RegentV to take us into Hertford Bus Station.
Part Two: 390 to Stevenage
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part Two: Sunday morning: RT on the 390