RF633 on 329 at Hertford

Hertford, Hitchin & Stevenage

Sunday June 1st 2008

Prepared by Ian Smith, 12th June 2008.

Saturday: getting to Hertford (RF627)

Ken Eveleigh was a little uncertain about whether RF627 would be fit. The exhaust was smokey on the pickup after idling, esprcially when cold. But on Saturday morning the exhaust stack on the garage belched smoke, and after a while the RF emerged from its garage. Ken and I set off on our long journey to Hertford, leaving the car drivers in our wake cursing as we covered them in smoke up the first hill.

But as the engine warmed the exhaust cleared, and we were soon heading south at a decent speed. First task was to locate a diesel station, where Ken put in an astonishing quantity of fuel. Running these buses makes a large dent in the wallet!

RF627 at home. RF627 at home. RF627 refuels.

After a long slog down the A5 we rolled into London Transport territory at Dunstable. Scania/Wrightbus Solar 3612 of Arriva The Shires rumbled northwards on a 38, and we passed 3603 heading the other way at a stop in town.

3612 in Dunstable. 3603 in Dunstable.

Heading out of Dunstable, still on the A5, we met Centrebus Dart 248 (a 9.8m example) heading in to Dunstable on the 34 from St.Albans. We turned off at Markyate to head into Luton. There we picked up part of the 364 route, out past the Vauxhall Works and Luton Airport, then along country lanes to Breachwood Green. I missed the turning square, and we headed out along increasingly narrow lanes until we could find a turning point. We headed back into Breachwood Green and parked outside the Red Lion.

While we were inside getting an excellent ploughman's lunch I noticed an orange bus whizz past. I went outside to watch it complete the turning square past the bus shelter (opposite the pub). It was short Centrebus Dart 134 (ex-London DR134), working on the 88 between Hitchin and Luton.

248 on 34 in Dunstable. 134 on 88 in Breachwood Green.

We completed our lunch. The Country RF aroused much interest in the pub patrons. We made our farewells, with news of tomorrow's visitations, and set off again, forking right on the outskirts of the village onto the narrow winding lane to Kings Walden.

248 on 34 in Dunstable. lane to Kings Walden.

We went on to Ley Green, turning down the very narrow lane past the Post Office and on up into Preston. We did not stop today, despite the attractive location, but turned left onto the still narrow road to Gosmore. There we squeezed through the gap past the Bull Inn, and motored on towards Hitchin. We did not go into the town centre, but turned right at the large roundabout to head along the main road to Stevenage. Today we did not even follow the old 303 route off the main road, but continued on to Stevenage, where we negotiated our way south past several roundabouts and Stevenage Station. Arriva Dart 3227 scurried north on route 3.

Gosmore, Bull Inn. AT3227 on 3, Stevenage Station.

We headed south from Stevenage on the main road, but did turn off into Watton for a pause outside The Bull. Then it was on through the rest of the village, turn left to reach the roundabout, and right on the old road south through Stapleford and Waterford. On the way we met Centrebus Solo 390, heading north on the 390 to Stevenage.

RF627 at Watton, Bull Inn. Centrebus Solo 390 on 390.

We worked our way into Hertford, and along the inner by-pass to reach our rendezvous with RF633 and Eastbourne 69. There was some preparation of blinds to do then, before we retired to The Salisbury Arms.

RF633. Eastbourne Regent V No69. Golden Boy Dart EU06JVW on 333.

Part Two: Morning at Hertford

Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part Two: Morning at Hertford