RF600, RF627, RF833, RF679

Hertford & Stevenage

Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th June 2010

Prepared by Ian Smith, 9th June 2010.

Swanley to Hertford: RF679

I arrived at Swanley Garage twenty minutes or so early for my rendezvous, so sat on a wall just uphill from the renovated (but firmly locked) garage, to eat a sandwich. It gave to time to observe the coming and going of Arriva's EnviroDart 1648 on the 233, now the furthest countryward remnant of the old LT 21 route, the route having been split into the 21, 321 and 233 by TfL. I thought that the ongoing section to Farningham was only served by Kent's 421, but I was surprised by Griffin Bus' Metrobus M1067, which quietly (yes!) sneaked up on me while I was looking up the hill. It was on the 408 to Borough Green via Wrotham. By the time the camera came out it was past!

1648 at Swanley Garage on 233, 5th June 2010 M1067 at Swanley Garage on 408, 5th June 2010

Then RF679 came purring down the hill, ans stopped to pick me up. We went on down the dip and up to the roundabout to turn, and there I was amazed to see step-entrance East Lancs Dart DS24 in service on the 423. It seems that this bus, returned to Northfleet for promotional work has been found too good to waste.

RF679 at Swanley Garage, 5th June 2010 DS24 at Swanley Garage on 423, 5th June 2010

We returned through the dip and up the bank to Swanley Garage, and pulled up on the forecourt for photos.

RF679 at Swanley Garage, 5th June 2010 RF679 at Swanley Garage, 5th June 2010

Then we headed for Hertford: through the Dartford Tunnel and up the M25 and M11 to the Chelmsford-Harlow road. No buses so far, not surprisingly. But on the A414 we met a pair at the roadworks outside Harlow: Arriva's Volvo B6BLE/Wright Crusader 3250 was heading for Epping on the 500, and Dart SLF/Wright Pulsar 3417 was heading in towards Harlow.

AHE3250 near Harlow, 5th June 2010 AHE3417 near Harlow, 5th June 2010

But instead of following the A414 through the centre of Harlow New Town we turned off onto the old road towards Sawbridgeworth and Bishops Stortford, the old 396 route. We passed through Potter Street and over the railway at Harlow Mill, then turned west on the old 390 route through High Wych and Gilston: lovely rural roads. We were back on the dual carriageway for a while, then pulled off to pass through Eastwick (388).

Dusty Miller, Gilston RF697, Eastwick

Getting back onto the westward dual carriageway was not so easy, but was accomplished without problem. After that it would have seened rude to miss out Stanstead Abbotts, so we pulled off the main road again to pass through there, passing the junction with the 350A route and the Red Lion.

350A junction, Stanstead Abbotts Red Lion, Stanstead Abbotts

We continued through St.Margarets, passing Centrebus 513, a Marshall-bodied Dart SLF still in Trustybus Colours and working the 351 to Bishops Stortford. We turned north at Amwell Cross Roads (now a roundabout) and went past Ware, running alongside the New River. We continued on up the valley to Hertford, passing Uno's Dart SLF 101 on the 341.

Centrebus 513 on 351, Stanstead Abbotts uno101 a leaves Hertford on 341

At London Road in Hertford we met up with RF633, our intended ride for the afternoon's recreation of the 351 Railway Replacement Service..

Part Two: Route Recreation 351

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

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