RF600, RF627, RF833, RF679

Hertford & Stevenage

Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th June 2010

Prepared by Ian Smith, 23rd June 2010.

Hitchin to Hertford

386: Hitchin to Stevenage (RF308)

RF308 had been working the early shift at Hitchin, on the 383, and should have departed on the 386 to Stevenage before we got there. But they hung on until the arrival of the 716. Now a crowd quickly transferred from the RT to the RF, while a small group from the saloon were waiting for the double-decker. I crossed the road and joined the RF.

RF308 at HN for 386 RF308 at HN for 386

We were quickly away, turning immediately left to climb over up Hollow Lane over the hill, and down Wymondley Road to pass under the East Coast Main Line into the countryside.

RT3254 at HN Hitchin railway bridge

Suddenly we were in Great Wymondeley, turning right by the Green Man pub. We headed south, crossing the direct bus route from Hitchin to Stevenage via Little Wymondley, and then over the dual carriageway. We turned left along the country lane to Titmore Green, where we paused outside the Hermit of Redcoats.

RF308 at Titmore Green RF308 at Titmore Green

We continued on into Stevenage, approaching along Fishers Green Road, where we passed the site of the older Stevenage LT garage. We turned left to cross the railway again, past the site of the old Stevenage railway station, and gyrated round the Bowling Green to reach the old High Street. We made our way south through the Old Town and then past the modern railway station on the dual carriageway, before pulling left to reach the bus station. Our crew, used to modern Stevenage, pulled round onto the normal stop for the 384 to Benington.

384B: Stevenage to Benington Green (RF308)

The blinds were rolled round for the 384, and passengers exchanged. We headed out again, up through the Old Town and north-east through the new town suburbs, by Letchmore Road and Vardon Road to pass another 801 terminus at Pin Green. A dip southwards onto Fairlands Way led us east past Chells to a roundabout right at the edge of the New Town. The road to Walkern looked most unlikely as a bus route after the wide roads of Stevenage. We dived into the green tunnel, quickly emeging onto a winding lane across farmland towards Walkern.

Walkern gave a further taste of suburbia on the northern side of the road. I noticed that the old London Transport wooden bus shelter on the corner has been replaced by a modern cast iron one. We turned south for Benington, and the lanes became even narrower and bendier. We carefully headed south to Benington Green, where we saw red RF486 already waiting with the connecting bus to Hertford.

RF308 at Stevenage on 384 Narrow and bendy

384B: Benington Green to Hertford (RF486)

As soon as we set off it was apparent that there was something wrong with the exhaust system on RF486. It was blowing badly, somewhere just behind the exhaust manifold, despite it being a new system from just a couple of weeks before. We roared south through Benington village and along the narrowish road towards Whempstead. There we turned the awkward corner at the crossroads, and blared along towards Dane End. We tuned the acute corner there and headed south on the narrow lanes to Sacombe. We turned out onto the main road to Ware and tractored down to Tonwell, where we made the call at the village, just off the main road.

RF486 at Benington Green on 384B RF486 interior

Back on the main road we were asked if anyone wanted Ware. If not, we would take the short cut direct to Hertford, down the B158 to Bengeo. That we did, and were soon nosing a way into Hertford through a shower of rain. Titan T1101 came through Hertford Town Centre on its way to Stevenage. We picked a way through and round the town to reach Hertford Bus Station.

T1101 in Hertford on 390 RF486 at Hertford

Part Six: Hertford

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

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