RF633 had already done its extra mileage for the weekend, with the 351 recreation the day before.
RF600 was due to take out the return feeder service to Croydon.
RF627, having been on the duty before, and so fitted with appropriate blinds, was selected for the first evening trip, to Essendon.
RF679 was to do the second run, to Nup End on the 329.
We boarded RF627, and waited until a little while after the advertised time, then set off westwards. We passed under the railway arch on the A414 and turned left into Hertingfordbury. We continued along the road to Birch Green, where I dinged the bell for a photo stop. Unfortunately Ken took it as a reminder to turn left, and promptly took the road to Letty Green. We went down to the edge of the village, but Ken was reluctant to take the RF further along an untried road, even if it did have bus stops on it. We turned and went back to Birch Green, where we DID stop at the bus stop for photos.
We went on, along to Cole Green, where we took the correct lane to Letty Green, continuing on to reach the Essendon road. We turned right there, along the 341 route briefly, then conntinued ahead and then left up the long hill into Essendon.
The acute turn at the top into Church Street was made difficult by a car parked on the corner, but with a little extra effort, and a pull back, Ken made it round and went down past the church. The turn at the bottom was accomplished without problems despite there being cars parked on the corner there too. We paused at the old stop by the main road to reset the blinds and pick up someone we had missed at Hertford. Then it was back the way that we had come (minus the diversion). Inside the bus the group of passengers, many of them staff who had been driving all day, enjoyed light conversation and gentle banter.
We trundled on through the tree-strewn Hertfordshire countryside, through Bulls Green and on to the crossroads at Datchworth Green, where we turned left to pull up outside The Plough.
We had a short further spell of farmland along the road to Woolmer Green, but there we joined suburbia for the run in to Knebworth. There we turned left, to climb up under the low railway bridge to Knebworth Station. We continued through Old Knebworth, past the grounds of Knebworth House, and speculated about the RF thought to be there.
At the far end of Nup End we pulled up by the little crossroads, next to the horses. We had reached the terminus, a typical Country Area one on the edge of nowhere.
Turning back, we headed down through Knebworth, and turned right on the old Great North Road. We decided to take the later 329 route through Datchworth (earlier a preserve of the 329A), so turned up Swangleys Lane. The exceedingly narrow road twisted and turned - but the vegetation seemed to have been cut back since the last time I came this way. We paused near the church in Datchworth, for photos, then continued, not turning right down the current southbound bus route, but continuing down Hawkins Hall Lane, before turning right to reach Datchworth Green from the east.
We turned left onto the Bulls Green road, and headed for Bulls Green and Bramfield. Beyond Bramfield the green tunnel was very dark, and Peter Aves turned on the lights, inside as well as out. We were soon turning right onto the road to Hertford North Station, where I alighted. Had it been a good day? Yes indeed!
The railway was operating two shuttles - one between Hertford North and Cuffley, the other between Cuffley and Stevenage. I had missed the latter by a couple of minutes, so I had nearly an hour to wait for my train north to Stevenage.
Many thanks to all those who helped organise and present a varied and interesting weekend.
RF4, RF269, RF281, RF308, RF406*, RF486*, RF489*, RF503*, RF600, RF527, RF633, RF679
RMC4, RMC1500, RM1699*, RML2330
TD1, T1101*, SNB449
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
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