RF633, Eastwick

Hertford & Stevenage

Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th June 2011

Prepared by Ian Smith, 6th June 2010.

Swanley to Sawbridgeworth: RF633

I reached Swanley Junction by train from Bromley South, and wandered across to the bus stop in Azalea Drive. I was more than half an hour early for my ride, but there were occasional Dart SLFs on the 477 between Orpington and Bluewater to enliven the tedium. These included 3267 and 3268 in interurban blue/blue and ex-City of Oxford and The Shires 3823, now 3111, still in older livery.

3267 at Swanley Station on 477, 4th June 2011 3111 at Swanley Station on 477, 4th June 2011

RF633 arrived bang on time at 1130, wearing blinds for the 388 to Mardley Hill. The RF had arrived into the first turn on Azalea Drive, so turned round and came back to the northbound stop.

RF633 at Swanley Station RF633 at Swanley Station

The three of us who had gathered climbed aboard and the RF choggled round to Swanley Garage, where we stopped for more photos.

RF633 at Swanley Garage RF633 at Swanley Garage

After that we were away onto the M25, to dive under the Thames and climb up into Essex. The M11 followed after the M25, for a short way until we reached the A414. We skirted along the east side of Harlow, seeing very few of the multicoloured array of buses that now inhabit the town, and headed for Sawbridgeworth.

388: Sawbridgeworth to Hertford: RF633

In Sawbridgeworth we did not venture to the 388 terminus, but turned westwards into High Wych Road, where we pulled up at the first bus stop. Someone pointed out that the buses from Sawbridgeworth did not work through to Mardley Hill, so the blinds were adjusted to read Welwyn on the front.

RF633 at Sawbridgeworth RF633 at Sawbridgeworth

Then we set off for Hertford, along the road to High Wych, then on through Gilston. The road dipped down to rejoin the main A414 at a roundabout just north of Harlow Town Station. An orange and white Cenrebus Dart headed for Harlow round the opposite side of the roundabout. We turned off the dual carriageway for Eastwick, and were immediately followed by First Essex' Solo 53114 on the 347 on one of its six visits each day. We stopped and let the service bus pass, and took photos there and again in the village, where the RF aroused considerable interest.

Dusty Miller, Gilston 53116, Eastwick Road

RF633, Eastwick Road RF633 at Eastwick, Lion

We completed the loop back onto the main road, where perforce we had to turn east. We went right along to the roundabout, as traffic was heavy, and turned back westwards. Another Solo, this one from Centrebus, came battling along, by-passing Eastwick.

RF633, Eastwick, Lion Centrebus Solo near Eastwick

We made the turn-off from the A414 for Stanstead Abbotts and St.Margarets. Heading on towards Ware we met Trident 5445 heading south on the 310, these days truncated to Waltham Cross. We met sister 5442 further on, between Ware and Hertford, also working the 310.

5445 on 310 5442 on 310

As we rolled into Hertford past the old garage site at Fairfax Road we met yet another Trident heading east, although 5424 was not in service. We parked up in Old London Road, and went to check in at various hotels and guest houses, ready to meet up for the afternoon's Route Recreations...

5424, HG RF633 at Hertford, London Rd

Part Two: Route Recreation 388

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

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