RF633, Eastwick

Hertford & Stevenage

Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th June 2011

Prepared by Ian Smith, 15th June 2010.

341: Hertford to Hatfield: RT3254

When I emerged from the cafe the bus station was puilsing wuith activity again, much of it involving RFs. RF633 had just unloaded from a trip on the 308 to Cuffley, and RF281 was midway on a trip from Essendon to Widford.

RF633 on 308, Hertford RF281 on 350, Hertford

Then the Reliance came in to load for a short journey to Ware on the 395, and RF627 was on the 393 from Welwyn Garden City. Eastbourne Regent V No69 was on the stands too, but I was not sure what for. Could it be for the 341?

WFN513 on 395, Hertford RF627 on 393, Hertford Eastbourne 69, Hertford

Then RT3254 came in with a 341 from Hatfield Station. I wandered across. It was going out again on the next 341 too, almost immediately.

RT3254 on 341, Hertford RT3254 on 341, Hertford

Then RT3062 bustled in. The red Saunders-bodied bus, in early post-war livery had been to Standon and back on the 331 (despite the number in the roofbox indicator)

RT3062 on 331, Hertford RT3062 on 331, Hertford

I took the opportunity to take a front offside seat upstairs on RT3254 as we set off in a heavy shower. We went round past Hertford East Station, then west past the town, forking left up over the hill by the Council Offices, then down to Horns Mill. We headed west along Lower Hatfield. After the rain of the afternoon this could be dodgy: I remembered tree inspection trips from previous years. When it came it came suddenly, right above the middle of the row: a wicked branch, brought low by the weight of rain. I essayed a stamp on the driver's ceiling, but THWACK!! - another dent in the front dome. Fortunately Chris had been expecting it from the previous foray down the road, so was travelling slowly, but it was still a mighty bang.

We continued on, and turned right up Holwell Lane to join the A414 dual carriageway for the remainder of the way to Hatfield. There we came up the slip-road onto the old Great North Road, and turned left down that to reach Hatfield Station, where we turned round to the station stop.

RT3254 on 341, Hatfield RT3254 on 341, Hatfield

RT3254 was not the only bus at Hatfield Station, which is something of a transport hub. Prominent was uno Solo 405, which was parked just south of the stance until we arrived, but then moved up to the stop.

uno405 on 607, Hatfield uno405 on 607, Hatfield

A fleeting visit was made by elderly Dart SLF3209 of Arriva The Shires, nicely turned out in moden livery but with tired uninformative blinds. Presumably this is a Sunday filler on what is usually a more high-profile route (the 301). More prestigious, but not letting on what it would be on, was uno's Mercedes-Benz Citaro 315: would it be its usual 602 to Watford?

3209 on 301, Hatfield uno315, Hatfield

We reboarded RT3254 and made our way back to Hertford through the rain.

Hertford to Swanley: WFN513

Back at Hertford I had to make a quick choice: hope the weather improved and stay for the evening runs an hour later, or jump aboard the East Kent Reliance, which was leaving right now for Swanley. I opted for the latter. I sat behind Roy, the driver, as we headed through a downpour out of Hertford and east along the road past Ware. We headed for Harlow, and it dawned on me that this was half the evening route I would have chosen anyway. We passed by Eastwick, and turned right past Harlow Town Station, and headed for the M11 and then the M25. Travelling by the Reliance was certainly faster than by RF! We crossed the wonderful Queen Elizabeth II bridge as the light faded, giving great views of the Thames.

Roy took us to Swanley Station (Azalea Drive), where we took pictures as the East Kent coach purred away into the dusk.

WFN513, Swanley WFN513, Swanley

Many thanks to the Country Bus Rallies team, especially Colin Rivers, for organising the event, and to all those who helped to make it work in all sorts of ways. Special thanks too for the feeder journeys to and from Swanley, and for the photo trip to Chapmore End on Sunday morning. It was good, despite the efforts of the weather on sunday afternoon. I gather that there were plenty of people wanting to go home to Stevenage at the end of the afternoon, too many for the scheduled last journey by RF4, and that a duplicate had to be provided!

RT2083, RT3062*, RT3254, RT4317*
RF4, RF13*, RF146, RF281, RF406*, RF429*, RF489*, RF627, RF633
RM1699*, RML2323
GS2, GS64
East Kent WFN513
Eastbourne 69

4/5 June 2011 system map Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.

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