Hertford Running Days
Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd June 2012
Prepared by Ian Smith, 5th June 2012.
Getting thereGetting to Hertford was an even longer process than usual: at mid-day on Friday 1st June I was just completing a week's walking holiday in the Netherlands, at Brielle, just south of Rotterdam. First leg of the journey was by bus, from Brielle to Spijknisse. The bus was Connexxion 8327, a Berkhof-bodied VDL single-decker, that whisked me along the main road. Route 103 uses a dedicated bus-way for much of this journey, parallel to the highway, but diving under the junctions. No trainer-wheels, no expensive concrete guideways, no electonic guide-systems. Just trained drivers and common sense, like much of the Dutch road system. Payment, as on all the buses, trams and trains in the whole country, was by OV-chipkaart, a prepayment card touched on a reader on entrance and exit of any transport mode. It all seemed to work very efficiently. Buses had screens and/or voice systems inside too which identified the next stop or stops. Most seemed to work. Anyway, 8327 gave me an excellent ride to Spijknisse, where the bus station, naturally, was at the metro station.
I climbed up to the platform, and caught a Line C metro-train across the river to Schiedam Centrum: clean, fast efficient.
I had chosen to travel by ordinary trains to Schiphol Airport. But NS this year had amended the services between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, increasing the fast Fyra services (with fare supplement), but rerouting some of the ordinary traind via Haarlem instead of Schiphol. When I reached Schiedam, an Amsterdam via Haarlem train was advertised at my platform, running ten minutes late. What actually arrived was a Sprinter service to Den Haag. I climbed aboard the stopping train - unit 2610 - and enjoyed the smooth ride to Den Haag HS, where I changed trains onto the following Intercity train. That, in the shape of "Bison" double-decker unit 8733, took me on to Leiden.
A fairly quick change at Leiden put me onto another Intercity train to Schiphol, another rake of double-decker coaches, but this time loco-hauled, with 1712 on the front and 1721 on the back.
I then had a long wait for my plane. It was on time, but I was early. I had a meal, and bought a book to read. I finished the book, and caught the KLM Cityhopper to Teesside Airport (Durham Tees Valley) as the sun set.
Early next morning it was back to English reality: the 0757 from Thornaby was the usual Pacer formation, lead by 142022, performing the 60-mile trip from Saltburn to Newcastle via Darlington.
After bouncing along to Darlington in the diesel powered four-wheeler it was a relief to travel south on something fairly civilised: an East Coast Mk4 set, propelled by 91113. That whisked me smoothly and very quickly to Peterborough. The train was full and standing, with folk heading for London for the Jubilee celebrations.
From Peterborough I continued south under the wires, to Stevenage in an increasingly full 365513, and then on down the Hertford loop to Hertford North on veteran suburban unit 313054, now showing its age.
As I emerged from the station the 395 shot past. Would I have to walk to Bircherley Green? No. The bus stop information board showed another bus due in about ten minutes - and then Greenline Mercedes Citaro 3902 appeared on the 724. That smoothly took me along to the bus station.
The bus station, like any Saturday, was busy. In the next bay was Centrebus Solo 322 on the local 333, and Arriva's Volvo/Wright 3875 was on the 310.
The remaining bay in the bus station was then occupied by S.M.Coaches' Dart SLF V191ERG (ex-Go North-East), which arrived off the 524 from Harlow. I set off across the main roads towards London Road, rendezvous for the afternoon's Route Recreation. There was nothing and no-one there. But after a few minutes I saw RF146 pass the end of the road: the clans were gathering.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.