RW3, Bengeo

Hertford Running Days

Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd June 2012

Prepared by Ian Smith, 8th June 2012.

Sunday Morning

Getting there

I had intended to catch RF4 southwards from Letchworth Station. Then the internet suggested that my train from Cambridge to Letchworth would be substituted by a bus due to engineering work, so I expected to have to go via Broxbourne to Hertford East. But on the platform at Cambridge I was told that the engineering work was finished, and I could travel to Letchworth by train, arriving at seven minutes to nine. So I joined the train. We sat outside Royston Station for a quarter-hour, waiting for the end of the engineering possession. So it was well gone nine when we reached Letchworth. RF4 would have gone. So I stayed on the train to Stevenage, where I headed for the expected railway substitution bus. It had gone, not waiting for the late-running connection. Now what I should have done was dash back over the bridge to the bus station, to catch RF4. But I forgot I would have time to do that. When I DID remember, it was just in time to watch RF4 sail past on the other side of the railway. So I waited in the rain, without even a bus shelter, for the substitute, which turned out to be an elderly Mercedes/Plaxton Beaver of Britannia: TUI1641. (This itself was ex-Capital of West Drayton, and then T-GM, when it was R173 TKU).

365512 at Cambridge, 3rd June 2012 TUI1641 at Stevenage

I headed south on the Beaver, through pouring rain. We called at Watton Station, turning just beyond the station bridge and waiting time at bus-stop. Continuing on, we met RT3254 ponding north through the rain on a 390 to Stevenage.

TUI1641 at Watton Station RT3254 on 390

I alighted at Hertford North Station. There I was fortunate in a connection, onto the 395 to Bircherley Green, aboard Arriva Solo 2485. This took me east, through the heart of the town, to the bus station.

I looked round: London Country-liveried RML2323 was resting, having its blinds changed.

2485 at Hertford Bus Station RML2323

RF633 was there too, ready for a trip on the 308A. Centrebus Dart SLF 541 arrived too, on the Sunday 311 service.

RF633 on 308A Centrebus 541 on 311

350: Hertford to New Barnet Stn: RF406

The other bus in the bus station was RF406. This had arrived from Bishop's Stortford on the 350, and was continuing through to New Barnet Station. This route was one of my objectives for the day - it was a pity that I hadn't known to catch it at Bishops Stortford! I was welcomed aboard, and we were soon away, turning immediately to travel through the heart of Hertford town. It was good to come this way for a change. We were soon out of town, heading through pouring rain, under the tall railway viaduct, then left on the old road to Hertingfordbury. We continued along the old road, and pulled up at the bus stop at Birch Green for a photo stop.

RF406 on 350, Hertford RF406 on 350, Birch Green

It was a goog place for a photo-stop: quiet road, bus stop, shelter, a nice tree...rain..

RF406 on 350, Birch Green RF406 on 350, Birch Green

We went on again, turning left at Cole Green, and dipping under the old railway to reach Letty Green, where we had another brief photo-stop.

RF406 on 350, Letty Green RF406 on 350, Letty Green

We went on south to the Essendon Road, where we turned sharp right to head alongside the River Lea for a while, before turning up the hill to climb through Essendon. We continued in the pouring rain past the expensive Hertfordshire mansions that dot this countryside, to join the old Great North Road at Brookman's Park.

We turned off before reaching Potters Bar garage, to head for the station. The entire road-side approaching the station was blocked by parked cars, so we pulled in at the bus station. We were still running early, so there was time for more photos, not only of RF406, but of Arriva's EnviroDart ENX2 on the 313 to Chingford, and Sullivan Buses' EnviroDart AE15 on the 298.

RF406 on 350, Potters Bar ENX2 on 313, Potters Bar

AE15 on 298, Potters Bar AE15 on 298, Potters Bar

We went on, turning right out of the bus station to duck under the infamous railway bridge, turned left and climbed up to recross the East Coast Main Line, and turned south down the old Great North Road towards Hadley Highstone.

We had another pause before dipping into the maelstrom of Barnet, at Hadley Green.

RF406 on 350, Hadley Green RF406 on 350, Hadley Green

Then it was on down the hill, past Barnet Church and High Barnet tube station (end of the Northern Line), then under the tube line and forking left into station road to take us to New Barnet Station (on the ECML).

RF406 on 350, New Barnet RF406 on 350, New Barnet

350: New Barnet Stn to Hertford: RF406

New Barnet Station was one of the Country Area's interfaces with the Central Area, as well as with the Great Northern suburban railway. Here Country routes connected to Watford, Welwyn, Hatfield and Hitchin, as well as Potters Bar, Hertford and Bishops Stortford, while Central had the 34 and 107 routes. We met one of the successor routes, the 234, not at the station which it doesn't serve, but on the Great North Road, where Metroline's DP1002 went past in front of us at the junction. The 107 still uses New Barnet Station, and we met Metroline's Volvo President VPL213 heading for the station as we climbed towards High Barnet.

DP1002 on 34, New Barnet VPL213 on 107, New Barnet

Another traditional sharing of our route from Barnet Church to Potters Bar was with route 84. Metroline now operates this with single-doorway EnviroDarts, such as DEL853, which we met in High Barnet. The eastern chunk of the 107 is now the 307, represented by Arriva's EnviroTrident T241.

DP1002 on 84, High Barnet T241 on 307, High Barnet

Once clear of the bustle of Barnet, we pulled up at the much less frenetic stop at Dury Road. This nevertheless sported one of TfL's high-tec bus-stops, with solar panels to power batteries for night-time illumination.

RF406 on 350, Hadley Highstone RF406 on 350, Hadley Highstone

Potters Bar Station looked much the same as on the way out - but the buses had changed. Now it was AE13 on the 298, and ENX6 on the 313.

AE13 on 298, Potters Bar ENX6 on 313, Potters Bar

We climbed out of Potters Bar, and swished on through the very wet, very green, Hertfordshire countryside, turning off the Great North Road onto the Essendon Road and climbing over the broad ridge before whooshing down past Essendon into the Lea Valley. We rumbled along beside the river for a way, then turned north to Letty Green, where we paused, in a window between showers, for more pictures.

RF406 on 350, Letty Green RF406 on 350, Letty Green

We went on, under the old railway and up to Cole Green, then east to Hertingfordbury. We wound down through the village, and up again to meet the main road into Hertford. We made our way back through the town to Bircherley Green...

Part Five: Hatfield and back

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

Ian's Bus-stop 1 2 3 4 5 6 7