T792, Cole Green

Hertford Running Days

Saturday 7th, Sunday 8th June 2014

Prepared by Ian Smith, 5th July 2014.

716: Welwyn Garden City to Hitchin: RT3254

It was a long four minutes between the departure of T792 back to Hertford and the arrival of RT3254 (on time), at Welwyn Garden City Bus Station. The Green Line RT did look good. Driver/owner Chris Wills took his tradional five-minute terminal break out of the cab.

T792 at WGC Bus Stn RT3254 at WGC Bus Stn

Then we were off, with me sitting behind the bonnet. We were quickly out of the city, not taking the bumpy 303 route through Knightsfield. We passed through Welwyn village - it was too crowded to make a photo stop at the Church - and climbed up over the hill and dropped back down to the roundabout on the old Great North Road. That we followed up towards Mardley Hill.

I was surprised to see RT604 approaching, wearing 390 to Hertford blinds. Apparently the Hertford - Stevenage road was totally closed, and all the 390s had to be diverted via Welwyn.

RT604 on diverted 390

We dropped down into Knebworth, and rolled on towards the sprawl of Stevenage. We negotiated our way in to the bus station, where we met both RT3148, heading south for Welwyn Garden City on the 303, and red RM1397, which had come up the road behind us as a 390.

RT3148 on 303 at SV Bus Stn RM1397 on 390 at SV Bus Stn

We changed drivers and headed for the Old Town. As we moved off from there towards Hitchin RM1397 came purring up through the Old Town to terminate on the 390: a very good-looking bus.

RT3148 on 303 at SV Bus Stn RM1397 on 390 at SV Bus Stn

We headed for Hitchin. Not through Little Wymondeley, the traditional RT route, because it now has a 14ft 3in plate on the bridge. We were soon at the roundabout above the town, and dropped down through the cutting to the site of the old bus garage, now demolished.

716: Hitchin to Stevenage Old Town: RT3254

We were not at St.Mary's Square long. This is a tight schedule. We were soon away again, round through the town, to the amazement of some of the shoppers, and back towards Stevenage, where I alighted at the Old Town.

Peter Larkham and Chris Wills RT3254 on 716 at HN RT3254 on 716 at SV

390 (diverted): Stevenage (White Lion) to Hertford: RM1871

I had a half-hour to wait at Stevenage for the next 390, so popped into the pub for a coffee. When the bus did appear it was silver-liveried SRM 7, (RM1871), bringing back memories of the unpainted "Silver Lady" RM664 on the 141.

RT3254 on 716 at SV

I joined it for the twirl round the roundabout, and back to the stop.

RT3254 on 716 at SV RT3254 on 716 at SV

We set off back to the Bus Station, and thence headed for Hertford. Due to the closure of the direct road we had to head south through Knebworth, where we met RT3254 pounding northwards again.

Old Stevenage RT3254 on 716 at Knebworth

We went over Mardley Hill and down to the Welwyn roundabouts, where we ducked under the A1(M) twice. We did not visit the centre of W.G.C., but skirted round the fringes to reach the A414, which we followed towards Hertford.

Back at Hertford buses were preparing to head home, the Routemasters included..

RM1871 at HG RM1397 at HG

Hertford Departures

RT4779 was preparing for its long trip back to Dorking via London. T792 swept away with elegance.

RT4779 on 715 at HG T792 departs HG

Also departing were GS32 (for Quainton Road), and Reliance WFN513 as a return feeder to Ebbsfleet.

GS32 departs WFN513 departs HG

I made a late visit to Bagalettes for a sandwich and cup of tea, in preparation for the trip to Stevenage via Buntingford....

Stevenage via Buntingford

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

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