Hertford Running Days
Saturday 7th, Sunday 8th June 2014
Prepared by Ian Smith, 7th July 2014.
331: Hertford to Buntingford: RF633Ken Eveleigh motored off in RF627. RF518 came in with the last of the 393s.
Then the two RTs that had been working between Hitchin and Welwyn all day arrived: RT3148 and RT3254.
They were joined in the line-up by three RFs that were to provide evening services from Hertford to Stevenage bu various routes. RF679 was the most direct, being by the 329 to Nup End and the 329A on to Stevenage. RF633 was to go north to Buntingford as a 331, then across country via Ardeley and Walkern. RF308 was to head south-west to Potters Bar on the 350, then turn north as a 303 through Welwyn.
I boarded RF633 (again!), and we set off along the road to Ware. The level crossing barriers were down. 317660 was waiting in the single line platform to go to Hertford.
After it cleared we were away again, through Ware, and out onto the old A10, the Roman Road from London to Royston. It showed its lineage: straight, but up and down. We dipped down to Wadesmill and climbed up to High Cross and Colliers End. We briefly met the modern A10 before Puckeridge, whose narrow streets we tackled with caution.
At the White Hart we turned left, and took the road towards Buntingford, rather than the 386 route up through Braughing, Dassels and Hare Street. RThe road retained its Roman nature as we motored north through West Mill to reach Buntingford, where we pulled up at the stop by the old pump.
Blinds were changed for the 386 service to Hitchin. Everyone reboarded and we headed west, out of Buntingford past Greenways (the old Buntingford terminus), across the by-pass by roundabout, and west on the Baldock Road to Cotered. We passed through the pretty little village, forking left onto the lane to Cromer and Walkern. At a crossroads the B1307 turned right, and we took the lane towards Ardeley. It looked like a farm track, only just wider than the bus. Photos of Leyland Nationals on the route show both wheels on the verge! We paused for photos, partway down the lane and again where it met another little lane and widened slightly.
We rolled on again towards Ardeley. There several of us alighted before the junction, to watch the RF squeeze out of the end of the lane, to pause in front of the Jolly Waggoner.
We headed on westwards. At least the lane was a little wider, if requiring caution for its blind bends and tight spots. We rejoined the main road down into Walkern, and were soon turning right by the new bus shelter. We had been here in the morning on the 384. We headed west through Walkern, and on along the lanes to Stevenage. Across a roundabout and we were into New Town landscape: sweeping boulevards, almost unused cycle lanes, housing estates tucked away at the sides. We came in down Fairlands Way, and motored round to the bus station, where we all alighted.
It had been quite a day! Magnificent!
Many thanks to the CBR team, for organising the day, arranging with owners and crews to bring their buses and operate them, gaining permissions from all kinds of people (local authorities, police) to run the routes and use the bus stations, fitting buses to routes, producing timetables and programmes. Many thanks to the owners and crews too, who see much less of the variety of the day than us riders.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.