I'd like to say that we twirled round the end of the bus stance, but we didn't. Darts, with their tiny wheels, may twirl, but buses with decent sized wheels don't have that kind of lock. We crept round, carefully. Going back up past the stand we passed RT1206, ready to travel to Waltham Forest on the 217A, and GreenLine RF28, with sideboards for the 720.
We had to wait at the road works in Loughton again: this time DLA365 came the other way on a 20 for Debden. We turned left, to head along the old High Road, touching the fringe of Epping Forest, before we turned left down into the valley to pass Buckhurst Hill Station. We passed RT3871 coming back the other way with another 167A. We kept straight on down into the valley, where we met a serious obstruction. Narrow Roding Lane had a continuous string of parked cars, half on the verge, all alongside the football fields for about a half mile. There was not room for a bus and the continuous oncoming stream of traffic to pass. Nor were there gaps in the line of parked cars where the bus could tuck in. Delay. Eventually we made it across the valley and over the M11. We climbed up into Chigwell, and turned right onto Chigwell Road towards the station. To complete the route we turned left up the Hainault Road, then turned acutely into the narrow road alongside the station. Another right turn took us to the bus stop at the shops.
The blinds were reset, and we set off back to Loughton. Even though we had right of way along Roding Lane, oncoming cars did not seem to recognise the concept, and continued to come, frustrating Paul's attempts to drive the bus along our side of the road. But we made it eventually, and climbed the hill to pass Buckhurst Hill Station. We reached the High Road, and turned right along the ridge to Loughton.
Instead of battling the road works we continued to Station Road, and made our way to the Interchange along the one-way street past the parked buses. RT3871 was now set up for the 217A. As we sneaked into the bus stance the green RML emerged after another shuttle from Chingford.
RM158 was still on shuttle duty as we rolled up to the stop. I alighted and consulted the "extras" board. RF406 trundled in with a 254 bound for Buckhurst Hill Station.
I had a little while before BN61 was due out on a trip to Epping, so I headed up into Station Road to chat to the crew...
All photos by Ian Smith unless otherwise indicated. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
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