RT3062 at Loughton Station RT3228 at Epping Station

Loughton & Epping Running Day

Sunday 13th September 2009

Prepared by Ian Smith, 25th October 2009

Part Two: RF308 from Epping

339: RML2330 at Epping

The Central Line took me up to Epping. There I found RML2330 waiting to loasd up for the 339 to Ongar.

RML2330 at Epping Stn RML2330 at Epping Stn

A car was blocking the bus turning circle (a not infrequent occurrence), so the big RML needed two bites at it to swing round and head away up the ramp.

RML2330 at Epping Stn RML2330 at Epping Stn

381: Epping & Roydon

RF308 was waiting further up the station approach ramp. It was to operate various legs of the 381 route today, to Roydon, Coopersale Common and Toothill, but unfortunately lacked any 381 blinds. It had to make do with 339 panels.

RF308 at Epping Stn RF308 at Epping Stn

I climbed aboard to talk to the crew. I noted the unusual interior: although RF308 is restored as a London Country bus, it had much earlier been a bus, and then converted to a GreenLine coach, so had conversion pattern luggage racks and a seat layout unique to the conversions.

Inside RF308 RF308 at Epping Stn

Ken Eveleigh took the bus down to the station stop, and we loaded up for the 381 to Roydon. From the station we climbed the hill into Epping, where our visit to the High Street was brief: we crossed over by the church to take a back-streets route round through the Beaconsfield Estate on the west side of the town. Beyond the town limits we headed north-west along a winding country lane - the B181 - through Epping Upland and Epping Green. There were some excellent views back down the valley. It was all very rural: a typical GS route. We crossed over the 393 routes to Broxbourne and Harlow at Tylers Cross, where in some years the 381 turned aside for Harlow. But today we continued northwards to Roydon, where we followed the B181 left down the High Street past the White Hart towards the railway station.

Epping Church White Hart

At Roydon we clumped over the level crossing, and reversed into the old station yard. This is now the forecourt for a restaurant which occupies the old station building.

RF308 at Roydon Stn RF308 at Roydon Stn

The level crossing sirens started to wail, and the barriers came down. National Express East Anglia's 317688 came in to stop at the staggered platform with a train for Kings Cross. A pity it wasn't a Cravens diesel multiple unit, or a B1 with train of blood and custards. But then there would be no wires, no half-barrier crossing, and the 381 did not terminate then at the station anyway (So I am told). There are limits to reconstructions of the past!

317668 at Roydon Stn 317668 at Roydon Stn

We climbed back aboard, and retraced our route back to Epping - taking a slightly different route through the Beaconsfield Estate.

381: Epping & Coopersale Common

We visited Epping Station, but that was not our destination. Going on, we turned right over the Epping-Ongar railway and headed down Bower Hill through the outer suburbs of Epping to Stewards Green. The road turned east, and we buzzed along to Fiddlers Hamlet. There rather than follow the road ahead to Toothill, under the M11, we turned up left, up Coopersale Street. We almost missed the right turn off Stonards Hill, up Houblons Hill to Coopersale Common. The route terminated just short of the low railway bridge carrying the preserved Epping-Ongar railway. Ken turned the RF, and we paused for a few minutes outside the pub (whose sign has mouldered away into obscurity).

RF308 at Coopersale Common RF308 at Coopersale Common

We returned to Epping Station, and all alighted: it was time for the crew to take a break after a busy morning.

The Arriva Solo, 2488, that I had seen earlier in Loughton on the 541 appeared again, heading back to Loughton from Harlow. The long Solo also only just made it round the turning circle. Sister bus 2454 arrived a few minutes later and came to rest outside the station. Its destination display turned off when the engine was switched off, of course.

ATS2488 at Epping Stn ATS2488 at Epping Stn

ATS2488 at Epping Stn ATS2454 at Epping Stn

Now, where was RT3228 on the 339?...

Part 3: 339: Epping and Ongar

All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1: Loughton Part 3: 339: Epping and Ongar