Route 703 Recreation
Saturday 1st August 2015
Prepared by Ian Smith, 5th August 2015.
Borough Green & WrothamI started my journeys of the day on the 126 to Bromley South. These days this is a Metrobus route, operated mainly with EnviroDarts, such as 743, which duly dropped me half-way down Bromley High Street. I say "mainly" because the previous afternoon I had seen a double-decker waiting on the terminal stand. - and there was another this morning: EnviroTrident E210 was on the stand, with the electrically operated blind busy scrolling round to find Eltham High Street. The instant it was up the bus was away, pulling away round the corner onto the High Street. Good to see double-deckers on the 126 once more, after more than forty years of overcrowded single deckers.
I caught a train from Bromley South to Borough Green & Wrotham: a comfortable enough journey, if unexciting. A small band of bus enthusiasts alighted at the nice little country station, and walked up the bank to the bus stop. It had not been the last train for the connection, so we had about forty minutes to wait for the RF. They were not uneventful. Almost immediately a 308 appeared, heading for Sevenoaks. (Is this actually a transport connection?) It was powered by 10.8m EnviroDart 3995, looking smart in clean Arriva interurban livery.
A few minutes later an all-white bus appeared. This was Autocar's MAN AE56UTJ, working a modern remnant of the old Gravesend-Brighton 122 route. This is the truncated 222: Borough Green to Tonbridge. It pulled up at the foot of the ramp for a twenty minute layover.
Then another 308 came in, 3985 working from Sevenoaks towards Bluewater.
I went up onto the bridge to wait for the RF to appear. I was awakened from a reverie by a shout from behind, as RF679 pulled round onto the station approach from the other direction! The little bus (little by comparison with the 36 foot monsters that had been in and out during the previous forty minutes) twirled round on the station forecourt, and came back up to the stop.
We waited time until 1020, then headed for Wrotham, trundling along a green tunnel to reach the little village. We turned up into the village centre, and twisted our way up into the village centre. We turned left up Old London Road (now a dead end), past the church, and onto The Pilgrim's Way. We went up to the top to turn, then came down to layover near the toilets.
There we waited time - plus a bit, to wait for one of our number to arrive - before setting off on the trek across London..
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six Seven