Back at Gravesend I took a more leisurely look at the Maidstone & District buses that had arrived just as I was prparing for the GS trip. Half-cab Bristol saloon SO43 was parked next to Reliance SO277, reminding me somewhat of my M&D shelf at home, where models of these two types stand next to each other. Facing them were two more Reliances, older SO224 and newer coach SC390. I determined to make sure that I rode on at least one of them during the day.
I hastened over to where a Southdown Titan was preparing for a short-working on the famous 122 route.
This route used to be jointly operated by M&D and Southdown, connecting Gravesend with Brighton via Tunbridge Wells.
RUF186 had indeed worked in via this long route this morning, carrying a small but hardy band of enthusiasts.
Apparently it was well worth the early start! During the day it was to run short workings up to Meopham Green,
before heading for Brighton again in the gloaming. The PD2 certainly looked magnificent,
and justifiably had an enormous queue waiting whenever it appeared.
Next to it stood GS15, now maintained by the son of the much-missed Brian Speller. Nice to see it here, in good fettle.
STL2692, last survivor of the postwar Weymann-bodied STLs, was next in line. It was the first time I had actually met up with it, and it looked glorious. Thirty-six years of preservation have been good for it!
Next was a 1932 Leyland TD2, wearing the colours of Jersey Motor Traction. At first sight an odd choice for a Gravesend gathering, but TD2s were used here by Maidstone & District to replace trams in the early thirties. Many were taken over by London Transport in the division of Gravesend by the London Transport Act, and formed a signicant chunk of LT's TD class.
Leyland National SNB250, in Kentish Bus primrose and maroon colours, was a reminder of that period in London Country's history, while Transbus Dart 1608, displayed by Arriva, brings the area's bus history up to date.
On our way up Perry Street we passed GS1 and BN61 on their way back from Bean. We crossed the dry valley to Southfleet Station, and this time continued straight on to Betsham. There we turned right at the pub (The Colyer Arms), and turned a little way up this road. We came back to the pub, and pulled up outside.
We waited time at Betsham, then headed for Gravesend again. As we reached the one-way system we turned round to the left onto the Northfleet road, and trundled along to the garage. We were not allowed to alight nor join buses within the garage, so I hopped off before RF486 got there, and took pictures as the two RFs negotiated the corner into the garage and ran down the slope to turn in the yard. RF486 came back up the slope, past the long line of LT-architecture buildings, and I rejoined for the run back into Gravesend.
Part Four: RM8 to Greenhithe and back
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: GS2 to Hartley Court Part 4: RM8 to Greenhithe