Before we reached Northfleet Garage we made an abrupt turn right into a narrow street, and headed down the hill into Rosherville. There was some discussion about the terminal working. We stopped short of the carpark where the works used to be (I think), and everybody alighted while the bus went down into the carpark to turn. (I gather that later workings made a loop in the estate).
The bus pulled back up into the street, and everybody piled back on. We pulled up the sharp bank to the main road, and rolled down into Gravesend, following the one-way system down to the riverside again, where large container ships were edging past on their way to or from Tilbury. We passed the Tilbury Ferry landing and climbed back up to the Clocktower, erstwhile terminus of so many of the London Transport routes in the days when this was the very edge of the LT system. But we did not stop there, continuing on into the fringes of Denton to the Milton Street carpark.
We turned west to work through Gravesend to the station. Just beyond we made the turn south-west onto Perry Street to head out towards Southfleet. We met RF489 returning on the 489A from Meopham, then headed out across the wilderness to cross the motorway and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. No trains in sight. We turned right at the roundabout and headed up the narrow lane towards the site of Southfleet Station, following a Solo of Kent Top Travel.
The Optare Solo was Y32HBT, working the 474 to Bluewater. Once upon a time LT ran buses to get people to church on Sundays: nowadays the Sunday buses serve the cathedrals of consumerism. Anyway, it must have been early, for it sat on the stop at Betsham for some time, with the GS behind it. Once it had gone the GS ran forward to the road junction, and turned to stop outside the pub to pick us up for the return journey.
We headed back for Gravesend. As we crossed the long bridge over highway and super-railway we met GS15, scurrying westwards. It seems it was experiencing parking brake problems, so had retired for the day and was heading homewards.
We continued into Gravesend, and made the circuit past the waterfront and the clocktower. As we turned in towards the Milton Street carpark we met Maidstone & District Reliance SC390 heading out on the 16A to the tiny North Downs village of Harvel.
Having alighted, I was just in time to catch RF489 departing on the 489A again..
Part Three: the big loop
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
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