RF679, RF406, SC390


Sunday 11th July 2010

Prepared by Ian Smith, 19th July 2010.

Short journeys

480A: Gravesend to Rosherville, and back, RT3435

The 480A was a short route, working between Denton and the big works at Rosherville, at factory hours: mornings, twice at lunchtimes and at knocking off time. Our first working on this Sunday morning missed out the short foray east up into Denton, and headed directly into Gravesend. Approaching the clock-tower we met one of RT3435's modern copunterparts, in the shape of Enviro200 Dart 4042 on the 499, for which it is route-branded. We continued past the station, and out onto the high ridge to Northfleet, overlooking the river. We met another modern bus, Fast-track Volvo 3803, heading along to Gravesend to take up duty on route B, a modern equivalent of the 480 between Gravesend and Dartford.

4042 on 499 Fasttrack 3803

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).

RT3435 at Rosherville RT3435 at Rosherville

RT3435 at Rosherville RT3435 reverses at Rosherville

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.

450: Gravesend to Betsham, and back, GS62

If the open-toppers attracted full loads, so did the little GSs. Alan Charman was taking GS62 on a short-working of the 450 to Betsham (the full workings used to go to Dartford, but the Bluewater queues make that impracticable nowadays). I arranged to meet him at the gate, while he went to the stop to take on a full load.

GS62 at Gravesend GS62 sets off on 450

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.

RF489 passes on 489A Kent Top Solo

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.

Y32HBT on 474 at Betsham GS62 turns at Betsham

GS62 at Betsham GS62 at Betsham

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.

GS15 crosses the bridge SC390 on 16A

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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