The STL wore blinds for the 27, which used to run to Kew Green, so that was to be the first port of call. RF486, waiting in the shadows behind, still wore the 80A blinds that it had used for Carshalton Running Day a month earlier. Meanwhile Kingston went about its quiet early Sundaymorning business. A Transdev (ex-London United) Volvo President, VP126, rumbled past on its way west towards Heathrow on the 111.
I greeted the crew and climbed aboard the STL, ensconcing myself on the seat behind the bonnet. A Transdev Dart SLF, DPS562, eased round the corner on a 285, also heading for the Airport.
Peter climbed into the cab and the engine rumbled into life. We were away, RF pursuing, and quickly escaped Kingston along the Richmond Road. This turned out to be a tree-lined delight, although the speed bumps shook the old bus alarmingly despite our moderate speed. We passed a Transdev Trident (TA231) heading for Kingston on the 65. RF486 trundled along behind, following a course it must have taken many times as a Norbiton - Chiswick staff bus. We passed the foot of Richmond Hill and wended our way through Richmond.
In Richmond the vagaries of traffic light sequences separated us from the RF, and we found ourselves pursued by one of London's most modern buses, from one of London's newest operators. ADL11 is one of this year's Alexander Dennis E200 Darts, with the less-environmentally-damaging engine and the latest styling, operated by NCP Challenger (no longer part of National Car Parks). This made a considerable contrast to the wooden-framed 1930s-built vehicle I was travelling on.
After plenty of picture-taking (and restoration of the traffic cones) we pulled back out onto the main road, where RF486 was waiting, and followed the RF over Kew Bridge.
We caught up with the RF at the landed flying saucer of Hanger Lane Station, but trailed again as we soared into the sky over the Neasden flyover.
Then we were back into the trees along a dual carriageway. I moved upstairs, and sat for a while as the North Circular rolled past.
We turned off the North Circular and climbed through Finchley, a route I can not remember ever having travelled before.
We set off again, climbing up the Great North Road into High Barnet. We squeezed through Barnet, past the Church, and continued on up the Great North Road to Hadley Highstone.
Then suddenly we had passed under the M25 and were turning left into Potters Bar. A right turn into Darkes Lane took us to the station, and just beyond we turned up into an industrial estate where the operational base for the day was located. We had arrived..
Part Two: Arrivals at Potters Bar
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part Two: Arrivals at Potters Bar