X81: Ensignbus Running Day
Saturday 1st December 2012
Prepared by Ian Smith, 6th December 2012.
X81: Lakeside to Bluewater: RT3232
RT3232 arrived on an X81 from Shenfield. The RT, long a wearer of Ensign blue/silver livery, has been repainted in Green Line green with pale green linining and theinter-deck bullseye. It looks wonderful. It roared into the bus station, and I went to climb aboard, taking a seat upstairs at the front.
We climbed the spiral road up from Lakeside, passing on the way a Trident on the 370, an Ensignbus Dart SLF on the 66, and red RT4421 coming in from Purfleet to take up duty on the next X81 to Gravesend.
At the big roundabout north of the QE2 Bridge we passed roofbox RT191 heading for Lakeside and Shenfield. We started the climb up onto the tall bridge over the seaway, up over some of Thurrock's jumble of industrial sites. Cutting across below us was High Speed One, and as we climbed a Javelin burst from the Thames Tunnel and headed for London with a medium-speed* internal service from Kent (* in international terms: hi-speed in UK parlance).
We continued over the bridge into Kent. The views were sopectacular as we crossed over the river: not pretty, but spectacular, as we soared above the ships at their docks and down the slope towards the toll booths.
We worked our way round to Greenhithe Station, where we met Ensign's Trident 105 heading north on the X80.
When we reached Bluewater, another bus with X80 on the rear blind was DM2646, back in the same position that I had last seen it. But it too was travelling north towards Shenfield, actually on the X81.
It was lunch-time. I alighted from RT3232. RTL453 was still here, being attended to by Ensignbus fitters.
I watched RT3232 head off for Gravesend.
I paused for a few minutes to watch buses coming and going. EnviroDart 4027 arrived from Erith on the 428, and Scania 15049 headed west for Woolwich on the 96.
I headed for Marks & Spencer to find lunch. Their cafe had an horrific queue, so I bought a sandwich and a bottle of orange juice, and returned outside to watch the buses.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.