X55 and X81: Ensignbus Running Day
Saturday 7th December 2012
Prepared by Ian Smith, 17th December 2013.
Getting to GreenhitheThe 261 (Lewisham - Lee - Grove Park - Bromley - Farnborough Hospital) has had a change of operator, and a change of rolling stock. So it was a Stagecoach EnviroTrident from Bromley, 10194, that took me to Lee Station for the train to Greenhithe. One passed over the bridge as I approached the station, so it was an half-hour that I waited for the next train.
X55: Greenhithe to Upminster (RTW 335)The first bus to arrive was RTW335, in its first day of duty since a very serious overhaul in Blackpool. The bus was packed, and it was standing only for me as we set off for the Dartford Crossing - in this direction the Tunnel. So there was not a lot that I could see as we webnt along through Stone and up to the Tunnel Approach roundabout. We dived through the tunnel and climbed out into the untidy and industrial scenery of Thurrock. After several roundabouts we dived down again into the old pit, to the Lakeside shopping centre, where I escaped briefly.
Prominent amongst the buses in the bus station was First Essex' Volvo 7900H hybrid on route 100 (Lakeside - Chelmsford). There wasa a quick glimpse of RT4421 roaring past, wearing blinds for today's X81.
I turned back towards RTW335, which was about to depart for Upminster. Behind it stood RMA50 on the working in the opposite direction to Gravesend. I grabbed a snap from the rear platform of the RTW as we pulled away.
We pulled out of the bus station at the same time as Shillibeer liveried DMS2646, which was working the X81 (Grays - Shenfield).
I sat inside for the trip north through the borders of Essex to Upminster. The RMA caught up with us on the climb to the roundabouts above the old pit. But it turned south, over the bridge, while we wriggled a way north through Aveley to Upminster.
At Upminster the RTW came off duty, and we had a brisk gallop across the road to catch the RT which was already on the southbound stop.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.