RMC1476 in St.Peters Street

St Albans Running Days

Saturday & Sunday January 14th-15th 2006

Prepared by Ian Smith, 22nd January 2006


My train delivered me to Hatfield Station on time at 1223 on the Saturday, which was a nice tight comnnection onto the 1225 bus service to St.Albans. This was already standing at the station stop as I emerged: a hulking great Scania N113 of Arriva The Shires, forming the 300 service through to Hemel Hempstead. It was almost a half-hour ride through to St.Albans, where I alighted at the City station at 1254, in territory totally new to me. Not surprisingly, the first two other buses that I saw were of St.Albans and District: an ad-wrapped Dart (572) on the S3, pursued from the station stands by ex-Keighley Mercedes-Benz 811D L664 MYG on the 304 (once an LT route).

Arriva Scania 3160 on 300, St Albans Stn. Centrebus Dart 572 on S3, St Albans Stn Centrebus Beaver 664 on 304, St Albans Stn

I visited the station cash machine, and waited for one of the special shuttle buses linking St.Albans Station with St.Peter's Street. I did not yet have a programme, so did not know how long I would have to wait, just that they were "regular" and "frequent". It turned out that each of the two stations was being served half-hourly, and I was lucky in that one was due at 1258. It turned out to be RMC1476, with Mike Dawes at the wheel.

The City Station shuttle (RMC1476)

I said hello to Mike, and climbed aboard, together with some folk heading up to the Model Railway exhibition in the Alban Arena (the Chiltern Model Railway Association show). Mike headed back up the same way into the city. Traffic hell! One of the carparks - full - had a queue halfway back down the hill, that jammed up the rest of the traffic very effectively. But we crept up the hill, following Metroline's AV38 on the 84, and eventually reached the other source of the jam - the traffic lights at the top of Victoria Street. St.Peter's Street, the commercial heart of St.Albans, was in full market. We eased our way along to the stop, passing two more of the Centrebus Darts, one (574) in new mainly orange livery and the other in the modified Sovereign livery.

RMC1476, St Albans Stn. AV38, Victoria Street. Centrebus Dart 574 on S1, St Albans

The RMC crew were due for a meal break, having been shuttling between Arena and City Station since 0950, so after unloading we headed up to St.Alban's garage. Not that there is any garage there now, of course. Despite being a building of outstanding architectural merit the bus station and garage had been demolished for large residential blocks. But there are still bus stances on both sides of the road, so we pulled in and the sandwiches and thermoses came out.

RMC1476, St Albans Garage. RMC1476, St Albans Garage.

One complete round of the City Station shuttle had been covered by SNB312 in between their Abbey Station runs, so RMC1476 was back in business for the 1350 departure from St. Peter's Street. I went with them for the standard anti-clockwise trip. We pulled up at the Arena stop just behind the Beaver that I had earlier seen at the station, on the 304. We pulled out, and inched our way towards the traffic lights at the crux of the town. AV28, on a terminating 84, squeezed past a busy dust-cart and came along past us. A shower dampened proceedings (and dimmed the light too!). We escaped round the corner, only to find ourselves perhaps not inching but footing back down the hill towards the station. Universitybus Dart 115, wearing their startling but excellent pink and mauve livery, came up the hill on a 602.

Centrebus Beaver 664 on 304, St Albans AV23 on 84, St Peters St. Uno Dart 115 on 602, Victoria St.

Eventually we left the congested main road, escaping into the station bus stance. We whirled through there, and continued our anti-clockwise peregrination, out onto the Hatfield Road. But heading back up into the City the traffic jams struck once again, and it struck me that I could progress faster on foot - and take pictures. So I alighted, and walked up the hill, while RMC1476 crept up behind me.

RMC1476, Hatfield Road. RMC1476, Hatfield Road.

Also trapped in the traffic ahead of the RMC was a Caetano-bodied Dart of Universitybus, which gave me an opportunity to look at the new livery close-up. SNB312 whipped round the roundabout ahead, so I made my farewells to the RMC and headed off along St.Peter's Street in pursuit.

uno151 on 602, Hatfield Road. SNB312 on S6, St Peters St. Part Two: The Station shuttles (SNB312 and SNC168)

Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part Two: The Station shuttles (SNB312 and SNC168)