RF633 at Kings Walden

Stevenage & Hertford Running Day

Sunday 5th June 2016

Prepared by Ian Smith, 24th June 2016.

Morning with RT3148

390: Stevenage to Hertford (RT3148)

John Huxford, driving RT3148, is much less familiar with the Northern section routes, and Les, his conductor, although knowing the routes, was going to be be busy conducting rather than navigating. So I volunteered to navigate. I am not that familiar with the Northern Area myself, but can read a map and instructions. So I settled in behind John, and we set off for Stevenage Old Town, stopping opposite the erstwhile White Lion.

The 390 was a Hertford-based RF route, except for a daily Stevenage RT run serving off-route Aston and RT short workings from Hertford to Watton Station (closed). Today RTs would work a tree-cornered duty incorporating the 390, the 341 and the 303. The blinds for the run to Hertford were set up, and we headed briefly north to turn round the large roundabout, to come back south through the Old Town. Then it was jink right onto the by-pass past the station, and turn in to find the bus station, soon to be re-developed.

RT3148 on 390 at Stevenage Old Town RT3148 on 390 at Stevenage Bus Stn

Stevenage Bus Station was quite deserted. Volvo/Wright Eclipse 3888 came in on the SB4 instead of its usual group 100 routing, and made its turn and stop.

3888 on SB4 at Stevenage Bus Stn

We made our way south out of Stevenage, and out along the main road towards Hertford. No Aston call today. We turned off the main road into Watton, and squeezed our way down the main street, past the turn-off for the Station, and down to the stop at The Bull. There was a pause for photos, during which a 1962 Singer Gazelle swept past. The pub sign is a magnificently aggressive bull.

Singer Gazelle 598LJH passes RT3148 at The Bull, Watton Watton Bull

We carefully negotiated the tree-lined south end of the village, and returned to the main roads, turning south on the old road to Stapleford and Waterford, rolling along over undulating countryside, with an eye open for overhanging trees. The old LT bus shelter from Stapleford has gone, replaced by a shapely wooden one.

We came down to Hertford North Station, paused, then went on, choosing to follow the old road through the west end of the town. A Centrebus EnviroDart (509) on the 333 from Bengeo pulled out ahead of us from the traffic lights and went in front round to Hertford Bus Station at Bircherley Green.

RT3148 at The Bull, Watton Centrebus 509 on 333, Hertford

In the bus station we pulled in alongside RT3254, which was ready for the return working to Stevenage on the 390.

RT3148 and RT3254 on 390, Hertford

Now it was time for tea from the cafe. I then found difficulty holding a hot tea cup and camera at the same time. I went over to see Chris Wills and Peter Larkham with the Green Line RT.

RT3254 on 390, Hertford RM1699, Hertford

Some ordinary services still operate on Sundays. PE56UFJ, an East Lancs-bodied Dart SLF, used to be SD44 with Epsom Buses, and now works the 411 for Trustybus. Also ten years old, Citaro 3906 still works the 724 Gree Line serice from Harlow to Heathrow.

PO56FJ, ex Epsom SD44, on 411, Hertford 3906 on 724, Hertford

A saloon of an entirely different vintage was the delightful T792, which checked in at the bus station before heading for the "garage" in London Road.

T792, Hertford

More modern buses were the Centrebus EnviroDart 509, now on H14, and Arriva's Solo 2488.

Centrebus 509 on H14, Hertford Solo 2488, Hertford

But now it was time for the next leg of the triangle, the 341 to Hatfield...

Part Four: Hatfield and Stevenage

Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six