Stevenage & Hertford Running Day
Sunday 5th June 2016
Prepared by Ian Smith, 24th June 2016.
Part Four: Hatfield and Stevenage
341: Hertford to Hatfield (RT3148)I rejoined RT3148 for the short trip to Hatfield. Leaving the bus station we met incoming RF406, working in on a long feeder service from Slough.
The 341 to Hatfield was another route that would not follow the original routing. We should have gone up past County Hall, down to Horns Mill, and then along the valley to Essendon Mill. Unfortunately that route is no longer suitable for double-deckers, with trees with large boughs overhanging the road in a way that would cause havoc with front domes. So we set off west from Hertford along the 393 route, under the railway viaduct with its parked train. We did not turn south off the main A414 to Hertingfordbury, but continued along the dual carriageway towards Hatfield.
Eventually, at a roundabout, the original route rejoined, and we followed it on, past the wall of the Hatfield House estate. A slip-road took us off the dual carriageway up to the northern edge of Hatfied, and a left turn at traffic lights took us down to the main entrance to Hatfield House and the railway station bus station. This had been substantially redesigned since our last visit. We did not spot the right filter and turn in at first, but continued down to a roundabout, where we turned and came back up the hill. The old bus stop had been a free-for-all, but now there were multiple stops and stands - and shelters!
Here we met Universitybus Mercedes Benz Citaro MB307 - all twelve metres of it.
Arriva's Enviro 300 pulled up behind us on the 301 to Hemel Hempstead.
303: Hatfield to Stevenage (RT3148)
The usual 303 route to Welwyn Garden City was closed for a sporting event at Stanborough Lakes, so once again we were on diversion. Instead of wiggling our way through Hatfield, then up to Oldings Corner and Stanborough we headed directly towards Welwyn Garden City: north from Hatfield Station up to the traffic lights, then right instead of left (the Old Great North Road from here is not available). We crossed the A414 dual carriageway and continued. (As a total aside, I caught a service bus from a stop here - Mill Green - a few years ago, while walking the Lea Valley Path, and the driver told me that in thirty years driving she had never before picked up anybody from that stop!). We continued up the A1000, turning part-right at a roundabout to follow it on up Broadwater Road to the traffic lights just east of the station Bridge. We turned left, up over the bridge, and turned hard left at the roundabout, down into Welwyn Garden City Station.
From WGC Station we headed on north, back on route. We made our way round The Campus - the huge roundabout park at the head of the Parkway, the garden city's green centre. We turned north, steeply up Digswell Road. We did not turn left onto Knightsfield - the funfair ride route followed at times by the 303, but continued down to Digswell, joining Bessemer Road to head for Old Welwyn. Not that we went into the village. Experience with low trees in Church Street put it on our no-go list. So after passing southbound RT3254 we played tag with the A1(M) viaduct. I made a mistake, so we came off the third roundabout heading back south, and had to go back under and round the second roudabout to head north again. This time we reached the fourth roundabout and successfully took the old Great North Road up over Mardley Hill. We passed by the 388 terminus, crested the hill and dropped down through Woolmer Green, joining the 329 route. Knebworth was negotiated - parked cars make this a difficult stretch, then beyond the central roundabout we climbed the hill of London Road and ran in towards Stevenage, choosing to follow London Road rather than Monkswood Way (different routings at different times). We rounded the big roundabout at Six Hills Way, and followed the old road into the Bus Station.
There were some Arriva local buses there: 11.9m Wrightbus Pulsar 3753, and Volvo/Wright Eclipse 3888 still on the SB4.
As we left Pulsar 3754 was parked on the central stance, and Wright Renown 3314 was coming in onto Danestrete.
We continued on, up past the station to Old Stevenage, where we terminated opposite the erstwhile White Lion. Some Stevenage final destinations show Stevenage White Lion, but we did not have that on the roll, but did have Trinity Church, which is at the south end of the old High Street. Was that something that happened when LT gave up displaying pubs as termini??
We went for lunch in the nearby cafe.
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six