Route 303 Recreation Day
Saturday 3rd June 2017
Prepared by Ian Smith, 7th June 2017.
Getting there: Westerham to New Barnet
I had arranged to meet John Huxford with RT3148 at Westerham (George & Dragon) off the 246 at 1010. In the event I caught an earlier 246, leaving Bromley North at 0900 and reaching Westerham Green at 0940. So I had a while to wait. I found a really nice cup of coffee, with scrambled eggs on toast, at the cafe on the corner.
Emerging at 0955 I discovered that RT3148 had just arrived, with Nigel Henty, and John Huxford at the wheel.
We set off for the long trek to New Barnet, heading first along the A25 and then taking the slip road onto the M25 for the long climb up the flank of North Downs alongside the Darenth valley. The RT was in grand form, and went up the long hill at a steady 30mph. Once over the crest we picked up speed to 40mph! We rollocked down the long gentle slope to the Dartford Tunnel, and dived under the Thames. The others needed breakfast, so we pulled into the Thurrock services.
Then it was back to the M25. At RT speed, even with John driving, it was 3/4 hour of hard driving round to the Potters Bar turn-off, including the tunnel under Waltham Abbey. Once off the motorway we met local buses, such as Sullivan Bus EnviroDart AE16 on the 298, and Arriva's ENX8 on the 313.
But there had been no hold-ups, so we were well early. At Potters Bar we turned right to head up to Potters Bar garage. We pulled into the bus stop, and I, with hi-viz vest - went to see whether we could park in the yard for an hour. I found the operations manager, but the answer, regretfully, was no. I headed back to the RT, passing through the garage packed with weekend buses, including Dart SLF DSD215.
Out in the yard was a line-up of newer EnviroDarts, with DES798 and DES794 in the Metroline house colours for non-TfL work, and DES791 in London red.
So we turned round and headed back south, over the busy road junction, following the old Great North Road south towards Hadley Highstone and Barnet. We were soon into countryside, but with a motorway blasting overhead in front of us. We met a Metroline EnviroTrident, TE1420, a long way north of its displayed destination of Muswell Hill Broadway, presumably heading for PB garage.
We motored on towards Barnet, and pulled in on a parking bay on Hadley Common. I went to look at the parking restrictions notice: Permit holders only. So we went on. A Wright-bodied Volvo hybrid, Metroline's VWH2057 came north, out of service, heading for the garage.
We rolled on down the hill into Barnet, towards Barnet Church. An elderly Metroline President, TPL274, still with blue skirt, was ahead of us on a 84, presumably supplementing the route's DES single deckers. We followed it down Barnet High Street. Another VWH - 2043 - was terminating on a 34 from Walthamstow Central.
We passed Barnet Church and followed the High Street down onto Barnet Hill, passing High Barnet Tube station. Grinding up the hill was ex-Stagecoach Scania 15173, now Sullivan Buses DS57. It was presumably homeward-bound to South Mimms off the 217 at Turnpike Lane. It was followed up the hill by Metroline EnviroTrident TE1422 on a 263.
We passed under the Northern Line and forked left onto Station Road. We located the right turn to reach the bus terminus at New Barnet Station. John parked RT3148 at the foot of the bus lay-by, to keep out of the way of the frequent service buses that terminate there, on the 84 and 107.
We had an hour to wait. We checked that there were no plated restrictions on staying where we were. Modern buses came and went, mainly EnviroTridents on the 107 and passing 307, and long EnviroDarts on the 84, wearing non-TfL red and blue. Other routes passed by: Darts on the 383 and 384. It did not seem a long hour...
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six