RT1702 on 47, Bromley Hill

Bromley Classic Bus Running Day

Sunday 18th December 2011

Prepared by Ian Smith, 30th December 2011

Late afternoon

208: Petts Wood to Bromley

The afternoon was getting distinctly colder as I waited at Petts Wood Station for a 208 towards Bromley. Naturally two went the other way, one of them 17282. Eventually 17442 appeared, and I climbed aboard.

Trident 17282 on 208, Petts Wood Trident 17442 on 208, Petts Wood

RML2750 on 94, Petts Wood I sat inside the Trident, looking ahead through an internal glass screen as well as the windscreen. We had not gone far when RML2750 appeared. I had forgotten that it was a part cycle behind the RT. It passed us and headed for Petts Wood. I alighted at The Crooked Billet, thinking to catch the next 208 back to Petts Wood. Then I realised that the RML was due a break at Petts Wood too.

I caught the next 208 towards Bromley. The late afternoon gloom deepened as we went towards Bromley - the daylight I mean, not my mood.

As we climbed up through Bromley we caught up with RT3871 on the 126. At the Widmore Road lights we were right behind it. The lights changed. The RT got through. We didn't. While we waited an RF crossed in front of us, heading west. Eventually the lights changed again, and we rolled along to the Town Hall stop. The RT had gone, and was already turning into West Street. As I alighted from the Trident the RF pulled away too.

227: Bromley Market to Penge: RF429

I dashed along to the Market Square, where I was just in time to catch the RF before it pulled away. Climbing aboard I realised that it was not RF486 as I had expected, but RF429 again. It was well loaded, but I found a place on the long nearside seat and settled in to enjoy the trip. There was much reminiscing and good-natured banter on the bus. People were enjoying the ride.

Inside RF429, Shortlands RF429 on 227, Penge

The bus emptied in Penge, and we made the turn onto The Crooked Billet stand. There was just time for a quick photo before we were due away. Arriva London's Volvo B7TL VLA106 scuttled past on the 176.

RF429 on 227, Penge VLA106 on 176, Penge

227: Penge to Bromley North: RF429

I rejoined the RF and we were away again through the gloaming, back to Bromley. We passed another RF at Kent House: RF401 I think. Again the return trip was well-loaded, with everyone enjoying the experience, whether or not they remembered the RFs on the route (it WAS 33 years ago that they came off!).

94: Bromley North to Petts Wood: RML2750

In Bromley I went round the Bromley North loop on the RF, and was rewarded by finding RML2750 at Bromley North Station, heading for Petts Wood. I jumped aboard, and found the seat behind the bonnet available. Not that there was much to make out in the dark, apart from lights. The RF pulled alongside us at the Tweedy Road lights, as a 126 pulled away ahead of us. We followed the latter down Kentish Way and through onto Bromley High Street, where there were still quite a few people doing last-minute shopping.

Tweedy Road junction 126 turns down Bromley High Street

The big Routemaster rumbled out across Bromley Common and off through Southborough to reach Petts Wood, where it pulled into the station terminal stance.

RML2750 at Petts Wood Station RML2750 at Petts Wood Station

94: Petts Wood to Grove Park: RML2750

The blinds were changed for the next trip to Grove Park, more photos were taken, and we reboarded for the return trip in the dark.

RML2750 at Petts Wood Station RML2750 at Petts Wood Station

It was a warm comfortable journey back into Bromley on the big bus. We did not pick up many passengers: most people were now heading out of Bromley with their purchases, and we were distinctly anti-flow until we reached town. We took a few on then for the run out to Grove Park.

RML2750 at Grove Park Station RML2750 at Grove Park Station

At Grove Park the crew discussed the next leg: home from here or back to Petts Wood first. While they chatted I alighted to take pictures.

126: Grove Park to Southover: RT3871

RT3871 pulled in behind the RML on an RT short-working. They were nort hanging about. It was back to Bromley North, and then finish: back to Ebbsfleet.

RT3871 at Grove Park Station RT3871 at Grove Park Station

I jumped aboard for the short ride back to my own finishing point at Southover, where I alighted. I waited a few minutes, and was rewarded by the passing of the RML on its way out to Petts Wood.

RT3871 on 126 at Southover RML2750 on 94 at Southover

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

It was an excellent day. Many thanks to Colin Rivers for organising it and getting all the necessary permissions. Thanks to the owners, drivers and crews who made it possible. Thanks to the public who enjoyed it and made it worth-while as well as enjoyable. Thanks to TfL, the police and other bodies who gave permission.

My apologies to those whose buses I missed. I didn't get to travel on RF401, RF486, DT39, T1030, or RT3062 although I would have liked to. Another time, I hope. Nor did I get to Chislehurst on the 227, Eltham on the 126, Coney Hall on the 138 or West Wickham on the 119B - but one cannot have everything all at once. Happy New Year to you all.

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