Bromley Mini Running Day
Sunday 13th December 2015
Prepared by Ian Smith, 4th January 2016.
Part One: RF429 on the 227
Start at Bromley GarageI caught a 320 from Bromley Hill on the damp Sunday morning. This Go-Ahead London (Metrobus) route, from Catford to Biggin Hill, is now operated with WVLs, ex London General Wright-bodied Volvos with the quite stylish "Nokia" fronts. The bus trundled me into Bromley, even at this time on a Sunday morning quite full and stopping at every stop to exchange passengers. We dropped down through Bromley, then climbed up onto Bromley Common. A young inspector boarded and made the rounds. He got off at the stop before Oakley Road (where the 320 turns off for Keston), as did I. It seems he was heading for Bromley Garage too. We waited. A Citaro hove into view. But 23107 was a Stagecoach bus, heading home to Bromley Garage off the 227, out of service.
The expected 358 came along soon after. This was also a Citaro, with the newer style of bodywork. Metrobus has used them to replace the Scania OmniCitys from the 358, and has dressed them in a rather orangey red. The inspector and I boarded for the short trip along to Bromley Garage.
As I alighted at the garage, two red RFs pulled up opposite, although it was still more than half an hour to the official kick-off time. It was, of course, RF429 and RF368. I went across to say hello before RF pulled round the corner to park, the crew then going to use the garage facilities.
My plan was to head to Petts Wood Station on RM1398, then start the day with a rounder on the 94. But I learned that this RT was not making an appearance, so the plan had to be revised. I would stay with RF429.
Metrobus Dart SLF 233 came down the hill from Locks Bottom, heading for Bromley for a shift on the 146. It was NOT on loan to Google Streetview: those are the pair of speed cameras set up at the foot of the bank, just inside the speed limit boundary! Going the other way was Stagecoach 10195, heading for Farnborough Hospital on the 261.
RF429: 227: Bromley Garage to PengeWe set off a little early, pulling forward to the Bromley Garage pick-up stop, to gather the hardy souls who had gathered there.
We burbled down across Bromley Common, and into Bromley - down Masons Hill and up past Bromley South Station and the lower end of the High Street. We perforce toured round the exterior of The Glades, via Kentish Way and Widmore Road, to pick up at the United Reformed Church/Boots. We growled round through the Market Square to the High Street stop, then headed for Swan Hill and the winding descent to Shortlands. It rained, making photography out through the front windows impossible. Never mind, the ride itself was nostalgic, bringing back memories of seven years of travel along this way in the 1960s. Shortlands was not under water, so we passed over the river and under the railway, and climbed the long hill up out of the Ravensbourne valley. Then we drifted damply down towards Beckenham. We passed RF486, which was eastbound from its start point at Crystal Palace.
We forked right to Beckenham Church, then turned down the steep little hill to Beckenham High Street, and turned right along the twisting street to Beckenhan War Memorial. Then on along past the Baths to Clock House Station, then on under the Tramlink and Crystal Palace branch: no 4-SUB today. We trundled into Penge, meeting VLA17, probably not long for this world, on the 176.
We pulled up at the alighting stop opposite The Crooked Billet in Penge. One of the stands was already occupied. Since last year the 354 now runs to Penge on Sundays. So Stagecoach EnviroDart 36308 was standing ready for its return journey.
RF429 pulled round onto the Crooked Billet stand, providing an interesting comparison of bus designs spanning sixty years.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.