Bromley Mini Running Day
Sunday 11th December 2016
Prepared by Ian Smith, 14th December 2016.
Part One: RT1702 on the 94
136: Grove Park to Catford Garage (19836)
I walked to Grove Park Station, and on to the bus stand. There EnviroTrident 19836 was just starting up for the trip on the 136 to Elephant & Castle. It pulled round to the departure stop. I climbed aboard. The bus pulled out to the traffic lights at the top of Downham Way. Metrobus EnviroDart 755 came across the crossing, heading to take up service, probably on the 126 at Eltham. We turned right, past the old tram terminus, and down Downham Way to meet London Road. The bus headed north past Southend Pond and stopped by Catford Garage. EnviroTrident 10187 rumbled past on the 208, heading for Bromley, Petts Wood and Orpington.
As we approached the garage a line of buses was just visible over the south wall of the yard. Just one solitary Trident, presumably either withdrawn, a spare or a trainer. I joined the group standing outside the garage gate. Then I went on to take a look at one of the new buses - a Volvo, 13086, that was standing on the street ready for a 47 trip.
I looked through the gateway. A line of EnviroTridents stood in the south yard (10135, 10200, 19844, 10137), while a mixed line-up of single-decker trainers stood by the west wall.
94: Catford Garage to Grove Park and Petts Wood (RT1702)I heard the unmistakeable sound of an RT engine starting up, somewhere back in the garage. Then it stopped. We waited. We waited until the time we should have been at Grove Park. Then RT1702 appeared. It transpired that on start-up the RT had blown a fuse, which had to be replaced.
The RT pulled round and stopped just inside the gate for us to board. Then we were away, south from the garage towards Southend Pond (Peter Pan's Pool) and Downham, then east up the long sinuous drag of Downham Way. Just past Northover we passed Catford's enviroDart 36535 heading for Eltham on the 124.
We reached Grove Park Station and turned left for the short run along to the bus station. The day before this approach had been closed by a leaking water main, but today it was passable, if damp. We paused briefly for photos before completing the turn and heading south along the 94 route, picking up a few passengers along the way. A few things were different since I went to school on the 94 (or 126). At the junction of London Lane and Plaistow Lane, once a crossroads, there is now the large roundabw Green. Closer to Bromley the traffic perforce turns left into Tweedy Road rather than continuing ahead down College Road to the corner of North Street and West Street. Once the hub of Bromley bus operations, neither now has any buses. Instead we called at Bromley North Station, and instead of heading down East Street to the Market Square and the High Street we had to head south, to cross Tweedy Road onto Kentish Way - which was a footpath back in 94 days. We met various buses coming the other way, including new 36609 on the 336 to Catford Bridge via the Downham estates.
We turned right off Kentish Way, past the shopping emporia of Intu and The Mall, and headed down the High Street towards Bromley South Station. RM1397 came the other way on a 94 to Grove Park.
We drove into the bright sunshine as we headed on up onto Bromley Common, the sun on the dust speckling the windows making photography difficult. But this was better when we turned off towards Southborough. We met EnviroTrident 10187 - the one I had seen head south earlier at Catford Garage.
We continued past The Crooked Billet, one-time terminus of the 94 (and its predecessor 136), and headed on towards Petts Wood. Dart SLF 272 (Metrobus) went past on an R3 service. Iveco RH1 was spotted as we approached Petts Wood.
RT1702 terminated at the Station Approach at Petts Wood Station, twirling round to the departure stop. It did not stay long before setting off back to Grove Park.
Now I had a wait for the little midibus to return...
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.