Bromley Mini Running Day
Sunday 9th December 2018
Prepared by Ian Smith, 15th December 2018.
Part Three: Eltham
314: Bromley South to Eltham Station (DT29)DT29 was standing at the 126 terminus in Ringers Road, just off Bromley High Street. It is hard to believe that this wonderful design is 28 years old! I climbed aboard and chatted to the crew. I knew that I would only be travelling TO Eltham on the bus, as it then had a considerable lunch break - but more of that later. It was my first time travelling on a DT, I think. I had seen them in Bromley back in 1990, but only briefly, and don't remember actually being on one. Likewise I had not been on the 314 east of Sundridge Park Station, along the erstwhile B1 route, even though my brother had driven B1s back in their early days.
We set off up the High Street, as far as is allowed these days, and turned between The Mall and The Glades on Elmfield Road. We took on some passengers there, and more at Kentish Way, the Town Hall and West Street. Then we were away, up College Road and on towards Plaistow Green. I can remember being bounced along here on a MetroRider or similar breadvan on the 396, but this experience was very different: the Dart gave a smooth ride, very enjoyable. We turned up past Sundridge Park Station (only about two trains' length from Bromley North Station) and wound up past the entrance lodge to Sundridge Park Golf Course to St.Joseph's, where we turned left to descend into the Quaggy Valley. This was the area of expensive houses that initially objected to having a bus route - even the tiny Ford Strachans did not meet with approval on the B1.
At the foot of the hill we turned left to climb up under the railway at Elmstead Woods Station. The climb continued, past the end of Elmstead Woods, to cross the 161 route and head along William Barefoot Drive, observing the 20mph speed limit and bouncing over the numerous speed bumps. There was a queue to cross the A21 to gain Southwood Road, that took us on to New Eltham Station.
After a time-keeping pause there we turned left, to cross the railway and follow Footscray Road to Eltham. At a roundabout we turned half right to climb up Southend Crescent, the long-time terminus of the 126. We turned left along Eltham High Street, and crawled along through the gelatinous traffic. WVL278 threaded its way past us, heading to Foots Cray on the 321, truncated remnant of the 21 route that used to run from Moorgate to Sidcup, Swanley and Farningham. We eventually turned at the traffic lights into Well Hall Road, to head for Eltham Station. Cadet replacement on the 286, Wright Streetlite WS109, was at stop G on the way.
We turned in at Eltham Station, where the journey ended and the crew were to take their lunch break.
The bus standing area was occupied by EnviroDarts: Metrobus had 155 for the 233 to Swanley and 172 for the 162 to Beckenham Junction, while Stagecoach fielded 36552 for the 314. The latter two were about due to leave simultaneously, and I had to choose which to use to get back to Bromley. Well, I had just been on the 314, and much of the 162 was unknown to me, so I opted for that.
162: Eltham Station to Bromley Civic Centre (Metrobus 172)
The EnviroDart purred out onto Well Hall Road. We met another of the new Streetlites, WS110, heading for Greenwich on the 286. We turned left along Eltham High Street. I didn't know the 162 route at all (at this end), so was quite surprised when the bus kept on past Southend Crescent to Avery Hill. There it turned right to head for New Eltham Station. From there it shared the 314 route to cross the A21 at Fiveways Cross, but whereas the 314 would have turned right for Elmstead Woods, the 162 headed straight up Green Lane. Then it turned left, for a long loop round through the estates before re-emerging at Chislehurst Gordon Arms. EnviroTrident 19139 was resting there at the 61 terminus.
From there onwards I do know the 162 route, having used it to reach Bromley several times after Christmas walks through Elmstead Woods. We crossed Chislehurst Common, picking up a sizeable party of elderly walkers, and turned right at the War Memorial to follow the erstwhile 227 route back to Bromley. We dived down Summer Hill to Chislehurst Station, and up the other side to Bickley. We rolled on along towards Bromley, dipping down to Widmore Green, then following Widmore Road along to Bromley Civic Centre. I alighted at the stop on Kentish Way, and headed for the Town Hall stop, to step back half a century...
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.