S6 at Tenterden

Tenterden Hop-Pickers

Sunday 10th September 2006

Prepared by Ian Smith, 25th September 2006

Part One: Arrivals

Today we didn't have to start quite so early, as our first duty started relatively near RF679's base. The sun shone as we took RF679 and GS2 out of the shed, and fitted the RF with special blinds for the day's services. The GS roared off with Peter Aves at the wheel, and soon we were off too, heading for Ashford International railway station.

There wasn't anybody waiting there. The RF seemed quite tiny compared with the enormous beasts employed on rail replacement duties. We set off, and quite soon left the developing - and spreading - town of Ashford behind, as we headed south-west through the sunshine.

RF679 GS2 Inside RF679

Near Kingsnorth we met the Transweald service 297 coming the other way on the 297, with dedicated Arriva Dart P211 LKJ. We turned right to Stubbs Cross, then left towards Shadoxhurst.

Transweald Dart 3211 RF679 at Shadoxhurst

We rumbled on along narrowing lanes towards Woodchurch. The mill appeared ahead of us, then vanished behind the hedge as we approached the village. We made a circuit of the village green, then dropped down to the B2067 for the run west to Tenterden. We threaded our way into the town, and pulled up at the bus-stop outside the old half-timbered Maidstone & District office and garage.

Transweald Dart 3211 RF679 at Tenterden

It was then just a short drive along the main street and down the lane to Tenterden Town station on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The crossing gates were closed. Colin tucked RF679 away on the station forecourt. We listened as Austerity 060ST "Rolvenden" came up the bank, and watched the tank engine enter the station to get the day's trains on the move.

RF679 at Tenterden Stn Rolvenden at Tenterden Stn

I watched the tank fussing about in the station, chuffing gently away to gather a set of coaches.

Rolvenden at Tenterden Stn Rolvenden at Tenterden Stn

GS62 was parked on the station forecourt. The Guy Special, with Eastern Coachworks body was built for London Transport in 1953. Just three years older, and also bodied by ECW, was Maidstone and District Bristol LS SO43, standing by the railway shed on the north side of the crossing.

GS62 at Tenterden Stn SO43 at Tenterden Stn

Parked in the shadow of the Nissen huts was GS2, while enjoying the sunshine just beyond was Maidstone & District Reliance S6.

GS2 at Tenterden Stn S6 at Tenterden Stn

We had hoped that Stagecoach East Kent would send their Regent V, but it was unavailable. Instead their East Kent-liveried Olympian, L246SDY turned up. Also arriving now were RT3148 and RF633, which all threaded their way across the level crossing and into the bus park.

Olympian at Tenterden Stn Rt3148 at Tenterden Stn RF633 at Tenterden Stn

Most of the buses had arrived, and it was time for a few departures.

Part 2: Comings and Goings

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: Comings and Goings