RLH48 at Chalfont St.Giles

Slough & Windsor Bus Running Day

Sunday May 14th 2006

Prepared by Ian Smith, 28th May 2006

Part Two: 417: Slough to Old Windsor and back (RT3254)

I climbed aboard Green Line RT3254 in the depths of Slough Bus Station, just as it was about to depart: no time for a photo even! It was heading for Old Windsor on route 417. We pulled out of the bus station, closely followed by RT3496, which turned left to head back into the bus station to load up, as we went straight on south at the roundabout.

We headed towards Windsor. But the old cross-river bridge from Eton into Windsor is not longer available, so before we reached Eton we turned onto the new by-pass, which sweeps south-westwards to cross the Thames west of the towns. We were followed by one of First Beelines's Berkhof-bodied Scanias, SCF64795, on Green Line 702 to Bracknell. It pulled up behind us as we queued to get off the slip-road to enter Windsor. What a contrast with the Green Line vehicle I was on, even if the RT would primarily have been a relief vehicle if it had been used in the Windsor area.

RT3496 on 353, Slough SCF64795 on 702, Windsor by-pass RT3254 on 417, Windsor by-pass

We edged our way into Windsor through heavy traffic. I saw RTL139 heading our way on a 457 for Uxbridge, and essayed a snap shot from the platform as it passed. We eased our way round by the riverside, followed by local Dart SLF DPL42643 in Legoland livery, today on the Park & Ride service. Up a side street I saw RLH48 passing the Castle, so was ready when it passed us a few moments later as we rounded the block in opposite directions.

RTL139 on 457, Windsor DPL42643 on Windsor Park&Ride RLH48 on 353, Windsor

We headed up past the Castle, and round through the town to the site of the old Windsor Garage and Bus Station. All that remains in St.Leonard's Road is an island bus stand. The rest, like nearly all the London Country garages, has gone for housing. Anyway, we pulled up at the stop and paused for photos.

RT3254 on 417, Windsor Garage RT3254 on 417, Windsor Garage

Then it was south-eastwards out of the town and along to meet the Thames at Old Windsor. The route terminated at The Bells, but the bus had to go on past Runnymede to find a roundabout to turn. The crew invited me to go with them for the "light" trip. We set off and ran along the riverside meadows, passing the Runnymede stone commemorating Magna Carta. We turned at the roundabout and I went upstairs for the return run along to the pub, enjoying the brief trip upstairs at the front.

RT3254 on 417, Old Windsor Runnymede

This stretch has especial significance to me, as being the furthest from Bromley that I got on a Green Rover with my family. On that occasion the skies opened and we all got drenched. We ended up catching a 441 to Staines and a Green Line home - an event in itself.
Today the sky went black but the rain held off. We zoomed along beside the Thames, and drew up at The Bells where the photographers were waiting.

Thames at Runnymede The Bells, Old Windsor

RT3254 at The Bells RT3254 at The Bells

I returned to my seat inside for the return journey: into Windsor, to the old bus garage, then through the busy town. We missed the hard left turn below the castle, and instead found ourselves in the traffic queue heading for the horse show on the river meadows. Rather than attempt to turn round we went on across the river to Datchet. After further problems there we went over the level crossing in Datchet, and headed back towards Eton on the 445 route. We turned north onto the original 417 route and headed for Slough.

Approaching Slough we had red RML2666 behind us, heading for Beaconsfield on the 441. As we rounded the roundabout outside the bus station RML2412 circled behind us, heading the other way.

RML2666 on 441 RML2412 on 441

I alighted and went into the bus station. Green RML2440 was another 441 participant, and a further red RML awaited its turn in the background. RF226 - an RF that I haven't seen before due to its long sojourn in Yorkshire - was blinded for a journey to Burnham Beeches on the 442. RF486 lurked in the background, wearing Green Line blinds.

RML2440 on 441 RF226 on 442

I went over to talk to the crew in RLH48, and to confirm the time of their departure on the 353. Modernised Green Line RF213 on a 335 to Gerrards Cross squeezed between late-livery RF406 and RF281, the last ready for a trip to Datchet on the 460.

RF213 on 335 RF281 on 460

Now it was time for me to get some lunch, so I dived into the subterranean world that took me to Marks & Spencer's, to buy some sandwiches and fruit juice.

Part 3: RLH48 to Chalfont St.Giles

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1: Slough Part 3: RLH48 to Chalfont St.Giles