Hertford Running Days
Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd June 2012
Prepared by Ian Smith, 15th June 2012.
Late afternoon: Hertford & Stevenage
390: Hertford to Stevenage and back: RT3062Paul and I took RT3062 to Stevenage - with a few passengers as well. After by-passing Hertford Town Centre we went past Hertford North Station and took the Stevenage Road. Tree problems began almost immediately - the first time we have had problems on this trunk route. Fortunately the branches whipping at the front dome were lightweight, but Paul kept the speed low, and where possible kept to the centre of the road.
Nor were the problems eased when we turned off into Watton. The trees at the south end of the village were similarly weighed down by the heavy rain. For once we were glad to run up the main road into Stevenage, rather than turning aside into the Broadwater Estate. We passed RT3254 heading the other way as we approached the town.
We arrived at an almost deserted Stevenage Bus Station. Very few people were out in the rain. I suspect most were tucked up at home in front of the TV watching the Jubilee programmes and downing a few tinnies or cuppas. There were a few Wright Renowns in the bus station: 3322 and 3306 were resting together on the central stance.
One of Arriva's Enviro300 Darts came in on a 301 to Hemel Hempstead. I changed the blinds on the RT, and we were away again, heading back for Hertford.
We swished our way south from Stevenage, along the network of concrete highways, and took the main road towards Hertford. After our experience coming north through Watton we stayed on the by-pass, and missed out the village. RML2323, heading north, was just emerging from Watton as we passed the roundabout, resulting in another of those blurred off-the-platform pictures. We went on down through Stapleford and Waterford, watching out for low-hanging trees whether they were on our side of the road or the other. The worst stretch was coming down towards Hertford North. The guy in the RangeRover behind us obviously had too few brain cells to work out why the big red bus kept slowing to walking pace, and became a bit impatient. Fortunately he did not do anything rash.
As we wound our way into Bircherley Green Bus Station we passed RMC1500 departing, presumably heading back for London.
Next to the Saunders RT in the bus station was Eastbourne 69, which I discovered was going to Stevenage next, and RT3254, which had arrived back from there ahead of us.
390: Hertford to Stevenage: No69I went for another cup of tea, and thanked Paul for driving me. He offered me a trip to Ongar, or Northfleet, but that unfortunately was in the wrong direction, or I would happily have gone. I had to decide how to get to Stevenage for my booked train north. I could go to Hertford North and wait for a rattling journey on a rail replacement Beaver. Or I could travel rather earlier in the Eastbourne Regent and find shelter and/or refreshment at Stevenage. No contest.
When I went to join the Regent the museum GS was having its blinds removed prior to its trip back to Acton. As we departed, the GS also was on its way. The top deck of the Regent gave me an unusual view of the top of Centrebus Dart 541, still on the 311. Two of the RFs were parked in the bus station, awaiting the evening journeys.
I enjoyed the sedate journey north on the cushions, upstairs. A couple of inches shorter than the RT, and with no roof-box, the Regent had less to worry about from the trees. But Steve still took it carefully. I alighted in Stevenage Bus Station and watched the big bus depart, before making my way over the bridge to the station.
Many thanks to the CBR team for the running day, especially Colin Rivers. Many thanks too to all the drivers, conductors and owners, who made it possible. Thanks to the programme compilers, publishers, and sellers. Also to those who gave permissions: the local authorities, the police, the bus companies. Also to Bagelettes in Bircherley Green Bus Station for excellent tea and meals.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.