Hitchin & Luton Route Recreation Day
Sunday 2nd September 2012
Prepared by Ian Smith, 12th September 2012.
337: Dunstable Downs to Studham: RF308After lunch at the Mational Trust Centre high on Dunstable Downs we returned to RF308 for the short run to Studham. As this was a London Country route - the 337 - Geoff had provided appropriate blinds.
The run down to Studham was short: a descent from the open downland top down a tree-lined sunken lane to the roundabout on the Kensworth-Whipsnade road, then on, slightly uphill and along a further tree-lined lane past Holywell to the pretty village of Studham. I was somewhat bemused when we drove straight through the village and out the other side, until I realised that we were driving round a square of country lanes to come back through the main part of the village to reach the Red Lion.
The Red Lion, incidentally, is not where shown on Google Maps, but at the main crossroads, which features flower beds on the triangular junction and a functional war memorial in the form of a short clock-tower.
364A: Studham to Dunstable (A.C.Delco Works): RF308At Studham we became a works service to Dunstable. Studham was served by the 364A from Luton on one morning journey, extended beyond Kensworth. There had been an RT-worked service 376A between Studham / Kensworth and Dunstable (George Street/ ACDelco Works) which had become the RF-worked 343A. In London Country the 343A disappeared, but the journeys continued, now as an addendum to the 364A timetable.
The blinds were changed on RF308, and we returned back north along Dunstable Road to the roundabout, where we turned east for Kensworth and the A5. On the old Roman Road we turned sharply to the North-West for the run along the main road into busy Dunstable.
We passed through the town centre to the north-western outskirts: as far north-west as London Transport went. We just passed the crossing of the old defunct railway (just the bridge abutments remain), and pulled up in front of the site of the old AC Delco Works, one of the town's main employers in the past. (This, like so many brownfield sites, is now a housing estate: we have steadily converted the country's capital from industry into housing, which is good for the bankers, but does nothing to either feed the populace or improve the nation's balance of payments).
Geoff now found the other 364A blind, used for journeys between Kensworth and Dunstable during the day, and put that up for the short journey back into town, even though it would normally be used from the other direction. We turned left off the A5 to find a place to turn, and returned to Dunstable, passing George Street, site of another important local employer of the past.
360: Dunstable to Luton: RF308The main 360 route was between Luton and Caddington, but in the 1960s it gained two afternoon shoppers' services through to Dunstable. We rumbled south down the A5, and turned off to reach Caddington. We turned right at the Green, and made a loop round the village estates before returning to the Green and the Luton-bound bus shelter.
From Luton we went east, back into open countryside, then passed under the M1 to reach Farley Hill. We rolled down into the town, and wriggled our way through to Park Street, where we pulled up on what is still the 366 stop. We had just passed Arriva The Shires' Dart SLF 3290, resting between turns. The driver too was resting up, on the back seat.
Most photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture. Thanks to Tom Drake for the other one.