Do you like GREEN London Transport buses?
Do you enjoy days out in the Country?
Do you remember glorious days on Green Rovers?
Answer yes to any of these and Country Bus Rallies are for you. Whether you are a bus enthusiast, a fifties fanatic, a number collector, a photographer, or someone who just likes a good day out, Country Bus Rallies are the thing for you.
They happen on about four Sundays a year, during the warmer (if not drier) months. Preserved green London Transport buses, mainly from the fifties and sixties - and their drivers and conductors - plus a few red friends, gather together for a day running services around a market town somewhere in the London Country Area, places like East Grinstead, Hertford and Sevenoaks, plus an annual Summer Holiday event in Eastbourne.
GS2 at the rural terminus at Chapmore End, in June 2011.
There are proper published timetable for the days, that can be obtained in advance so that you can plan your excursions and make connections. There are enough buses for you to do this, with connecting points scattered around in towns and villages - and at pubs. We even try not to leave anyone behind at the end of the day! Sometimes events conspire to wreck the best of well-laid plans, like road closures, drivers getting lost, or even punctures. It all adds to the enjoyment if you come in the right frame of mind!
Services at the major events are provided free of charge. Possession of a programme is not required, and does not constitute a ticket or a right to ride on services. Nevertheless we do hope that you will purchase a programme!
RF28 worked Green Line route 713 between Epsom and Dorking in September 2009. Here it is at the Dorking terminus.
Feeder journeys can often be very interesting in themselves. In April 2010 RMC4 worked to East Grinstead from Bromley using route 410 to Godstone and then 409 to East Grinstead, before working on routes 409 and 708 during the day.
Sunday 13th May 2018: Sevenoaks Running DayTucked away in the south-east corner of the London Transport area, Sevenoaks enjoyed long London Transport trunk bus routes to Dartford, Bromley, Croydon and Tonbridge, with GreenLine routes to Tunbridge Wells, Bromley, London and Windsor. Once the small local operator (West Kent Motors), had been taken over by LT just before the Second Worlsd War, it also had a network of local routes to the west, north-west and north-east of Sevenoaks. Eastwards was Maidstone and District territory, with a trunk route east to Maidstone and some local routes, also gleaned from the local operator as being outwith the London Transport special area.
The running day tries to reflect these different aspects of local operation, so be prepared to find variety, although the longer routes are truncated during the day!
Buses are mainly London Transport Country Area. But remember that in the 1950s the Country Area imported plenty of red LT stock on Sundays, its busiest day of the week. There are usually Maidstone & District buses to represent their operations too. There are even some service buses provided by Go-Coaches of Otford for Kent County Council, plus their Sevenoaks Routemaster tour (although these are not part of the running day provision).
Sevenoaks town centre is immediately next to the bus station, with some shops open on Sunday. The bus station cafe is also open during the Running Day.
403 RT 604 CROYDON Fairfield Halls 9.00, Sanderstead Church 9.15, Warlingham Green 9.23, Chelsham LT Garage 9.27, Sevenoaks 10.12. Return departure: 1720
There MAY be an RML from Redhill Bus Station at 0910, Godstone Green at 0926, but driver injury makes this unlikely at present.
* Connects with train, ** connects with 246 from Bromley.
Please remember that feeder service buses are subject to the vagaries of old age, like their drivers and crews. Sometimes (not often) starting in the morning is difficult! So have a backup plan in case your feeder fails to appear!
RT2083 at Hertford Bus Station, June 2011, running short journeys on the Green Line 715.
Forthcoming events to be determined. Further plans are being developed, and you will get to know when they come to fruition.
RF633 in the lane to Tewin on the 388 to Mardley Hill on Saturday 4th June 2011.
If you wish to enquire or register for any of the 2018 events please send contact details and A5 stamped address envelop to : Country Bus Rallies 19, Hampton Way East Grinstead West Sussex RH19 4SG
Please don't e-mail ian smith, as he doesn't have the lists.
GS62 and RF308 meet at Tewin on the 388, June 2007.
Maidstone & District Bristol SO43 operated at the Sevenoaks Running Day in May 2010.
Send a strong A5 envelope with sufficient stamps for the return post (First Class) containing the number of programmes you require, with a cheque or postal order for £7.50 to:
Country Bus Rallies
19 Hampton Way
Programmes can also be purchased on the day, but buying one in advance will help you plan your day (and is £0.50 cheaper!). Possession of a programme is not required to use the services.
Some journeys that we expect to be heavily in demand will require a free control ticket to be obtained from the control point before boarding.
MB90 pauses in Chipstead with a 454 working from Tonbridge, May 2010.
Country Bus Rallies are a group of volunteers, who have come together to offer these events. They have a wealth of experience in bus preservation, and enjoy sharing their hobby with the public through these running days. It is NOT a business! The group has no obligation to provide the services, to operate in accordance with the published timetable, or to provide particular buses - but do try!
The buses are mostly provided by private preservationists.
Some have private vehicle insurance, some are public service vehicles.
RT604 worked on the 408 between West Croydon and Effingham or Guildford in September 2009, while RT3148 worked on the local 435 at the East Grinstead Day, April 2010.Please note:Vehicle owners ask that people who travel on their buses refrain from eating or drinking while aboard, and please do not bring aboard framed rucksacks or non-folding pushchairs. (The food and drink tends to encourage mice in places where the buses are kept, which don't do the buses much good, the rucksacks have been found to scratch the elderly paintwork, and non-folding pushchairs cause access difficulties in the narrow gangways of these older buses.)
Operating in Greater London (Central Area) is more difficult. The main problem is not Transport for London, who are very co-operative with responsible groups, but the problem of finding places to stand or park buses. Bus stations are often not useable in the TfL zone as these are in intensive use seven days a week. So CBR operations in red areas usually involve small numbers of buses which operate without using a central location. For these reason the Bromley mini-Running Days have operated without a programme or published timetable, and the days at Loughton have had few buses to avoid parking problems and allow use of Loughton bus station.
RT3062 pauses at Fairlop on a 167 working to Barkingside, during the 2011 Loughton mini-event
Text and photos by Ian Smith. Click on photos for a larger picture.
Ian Smith and Ian's Bus Stop have no official connection with Country Bus Rallies, although I have enjoyed riding and recording some of the events in the last few years, and am regarded as group photographer for the events I can get to. Information is provided in good faith, but I have no responsibility for organising or providing facilities.
The reports are purely my personal record of the days, and not an official record,
so the emphasis is purely mine and not that of the CBR organisers.
Some aspects of the days get overlooked by me, or left until next time,
so apologies to anyone who expects comprehensive coverage of all aspects!
As was common in the 1950s, red buses feature on the Country Bus Running Days. Here RF429 duplicates GS15 on a 465 journey to Staffhurst Wood, passing Holland (September 2011).
OTHER ORGANISERS also have London-orientated running days and rallies.
Please note that although many of the buses and participants in these events may be the same as on the CBR events,
Country Bus Rallies have no responsibility for any aspect of their organisation or content. Amersham & District are organising a number of events, but because when I mentioned them here people applied to us for programmes instead of to the organisers you will have to look them up for yourselves.