GS62 at Oxted

Westerham & Oxted Running Day

Sunday 21st September 2003

Prepared by Ian Smith, 1st October 2003

Part 2: Mid-day, a 464-465-485 duty (GS32)

Back at Chelsham John Clarke was preparing to take out GS32 for one of the complicated 464-465-485 duties. The three routes were operated together. They formed a star based on Crockham Hill, with the 464 operating Westerham - Chart - Oxted - Holland, the 465 Edenbridge - Chart - Oxted - Holland and the 485 Edenbridge-Crockham Hill - Westerham. That's the easy bit. Then there were the Oxted locals: 464 short journeys Holland - Oxted - Chart, and 464 Barrow Green Rd - Oxted - Pollards Oak - Holland, journeys to Staffhurst Wood, school journeys, and garage journeys to Tatsfield and Chesham Garage, from Oxted. Peak requirement at school times was seven buses, with just three needed during the day.

system map

464: Westerham - Holland

John needed a navigator, so I volunteered. It went wrong at the start! We missed the left turn before Westerham and went up through the village, and on along the Limpsfield road. We turned up the erstwhile 246 route to the Chart, and climbed up over the Greensand Ridge, with its wonderful trees, and got back on route at The Chart.

GS32 prepares to set off Greensand Ridge

We paused at the Carpenters' Arms, then headed across the chart towards Limpsfield and Oxted. We avoided Limpsfield village with its wicked speed bumps, and turned down to the shops at the east side of Oxted Station, passing GS2 on a 465 to Edenbridge on the way.

GS32 at The Chart GS2, Oxted east side

We paused at Oxted Station (East Side), and drove on round to the West Side, where we waited for a connection, and availed ourselves of the public facilities. The connection arrived in the shape of lovely RLH48, working a 410 from Reigate to Westerham.

RLH 48 at Oxted Station RLH 48 at Oxted Station GS 32 at Oxted Station

We left Oxted Station behind, crossed the A25 and ground up the steep narrow hill through Old Oxted. We found the turn at the top of the bank, and headed for Hurst Green and Holland. GS76 came past on a 464 short working to The Chart.

Old Oxted GS76 comes past

Then I missed the turning to Hurst Green. So we had a short diversion, west across the southern slopes of the Greensand Ridge until we met the 494 route, and a corner to turn at. This time we found Hurst Green, and headed on across the speed-bumps towards Holland. This I recognized, and we made the sharp right turn round into the estate terminus, and pulled up at the bus stop.

GS32 at Holland GS32 at Holland

464: Holland to Chart

There was no problem finding our way back to Oxted: I had noted the turn-off to go round to Old Oxted on the outward trip. Old Oxted looks even narrower going down the hill on the wrong side of the road past the parked cars. We called at Oxted Station (both sides) and passed GS76 again, on its way back from Chart to Holland.

Old Oxted again GS76 passes in Oxted

We ground up the bank out of Oxted, and up onto Limpsfield Chart, and motored along under the trees. RF626 flashed past, bound for Oxted Station. As we were to terminate at Chart we did not pull in along the Carpenters' Arms spur road - but then missed the sudden turn at Chart Church. Never mind, it was a pleasant ride along the ridge to Goodley Stock Road, where we could turn. We returned to Chart, passing another GS on the way. (My spare camera won't capture these at speed under the trees, except as a blur). We paused just long enough to set the blinds again.

464: Chart to Holland

We scooted back along the ridge - what a joy this road is, when the sun shines thrugh the trees. Back down into Oxted, and round to the Station. There was a grouping of buses: RF626 was on a 464 turn to Westerham; RM835, in Strathclyde red and yellow, was on the 410 to Westerham and RF633 was also on the 464 (but exactly where it was going the lazy blind wasn't saying). We went on through Old Oxted and Hurst Green, passing GS76 again on the way, and terminated again at Holland.

GS62 interior RF626 at Oxted Stn

RM835 at Oxted Stn RF633 at Oxted Stn GS32 at Holland

465: Holland to Edenbridge

This time we were going back all the way to Edenbridge, so John reset the blinds appropriately. This involves opening the rear door, as the GS has no means of telling from the inside when the blind is correctly set.

Going back into Old Oxted we met GS62 coming the other way on a trip to Staffhurst Wood. Unfortunately the road just here is too narrow for two GSs to pass. We had cars behind. RF679 came round the corner behind GS62. An ambulance came up behind our queue. The impasse was resolved by cars behind us reversing into side roads, and John reversing GS32 onto the wrong side of the road to let the ambulance past. Then, with the queue behind dispersed, GS32 could also be reversed into a side road to let the other two buses pass.

We went on into Oxted, and made the mandatory stop at the station. GS13 was waiting on the other side.

changing the rear blind GS62 in a tight spot GS13 at Oxted Stn

We picked up some passengers wanting to go to Hever Castle. Did we go near there? No, but Edenbridge is rather closer! They came with us. Up the hill out of Oxted again, and that wonderful run along to Chart. This time we pulled in to stop outside the Carpenters' Arms facing east. Then it was away again, right along the ridge road to Crockham Hill, then speeding down the long downhill run into Edenbridge, passing GS2 slogging back up the other way heading for Oxted and Holland.

GS32 at Chart passing GS2

Edenbridge was delightful today. Not much traffic, no roadworks, picturesque... We dropped the passengers from Oxted, who had received onward directions from others on the bus, and passed on down the main street, under the Crown Inn sign and over the Eden to terminate at The Star. Several of our passengers got off here while we went round the corner and down the road to the turning point.

The Old Crown Inn, Edenbridge GS32 at The Star Inn, Edenbridge

485: Edenbridge to Westerham

Our return to Westerham was to be as a 485, a route that has been called an operational convenience rather than any kind of social or economic nescessity. We pulled back out at The Swan, and occupied the bus stop, which seems to be sited to cause maximum inconvenience to traffic.

GS32, Edenbridge GS32, Edenbridge

Metrobus Dart, Westerham We headed back north, over the bridge, and up the long drag. It steepened as we climbed up to Crockham Hill. After the right turn onto the Westerham road it was a long slow grind up the hill. We sampled the delights of Hosey Common, and ran down towards Westerham.

One of Metrobus' new red Darts came up the hill towards us on one of the Sunday 246 journeys to Chartwell.

We turned right to reach the car park, and a well-earned break, after hardly stopping for over three hours, and with a lot of stiff climbs for the little bus.

Part 3: Afternoon, Tatsfield, Chelsham and Oxted (GS62)

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1 Part 3: Afternoon, Tatsfield, Chelsham and Oxted (GS62).