Oxted Running Day
Sunday 4th September 2011
Prepared by Ian Smith, 13th September 2011.
Getting ThereHow to get to Oxted? The obvious way was a train to London Bridge and a train to Oxted. But Network Rail was doing something between Croydon and Oxted, replacing trains with much slower buses. RT604 was going from West Croydon, but getting there in time for the start would be difficult. A solution was actually suggested by Network Rail's Journey Planner, which suggested going to Edenbridge (Kent) station and walking to Edenbridge Town to catch a train north from there to Oxted. I was not going to change stations, but consulting the Running Day timetable suggested that the 485 from East Grinstead to Westerham would leave Edenbridge Star at 0950, while the Edenbridge trains both called at 0955. I wrote suggesting that the 485 be sure to connect.
That done, I chose to go via Tonbridge. It happened that Network Rail was also digging up Petts Wood (or the track there), so instead of a change at Orpington I had a quick change at Chislehurst onto a main line train, which then took the spur at Chislehurst Junction and went to Sevenoaks via Swanley and Otford. I changed trains at Tonbridge, and was whisked westwards through Leigh and Penshurst to Edenbridge Station.
Changing at Tonbridge, from SouthEastern 375815 to Southern 377150
485: Edenbridge Station to Westerham: SNB340I descended from the platform to the roadway, emerging beside the 13ft 3in high roadbridge. The bus-stop was just down the hill. Now where was the SNB? I had a few minutes to wait, then the London Country liveried bus hove into view, recreating the London Country 485 service from East Grinstead to Westerham.
Edenbridge Station: the low bridge, and SNB340 arriving on the 485 to Westerham.On the Leyland National there is a superb view out of the front windows. We climbed away from Edenbridge Station on the long climb to Crockham Hill, up onto the Greensand Ridge that gives this part of the Weald such a distinctive chracter. Lovely beech trees framed the road and filled the woods on either side. We turned off the Oxted Road at Ctrockham Hill, and continued the winding climb up onto Hosey Common.
Up onto the Greensand Ridge, at Crockham Hill and Hosey Common.We passed the lane to Chartwell, and a few seconds later met the 246 on its way there. We wound down the other side to Westerham, coming out onto the A25 at the eastern foot of the village. We climbed the steep hill past the green, with its statues of Wolfe and Churchill, and stopped outside the Kings Arms.
SNB345 on arrival at Westerham with the 485.
410: Westerham to Oxted Station: SNB340While the blind was being changed on SNB340 for its onward journey on the 410, a Go-Coach Dart in Kent County Links livery came round the corner behind, on the infrequent 401 service to Tunbridge Wells. I presume it was P179LKL, ex Arriva 3179.
P179LKL on 401, SNB340 on 410, Westerham.We set off westwards again, out of Westerham and up the long dry valley towards Limpsfield Common. We soon passed over the top, and descended towards Oxted, staying on the main road until the turn in towards Oxted Station (East Side). We passed the station and turned to pass under the notorious Oxted Station Bridge, then went anti-clockwise round the block to Station Approach, where the other buses were parked ready for the start.
OxtedRF633 was there, set up for the 464, with RF146 behind ready to go to Holland. GS15 was also set up for the 464, which was to have an intensive 1960s weekday service, and Leyland National Mk2 SNB449 was arriving from the west on a 410.
GS2 arrived at the unloading point, then pulled round the corner to park behind RF406 at the normal stop by the public conveniences, opposite the station.
RT604 was parked there too, having arrived from West Croydon as a 411 to Godstone and then as a 410 to here. A few minutes later XF3 arrived too, to take its part on the 410, and pulled up well down Station Approach.
The reason for the tightly controlled parking and anti-clockwise circulation was also apparent. Across the road, outside the station, were two of Go-Ahead London's Rail Replacement buses, Merton's SOE5 on the all-stations service, requiring a single-decker, and Sutton's DOE12 on the fast service to Purley. They had the clockwise circuit.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.