Cobham RF Running Day: 24th October 1999

Prepared by Ian Smith on 6th November 1999.

This year's RF Running Day at Cobham Bus Museum was a quiet event, probably due to the torrential rain and gales that swept over the south-east of England that day! But I made my way to Weybridge, despite Railtrack's efforts, and found the pleasant sight of RTL 139 waiting at the bus-stop by the station bridge.
RTL139, n/s front It was the first time I had been on an RTL for years. I had forgotten the different sound they made, a mixture of Leyland engine and RT drive train.

RTL139, upstairs

I sat upstairs for the ride to the museum. Autumn had started to arrive, after a late start this year, and this part of Surrey was at its autumn leafiest. The wind had brought many down of course, and the rain plastered them to everything. The ride, with the bus windows partly steamed up, was nostalgic to say the least.

At Cobham I found RF421 ready to depart on a round trip to Ripley and Send, so climbed aboard. More steamy windows, and delightful sounds from the RF engine, as the RF made its way out to the Surrey villages, and back to Cobham.

RF421, n/s front RF421, interior

At the museum I passed TD95, and wished I was on that for a 215 trip to Ripley. The rain came crashing down, and I took shelter in the Museum, to inspect the lineup inside and look at the visiting bookstalls. Every now and then I peeked out to see whether the rain had eased. When it did, I ventured out in the yard to take pictures of some of the buses there. The AEC Q, and the Regal siblings T31 and T504 were standing amidst the swirl of autumn leaves.

Q83, Cobham yard T504, T31, Cobham yard

MLL740, Cobham Museum But pride of place went to the repainted BEA RF, MLL 740, restored to original livery.

RF406, Redhill Road As the lull in the showers seemed to be lasting, I went out into Redhill Road and took pictures of the RFs parked there: RF 406 and RF 489. Green RF 672 came past on another round trip working.

I hopped onto RTL 139 again for the ride along Redhill Road to the Depot.
RF406, RF 672 Redhill Road RF489, Redhill Road

There I found the display of other visiting RFs. Greenline RF 168 stood at one end of a lineup, with red RF 319 alongside. Central Area RF 534 and RF 421 completed the row.

RF168, RF 319, front RF534, RF 421, front

RF backs

Seldom seen RF 504 stood at one side, next to a long row of Leyland Nationals in various states of repair, and RF 366 stood waiting for another round tour duty, wearing appropriate 215 blinds.

RF366, o/s front RF504, n/s front

A very nice Bristol RE, restored as Blue Bus Services no 1814, stood next to it.

RTL139, Redhill Road Depot RE, Blue Bus 1814, Redhill Road Depot

RTL 139 was due for another trip to the station, and gingerly pulled round through the puddle in the centre of the site. "Do it again!", came from the small crowd of photographers, and much to our delight the RTL, wearing Clapton garage plates, recreated scenes from flooding in the Lea Valley.

RF457, Depot RF 457 arrived, and pulled away to one side for the crew to take a meal break.

By now we were ready for another tour, and Mike Nash obliged with RF 534. With 71 blinds for Chessington Zoo displayed, the RF headed eastwards. We didn't find any modern 71s to play with at the Zoo, but did stop for photos in the bus park. Then it was time to return to Cobham, this time via Cobham village rather than the main road.
RF534, Chessington Zoo RF534, Redhill Road

After a while at the Museum it was time to face the vagaries of Sunday rail travel again, and I caught RTL 139 back to Weybridge Station.

My thanks go to those at Cobham who organised the event, to those who prepared vehicles, and to those who crewed them. Going out in the rain places greater strains on vehicles, their restorers and their operators, but the autumn atmosphere on RF Sunday was something special. Thanks!

Bus Stop RF Buses