T792 at Horley, bound for Reigate

Horley Route Recreation Day

Sunday 1st September 2013

Prepared by Ian Smith, 9th September 2013.

Morning T

Today was to be a recreation of the two postwar spurs off route 424 from Horley, to Outwood and to Horne, together with journeys along the main 424 route from both ends to Horley. Even this would not cover all the permutations of route: the 424 had two ways to get between Reigate and Horley, and several variants in the Copthorne area. Post-war Regal T792 was to revisit the northern section from Reigate to Horley via Irons Bottom, plus the two spurs. It was for a time a Crawley bus, so would have worked these routes. Later Regal Four RF633 would work up from Crawley to Horley as a 405, as the Crawley buses for the spur routes did, and also work the spurs. RF633 went to Crawley just before the spurs were eliminated, so could possibly have stood in for a T whilst there. Later the main Reigate to East Grinstead route was worked by EG's experimental Fleetlines, and XF3 would fulfill this role today, working between East Grinstead and Hookwood.

414: Redhill - Reigate, T792

Because Reigate is not the easiest place to get to on a Sunday morning it was decided to start from Redhill Bus Station, which has much better connections. I was in very good time, so was able to have coffee in the MacDonalds restaurant next to the bus station. The MacDonald's was busy, and so was the bus station, with red double-deckers on the 405, and blue/blue or blue/silver single-deckers heading to or from Maidenbower (100), Epsom (460), Sutton (420), Woodhatch (430) and Caterham-on-the-Hill (400).

Then the smart Lincoln green shape of T792 appeared and swung round the roundabout into the bus station, to stand at the 424 stop of course.

T792 arrives at Redhill Bus Station T792 arrives at Redhill Bus Station

T792 in Redhill Bus Station T792 in Redhill Bus Station

We had a little time to wait at the bus station, while the driver had a PNB. Then we set off, round the corner into the centre of Redhill, and west towards Reigate. At Shaw's Corner we kept left onto Blackborough Road, following the 414 route along to Reigate garage. We paused there, opposite the listed building of the old Country Area garage and headquarters. It still has the London Transport blue doors.

T792 interior T792 at RG

T792 at RG T792 at RG

424: Reigate - Horley, T792

We turned into Bell Street, now on the 424 route, and headed south. We passed the junction with Park Lane East, where the 430 route veered off to South Park, and recrossed the 430 route at Woodhatch. We kept on southwards into the countryside, to Sidlow, where we made a right turn into the lane to Irons Bottom. We squeezed our way along the lane, rejoining the other branch of the 424 (via Duxhurst) at Hookwood. We turned off the main road to the bus stop and shelter outside the Black Horse.

T792 at Hookwood T792 at Hookwood

We headed eastwards into Horley along Mill Lane, turning right along suburban Vicarage Lane to cross the main Brighton Road at the Air Balloon, once the mid-way stop for LT staff excursions to and from Brighton.

Victoria Road took us down through the market town of Horley to reach the main stop just before the station, where RF633 was already waiting, having arrived from Three Bridges and Crawley as a 405, as the 424 branch buses did..

RF633 at Horley T792, RF633 at Horley

XF3 promptly arrived from East Grinstead, and turned left at the traffic lights to go down to the interchange stop next to the station.

XF3 at Horley XF3 at Horley

424: Horley - Outwood, T792

We allowed time for people to choose which of the three buses they wanted next, then watched the RF pull away on its first trip to Horne. T792 followed, climbing up to cross the railway at Horley Station, then continuing along Victoria Road to the junction with Balcombe Road, where we turned hard left, to head briefly north to reach Smallfield Road, where we turned east. After a section of suburbia we ran into countryside, and then curved upwards to cross the M25 before reaching the T-junction at Smallfield. There we turned left, leaving the main 424 route, and headed north along Chapel Road into countryside again.

Horley Station near Smallfield

At the edge of Smallfield we forked left onto Rookery Hill, a lane up to the village of Outwood. There we turned right along narrow Millers Lane. We trundled through the expensive-looking village, passing The Castle Inn and continuing on past large houses with vast lawns and manicured hedges. At the end of Millers Lane we turned left up the narrow enclosed Scott's Hill. The wooded hollow opened out onto Outwood Common, and there was the post-mill.

The bus performed a reverse turn into Gayhouse Lane, and waited time. Many photos were taken.

T792 at Outwood Mill T792 at Outwood Mill

424: Outwood - Horley, T792

From the post-mill we rolled back down Scotts Lane, and turned right along Millers Lane, to pause outside The Castle. This seemed to raise significant memories among the passengers.

T792 at The Castle T792 at The Castle

We went on, back through Outwood and down Rookery Lane to Smallfield. There RF633, coming from Horne, turned the corner ahead of us. So we followed it west, over the M25 and down into Horley. There, for some reason, the RF continued straight on into Station Road, towards the site of the old level crossing,, while we turned left to runj down to the roundabout before turning sharp right up past the station.

RF633, Smallfield Rd RF633, Station Road

Beyond the station we turned left, to run round the block to end up at our starting point.

424: Horley - Horne, T792

With the single-deckers back at Horley there was a limited interchange of passengers. The blinds were changed to the alternate set, with the T now heading for Horne and the RF to Outwood. We set off again for Smallfield, following our previous outward route from Horley. But at Smallfield we turned right instead of left. We should have then turned left into Plough Lane, but missed the turn, heading south along the main 424 route instead. The error was quickly realised, but we had to go almost to the edge of Copthorne before finding a place to turn.

T792 at Horley Keepers Corner

We returned to Smallfield and turned right for Horne (as the early bus from East Grinstead did). After rather more than a mile we turned left up Church Road to reach the tiny village of Horne. We followed the road on past the church and houses, turning east with the road as it became Whitewood Lane, another mile to The Jolly Farmers. Alittle beyond we came up to a pair of horses and riders, with the terminus of Brickfield Lane just beyond. Again this was a reverse turn into the terminus.

riders at Horne T792 at Horne

424: Horne - Horley, T792

We were quickly off on the return journey. We met another bunch of riders enjoying the normally quiet country lane. Safely past, we made our way back to Smallfield, and on to Horley. As we came down from the station bridge we met XF3 pulling across from the stop to go down to the interchange for the lunch break.

horses at Horne XF3 at Horley

We were not quite done. We still had to go round the terminal loop. Then stopped at the southbound stop, so that folk could alight for the pub or the supermarket, then also crossed the junction to head down to the interchange next to the station, for lunch.

T792 at Horley Interchange RF633 at Horley Interchange

Part 2: Lunch-time XF

Ian's Bus-stop part 1: T part 2: XF part 3: RF