I secured an upstairs front seat, and settled back to watch the stream of rail replacement buses coming the other way. Only there did not seem to be any. Nearing Raynes Park we caught up with sister bus TA278 on route 57, and crawled along behind it for a while, until an opportunity arose to escape. Aha! A rail replacement bus coming the other way: Alder Valley Transport's M1067, looking quite smart despite the weather.
We reached Surbiton, with quite a while to wait before the "connecting" train departed. This at least gave a chance to look at the Rail Replacement Buses on the station forecourt. Leyland Olympian L351 still has its roof, unlike nearly all the rest of the class that went to Arriva TOLST. It also has an EM plate in the nearside window, I noticed. This livery, together with polished nut covers, looks quite good on these buses. It was operating the non-stop service to Clapham Junction. More mundane was Arriva TOT's Volvo Alexander VLA58, presumably used on everyday contract work.
The train trundled me down the quiet main line to Weybridge. All the long-distance trains were rerouted via Staines, rejoining the main line just to the west of Weybridge, leaving just this half-hourly service to shuttle backwards and forwards.
We rumbled off through the rain, round the station roundabout and back past the Brooklands airfield and Vickers works. A Mercedes-sponsored Citaro swished past in the other direction, heading for the Mercedes Centre I think. The trip to Cobham Bus Museum is short, so very soon we were turning in to Redhill Road, where RF326 was loading on the stop for a 420 trip to Woking.
Inside the shed the lighting conditions for photography were even worse than outside, of course, but few vehicles were in a position to be seen clearly. One that was was 738J, the tool lorry converted from STL169. SMS369 was standing against the wall at the other end of the shed, with the chassis of RT2213 clearly on display in the doorway.
Outside the shed stood family favourite ST922 (family favourite because Dad helped substantially with the initial restoration, and originally worked at the Tillings Lewisham works). Next to it stood RT593.
The next bus had a definite WOW factor. RLH32 has been repainted by Timebus Travel in the livery of The Executors of Samuel Ledgard, the Leeds company that bought RL2,4, 6 and 8 after their LT service. In their blue and white it looked superb. It was having a wheel changed, having suffered a rear-tyre puncture on the way here.
On the road side of the yard stood a pair of Routemasters, the RM family being the theme of the day. One was a standard red Routemaster, RM1033.
Next to it stood RMA1. One of the short forward entrance Rotemasters built for the BEA airport services, it is in process of being restored, and currently wears faded London red and a white bullseye, having been one of those used by LT on route 175 before use as a staff bus.
I went round to the back of the museum to look at the various chassis stored among the weeds, including an AEC Regent III (I think) and Q69. The weeds seem to be winning. I bought a lunchtime bun, and went out onto Redhill Road to watch the buses in service. Greenline RMC1461 arrived on one of the shuttles to and from Brooklands, where the Museum's licensed runners were on display.
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: 420: Woking and back