RLH32 on 420

Cobham Prehibernation Day

Sunday 28th October 2007

Prepared by Ian Smith, 20th November 2007



Part Three: More Routemasters

432A to Stoke d'Abernon and back: RCL2260

I crossed Redhill Road to join RCL2260, which was being readied for a trip on the 432A to Stoke d'Abernon Station. George from The London Bus Company (new name for Roger Wright's ex-Blue Triangle company) welcomed me aboard through the rear emergency exit.

Once aboard I spotted BL49 scurrying along Redhill Road, and grabbed a shot through the side window. BLs are a condemned species, almost, as London's Emission Zone exemptions (due to come into force next February) for historic vehicles do not cover vehicles built after 1973. Cobham falls outside the zone, but non-exempt buses such as BLs, Ts and Ms will have to find homes outwith the zone if they are not to pay 200 a day to operate (or so I understand).

Next down the road came RLH32, back from Woking with the 420. I snapped this through the under-canopy front window of the RCL.

RCL2260, Redhill Road BL49, Redhill Road RLH32 on 420, Redhill Road

We were off. From Redhill Road we turned east along the A245, along under the trees to reach the roundabout over the A3. Then we were into the village of Cobham, winding a careful way along the main road and beside the River Mole. Suburbia then set in more relentlessly, untilk suddenly we ere turning right into the long Station Approach to Stoke d'Abernon Station.

There some of us alighted in the rain to take photos.

RCL2260, Stoke d'Abernon Stn RCL2260, Stoke d'Abernon Stn

We headed back the way that we had come, through Cobham and over the A3 to reach the Museum.

497 to Brooklands: RM1033

I crossed Redhill Road to RM1033, which was to duplicate RMA1 for the short run to Brooklands. The bus only carries seven passengers, but I was lucky, and scured my preferred seat behind the bonnet. Ahead of us RMA1 loaded up.

We headed west, then turned north onto the road to Weybridge, running up the hill alongside the old Brooklands Airfield and the erstwhile Vickers Works. We ignored the roundabout turn towards the Mercedes Centre, but took the next turn, twisting down through the woods to the Brooklands Museum. We passed the Danish Hawker Hunter and the Hawker P1127 Harrier prototype, and pulled up by the Museum Entrance.

RMA1 departs on 497 RM1033, Brooklands RM1033, Brooklands

The Cobham Collection

The Brooklands forecourt was being used for a display of vehicles from Cobham Museum and friends. The first in front of my camera was GS34. I have always thought of the GSs as being the last member of the RT family. Yes, I know, they totally different in every way, but they completed the post-war replacement round. But in the time-line they are actually closer to the Routemaster than the RT, and their aluminium bodies have a lot in common with RM thinking. Anyway, odd thought past, I went on to a real RM single-decker: RM1368, the fire-victim cut down to provide an experimental vehicle for Chiswick, thereby allowing RM8 to finally enter service.

GS34, Brooklands RM1368, Brooklands

More representative of latterday Routemaster operation were RML2463, preserved in London United's standard Routemaster livery, and London Country -liveried RML2412.

RML2463, Brooklands RML2412, Brooklands

Representative of earlier generations of London mass-movers were RTL139 and STL2377.

STL2377, Brooklands RTL139, Brooklands

Rather different was MLL740, one of the half-decker RFs bought by BEA for Airport Services and operated for them by London Transport. T31, one of London's first Regals, and now restored to original condition with rear entrance and early livery, is probably the most handsome vehicle on site. Wonderful!

MLL740, Brooklands T31, Brooklands

Much less beatiful was LT's standard pre-war single-decker, the Q. Q83 represented the class, but had the misfortune to have T31 looking beutifully across its shoulder! Immediate post-war austerity was represented by TD95, showing how standards just after the war were thrown back to the early thirties, before the RF revolutionised London's single-decker offering. The four-tonner Dennis reminded me just how far bus design progressed in the few years between 1926 and 1930, when the Regal / Regent era began.

Q83, Brooklands TD95, Brooklands D142, Brooklands

497: Cobham Museum and back to Brooklands: RMA1 and RML898

The rain did not encourage standing around in the open. I climbed back aboard RMA1 for the return trip to the Cobham Bus Museum. There I crossed the road to sample a long Routemaster: RML898 was just departing for Brooklands again.

RMA1, Brooklands RML898, Redhill Road RML898, Brooklands

497: Brooklands to Weybridge Station: RMC1461

At Brooklands I hopped off the RML and onto Greenline RMC1461, which was going on to Weybridge Station. The light was fading, and I had collected my set of rides on different Routemasters. The RMC took me in relative luxury to the station for me to begin my train/bus/tram trip back to Croydon.

RMC1461, Brooklands RMC1461, Weybridge Stn

Many thanks to the folk at Cobham who put on such an interesting day.



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


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