RF633 at Brasted

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday May 18th 2008

Prepared by Ian Smith, 3rd June 2008.

403 past Chelsham

After a very wet Saturday it was a beautiful Sunday morning as I set off past East Croydon Station. Just six weeks earlier I had seen trams swooshing through three inches of snow here. But now it was truly spring. Tram 2542 headed for Elmers End as I passed the station. I walked on down to West Croydon to catch my 403 to Sevenoaks. DAF DW97 was sitting in the bus station wearing 403 blinds for Warlingham (Sainsburys), better known to the bus fraternity as Chelsham garage.

2542 at East Croydon. DW97 on 403 at West Croydon.

Other modern buses came past: part of Ken Livingstone's legacy to Greater Londoners is a bus fleet that is all new since I started taking bus pictures in 1998. Here was relatively old (1999) Dart/Alexander ADL10 on the 166 to Banstead, and DAF/Wright Pulsar DW28 of 2003 on the 264.

ADL10 on 166 at West Croydon. DW28 on 264 at West Croydon.

Also in the new category was East Lancs-bodied Dart 264 of Metrobus (2006), which arrived on the back-roads route 367 from Bromley North.

I hadn't been arrested yet for taking photos of trams or buses in the well-known terrorist blackspot of Croydon, so I moved on from the bus-station to the X26 stance, where I expected my bus to arrive. Sitting on the stop was Metrobus' Scania OmniCity 543 on the express to Heathrow.

264 on 367 at West Croydon. 543 on X26 at West Croydon.

The X26 departed, and along came a Routemaster. It was RM1000, fully blinded as an 853 to Sevenoaks via Coney Hall, Orpington and Knockholt Pound. It was a private special. It loaded up, and prepared to depart.

RM1000 at West Croydon. RM1000 at West Croydon.

Then the awaited bus appeared. RT604 came along from the centre of Croydon and pulled in for us to scramble aboard. The Routemaster headed back south, and very soon we were away too, swinging round to head through the underpass and out through South Croydon.

RT604 at West Croydon. RM1000 leaves West Croydon.

We followed the old 403 route out of Croydon, with its twists and turns to negotiate a route between low railway bridges at Selsdon, and toiled up Sanderstead Hill. We passed several DAFs coming the other way: DW32 at Selsdon, and DW 97, already returning from Warlingham, in Sanderstead.

DW32, Selsdon. DW97, Sanderstead.

We rumbled on out through the strip development suburia, through Hamsey Green and past Warlingham Green, and paused outside Chelsham Garage, RT604's spiritual home, for a quick photo stop. The garage may no longer be there, but the magnificent chestnut tree outside the Fox and Hounds is.

RT604 at CM. RT604 at CM. chestnut at CM.

We climbed on up the long back slope of the North Downs, beyond the Greater London boundary and out into open countryside. An Austin taxi came down the other way, symbol of the normality of Sunday public transport outwith the TfL area. We reached the junction at the top of Botley Hill, and began the roll down the escarpment to Westerham. For once I wished I was on the top deck for the views south over the Weald. We paused in Westerham, but very briefly, as we had a connection to make.

taxi, Botley Hill Westerham.

We wound down the hill out of Westerham, and motored along the A25 to Brasted, where we pulled up at the stop at The Bull.

Westerham. RT604, Brasted

A hundred yards or so down the road, on the other side at the White Hart, was our connection: RF633 on the 413...

Part Two: 413 from Brasted

Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part Two: 413 from Brasted