GS76 at Ewhurst

Dorking Running Day

Sunday 31st August 2003

Prepared by Ian Smith, 17th September 2003

Part 3: RT2083: 429 to Holmwood and Brockham.

I located RT2083 and requested a photographic trip round the 429 with them. RT2083 is a real delight to certain enthusiasts, preserved not in immaculate ex-Aldenham condition but in typical Country Area workaday guise. Not scruffy and delapidated, but work-stained and branch-scraped, with repainted patches (with the usual problems of matching greens) and the mechanical bits still obviously up to their job.

We went out to the stop and took on a decent load, filling up on top. Off we went to the roundabout, and back into Dorking's main street, passing RF679 loading for a short trip to Denbies Vineyard.

RT2083 ready for 429 at Dorking RF679 loads on 439

I travelled inside - an experience that makes one's toes curl with the memories that the sounds of RT engine and gearbox bring to mind. Going up through the town we caught a glimpse of Alan Charman in GS62, returning from a replacement trip to Coldharbour on the 433.

Inside RT2083 GS62 returns through Dorking

We climbed south out of Dorking, past the site of the old bus garage and bus station (redeveloped of course). This Saturdays-only short working only went out as far as Holmwood. We paused in North Holmwood on the way out of town for a photo stop, where the traffic was light and the light was good (if you see what I mean).

RT2083 at North Holmwood, front RT2083 at North Holmwood, nearside RT2083 at North Holmwood, rear

We turned round near South Holmwood, and paused in a layby to reset the blinds. The main blind was a lazy blind with both end-points and Dorking as a via-point. As there was a nice "Holmwood" destination blind, that had been rolled up too, but now the fruitless search for "Brockham" began. There were a lot of interesting destinations on that blind. It must have come from Reigate, as "Bromley North Station" was among them! We reached the end of the blind, with the driver already nursing an aching shoulder from the stiff winder, without any joy. Perhaps it was at the other end? No it wasn't. Is there a blank then? Not at this "blank" end there isn't! The search for a blank was postponed, and with a half-blank blind we set off back for Dorking.

We called at Pippbrook to exchange any passengers who wanted a change. London Country SNB257 came out to join us on the stop, about to do an anticlockwise trip round the 439.

RT2083 at South Holmwood, offside SNB257 on 439 at Dorking

We set off again, eastwards out of Dorking along the Reigate road, then turned off down towards Brockham. I alighted just before the delightful narrow bridge over the River Mole, after arranging to be picked up on their way back. This is a delightful spot, with a long single-track bridge (with no traffic lights) and an elegant arched pedestrian bridge on the west side. Add trees, decent roadway lights, and sunshine. Marvellous!. RT2083 had quite a way to go up through the village to Strood Green and back, so I had plenty of time to watch the motorists negotiating the bridge.

When RT2083 reappeared there wasn't a car in sight! Magic!

RT2083 approaches Brockham Bridge.. ..and crosses

They did stop to pick me up (the bus-stop is a hundred yards further up the hill), and we headed back to Dorking, passing RF679 on a clockwise trip round the 439 as we pulled out onto the main road.

Back at Dorking I walked back down through the bus-park again, to see what was new since I left. Eddie Knorn in SNC168 was just going out on the 1240 414 turn to Capel, and we exchanged greetings. John Huxford, driving his own GS2 today, was just easing in off a return trip to Ewhurst on the 449, and paused for a word with Mick Cheney, the controller who keeps everything running on the day. Down at the bottom of the hill I met Martin Ricketts with Daimler Fleetline XF3.

SNC168 pulls out on 414 GS2 arrives on 449 XF3 at rest, ahead of RT2083

Red RFs were represented by RF366 and RF421, which had both already been out on turns, doorless RF366 revisiting Holmbury St.Mary on the 412 and door-fitted RF421 Ranmore on the 433.

RF366 rests at Dorking RF421 rests at Dorking

There were even a odd couple of open-toppers! Volvo Olympian NV170 had operated to Dorking as London Central's commercial 70D service. Country STL1470, converted by London Transport to Tree-Pruning Equipment 971J made a lot of people's day, reminding them of those happy moments in the fifties and early sixties when one chanced upon a tree-lopper in action. TfL could use a few of these.

NV170 at Dorking treelopper at Dorking

GS76 had received attention to the starter motor, and now seemed to be behaving. RM642 came in from a trip to Epsom and back on the 93. I walked up the site and watched NBC-green RT604 - London Country's last - leave for a turn on the 429, followed by RF366 on the next 439.

RM642 comes in off 93 past GS76 RT604 leaves for a turn on the 429

BN61 came in from its trip to Ranmore: how nice to see the Transport Museum's buses in action! I began to think about my next trip, and went off to see if John Huxford would like a photographer on his next trip. He would. Good! So I set off down towards GS2, and paused to look at RF633 on the way. It was nearly time for another dose of GS...

BN61 comes in off 433 RF633 takes a rest

Part 4: GS2, GS42: 422 to Box Hill, 416 return.

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2 Part 4: GS2, GS42: 422 to Box Hill, 416 return.