We had to be at Sevenoaks for 0845. That meant a departure at 0650 from the depths of Kent, and a rattle up the M20 and A25 to reach Sevenoaks. Colin took RF679 up into the town, and down to stop at the station. We had passed through a shower or two on the way, but were ten minutes early. But we had some passengers waiting. While we waited for time Colin cleaned the rain-drops from the front screens.
Then we were off, down to Riverhead, then west through
Bessels Green and Brasted to Westerham, where we paused
outside the Kings Arms. This morning Westerham was
completely empty. But there was no time for breakfast here
From Westerham we continued west along the 410 route, climbing up to Limpsfield Common. We had been given a tight schedule, which did not include Oxted, so we missed out the winding route through the town centre and dove down under the great railway bridge. But that gave us time to deviate through Old Oxted. We turned off the main road and climbed the steep narrow hill through the old village. Then it was back to the main A25, and the drive along the Greensand ridge through Bletchingley to Redhill. We wound down the hill past the station, and pulled in to the bus station, where we paused for coffee.
Metrobus' Dart SLF 305 was waiting on the stand for the route 100 service to Crawley, still in blue and yellow, and red-liveried newer Dart 210 came in from West Croydon on a terminating route 405 working, before going off to lay over beside the back wall.
The 439 was a strange route, with a circular part from Dorking through Brockham, Newdigate, Beare Green, Holmwood and into Dorking again, then a "handle" through Brockham, Leigh, Reigate Common to Reigate and Redhill. But this was to be just the handle part. With a few more folk aboard we wound out of Redhill and on along the A25 to Reigate. Up on Reigate Common we found our left turn, and plunged into the narrow lanes heading south-westwards.
We found the narrow Flanchford Bridge, and Colin eased the RF across.
A left turn took us into the village of Leigh, and Colin pulled round to the bus shelter on the green. We did note that Surrey does a good line in bus shelters for its folk to use on the long waits for buses.
Those of us who had alighted to take pictures reboarded, and we headed on west, to join the circular route jusr south of Brockham. We turned north, passing pretty Brockham Green and descending to the bridge over the River Mole. Oncoming traffic halted RF679, so I alighted and dashed over the bridge to capture the sight of the bus coming over the single-track bridge.
I rejoined the bus on the northern bank, and we continued up to rejoin the A25 for the last stretch into Dorking. Oddlty, there was a traffic queue approaching the big roundabout, although there were few problems here later in the day. It was the morning dash for the coast I suppose. We approached the Pippbrook Centre, where there was a goodly queue waiting for the day's services to start. The National Trust's service to Polesden Lacy, provided by Countryliner in the shape of a Dart SLF, passed by as we approached. Colin turned right into the bus park, and took RF679 down the hill to find a place to park.
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: The Dorking Bus Park, and RF366 on the 439