RM9 had arrived from New Cross with this year's 70D commercial service. RML2456 motored past to operate a 414 short to Capel
John drove GS1 out to the stop. I was quite surprised that we absorbed the queue. We set off to the roundabout, turned right and climbed up the long green cutting over Chart Downs. At the end of the wooded summit cutting John pulled left off the main road onto the back road to Blackbrook, and on through the woods of Holmwood Common to Four Wents Pond.
There we turned right, across the wooded common to meet the main road opposite South Holmwood. John headed south down the A24, and I was quite relieved when he ignored the old route past the station, thereby avoiding two potentially hazardous crossings of the dual carriageway. But at Beare Green he took the second exit, straight on along the old road to Capel. There we pulled up at the bus shelter for a photo stop.
After the throng had been gathered aboard again we continued. No longer can the bus turn right at Capel for Ockley. Instead we had to continue ahead to the large roundabout, and head back north on the A24 to find the narrow left turn. We passed under the 13ft 3in railway bridge at Ockley Station (no RTs on this section of the 449!). We went on, past Ockley Court to meet the A29 at the north end of Ockley Village. A few yards south we turned hard right onto the B2126 to Forest Green, missing out most of Ockley village. We twisted along the green tunnel of the minor road, and just missed Forest Green too, crossing its northern extremity onto the B2127 to Ewhurst.
John pulled up on the green common just beyond the junction, for another photo-stop. Many of the passengers alighted to get the "middle of nowhere" picture. Some discovered the evil slit-ditch hidden in the long grass on each side of the road!
Then we were off again, along to reach the northern edge of Ewhurst. Once again the route fails to reach most of the village. Perhaps in the forties and fifties people were expected to walk half a mile or so to catch the bus!
Anyway, we arrived, and John pulled round the terminal loop to park behind GS76, which had arrived on the 448.
We had a few minutes to spare, so John rolled up an 852 blind onto the front of GS1. Then he installed an original Guildford GS blind onto the rollers, and looked for a suitable blind for our short-working on the 448. First he tried Gomshall (Tower Hill), then found Gomshall (Queen Street).
Soon we forked right on the lane to Peaslake, through the deep narrow valley in Hurt Wood.
Peaslake appeared, and we approached the war memorial and bus shelter. This had been appropriated by a large group of cyclists, so John circled round and reparked alongside the war memorial.
We went on down the valley - and slightly overshot the turn into the narrow lane to Gomshall. It doesn't look bus-able! John reversed a few metres, and we took the narrow lane, soon coming down to the level crossing over the Redhill-Guildford line. Once upon a time this was the stamping ground of Southern Region Ns and Western 43xxs on the Reading trains, and later the Tadpole diesel-electrics. But there was nothing in sight today, not even a Thames Trains DMU on a Reading-Gatwick service.
We crossed the Tilling Bourne on the 7.5ton limitted bridge, and turned left along the A25 to Shere, where we were supposed to meet a 425 to Guildford. John drove past Shere on the main road, then turned back through the quaint village, with its plethora of old buildings. No sign of the RF.
John continued to the rickety footbridge, and paused for a photo. But well-laid plans gang aglay. An ambulance came tearing up behind, so I waved John on, and hot-footed it down the road in pursuit. He had found a place to let the trailing cars and ambulance pass, and I gratefully reboarded.
Once we were sure that the connection must have gone we set off eastwards along the A25, back through Gomshall and on through Abinger Hammer. At Wotton Hatch we passed RF633 on the 412 to Holmbury St Mary.
GS1 pressed on through Westcott, passing the thatched bus-shelter and thatched dovecot. What was that comment from the back seats about "just one cigarette"?
It wasn't far on to Dorking, and we pulled in to Pippbrook just as RMC1476 was loading on a local 449 town service working to Chart Down Estate.
Part Four: to Parkgate and South Holmwood
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2 Part 4: RT3148 on the 429