GS2 at Coldharbour

Dorking Running Day

Sunday August 29th 2004

Prepared by Ian Smith, 16th September 2004

Part Five: Ranmore Common and Coldharbour

GS2: Dorking to Ranmore Common, 433

Although I had been to several of these running days I had never been on the 433, the GS operated route to Ranmore Common and Coldharbour. But this year it was operating as a complete route. So after a tea-break I went to meet up again with Peter Aves on GS2.

We took on a good load at the stop, and headed north, under the Redhill - Guildford railway bridge and along to Dorking North Station, where we turned left for Ranmore. We climbed steadily up through a mile of suburbia. It was easy to see why this attracted a quite reasonable service in the fifties and sixties. But then we turned right onto the lane to Ranmore Common, and climbed up almost three miles of dwelling-free country lane. Why did the 433 come up here six times a day?

It rained on us as we climbed. I remembered walking down here thirty years ago after a day on the North Downs Way. Then a yellow box loomed out of the gloom. It was the Countryliner Dart on the service from Polesden Lacey again. We squeezed past each other and continued up over the common.

GS2 at Dorking Climbing up onto Ranmore Common NT1 descending

The terminus at Dog Kennel Lane did not help resolve the question about the route's old frequency. Not a dwelling in sight. The tiny hamlet of Dog Kennel Green, a quarter of a mile up the lane, surely did not support the service! Peter made the reverse turn into the narrow lane, and changed the blinds for the run back through Dorking and on to Coldharbour.

GS2 at Dog Kennel Lane GS2 leaves Dog Kennel Lane

GS2: Ranmore Common to Coldharbour, 433

We rolled back down the hill onto Ranmore Common, and paused in mid-Common for a "middle-of-nowhere" photo-stop. A jogger and a Morris Minor managed to pass while we were taking pictures.

GS2 on Ranmore Common Morris Minor passes GS2 on Ranmore Common

Through another shower we pressed on down the length of the Common, and through the suburbs between Dorking West and Dorking North stations. We called at neither, but tuned south back to the Pippbrook roundabout. We passed RMC1476, out on another local 449 sortie, and paused at the Dorking Halls stop. There we exchanged passengers, losing a few and gaining some more for the trip to Coldharbour.

One of Tellings-Golden Miller's red Darts passed us on the 465 while we were on the stop, but we went past it in turn as it stopped in the town.

We turned round past the old bus station to find the Coldharbour lane, and began the long grind up the outliers of Leith Hill.

RMC1476 on Dorking Town Service T_GM Dart on 465 climbing out of Dorking

It was a continuous climb of three and a half miles out of Dorking, up a winding lane and through the woods. Peter had limited the load to 18 passengers, but still first gear was needed for one steep section. We just hoped we would not meet a SUV coming madly down the other way. We passed the occasional house, but again it seems amazing that this very rural twig had ten buses a day in 1964.

Eventually we reached the little hamlet of Coldharbour. Most folk alighted to take pictures, and Peter turned the bus just opposite the Plough Inn.

While we took pictures again, it turned out that we had with us the photographer who took the famous picture of GS83 there in the snow. We tried to match up the photo and the present scene. The wall was there, and the pub sign, but not the bus-stop. The thatched roofs were now much more mundane materials.

GS2 on arrival at Coldharbour GS2 after turning at Coldharbour

GS2: Coldharbour to Dorking, 433

We all climbed back on board, and set off back down the long wooded hill to Dorking. Passing back through the town we met RF366 heading for Guildford on the 425, the first stretch of its long journey home.

GS2 at Coldharbour (rear) RF366 on 425 to Guildford

Part Six: Homegoing

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 4 Part 6: Going Home