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.
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.
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.
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.
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