Kent was misty, displaying an early touch of autumn as we rolled westwards through Kent along the A20, M20 and A25. But the sun was trying to shine through, so Colin Rivers and I enjoyed the two-hour drive to Sevenoaks. As we were well on time we made small digressions, slipping through sleepy Wrotham and remembering the welcome that we had had there earlier in the year. We joined the A25 at Borough Green, and passed through the fringes of Maidstone & District territory past Platt and Seal to reach Bat& Ball, where we turned off left up through St.Johns to Sevenoaks War Memorial. A right turn and we were rolling down St.Botolph's Drive to reach Sevenoaks Station ten minutes before our booked departure. That gave us time to visit the toilets and the local newspaper shop. We did not have our usual 403 or 410 blinds (they seem to have vanished), so used our blind of the day, with a 414 number, for our journey on to Reigate.
0845. All aboard. Time to go. We did have some passengers for our ride west under the North Downs. We slipped out of Sevenoaks and motored west along the A25 from Riverhead, through Brasted to Westerham, where we had a couple of minutes for photographs.
Then we rolled on west in the strengthening sunshine, up through the dry valley to Limpsfield Common, then down the hill past Oxted. We missed out Oxted Station, but Old Oxted is always a challenge. We turned off the by-pass and squeezed our way up through the steep narrow street, wondering that it once coped regularly with seven buses an hour each way! We climbed on up to the Tandridge turn-off, but today headed on west along the A25 to Godstone. We made our regrets as we passed the site of the old garage, and worked round the one-way system and on along the road to Bletchingley and Redhill. At Redhill bus station, having made up a few minutes on the way, Colin and I grabbed a quick breakfast.
A little late, we left Redhill and headed for Reigate. Today we were running into Dorking along the main road as a 414, which made a change from the 439. (A Leyland National had earlier passed through Reigate and was facing the challenge of Lower Flanchford Bridge). So we made rapid progress, the main road taking just twenty minutes instead of the thirty-five of the back-roads. So just on time, at 1010, we arrived at Dorking (Pippbrook). I thanked Colin, and alighted to see what had already arrived and what was just coming in.
Down in the carpark some of the day's complement of GSs were lined up: GS60 and GS13 ready for the 433 to Ranmore, and GS62 for the 425 to Reigate Garage. The next row up held GS76, attired for the other end of the 433, and GS34 ready for the 449 to Ewhurst.
Further down, alongside the usual Southdown Tiger coach were RTL139 and RML2440. The RTL was to operate on the 93 during the day, alongside RTW75. The Epsom Road was also to be served by green RTs: RT3148 was waiting in the carpark next to the RML, dressed ready for the 1015 foray to Epsom on the 470, and almost immediately set off up to the stop with John Huxford at the wheel. Coming in down the slope was NBC-liveried RT604, arriving on the 470 from West Croydon.
Now a pair of red RFs arrived: RF366 on service 425 from Guildford, and RF486 on the 414 from Horsham. They went down the hill to join the buses parked round the Council Offices. I didn't have time to go down there now, as I was due out at 1020, but I could see that RP21 (off the early 713 from Stockwell), Greenline RF281, and red RF406 were among the line-up.
Now it was time for me to find GS62 for the 1020 to Reigate...
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Ian's Bus-stop Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7