GS60, booked away at the same time as us, pulled away to the stand to load for a 433 journey to Ranmore, and we soon followed. We loaded up at the dolly-stop, and explained to our passengers what we intended to do. There was no chorus of dissent, so we set off eastwards. We soon met GS15 hot-footing westwards towards Dorking along the A25.
We zipped along the main road to Reigate, and less speedily negotiated the intricacies of Reigate's one-way system, descending into the depths of the town to find Bell Street. The old garage, with a conservation order in place, still looks the part - except for the railings separating it from the street. Despite having a totally different use today it is still recognisable: even the doors are London Transport blue. We found a way to park outside the doors, and many photos were taken.
Alan then wound up the staff bus blind. This was peculiar in that it was a London Country Private blind, inviting folk to hire this bus by contacting any London Country garage - on a London Transport-owned bus.
We then set off on our booked return: the 1100 service 439 from Reigate, via Reigate Heath and Leigh.
We climbed up out of Reigate along the main road again, but hooked left over Reigate Heath down country lanes. These progressively narrowed as we descended past Santon House: in places there were traffic direction priority signs, blithely ignored by oncoming cars.
We carefully rounded the S-bends to the junction at Flanchford Farm, and wound down cross the young river Mole at Little Flanchford Bridge. This is very definitely single track, with a bend on the approach from the east to make lining up more difficult. We felt for drivers of the Merlins and Nationals that had to regularly coax their buses across the bridge.
Alan drove on, and successfully found the shy turn-off to Leigh. We turned left, down past moated Leigh Place to reach the picturesque village with its sheltered pump and splendid bus shelter. Alan paused again to allow photography, and played with the blinds again.
We went on, soon joining the main circular part of the 439 route south of Strood Green and heading north. We met RP21 coming the other way round the loop, and stopped again at beautiful Brockham Green.
Traffic conditions were just right at the bridge over the Mole. The GS was held up while I dashed acroos to the north side. Alan then eased his way across the narrow bridge and picked me up for the climb up towards the main road.
We rattled back along towards Dorking, and met RT604 heading for Brockham with the 449 service. We turned in to Dorking Pippbrook, and met RF366 heading for Reigate with the 1135 service 439.
I had twenty minutes now in which to have a look round, grab some refreshments, and ensure a ride on the RTW to Epsom...
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1: Below the North Downs Part 3: Dorking Interlude