XF3 at Dorking

Dorking Classic Bus Running Day

Sunday 2nd September 2007

Prepared by Ian Smith, 13th September 2007

Part One: 414: West Croydon to Redhill: RT604

I set off on a tram. Today I forewent the long pre-dawn drive down into Kent to meet with Colin Rivers and RF679. I was staying near East Croydon, and it was sensible to use the Croydon feeder bus. So I strolled aboard 2533 at Sandilands and rumbled round through Croydon to reach West Croydon Bus Station. I had left twenty minutes or so spare, so had a little while to look at the buses in and around the bus station. Sitting in the centre were a pair of Metrobus single-deckers: 260 was one of the new-generation Darts with East Lancs Esteem 9.0m bodies - a modern RF, although seating only 24 in the same length as the 30-foot 41-seater RF. 260 was awaiting another turn on the back-streets 367, that pursues a tortuous route between Croydon and Bromley via all the places between that previously had lost out on a bus service - a fascinating through journey for those with time to spare. 214 was a rather longer (10.7m - 37ft 4in) Plaxton-bodied Dart, used on the T33 Tramlink service that links Selsdon with Croydon and Addiscombe.

2533 at Sandilands 260, 214 at West Croydon

Sitting in the gloom on the far side of the bus station was the doyenne of Arriva London's Metrobus-replacements, DAF / Wright DW1, waiting for another outing on the 194, and decidedly scruffy after the summer's appalling weather. Departing was Metrobus' new Omnidekka 951 on the 405 to Redhill, heading off the same route as I was anticipating on RT604.

DW1 at West Croydon on 194 951 at West Croydon on 405

But where was RT604? I went for a wander around, and someone told me that it was out on the main road, at stop WN. So I headed in that direction. I found the RT hiding behind Metrobus OmniCity 543, which was resting between turns on the X26 to/from Heathrow. Whilst looking for a photo I heard the distinctive putter of an approaching RF, and there was RF600, RT604's sister in preservation.

453 at West Croydon on X26 RF600 arrives at West Croydon

The RF pulled past the two buses on the stop, and stopped. After a little while the X26 departed for the bus station, and I could at last get a picture of the RT.

RF600 and 453 RT604 at West Croydon

Nine o'clock arrived and the engine rumbled into activity. We were off, followed by RF600, round the U-turn and back south through Central Croydon, past the Fairfield Halls to the big roundabout, then right towards Waddon. But we ducked down off the side of the flyover to reach South End, where we turned left onto the Brighton Road. RF600 followed us south to Purley, where we paused at the Tesco stop to suit the feeder timetable.

RF600 near Purley RT604 at Purley

We continued south past Coulsdon, and made another stop to wait time at Hooley. Several people took the opportunity to take photos.

RT604 at Hooley RT604 at Hooley

We continued through a gap in the crest of the North Downs and down into Merstham for another stop, then on into Redhill to the bus station.

RT604 at Redhill 227 at Redhill on 100

I alighted from RT604 at Redhill. RF679 was due through in half an hour's time, and this would give me an opportunity to grab some breakfast. The RT rumbled off towards Reigate and Dorking, and Metrobus Dart 227 set off on the 100 service to Crawley.

RT604 at Redhill 227 at Redhill on 100

Part 2: 414/439: Redhill to Dorking: RF679

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: 414/439: Redhill to Dorking: RF679