XF3 at Dorking

Dorking Classic Bus Running Day

Sunday 2nd September 2007

Prepared by Ian Smith, 14th September 2007

Part Three: National Travel: SNB340

439: Dorking to Reigate via Leigh

I made it to SNB340 with moments to spare. The National was heading back to Reigate along the 439, but would then introduce me to the delights of the 430 and 406 routes. I climbed aboard and introduced myself to the crew.

We set off, just as RT1206 pulled out from the Dorking Halls carpark (Sorry about the reflections off the window!).

SNB340 on 439 at Dorking RT1206 at Dorking Halls

At the big roundabout we met RM1063, arriving to take up duties on the 93 between Dorking and Epsom. I hoped to meet it again later. We rumbled east along the A25 to Brockham Lane Ends, where we turned right down towards the River Mole. I stayed on the bus this time as we crossed the narrow road bridge with its elegant footbridge alongside.

RM1063 on 93 at Dorking Brockham Bridges

We went up to Brockham Green, with its magnificent church. Continuing, we found the left turn for Leigh, but found it difficult to find a place to stop in the village because of churchgoers' cars.

Brockham Church SNB340 at Leigh

We squeezed past the parked cars round the narrow curved lane out of Leigh, and turned right towards Flanchford. The National is rather wider and longer than an RF, so takes an even defter hand to keep it between the bridge parapets. We watched the bus squeeze across, then reboarded.

SNB340 at Little Flanchford Bridge SNB340 at Little Flanchford Bridge

We turned left at Flanchford Farm to take the narrow lane past Santon to Reigate Heath. There were a few indrawn breaths from car drivers whizzing round blind corners to find the bus coming. We crossed the Heath - sunshine now - to find RF600, with attendant photographers, waiting at the stop. I'm glad we didn't meet that down the lane!

We turned right onto the main road, and ran in to stop at the Red Cross.

RF600 at Reigate Heath SNB340 at Red Cross

430: Reigate to Redhill via Woodhatch

SNB340 at Red Cross SNB340 at Red Cross

With the blinds reset for the 430 we set off round the Reigate one-way system, on a route our driver could remember taking this SNB along in service. After a loop round the town centre we escaped to the south, soon turning up right into the South Park Estate. We wriggled our way through in a rough anticlockwise semi-circle, crossing the main road again at The Angel, Woodhatch. We continued east along the edge of Earlswood Common to reach St,John's Church, where we paused for photos.

Angel Inn, Woodhatch StJohns, Earlswood SNB340 at StJohns

SNB340 at StJohns SNB340 at StJohns

We turned left onto the old A23, to climb over the Greensand Ridge and drop down into Redhill. We met another Metrobus Dart on the 100, scurrying south empty (although a few minutes later we saw it in Redhill Bus Station!). We turned into the bus station, where XF3 was waiting to connect with us.

225 on 100 SNB340 at Redhill

406: Redhill to Epsom via Reigate and Tadworth

The SNB was prepared for its journey to Epsom on the 406. The only blind with Epsom on was the whole-journey one to Kingston, so we used that. I exchanged quick greetings with Martin Ricketts on XF3, which was heading west on the 414.

SNB340 at Redhill XF3 at Redhill

We headed west through Redhill town centre and towards Reigate. But this service forked left on the approach to Reigate, to reach Blackborough Road and drop down past the erstwhile bus garage. We turned right into Bell Street and climbed up into the town.

Bell Street Garage Reigate

We turned left to reach Red Cross. We would turn right there, to head north, but we found RF486 waiting at the westbound stop with a 439 for Dorking. (In retrospect, when I saw it before it must have been heading out round the Newdigate loop prior to heading east through Leigh).

RF486 at Red Cross RF486 at Red Cross

We headed north, crossing the railway at Reigate Station and climbing towards the North Downs. On Quarry Hill we hit a traffic queue, waiting patiently for single-line working past road-resurfacing. (It isn't only railways that get Sunday maintenance delays).

Reigate Station SNB in traffic jam

We crested the Downs and croossed over the roaring M25. Now the National could show its legs, on the long dual carriageway down the shallow backslope of the Downs to Kingswood, where we turned left at a roundabout to thread a way through to Tadworth Station. We wriggled down to pass back under the railway and emerge onto Walton Downs. The skyscape enlarged dramatically over Epsom Downs, with views for mny miles from Tattenham Corner.

Tadworth Station Epsom Downs

We made our way past the new stands, and headed down into the suburbia of Epsom.

As we turned the corner towards the clock tower we could see RM1063 preparing to pull away. We passed it, heading for the Clock Tower stop. I thanked the crew on the SNB and bailed out, passing brand new Enviro 400 SK07DZH of Quality Line, new to the 418, and dashed for the Routemaster...

RM1063 at Epsom SK07DZH at Epsom on 418

Part 4: 93: RM to Dorking: RM1063

All photos by Ian Smith (unless otherwise indicated). Click on most of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2 Part 4: 93: RM to Dorking: RM1063