RF679 at Hilders Lane

East Grinstead Running Day

Sunday April 16th 2000

Prepared by Ian Smith, April 2000

Part 1: the morning shift

Frost clung to the gateposts as we started up RF679 in its Country retreat. It was 7.30 a.m. and the early sun was promising a better day than had been expected as we set off on the long garage run to take up up our first duty on the East Grinstead Running Day. I was a guest of Colin Rivers on RF679, and spent the whole day on the RF sampling a variety of the routes around East Grinstead. We called at a filling station on the way, to tank up for a busy day.

RF679 takes fuel RF679 takes fuel

465: Westerham to Oxted Station via Limpsfield Chart

RF679 at Westerham Our first duty began at 9.30 at Westerham. We had to turn first, so took the 403 route towards Chelsham, then turned at the old turning point. A pause to change the blinds, then out onto the main road in Westerham to wait time and make connection with a GS to Edenbridge.
9.30 came and went. We waited, but no GS. So, reluctantly, we set off for Limpsfield Chart, with Mike Dawes at the wheel. Up through the spring woodlands of the Greensand Ridge, to Crockham Hill, then west along the wooded ridge to Limpsfield Chart.
RF679 at Limpsfield Chart

We stopped outside the Carpenters Arms, and straightened the bus-stop. Then it was on across Limpsfield Common and down into Oxted.
We swapped blinds for the next duty in Oxted High Street, then pulled round under the notorious bridge to Oxted Station, where RF672 was already waiting for a much later turn.

RF679 at Oxted Station Bridge RF672, RF679 at Oxted Station

494: Oxted Station to East Grinstead (King St.)

We were a little late leaving Oxted Station, (not surprising as our schedule booked us off before we were due to arrive) but nevertheless turned off the main road for the old route up through the tortuous street of Old Oxted. We turned south through Tandridge, down the Hinson straight, to the very low bridge at North Crowhurst, which precludes the use of even low-bridge double-deckers. As we turned off to follow the old route through Lingfield a GS hurtled past behind us with a full load for Oxted. Despite being late, and already due off on our next trip, we made the loop past East Grinstead station in case there were passengers from the train, before heading up to a still quiet King Street. RTL1256 at King Street RT3228 at King Street

While Colin was checking in, and the bus was being prepared for the next run, I had time to dash round the old bus station and peek at green RTL1256, GreenLine RT3228 and GS13.
GS13, GS62 at King Street GS13 at King Street

424: East Grinstead to Copthorne (Duke's Head), and return

Our next duty was a filling-in turn, substituting for absent XF1. So we were nearly twenty minutes late throughout, without including the Stone Quarry excursions. Steve drove the RF out by the narrow back street onto East Grinstead's main thoroughfare, and after a trip to the station we headed for Felbridge. We passed red RF421 (wearing 227 blinds) and London Country green RT604, which were heading for East Grinstead, and trundled out through the suburbs. All very pleasant, with the AEC Regal engine burbling away under the floor. we picked up some more passengers on the way.

A green and white shape passed across the T-junction ahead, and we identified it as Q83, running in on the 434 route via Turners Hill. We turned right in Crawley Down, to run up to the Dukes Head at Copthorne, where we turned and paused for photographs.

RF679 Copthorne RF679 Copthorne
RT1700, East Grinstead The return trip to East Grinstead was fairly uneventful, but we did meet immaculate RT1700, which was heading north on a 409 short-working. Then it was into the chaos of King Street, which by now was full of buses, trying to get in an out of the bus-park. The situation was not helped by a car parked on the double-yellow lines, blocking half of the bus stance. We pulled up past the crowd to the top of the stand, and once the crush had been resolved made a loop to enter the bus-park for our lunch-time break. It was about 11.40, and time for a break after 4 hours on the road.

Part 2: Lunchtime

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: lunchtime at East Grinstead Part 3