East Grinstead Running Day
Sunday April 22nd 2001
Prepared by Ian Smith, 30th April 2001
Part 1: ArrivalsMy key for getting to East Grinstead for the day was provided by the Internet. Arrival by train was out, due to several lots of engineering work en route. But Metrobus' web-site offered the prospect of a suitably timed 491 from Crawley. My daughter found me a guest house in Horley, and a train to London, and packed me off on Saturday afternoon. It turned out that the guest-house had a 491 stop right outside! So at 0855 on Sunday morning, well-breakfasted, I was out there waiting. The 491 arrived - a blue and yellow Dart of course (from Godstone garage), and whirled me round the helter-skelter adventure ride of Gatwick Airport, before a more restful whizz through the Sussex countyside to East Grinstead.
When I arrived there was little already there - just enough to show that it WAS the right day. Two GSs (GS32 and GS62) were on the King Street car-park, plus RM2116 and Imperial Titan T214. This year the old bus-station was to be used for "visiting" buses and stalls, with operating buses in the other car-park up the street opposite. I reset the camera (having bodged the pic of the two GSs), and watched the buses arriving.
Next in was the staff canteen: Mike Dawes arrived with his new acquisition,
RM795, fitted out by Chiswick as a hospitality bus.
This was parked behind the sales stall.
After that came a succession of visitors:
an Eastern National Bristol double-decker;
Hampsons-liveried private-hire RF13; Cobham's green RT593; RTW185 and RMC1476.
They eased their way round into parking slots,
avoiding the inevitable overnight parkers.
Then there was a flurry of Leyland Nationals. LS24, ex-Thames Valley Training and now resplendent in a new coat of London red, was a visitor, but apple-green SNB250 and NBC-green SNB257 were working buses, and were redirected to the "garage". Metroline London Northern's RML903, now looking rather battered and in need of some (official) panel-beating and new paint, also arrived for its duties on the 409.
By now I had realised about the "garage" car-park, and set off to see what was there. Arrivals continued as I went. Now it was RFs, with RF679 representing the Country Area, arriving from Westerham on a 485 working, and RF421, representing the loans from the Central Area.
Up in the "garage" I found more green RFs: RF633, RF672 and RF626, awaiting their turns on the 434 and 428.
There too was T792. The restored post-war Regal sat glinting in the sunshine. Beautiful.
Next was a line-up of lovely buses: RT604, in NBC green; GS32 and GS62; red RT2177 and Greenline RT3228. Another GreenLine RT, Greene-Lane's RT3491, was parked opposite.
Still the buses were arriving. RF421 was backing up the row, and RF679 was arriving to try to squeeze in. Outside, in King Street, RF4 had arrived, and was parked ready for the presentations. RF255, still in Metrobus blue, was on the stand.
Red RF406 and RF489 were arriving too, the latter sporting Enfield 121 blinds.
In the carpark I found GS76, freshly repatriated from the north, with its Perkins engine gleaming under a fresh coat of aluminium paint.
Most of the players and bus visitors had now arrived, and it was time to start the day officially with a presentation...
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.