GS1 at Oxted Stn

East Grinstead Running Day

Sunday 27th April 2003

Prepared by Ian Smith, 15th May 2003

Part 2: East Grinstead

After buying a programme and something to eat I wandered round the stalls in the carpark, and considered taking pictures of the buses parked there. Not a hope. The crowds were considerable (mainly waiting for a 473 to the Bluebell Railway it seemed). I escaped, enjoyed the sight of RT1700 loading up for a trip on the 409 to Newchapel, and walked up to the working bus park. RF429 needed a ladder to change the blinds, so I returned to the control centre, borrowed one, and took it back up to the bus park.

R1700 in King Street on 409 GS62 in EG bus-park

GS62 was parked there, next to RF4, which just about to leave on a tour to Sheffield Park. RF4 pulled out, passing NBC green RT604.

RF4 in EG bus-park RF4 passes RT604 in EG bus-park

Looking excellent in its newly-painted Kentish Bus livery was Leyland National SNB250. It had acquired Kentish Bus fleetnames on the sides since Cobham Open Day. The maroon and primrose certainly suits it better than the previous apple green.

SNB250 in EG bus-park SNB250 in EG bus-park

Elegance and style of a different era were on display in RF269, a lovingly-restored example of the unmodernised Greenline coach, waiting for a turn on the 708 short-working. Showing how NBC green COULD look good on the right bus, with white relief, was RT604, last RT in ordinary passenger service with London Country. It pulled out of the carpark and headed off for the 1207 service to Forest Row.

RF269 in EG bus-park RF269 in EG bus-park RT604 departs

Also demonstrating just how good green livery can look on a bus was Green Line RT3491, waiting to take up a short-working on the 708 along with RF269. Having completed a much longer journey on the 708, SNC168 pulled in to the bus park, having worked in from Hertford via London. The short coach National was making its debut, freshly painted into "Greenline" NBC green/white dual-purpose livery.

RT3491 in EG bus-park SNC168 arrives from Hertford

Other buses around at this time were visitors: "London Routemaster"'s red RCL2223 was parked showing the housing for its on-board generator, behind RM8.

RCL2223 RM8

Across the road, in the main visiting bus-park, T792 and GS34 momentarily had no buses stopped in front of them, or queues. Photographers, yes, but it was a moment to be seized! I crossed the road into the big park, and found it possible now to see the buses there. Private hire RF19, in Greenline livery, was parked next to modernised-Greenline RF28.

T792 and GS34 RF19 and RF28

Red RF368 was looking fresh, while Greenline RF213 was partway through preparation for a repaint. Preserved green roofbox RT3 RT227 was also there, epitomising the best of 1930's grace and excellent design, next to still-working Stagecoach Routemaster RMC1461, in Greenline garb and wearing its everyday route 15 blinds.

RF368 RF213 RT227

RMC1461 RLH48 arrives from Berkhamsted Then RLH48 arrived. The immaculate green machine, 1950s functionality at its best, had completed a marathon journey from Berkhamsted. The crew and bus had left there at 8 a.m. running as express service 353 with blue blinds to Windsor. (This was one of the RLH class's original duties, although not a lowbridge route). From Windsor they took on another of the RLH class's lesser-known duties, on a 725 short-working to Croydon, passing under the once-low bridge at Worcester Park Stn. At West Croydon they adopted the mantle of a 708 to East Grinstead, and duly arrived at 1232 - just three minutes late after four and a half hours. The inspector promptly booked them for late running of course!
I cadged a ride with them up into the bus park. It isn't everyday that I can ride on an RLH, and the booked turn on the 428 was not going to happen - not with another four and a half hours of return trip to follow. The ride was very short - not even round the block, as the bus was backed down to allow it to turn up into the bus park - but gave me a chance to chat with the crew.

Inside RLH48 RLH48

As I headed down towards King Street GS2 came in after its run to Oxted and back. Much as I liked it in maroon and red Southern Motorways livery, London Transport green does suit it better. I walked back up to see Peter Aves, before heading down towards the bus stops again.

GS2 arrives.. ..and parks

Now the bus scenery had changed, with Country Area green predominating: RT2083 was in for a break between trips on the 409 RF633 arrived from Crawley on the 434 and RF626 had already arrived from Crawley on the other route, the 473.

RF633 arrives on 434 RF626 has been on the 473

Refreshed and re-inspired, I went looking for something to ride on...

Part 3: Town Services.

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1: Getting there. Part 2: East Grinstead. Part 3: Town Services.