RLH48 leaving East Grinstead

East Grinstead Running Day

Sunday April 25th 2004

Prepared by Ian Smith, 14th May 2004

Part 1: RF679

dawn on Romney Marsh 0530. Time to get up and have breakfast, before driving off across Romney Marsh to meet Colin at 0645 to extract RF679 from the garage. He was there already, having discovered the batteries flattened the day before. He'd been there since five o'clock. But RF679 started at the first tug on the starter switch, and the garage filled with the soft lolloping sound of the AEC engine. Soon we were under way, with three hours before we were due to start our day's work from Westerham. It meant we could take a steady pace up through Kent, driving the quiet A21 to Wrotham, and then testing all the traffic lights to Riverhead on the A25 to see whether any would stay green as we approached. (No!) Westerham was starting to stir itself for a Sunday morning as we arrived and parked outside the Kings Arms. It was just gone nine o'clock, so we had time for a leisurely and very satisfying second breakfast in the hotel. (Thank you, Kings Arms).

RF679 at The King Arms, Westerham RF679 at The King Arms, Westerham

At about 0945 we paid our bill and reclaimed RF679. Blinds were reset for our 464 journey to Chart, and we headed out onto the Croydon road to turn at the traditional turning point. Then it was back to the stand, on the opposite side of the road, to wait time. We were not there long, but a steady procession of cars using the parking spaces required us to shift the bus several times.

RF679 at Westerham RF679 at Westerham

We left on time, down the hill past the statues of Wolfe and Churchill, then right onto the B-road to Crockham Hill. We climbed steadily up onto Hosey Common. The bluebells were prolific, the sun was shining, the trees were at their spring-green best. Magic! We rolled down to the junction at Crockham Hill, and turned right for the run along the Greensand Ridge beneath the trees. Portholes on our left gave extensive views over the Weald. One almost expected to see the sea peeping beyond the distant South Downs. We turned in at Chart Church - plenty of people at morning service, to judge by the parked cars - and pulled up at the Carpenters Arms long enough to change the blinds.

Now we were a 494 to East Grinstead. We headed off into the undergrowth, and soon rejoined the road to Limpsfield Common, where the A25 was busy. We rumbled down past the road to Limpsfield village, which we avoided because of the speed bumps, and turned off down into Oxted. We waited for a few minutes at the stop (we were early), before pulling round under the notorious Oxted Station bridge to reach Oxted Station (West Side).

RF679 at Chart RF679 at Oxted Station (East Side)

Yet more passengers joined at Oxted Station. Some were enthusiasts off a train from London, others a group of local lads saving their feet. We rumbled off, down past the shops and down to cross the A25 to reach Old Oxted. We climbed the narrow street without problems, but attracting some interest from people out and about. Then it was back onto the main road for the climb to Tandridge roundabout, where we turned south for the run to East Grinstead.

We crossed the ridge and rolled gently down through Tandridge past the "Barley Mow" and on towards Chathill. The St Georges flags were out in profusion as usual in this area close to St George's Day. We squeezed under the railway bridge at Crowhurst Lane End, and turned sharp left. After a run beside the railway we turned south again to pass through Crowhurst Place and into Lingfield, where we turned up the hill to stop at the Post Office.

RF679 at Oxted Station (West Side) RF679 at Lingfield Post Office

We turned south at the roundabout in Lingfield, then right onto the long road up through Felcourt and Baldwins Hill. GS1 came bustling past on a 428 turn as we headed up through one of the leafier green tunnels. Today there was a straight-forward exit onto the main A22 at the roundabout near the railway bridge, and we were quickly into East Grinstead and down to King Street.

There Colin alighted, ostensibly to drive RT3148, and Steve took over RF679 for a return trip to Oxted. Problem: he couldn't remember the route. Solution: would Ian go with him? Yes, OK. So we filled up with passengers, squeezed round the block to the War Memorial and headed down the High Street. RF672, XF3 and red RF319 passed us at the King Street lights, and we turned off down to East Grinstead Station.

RF672 and XF3 at East Grinstead RF319 arrives at East Grinstead

We paused at the station, where RP21 was standing on a 434 trip, and RT3148 was awaiting a turn.

RF679, RP21 and RT3148 at East Grinstead Station (composite picture)

We headed north, passing GS1 near Baldwin's Hill, coming back from Dormansland on a 428: John was in a hurry, as always, and I didn't have time to alter my camera speed. He always seems to go past in a blur!

At Crowhurst Lane End we were halted by the traffic lights on the railway bridge, and I took the opportunity to slip through head of the bus to watch the surprisingly tight manoevre through the arch.

GS1 on the 428 RF679 eases through the railway arch

I reboarded, and we headed on north to Tandridge, then down through Old Oxted. We went clockwise round the Oxted station loop, to pull up at West Side about seven minutes late.

Old Oxted: going down RF679 at Oxted Station

After the advertised break for use of the public conveniences if required we were still seven minutes late leaving. Old Oxted looked even more horrific going up, but again we had no problems. We passed GS76 on the following 494 service as we scurried southwards.

Old Oxted: going up GS76 on the 494

After the turn through the railway arch we pulled in to the side of the road for a "scenic photo-opportunity" - we had been asked if we could find somewhere green for a stop, and this stretch was one of the few long-enough straight bits of road to do it safely.

RF679 near Crowhurst Lane End

Then it was on to Lingfield, Baldwins Hill and East Grinstead. I needed a cuppa, having been on the bus (apart from breakfast, for about five hours.

Part 2: RT3148 and RLH48 on the 424

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: RT3148 and RLH48 Part 3: RF406