Metrobus Dart 287 crept round the corner ahead of us, on a 291 to Crawley: it too had been diverted, apparently.
With 708 blinds set up, we set off towards East Grinstead Station, on the way meeting RF486 arriving on a 494 from Oxted and MB90 on another 428 from Dormansland. We dipped down to the station, where blue Metrobus Omnidekkas were standing on Rail Replacement duties. We climbed back up onto the main road to London, and headed north towards Felbridge. As we approached the Felbridge junction we met L2 thundering south on a 424.
The bus stop at The Star Inn, Felbridge, seemed a reasonable photographic location, so I asked for a stop and we pulled up on the heavily cambered road outside the inn for a short break.
Then it was on into the country, leaving behind the ribbon development of the Felbridge Road as we headed through Wealden forest towards Newchapel roundabout. There we turned hard left onto West Park Road towards Copthorne, another leafy country road. Near Snow Hill we turned left again, to head back towards Felbridge, shortly joining the main road from Crawley. At Felbridge we passed through the junction onto London Road, then quickly turned right onto Imberhorne Lane. This country lane bypassed the East Grinstead suburban sprawl, and eventually dropped us on the Turners Hill Road, just after crossing Imberhorne Cutting where the Bluebell Railway is cutting its way through landfill to regain access to East Grinstead Station. We noticed that rails already reach this point. We turned right, down the hill to reach the sharp bend before the railway bridges, and took the lane to Kingscote Station, and passed under the tall bridge to reach the station.
RF633 had already arrived with a connecting 434 to Crawley. There was some interchange. I was tempted, but I had a job to do: navigate the RT back to East Grinstead.
Also at Kingscote Station was one of the surviving Volvo Olympians of Metrobus: 824, on the normal 473 service linking Kinscote Station and Easst Grinstead Station.
As we prepared to leave, RF489 arrived on the eastbound 434 service from Crawley.
We headed back towards East Grinstead - not the long country route, but directly to East Grinstead Station, and then round the traffic system into the town. We met L2 again on the approach to the High Street.
As we turned onto the top of the High Street we met the Southend Atlantean again. We pulled onto the stop and alighted. It was time for me to find a cup of coffee.
Part Four: Extra to Troy Town (RF633)
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
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