473: Three Bridges to East Grinstead: RF429I waited in the crisp spring sunshine at Three Bridges Station. I had arrived by train from London. I only had about ten minutes to wait for my feeder service to the East Grinstead Running Day. Another running day visitor commented that he had seen a red RF go towards Crawley a few minutes back. While we waited a Metrobus Dart SLF - elderly 395 - came past with a service 5 to Pound Hill.
Then RF429 appeared, on the 473 to East Grinstead. This of course did not show on the real-time display at the bus stop!. I climbed aboard the time machine, and greeted the driver, Peter Aves.
We set off, under the railway, then almost immediately forked right onto the road to Worth. A left at a T-junction, followed by a right turn, took us onto the Turners Hill road. We left the suburbs behind and crossed the M23, and choggled eastwards through the crumpled Sussex countryside. We joined the road from Worth Abbey for the run in to Turners Hill, where we turned round the green to stop by the wooden bus shelter.
After the pause at Turner's Hill we resumed our eastward progress along the B-road towards Kingscote and East Grinstead. We passed under the tall arch of the Bluebell Railway, but did not turn for Kingscote station on this trip. We continued towards East Grinstead, climbing up parallel to the resurgent railway line, past the turn-off to Imberhorne. Peter directed the bus towards East Grinstead station, but there was no-one to pick up. We climbed up into the town, and turned past the barrier to reach the High Street.
East GrinsteadThe street, closed to all but buses for the day, was rapidly filling up. GS2 sat with 494 blinds on, perhaps indicating the way it had arrived, and London Country-liveried RML2323 was set up for the 409. Dimler Fleetline XF3 was also set up for a foray to Forest Row. I was about to join it, but it moved off.
Green RFs were already represented by RF146 and RF600. The former, modernised but demoted to bus work, wore the 1969 London Transport livery of green and canary yellow for bus duties, while RF600, an unmodernised Country Area bus, had arrived with a full load from West Croydon on the Green Line 708.
More modern buses were operating a composite 424/438 route during the day. Ex-London Transport Fleetline DMS1868 threaded a westward passage towards Crawley, while a pair of preserved Metrobus Olympians, 395 and 806, worked through towards Forest Row to commence their duties.
At the sides of the High Street stood a pair of older visitors: RT1702 from Catford, and RTW 185. I walked over to talk to John Huxford, with GS2, and he told me that the little bus was due out in a couple of minutes....
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six