135, East Grinstead to Holtye Common: SO308I sat down in the Cafe with a coffee and my programme. When was the 135 going out? 1115. What is the time now? 1113! I looked up. The little Albion Nimbus was just coming down to the stop to load up. I abandoned my coffee - almost a full cup, and headed across the street to catch up with the bus.
There was still room aboard, and I secured a seat near the front where I could talk to driver Brian Catchpole. I commented that these small buses - the Albion and the GS - were both exceedingly noisy. Like me, he put it down to their having tractor engines!
As we prepared to set off we had a sudden juxtaposition of two of the Metrobus Olympians. Westbound 395 was just ahead of us at the next stop, and 806 squeezed round the corner to pass us eastbound.
The little bus roared off down the High Street, to make a first call at the station, where I took a couple of photos.
We climbed the bank up from the station, and turned briefly towards the town before turning left into Moat Road. This was Maidstone & District's different way of leaving town towards Blackwell, London Transport using Blackwell Hollow from the east end of the High Street. We passed through Blackwell, and climbed up past the Hospital onto Holtye Road. We headed east along the ridge road, passing the junction for Dormansland and Edenbridge and crossing the county boundary into East Sussex. The little bus positively roared along the Tunbridge Wells road eastwards.
Approaching Holtye Common we veered left along the edge of the golf course, to reach the lane to Cowden. Here we turned acutely right, the turn requiring several shunts back and forward across the junction. We then rolled back across the golf course to halt at the road junction opposite the White Horse Inn.
It seems that this timetable was rather generous: we had twenty five minutes before we were due to return to East Grinstead. Perhaps this was due to the route being shortened to Holtye Common rather than Edenbridge Town Station. Later in the day one of the journeys continued north to connect with a 434 at the station. The photo below is kindly supplied by Tom Drake.
135, Holtye Common to East Grinstead: SO308
We didn't last the full twenty-five minutes. We reboarded and roared off back westwards to East Grinstead. The big front windows of the little bus give spectacular views ahead. The ridge gradually climbed towards East Grinstead, affording some amazing views northwards over the Weald, although southward views were persistently blocked by trees. We dipped back down into Blackwell, and climbed Moat Road again to the north end of the High Street. No-one wanted the station, so we just turned left, back up into the town.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six