East Grinstead Running Day

Sunday April 14th 2013

Prepared by Ian Smith, 16th April 2013.

This is going to be a rather different report. On my way home from London to the North I mislaid my camera, with all the pictures. No luck with the public transport undertakings or the local police. If you happen to find a Fuji Finepix AV200 with lots of pictures of old London buses in it, plus a few foxes, please let me know.

Folk have very kindly sent me a selection of pictures of the day, which I have popped into the report. Many thanks.

405B: Redhill to Crawley: MB90

I started the day (bus-wise) at Redhill, where MB90 arrived exactly on time at 1038 for the journey south to Crawley. Of the scenery on this journey the least said the better: Gatwick is not pretty, and Crawley - well, enough said. But the bus went well, and looked good. The sound of the big engine at the back was good too - and it kept going!

473: Crawley to East Grinstead: MB90

Leaving Crawley the scene outside the bus improved rapidly as we headed for Three Bridges, then on to Pound Hill and out into the West Sussex countryside to Turners Hill. There we had a photo stop in the sunshine, before pressing on past various farms with their "visitor attractions", and down into woodland to pass under the Bluebell Railway near Kingscote. No sign of bluebells in the woods. We climbed up parallel to the Imberhorne Cutting, and dipped down again to the western outskirts of East Grinstead. Rather than visit the rebuilt station we climbed the hill to the top of the town, and dropped down to meet the High Street, which was closed to all vehicles but buses. It was packed: RT604 had arrived from Croydon on the 409, RF600 from Reigate on the 424. A Barton low-height Regent V arrived from Tunbridge Wells on M&D route 97. SNB320 had preceded us on the 473, and red RF486 came in a quarter-hour later. There were lots of others.

MB90,(Joshua Perrett) 806,(Joshua Perrett)

MB60 at East Grinstead, on a 473 journey to Turners Hill. Preserved Metrobus Olympian 806 passes through a crowded East Grinstead High Street, with RF308, T1030 and RT1702 in view. (photos by Joshua Perrett)

428: East Grinstead to Dormansland: GS34

I was chatting to Kevin Hibbs from the London Bus Museum. He was going on a circular 428/473 tour in GS34 in a little while, and mentioned that he needed a navigator. I volunteered of course. GS2 and GS15 were on a similar duty, but twenty minutes earlier. I spent the interval going round talking to people and looking at the buses. I joined Kevin on GS34 in time to run down to the stand and take on another seven passengers.

We headed down the High Street, and twisted our way down to the station. We climbed back up to cross the two railway bridges, and headed through Baldwins Hill and out into the Surrey countryside to Lingfield, where we had a photo-stop at the post office. Then it was on down past Lingfield Park race course and under the railway bridge. We forked left for Dormansland, and pulled up at The Plough behind RF600. A few minutes later T1030 rolled up on a 409 local working via Lingfield, and parked on the triangle. RF600 and T1030 departed before we did. Then RF679 rolled up.

GS34,(Nick Street) GS34, GS1515,(Joshua Perrett)

GSs at Dormansland (Plough): GS34 at rest (Nick Street) and - later in the day - GS34 passing GS15 (Joshua Perrett).
We had instructions to return directly to East Grinstead, via the Hospital and Blackwell Hollow, so set off back along the 473 route, climbing up onto the ridge into Sussex and along the A-road past the hospital and down past the Stone Quarry Estate. We turned up Blackwell Hollow and ground our way uphill, crossing high over Beeching Way to the east end of the High Street, to complete our trip as a "494".

97: East Grinstead to Holtye, Hartfield and Forest Row: SC390

I joined Brian Catchpole on M&D Reliance SC390 for a leisurely tour east of East Grinstead. We set off for Eat Grinstead station by a different route from the LT services, dipping down onto Beeching Way to reach the station. We climbed back up towards the foot of the town, and took the M&D route eastwards, along Moat Road. This took us east to the Stone Quarry and the hospital, and up onto the high ridge reaching into Easst Sussex, with tremendous views over the High Weald. The contrast with the Guy Special was extreme. I had lost my voice in three-quartes of an hour with the GS. The Reliance was quiet and smooth. We worked along the wooded ridge, and passed Holtye Common with its golf course by the road.

We continued eastwards until we met the B-road from Edenbridge, where we turned right to head for Hartfield and then Upper Hartfield. Passing through the villages was difficult, due to a continuous line of parked cars turning hundreds of metres at a time into single-track roads with no passing places. We purred along towards Forest Row, where we turned down Station Approach towards the old station yard. This was very busy with classic cars of all ages. There was a queue right out the cafe doorway.

I rejoined the coach for the return to East Grinstead: into Forest Row itself, with its fascinating buildings, then up the long slope past Ashurst Wood into the town.

JTM109V,(Joshua Perrett) RML2323 (Nick Street)

Variety on the 409 between East Grinstead and Forest Row: Metrobus Reliance JTM109V (Joshua Perrett) and London Country-liveried RML2323 (Nick Street) .

473: East Grinstead: RF486

I joined Peter and Steve on RF486 very briefly, as they headed east from the High Street after unloading. They ran down to the lower roundabout, by the end of Beeching Way, to turn and come back up to the bus stance east of the High Street. I walked back up into the town with them.

XF3,(Joshua Perrett) RMC1461 (Darren Walker)

XF3 was on the longer 409 runs to Godstone,(Joshua Perrett), as was Green Line liveried RMC1461 from the London Bus Museum (Darren Walker).

East Grinstead

I needed a PNB. I discovered that the toilets next to the High Street have been closed. I started to walk down the High Street to visit those in King Street, but on the way realised that I hadn't had a coffee yet today. I called in at Costa, which fulfilled both needs. Rather refreshed, I wandered back up to the War Memorial, to decide what to do next. I really wanted a ride on a Country green RT. That would be RT3183. It was on an hour's break. So I pottered about for an hour, watching buses come and go. Quite fascinating. I could have had a short trip out to somewhere and back, but a feeling of lassitude, perhaps engendered by the sunny weather, reduced me to indolence.

Barton 784, (Nick Street)

Busy busy at East Grinstead War Memorial. Centre-stage is Barton low-height Regent V 784 on a short journey to Holtye Common, while around it are Metrobus Olympian 806, RF308, RF600 and RF429 (Nick Street).

409: East Grinstead to Godstone Green and back: RT3183

The wait was worth it. I joined the RT and, unusually for me, claimed an upstairs front seat. We went round past the station, and headed out on the A22 to Felbridge, gradually leaving East Grinstead behind. After the junction with the Copthorne road the ribbon development gave way to countryside. At Newchapel we turned off the main road to head for Lingfield, where we almost met the 494 and 428 routes, but turned the other way, back into countryside, to reach Blindley Heath. Back on the A22 the line of the North Downs grew closer. We passed under the railway at South Godstone, and soon were drawing in to Godstone Green. This was full of all the din and turmoil of the visiting fair.

We soon headed back south, retracing our journey towards East Grinstead. Running in from Felbridge we passed RT1702, heading home for Catford. And in East Grinstead itself we passed RF486, heading home towards Dorking.

RT3183 (Darren Walker)
Out in the country, near Blindley Heath. RT3183 bowls along on the 409. This is what it is about. (Darren Walker).

East Grinstead to Tunbridge Wells: RF679

I considered the going-home options: RT604 to Croydon; RF600 to Reigate; MB90 to Three Bridges; the Barton Regent V to Tunbridge Wells. All had attractions. In the end I decided I'd like a chat with Colin Rivers, who was going home on RF679 via Tunbridge Wells. Once the clans had dispersed we set off eastwards, down Blackwell Hollow and onto the Tunbridge Wells road via Ashurst. The Regal IV, like the Reliance, just purred along. RFs really are a nice ride. All too soon we were in Tunbridge Wells, and I alighted to head for the railway station.

RF308,(Steve Fennell) RF600, (Darren Walker)

RFs at Turners Hill: eastbound RF308 (Steve Fennell) and westbound RF600 (Darren Walker).

Many thanks to all those who contributed to the event, whether organising in advance, on the day, writing programmes - and selling them, driving, conducting, lending buses, joining in the fun. Particular thanks to Alan Charman for organising the event.

My thanks too to those who provided me with the photos to illustrate the report.

RT604, RT1702*, RT1798*, RT3183, RTW185*
RF28, RF146, RF429*, RF486*, RF600, RF679
GS2, GS15, GS34
RMC1461, RMC1500 (aka1486), RML2323, RM?
XF3, MB90, SNB320, T1030
SC390, Barton 784, Metrobus 806, JTM109V

system map

Ian's Bus-stop