East Grinstead Running Day
Sunday April 12th 2015
Prepared by Ian Smith, 20th April 2015.
East GrinsteadEast Grinstead was buzzing. The local council had allowed Country Bus Rallies to close off the main street past the War Memorial for the day, allowing exclusive use for buses - both the normal Metrobus services, plus the CBR services.
My instant impressions were that the preserved buses are getting younger, and that London Country livery appears more than it used to. Typical were the first two buses I looked at: Daimler Fleetline XF1 and RML2456 are neither of them youngsters, but both were in London Country livery, XF1 (from the London Bus Company) in green and yellow, and the long Routemaster in NBC green and white. The XF, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, was dressed for its old stamping ground on the 424, while the Routemaster, a long way from its old haunts in Harlow and Staines was set up for a short trip on the 409 to Godstone (after which it would head for Westerham on the 410).
Behind the RML stood RF308, even older, but dressed in London Country green and yellow. Mind, it was set up for a London Country era route: the 485 through to Westerham.
Different colours were provided by RT1798, inching westwards through the bus jam, and preserved Metrobus Lynx Mk11 No101, in its blue and yellow for a trip to Crawley on the 438.
Not that the older buses in London Transport Country Area green and cream were absent. RF633 had arrived already on its 485 from Westerham, and was prepared for a foray on the local 428, while GS62 waited for a turn on the 494.
Green RT4779 arrived from its long 424 run from Reigate. Red RT1702, not taking part in the days activities, still performed a useful function by blocking off a side-road.
More liveries were to be seen. Maidstone and District Leopard 2814 arrived on the route 91 feeder service from Tunbridge Wells. It was followed along the street by preserved Metrobus Olympian 834, an East Lancs bodied Volvo that had spent nearly five years on route 64 before moving to Crawley for another eight years Metrobus service. Now it was heading north on the 409 to Godstone Green.
Next came the other fifty-year old Daimler Fleetline, XF3 in London Transport green and cream, also working the 424.
Nearer the War Memorial stood RF429. Although not one of the red RFs loaned to London Country by LT, many were, so the red RF is not out of place here as it waits for a turn on the 494.
Coming eastwards along the street were preserved buses of two very different eras: Dennis Trident 17523, ex Stagecoach London, shows how fast the London bus scene, and preservation, is changing as tighter emission controls expel the earlier low-floor buses from London streets. Today 17523 was operating on the 438 between Crawley and Forest Row.
A stranger in our midst was ex-Brighton & Hove open-top Bristol CAP229, which was operating local tours, very popular in the warm spring sunshine. Its Gardner engine sounded wonderful.
Back at The Crown, regular attender RT604 had arrived on a long 409 trip from West Croydon. Much rarer was TD95, puttering in from the east on a 428 from Dormansland.
Behind the Tiger another two buses from the mid 1950s put in an appearance: GS42 and RM1397.
But now it was time to make a move. I headed towards RT4779, which was heading east for The Stone Quarry...
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six