East Grinstead Running Day
Sunday April 12th 2015
Prepared by Ian Smith, 1st May 2015.
RF429 on the 494 to ChartRF429 was just about to leave, on a 494 run to Oxted, and then on to Chart - a rare extension to the 494 route, supplementing the local 464 and 465. I climbed aboard as the crew prepared to get under way. A very smart-looking Leyland Olympian, Selkent L97, worked in round the corner of the High Street, on a 438 working from Crawley to Forest Row.
TD95 slipped past, growling gently, heading for Lingfield ahead of us on the 428. So did the Brighton open-top Bristol, well-loaded for another tour. We followed both round the corner and down the bank.
As we inched our slow way down the hill towards the King Street traffic lights we met preserved Metrobus Reliance 109, heading up the hill on the next 438. That was soon followed by RT1798.
After the detour to visit the railway stations we climbed back up the bank, crossed the railway, and turned right for Baldwins Hill. We continued on to reach Lingfield, where we turned right to pause at the Post Office stop.
Before we left East Grinstead Alan Charman had pointed out that the bus was wearing one London Transport blind (on the back), and one London Country blind on the front. The difference was that the LT one had Chart Church as the destination, while the later LC one had Chart Carpenters Arms. It seems that London Transport had a policy at one period of not naming public houses as terminal points, while London Country reverted to the original practice.
We headed north from Lingfield on the quiet road through Crowhurst Place. We passed RF146 heading south (while I was not looking), and turned west to run alongside the railway. With the event being earlier this year there were few bluebells in the woods and on the verges, although the blackthorn was flowering in the hedgerows..
We reached Crowhurst Lane End, where the traffic lights were red. A few of us photographers asked permission to alight to capture the sight of the bus negotiating the 12ft 9in bridge. Even an RF has to be careful here.
With everyone back on the bus we continued north, through Chathill and up onto the Greensand Ridge at Tandridge. We met the A25, and turned east. Our driver (Colin), did not need much convincing to go via Old Oxted. There was even room to stop the bus for photographs, briefly.
We continued down to the main road, where we crossed over into modern Oxted, heading for the Station (West side). There again we made a pause, primarily so our passengers could make use of the conveniences if they so desired. Our bus attracted the attention of a young man and his family, and they took they opportunity to make a short trip on the 1950s bus round to the east side of the station.
We made the steep climb up out of Limpsfield onto Limpsfield Common, turning right onto the Edenbridge Road. We made another brief pause in the sunshine, as the photographers wanted a picture with the sun on the front of the bus.
A little further along the Common we turned abruptly left onto a narrow lane through th brush, emerging at The Carpenters Arms. There were too many cars for us to stop. The Bus stop, not usually used on a Sunday, was blocked too. So we continued round the corner to the stop at Chart Church.
We had been there only a minute or two when RF633 arrived with a 464 from Westerham, to make a connection.
RF429 on the 434 to East GrinsteadBut instead of the buses returning the way they had come, or both going to Oxted to service the Limpsfield Schools, they were swapping roles. RF633 was heading for East Grinstead via Oxted as a 494, and RF492 was going south via Edenbridge. Normally this would not have happened, as the 494 was an East Grinstead garage working, while the 464 was one of the Chelsham-based 464/465/485 trio of routes. RF633 was blessed with a preservation set of blinds, which included the 494 as well as the Chelsham trio, so wound up the 494 blind. But RF492 was wearing original East Grinstead blinds, which did not include the 465 or 485. What is more, of course, the 485 only went to Edenbridge until Merlin/National days, when it continued to East Grinstead. So an East Grinstead 434 blind was selected. The 434 did work from Oxted to East Grinstead, but many years before the RFs arrived.
We headed east along the glorious Greensand Ridge towards Crockham Hill - a glorious ride beneath the spring trees, with the occasional glimpse south over the Weald. Then there was the quick swoop down onto the Weald, followed by a long gentle descent towards the Eden. We passed under the railways, and rolled into Edenbridge. We paused again at the Tesco Express stop. Again photographers begged the indulgence of our driver to go ahead of the bus through the narrow part of the street, where the road passes under the old sign for The Crown.
We went on, south from Edenbridge on the Hartfield road, to the right-angle turn towards Marsh Green and the Kent-East Sussex border. We wiggled our way westwards to Dormansland, where we pulled up at The Plough behind TD95. There was a very limited exchange of passengers, few of the Tiger's passengers wanting to swap onto the "modern" RF.
RF429 trundled off again, heading south for East Grinstead, up and down over the hilly Wealden countryside. We joined the main road from Tunbridge Wells just east of the Stone Quarry and Hospital, and dropped down into Blackwell. Then it was left up through the narrow rock cutting and into East Grinstead.
It was time to recharge my batteries...
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six