GS62, RT1798, XF1 at EAG

East Grinstead Running Day

Sunday April 12th 2015

Prepared by Ian Smith, 1st May 2015.

East Grinstead

East Grinstead was busy. Modernised but demoted ex-GreenLine RF146, in short-lived London Transport green and canary yellow livery, was setting off on another 494 trip to Oxted, while LT-liveried XF3 was also heading out, on a 438.

RF146 at East Grinstead on 494 XF3 at East Grinstead on 438

"Fruitmaster" FRM1 was standing on the other side of the road, after another foray on the 424 to Copthorne and back. Looks good!

I bought a sandwich and a drink, and went to sit near the War Memorial, where I could watch the passing traffic. Very eye-catching in its 1933-style livery was Volvo Olympian NV171. There seems to be a trend in offside advertising carried by this group's preserved buses!

FRM1 at East Grinstead off 424 NV171 at East Grinstead on 438

East Grinstead being a border town between London Transport and Maidstone & District, the event welcomes buses from the latter as well. Very good-looking was Lynx 3043 (originally with Merthyr Tydfil), which was working on tours via Hartfield, taking in parts of former M&D route 135. What a superb livery this is.

3043 at East Grinstead on 135

Red RF368 and blue/yellow Reliance 109 squeezed through the melee, as did RF633, arriving back from its long journey from Chart on the 494. XF1 arrived in its London Country green and yellow livery, another reminder of the period when bus liveries were designed to catch the eye rather than hide the buses against the background. (Have you tried to spot an Arriva MAX bus coming towards you in the dark - or a Stagecoach one for that matter? I suppose they don't work much after dark anyway!)

RF633 at East Grinstead on 494 XF1 at East Grinstead on 424

I popped into Cafe Nero for a coffee. Whilst I was there, just for an instant Trident 17523 filled the cafe doorway as it headed east for Forest Row once more.

When I emerged onto the street again I had an excellent view of East Kent Reliance WFN513, which was also working on the 135 Hartfield Tours.

17523 at East Grinstead on 438 WFN513 at East Grinstead on 135

XF1 on 424 to Copthorne and back

I had a choice of XF1 or XF3 on their 50th anniversary. I have previuosly travelled on XF3, so crossed the road to XF1, which was ready to head for Copthorne. The restoration is immaculate, both outside and in. It even has the door to lock off the stairwell for single person operation, as required by the law at the time the Fleetlines were introduced.

XF1 at East Grinstead on 424 XF1 at East Grinstead on 424

I went upstairs for a front seat. XF3 pulled round the bus in front to get to the War Memorial stop, meeting XF1 head-on as it went. While we loaded up RF368 set off for Oxted on the 494, and Titan T684 headed out to turn at the station, having arrived on a short-working 438 from Forest Row. (Sorry about the mucky photos: the sun was catching the dust on the front windows of my bus).

XF3 at East Grinstead on 424 RF368 at East Grinstead on 494 T684 at East Grinstead on 438

We set off, round the corner and down the hill. Two buses dating from the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, but both in 1970s liveries, came up the hill. RT604, new in 1948, although fitted with a later body, is famous as the last London Country RT in passenger service in 1978, and wears the National Bus Company livery of that time.

RF308 was new as a Country bus, RF527, in 1953. It was then converted to a makeshift Greenline configuration in 1956, only to be returned to bus status in 1962, to displace GS buses from Chelsham on the Oxted routes. It wears the dark green with canary yellow trim of 1970s London Country as it arrives on a 494 from Oxted.

RT604 at East Grinstead on 409 RF308 at East Grinstead on 494

We headed north, down to the stations where we passed T684, then on towards Felbridge. We forked left there, then again onto the Crawley Down road. We met AN53 coming back on the 424. At Copthorne we made the clockwise loop to come back to The Dukes Head, and retraced our route through Crawley Down to Felbridge. As we headed back towards East Grinstead on the main road we met Leyland National SNB340 heading for Copthorne.

AN53 on 424 SNB340 on 424

We went round the station loop, then stopped at a bus-stop to let off a passenger. RT4779 pootled past, and preceded us up the street to our terminus outside The Crown.

RT4779 at East Grinstead RF146f at East Grinstead

The street was now much less busy. Many of the local passengers had headed home, as had some of the buses. I looked at my programme to see what was still available as an out and back run at this late hour. I had not yet been to Forest Row...

Part Seven: 409, 485 and 403.

Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six Seven