East Grinstead Running Day
Sunday April 10th 2016
Prepared by Ian Smith, 14th April 2016.
Part 1: Sevenoaks Station to East GrinsteadI emerged from Sevenoaks Station to an unexpected sight. Across the road, at the southbound station stop stood M&D 3238, a 10.6m Dart SLF. It was gloriously in Maidstone & District cream and emerald green livery. Newly preserved after finishing its career with Arriva Kent Thameside at Northfleet, it was here to provide an alternative route to East Grinstead Running Day, as a 402 to Tunbridge Wells followed by a 97 to East Grinstead. I was sorely tempted, but decided to wait for the RF to Westerham.
Preserved M&D Dart SLF 3238 waits at Sevenoaks Station on a 402 to Tunbridge Wells.The Dart drew away at the appointed time of 9.00 a.m., with no sign of the RF. Had we done the right thing? A minute or two later a Westerham-bound bus appeared: another Dart SLF, not preserved this time. It was Go-Coach's Dart Marshall 5003 (S519KFL), on Sevenoak's only scheduled Sunday service - the 401 to Westerham from Tunbridge Wells.
Go-Coach 5003 at Sevenoaks Station on 401 to Westerham.Dan, Martine and I decided to continue waiting for the RF. The Dart whirred off westwards.
By 9.20 we were a trifle concerned. The RF was not usually this late. We were considering other options when RF633 finally hove into view. It had been bitterly cold down in Kent when the crew went to fire it up, well below freezing, which had delayed the start. We climbed aboard for the run west to Westerham.
RF633 arrives at Sevenoaks Stn.We burbled along over the bumps to Riverhead, and turned left along the old A25. Now it was a beautiful spring morning as we climbed up through Bessels Green in the sunshine. The RF scurried along the old main road, with most of the traffic now on the parallel M25, thankfully out of sight and sound. We passed through the villages - Sundridge and Brasted - and pulled up into Westerham. The connecting RT was long gone, and there was no-one to pick up. No stop for breakfast this morning.
We headed on west, out of Westerham and up the long gentle climb up the dry valley to Limpsfield Common. That was followed by the plunge down into the Oxted valley. We turned right to reach Oxted Station (East Side), and went round under the notorious railway bridge to reach the West Side. There we paused for a couple of minutes to reset the blinds andfor the driver (Colin) to stretch his legs and restore circulation.
RF633 at Oxted Station for the 494 to East Grinstead.The blinds were reset for the trip south down the 494 to East Grinstead, then we set off again, down through the modern town that grew up around the Southern Railway. At this time of morning on a Sunday we could follow the old route up through Old Oxted, next to impossible later in the day once cars would be badly parked on the narrow street.
RF633 at Oxted Station for the 494 to East Grinstead. Climbing up through Old Oxted.We climbed up onto the greensand ridge, and turned off the A25 at the roundabout, to head south in the sunshine. We dropped down through Tandridge, and on down to Crowhurst Lane End, where we ducked under the railway. Single deckers only! We turned left beside the railway for a while. The bluebells were out in the wooded verges. We continued through Crowhurst to the outskirts of Lingfield, where we turned up through the suburban streets to reach Lingfield Post Office. No photo stop this morning. We turned left again, to Felcourt and Baldwins Hill, and turned along the A22 into East Grinstead. We had caught up time. There was Rt3148 ahead of us, heading up into town.
We pulled up to the High Street, closed off past the War Memorial for Buses Only today. There wasn't a good place to park on the eastbound side of the street, so we went on to the second roundabout to turn. We came back onto he main street, and parked behind RT1702.
East Grinstead: RT1702, RT3148, RF633Part Two: East Grinstead
Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six