RF679 on 494 to East Grinstead

East Grinstead Running Day

Sunday April 22nd 2018

Prepared by Ian Smith, 5th May 2016.

Part 4: 494: East Grinstead to Oxted Station and back

Due to the need to run east to the second roundabout to turn we were late onto the War Memorial stand. Coming back along the High Street we passed RT4779 - our only sighting of the day.

We took on a couple of dozen passengers for the trip to Oxted. The programme had said we would divert at Tandridge Roundabout to Godstone Green, but we had not heard that that was clear, or that the RTs on the 409 were back to running there. So Oxted Station it was.

RF679 on 494 RT4779 parked off 409

RF679 ready for 494, RT4779 parked off 409, East Grinstead.
WE headed down London Road, and swung down past East Grinstead Station, and back up to rejoin London Road briefly, to cross the railway bridges. Then it was right into narrow Lingfield Road, to negotiate our way down Baldwins Hill towards Felcourt. RF28 zoomed past on a Greenline service. We continued our leisurely bus progress through renewed suburbia to Lingfield. We met RF308, coming away from the Post Office on a 428 to East Grinstead, then turned right ourselves to reach the Post Office stop.

RF308 on 428, Lingfield Post Office RF679 on 494, Lingfield Post Office

RF308 on 428, RF679 on 494, Lingfield Post Office.
We continued, down the hill a short way, then left into Church Road, to head for Crowhurst. Back out into countryside we began to see the many St.George's flags that line the road all the way through Crowhurst - some full size flags, others wood or cardboard placards fixed by the roadside. We jinked across Haxted Road, and continued through Crowhurst, passing St.George's Church. The parishioners really do celebrate their saint.

The verges and hedgrows also sprouted blue, with thousands of English bluebells.

St George flags, Crowhurst roadside bluebells

St George flags, Crowhurst Road, and roadside bluebells.
The road turned to run alongside the Tonbridge - Redhill railway (the South Eastern Railway's original main line from Dover to London). The bus was halted by the traffic lights controlling passage under the line at Crowhurst Lane End. I took the opportunity to alight and go under the bridge to watch the RF come through.

RF679 at Crowhurst Bridge RF679 at Crowhurst Bridge, Crowhurst Lane End

RF308 on 428, RF679 on 494, Lingfield Post Office.
I had just rejoined when one of the red Dart SLFs came south on the 494 bound for East Grinstead. This never happened in the old days, when this was a one-bus route. It took me by surprise, so I did not get a picture, not even a blur! We continued north up Tandridge Lane, making a left turn to continue up the lane past The Barley Mow, crossing the Greensand Ridge, to reach the roundabout on the A25. Another red bus passed east to west along the A25: a brand new hybrid double-decker, out on railway replacement duty via Oxted.

We turned east, then turned off onto the old road down through Old Oxted. The passengers much appreciated this! Amazing to think that up to thirteen buses in a hour came through here (4 each way on the 464/465, 2 each way on the 410, 1 every two hours on the 494, plus schools duplicates). Even now service buses use the narrow hill. But today we had a straightforward passage, not meeting any contrary traffic.

Old Oxted Old Oxted

Old Oxted.
We crossed over the A25 at the foot of the hill, to enter modern Oxted that grew up around the Southern Railway station. We met another new hybrid, Go-Ahead's preying-mantis style WHV171.

We went up past the half-timbered line of shops and turned the corner to stop at Oxted Station.

WHV171 leaves Oxted RF679 at Oxted Station

WHV171 leaves Oxted. RF679 at Oxted Station
RF679 at Oxted Station RF679 at Oxted Station

After the five minute turn-round time we set off back towards East Grinstead. There was a flurry of railway replacement buses, both single deckers and doubledeckers, depending whether they were going to Purley or via Edenbridge, presumably. Just round the corner we met Go-Ahead's EnviroDart SOE34, then a similar EnviroDart from Metrobus turning in from the A25. We did not try the return through Old Oxted, and met a Go-Ahead Olympus running downhill as we passed the lay-by near the top of the hill.

SOE34 at Oxted Metrobus EnviroDart on A25

Railway Replacement single-deckers approaching Oxted: Go-Ahead SOE43 and a Metrobus EnviroDart.
We turned south at the Tandridge roundabout, and headed back through Tandridge and Crowhurst Lane End. We paused for the traffic lights at the bridge, and one of the passengers took the opportunity to get a picture of the bus coming through the arch. We picked him up, and continued, beside the railway, the bluebells and the St George's crosses, back to Lingfield.

RF679, Crowhurst RF679, Crowhurst

RF679 pauses in Crowhurst.
We worked our way through the village, past the Post Office, and took the road to Felcourt and Baldwins Hill. We met RF308 on the 428 again, as it headed for Lingfield and Dormansland.

We climbed up to East Grinstead, and turned onto the A22 briefly. We passed the fire station, where a 1937 Fordson fire engine was standing on the forecourt.

RF308, Baldwins Hill CDD121, EG Fire Station

RF308 passes on the 428 to Dormansland, Baldwins Hill. Fordson fire engine CDD121 at the Fire Station.
We continued along London Road as the A22 bore left to bypass the town centre, and climbed up to the town centre. Past the barricades we met Rt1798, set up for the 409. It was followed by preserved Metrobus Olympian 395, wearing blinds for the 291. Across the High Street stood another of the newer OmniCities of Metrobus, 6975, also on the 291, heading for Tunbridge Wells.

6975 on 291 RT1798cEG, 395, War Memorial

Metrobus 6975 on 291 to Tunbridge Wells. RT1798 stands at the War Memorial, with Metrobus 395 behind.

Part Five: East Grinstead to Edenbridge and return

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