Southdown 277 at Beachy Head

Eastbourne Bus Running Day

Sunday 2nd August 2009

Prepared by Ian Smith, 8th August 2009

Part Two: Ups and Downs

Before boarding my next bus I had a moment or two to look around at the variety of buses present. Eastbourne 72, waiting to go out on route 6 along the Seafront, is a 1966 Leyland Titan PD2A/30 with an East Lancs body.

WKO138S is an ex-Maidstone & District Bristol VR, today working route 14 to the Miniature Railway.

Eastbourne 72, PUF647 M&D VR WKO138S

RM1397, an ex-London Transport Routemaster, was waiting to take out a later journey up Beachy Head, while only slightly older Guy Special GS62, from London's Country Area, was waiting as a spare at present.

RM1397 GS62

My anticipated ride was Southdown 277, a 1965 Leyland Titan PD3/4 with Northern Counties forward entrance bodywork: a Queen Mary. But before I climbed aboard I had a look at Eastbourne 42, a postwar Regent III with exquisite hand-painted adverts.

Southdown 277 Eastbourne 42

I climbed onto 277 when the crew arrived, and took a front seat upstairs. 42 departed on service 6, just before open-top Queen Mary 410 sailed past, returning from Beachy Head.

Eastbourne 42 Southdown 277

Lodon Transport RF354 squeezed out of the carriage road just as yet another Queen Mary, 424, went past, followed closely by Eastbourne Regent V 69 arriving back from route 6. It was busy!

RF354, Southdown 464 Eastbourne 69

Then we were away, threading a way through the town to reach the pier. There we met ex-London Scania S13, almost unrecognisable in open-top, double-sided doorway format and City Sightseeing livery. We squeezed left past the traffic jammmed up by the pier pedestrian crossing, and headed east for the Sovereign Centre. On the way we passed 42, stuck in the traffic as it headed west for the Foot of Beachy Head.

S13 Eastbourne 42

Traffic moved freely in our direction, and very shortly we twirled round the roundabout beyond the Sovereign Centre and headed back west. Immediately we met the Guy Arab again, now heading for Pevensey on service 99. Further on we met 72, heading east for the Redoubt.

647 on 99 Eastbourne 72 on 6

Then came Queen Mary 424, heading for the Miniature Railway. We reached the pier, and pulled up as Stagecoach Olympian 16836 pulled away.

647 on 99 Eastbourne 72 on 6

We went on, past the colourful flower beds and up the gentle rise of the Promenade. Ahead, the cliffs of Beachy Head reared up. We approached the Foot of Beachy Head, from where a footpath heads straight up onto the Downs. We passed another City Sightseeing open-topper, this one ex West Midlands, and then Eastbourne 42, sitting at the terminus of route 6.

Cliffs Foot of Beachy Head

We ground up the zig-zag road onto Beachy Head, to and fro through the woods and then out onto the open Downland, with superb views east along the coast round Pevensey Bay to Hastings and Fairlight. The big bus nearly stalled on the deceptively steep open zig-zag near the top, but then we were bowling along the clifftop, still climbing up to the Top. We went past the pub and Visitor Centre, and pulled up at the bus turning circle below the summit. Now the views were westwards, over the Seven Sisters and Seaford Head, and along the coast to Selsey Bill.

view west from Beachy Head

I climbed back aboard 277, and we headed back east, past the pub and down the first green slope above Eastbourne. We turned down towards the town, but eschewed the zigzags to the Foot, instead continuing down into the green back of the town.

277 at Beachy Head view east from Beachy Head

As we pulled into the Station open-top RT3435 was waiting to depart. I could not resist..

Part 3: Topless

All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1 Part 2 Part 3