GS62 at Crawley on 852

Horsham Classic Bus Running Day

Sunday March 19th 2006

Prepared by Ian Smith, 2nd April 2006

Part One: 434: Three Bridges to Horsham (RF679)

I caught a Metrobus Dart SLF (No.299) outside my hotel in Horley. The viewfinder on my little camera seemed misted up, and to judge by the unusable result, so was the main lens! Anyway, route 100 directly connected the hotel and Three Bridges Station. I say directly, but route 100 crosses a single-track Bailey Bridge to reach Gatwick North Terminal, winds through it then back under it to reach South Terminal. After winding through that it ejects into Crawley's industrial estates, winds through them to find Crawley Bus Station, before heading to Three Bridges. At Crawley Bus Station we stopped alongside one of Metrobus' two secondhand Dennis Lance/Optare Sigmas, No.118, which I hadn't seen before. It was dressed in the new two-tone blue livery, ready for a 291 trip to East Grinstead. Long Dart SLF No.308 was also there, waiting to work on route 2.

Metrobus Lance 118 at Crawley Metrobus Dart 308 at Crawley

I alighted rom the Dart at Three Bridges Station, and watched it depart for the delights of suburban Maidenbower, and crossed the road to the westbound bus layby. A few minutes later the Sigma went past on its way to East Grinstead.

Metrobus Dart 299 departs Three Bridges Metrobus Lance 118 at Three Bridges

Now the better camera could come out of the bag. (It doesn't always do to wave one around at airports). I still had a little while to wait for RF679 - due at 0930. The wait was rewarded by a sighting of one of London General's endangered species: Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties Palatine II NV175 arrived to work a Three Bridges to East Grinstead Rail Replacement Service. (Quite why I don't know - there hasn't a railway between these two for half a century!)

NV175 arrives at Three Bridges NV175 at Three Bridges Station

Then RF679 came under the railway bridge. Colin Rivers and Mike Dawes had brought the bus in via East Grinstead. It had a 434 Three Bridges blind on the front, and a 473 one on the back. I didn't enquire which way they had come!

RF679 arrives at Three Bridges RF679 at Three Bridges Station

RF679 was not the designated bus for the 0930 434 service to Horsham, so waited at the station until RF626, which was, arrived too. The two buses now demonstrated older and newer forms of the East Grinstead - Horsham 434 blinds.

RF679 at Three Bridges RF626 at Three Bridges Station

The waiting drivers and passengers now divided up between the two vehicles, and we set off into Crawley, to the bus station initially. On the way we saw several more Metrobus vehicles, including OmniCity No.531 leaving the bus station area, followed by Dart SLF No.241 on route 2.

Metrobus 531 leaves Crawley Metrobus 241 leaves Crawley

The two RFs made a circuit of Crawley Bus Station, and made a brief stop before continuing on their way to Horsham.

RF679 and RF626 at Crawley Bus Stn RF679 and RF626 at Crawley Bus Stn

The two RFs set off for Horsham. But we took different routes out of town, ours not the old 434 route. We passed OmniCity 553 on route 1. We came back to the old route just as RF626 passed across our front.

Metrobus 553 on route 1 RF626 passes in front of us.

We headed down the long dual carriageway towards Horsham, and noted old sections of the road on our left in places. We reached a roundabout, where we turned left to drive in to Horsham. After a section of suburbia we reached Horsham Station, and paused briefly.

RF626 at Horsham Station RF626 at Horsham Station.

To reach Carfax we had to drive right round the town and wend our way in to the bus station. We paused there to have a personal needs break, before continuing up to join the other buses at the Carfax.

Part 2: 852: Horsham to Crawley and return (GS62)

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

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: 852, Horsham - Crawley (GS62)