I was not altogether surprised when at the appropriate time RF429 came under the railway bridge from the Godstone direction and swung round the roundabout into the bus station.
The red RF was wearing blinds for the 215. Alan Charman explained that he had a set of 406 blinds somewhere, but had not had time to fit them before this journey.
The handfull of passengers boarded RF429 and we were away, round onto the Reigate road through Redhill centre, and along the switchback road to the centre of Reigate. There we turned north, to head for Reigate Station. We crossed the level crossing and pulled up at the stop for a quick photo, before climbing northwards up the face of the North Downs. We crossed the escarpment and passed over the busy M25, and began the gentle descent through Lower Kingswood, and on down the long dual carriageway past Kingswood.
In the woods we came to a roundabout, and turned second left for Tadworth Station. We crossed the railway and turned right down towards the station. There had been speculation on the bus about what might connect with us at Tadworth, but now it was answered: there stood GS34 with 416 blinds ready for the slow trip to Esher.
There was room on the GS for all those who wanted to travel, so I told Alan that I would see him after lunch, and joined the 26-seater. We set off up the road beside the station, and turned right to Walton-on-the-Hill. Last time I was here was on a terminating BL (at the Carshalton Running Day). We passed the pond and the 80A terminus, and continued, to cross the M25.
Now it actually felt like we were on top of the North Downs. At Pebble Combe we turned right, off the Betchworth road. No double-run to Box Hill (Sandiacres) this morning. We passed the lane to Box Hill, then forked right onto the upper route through Headley Court. We passed through the busy Armed Forces Rehabiltation Centre and wound down Highlands Road to cross the busy Leatherhead by-pass. We continued down through suburban Leatherhead to meet the road from Dorking, and turned right towards the town centre. We were pushed aside by the town's traffic management scheme, and pulled up for a quick photo in the sunshine.
We had just climbed back aboard GS34 when RF644 shot past. We set off in pursuit, and followed it round towards Leatherhead Station. But it headed straight for Esher, while we had to make the scheduled station stop.
At Leatherhead Station we alighted to take pictures. The Sunday morning peace was shaterred as Arriva Enviro-Dart 3977 rushed up the approach, twirled round and rushed out again on the 465 to Kingston, not pausing at all.
I finished taking my pictures and reboarded the GS for the journey north through Oxshott.
Soon we were pulling up in the sunshine at the traffic lights in Esher. We followed the signa for the race course, and were soon pulling in near the grandstand to alight.
I walked down towards the bus paddock. RT1702 and RTW75, banished from the single-deck area because of the trees, stood on their own.
I had no time to spare if I was to follow my timetable. RF534 was already pulling out to the dolly stop under the trees. I had to hurry...
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: RF to Kingston