I noted that further down the carpark RM2097 was now parked. The RM was NOT in service today, but did illustrate the hard work involved in bus restoration.
My first venture at navigation was a failure: after loading up we headed up towards the town, and I had us turn right, round the square, whereas the routing was supposed to be through the town. Never mind, we turned left at the next junction to run alongside the railway and pick up the route at the next junction. We met RMC1469 returning from Guildford on the 408. We went under the railway and past the site of the erstwhile Leatherhead garage.
We turned right on the road to Fetcham, and negotiated our way through the village and under the low bridge that has always restricted the full runs along the route to single-deckers. We rumbled north-westwards towards Stoke d'Abernon. We passed under that railway bridge too, and pulled in to the layby for the Station Road stop.
The next part of the route I knew better, from short runs between Stoke d'Abernon and Cobham Museum on the latter's Open Days. We were soon negotiating our way through Cobham Village alongside the gurgling River Mole. We located the short-working terminal stop, and pulled in to the lay-by for the layover. Photos were taken and the blinds wound round for the return run.
Ron and I consulted the turning instructions and duly took the bus round a triangle to re-emerge on the main road by the village clock.
We headed back to Stoke d'Abernon, and on down the road into Fetcham. We met RF644 heading for Chertsey on the full 462 run, and made our way back to Leatherhead Station and round to the Randall's Road base.
RF315 came up to the stop to load for another interesting route: the 432 through Great Bookham to Horsley, where it should connect with SNB340 on the 408 to Guildford. I set off up the hill to the town. RF315 caught up with me on the climb, went past and descended to wind down through the town.
On my way back to Randall's Road I met XF3, setting off on a 408 short working to Effingham, followed by MB90 heading for Cobham on the 462.
I found some lunch, then turned my attention back to the buses:
We loaded up at the dolly stop. I expected to have to turn people away, but we actually swallowed the queue. We ground out of the bus-park and howled up the hill towards the town. There was the usual left/right/left diversion to avoid the pedestrians-only section on Church Street. We met P3 entering this section on a run from Dorking, and then we turned sharply left up past the church. We settled in for the long grind up Church Road, and then appropriately-named Highland Road. Speed-bumps did not help either after we turned up Reigate Road. We crossed the by-pass at a roundabout, and continued up the B2033 onto the North Downs behind Box Hill. A massive hedge kept us company on the north side of the road, but grassy slopes rolled away to the right.
Further up the hill we ran into a tunnel of trees below Headley. We joined the road from Headley Court and ran along through the trees up on the hilltop to reach the junction with the Box Hill Road, just short of Pebblecombe. (Headley and Pebblecombe are the two via points on the blind, but the route does not quite reach either). We turned sharp right to run along under the trees into the village of Box Hill. I watched out for the turning point at Greenacres, but it was blocked by a couple of lorries. We ran on a little further to the current bus terminus at the National Trust carpark.
One young lady asked how fast we had been going. I said "About 15mph". She asked how fast these buses could go. I pointed to the transfer on the side of the bus that says "Max Speed 30mph". She seemed quite surprised that buses went this slowly. But she had done the trip up the hill several times today, so she must have enjoyed it.
After a few minutes we rejoined the bus and set off back again, along towards Pebblecombe, left towards Headley, then rolling down the long hill to the Leatherhead by-pass. The speed-bumps slowed our speed even further. Then we were down into Leatherhead, and winding our way round the one-way system to reach the operating base, where I had another date....
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Ian's Bus-stop Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 6: STL 441