RLH61, RLH23 at Merton Garage

Worcester Park Running Day

Sunday 10th August 2008

Prepared by Ian Smith, 18th August 2008.

157: Crystal Palace to Merton Garage (RT2043)

It was about 0830 when I passed East Croydon Station, heading for West Croydon to catch the 157 feeder service to Merton. On a whim I checked the 410 timetable, and found that one was due in about two minutes. The little Cadet arrived on time, and I was treated to a fairground ride to Crystal Palace: the backstreets route whirls in and out, round tiny roundabouts, up and down hills like a merry-go-round - all at a fairly sedate pace, of course. We duly arrived at the alighting point on Crystal Palace Parade at 0900, with half an hour before the RT was due to depart. It was already waiting on the Bus Stand. I crossed over towards it, past the bus station, where Plumstead's Trident 17138 was awaiting departure on the 122..

Cadet DWS11 at Crystal Palace. Trident 17138 at Crystal Palace.

Roger Stagg was heading for the bus station to enjoy its facilities. His conductor told us that the pickup point was round the corner at the top of Anerley Hill. I met Roger on his way back to the bus, and we got into conversation. He brought me up-to-date with the various bus preservation projects at Cobham Museum, which was providing a considerable number of interesting buses for today's run-out - but not the ST, which was ready but could not be booked an MOT in time, courtesy of the inflexible computer booking system.

RT2043 at Crystal Palace. RT2043 at Crystal Palace. RT2043 at Crystal Palace.

Anyway, I claimed a seat behind the bonnet, and at 0930 we were away towards the pickup on Anerley Hill, where we took on board a good number of travellers, some of whom seemed surprised at the age of the bus!. On the way we passed the next 410 arriving, with DWS1. It was a good job had I hadn't missed the previous one. As we set off down the 1 in 10 slope my mind flashed back to an earlier ride on a B-class trolleybus bound for West Croydon.

DWS1 at Crystal Palace. Anerley Hill.

On our way to Croydon we met buses coming the other way: one of Ken's policies in his stint as Mayor was to get buses running on almost all routes every day. So we met a Volvo B7TL/ Wright Eclipse Gemini on the 157, Travel London's 9071 (ex V71), followed by Metrobus Dart SLF / Transbus Pointer 272 on the whirlygig 356.

We picked up at various stops along the way, including a good crowd at West Croydon Bus Station. Going on, we met tram 2533 on route 2 to Beckenham Junction as we rounded the bend by West Croydon Station.

V71 and 273. 2533 at West Croydon.

We met another 410 as we passed by West Croydon's huge shopping centre, this time an Alexandere-bodied Dart SLF, ADL61.

We could see a photographic opportunity arising if the RT was held up at the traffic lights, and arranged with the conductor and driver to be picked up beyoyond the junction. The lights were red. We hopped off, crossed the junction and waited for the lights to change. Magic moment. They did wait for us too!.

ADL61 at Centrum. RT2043. RT2043.

I resumed my seat and sat back to enjoy the ride. We turned right at Wallington, to dip down under the railway, and turned left again towards Carshalton Pond, passing the Coach & Horses. Traffic was strangely light, adding to the 1950s feel, but then again, it was only just after ten on a Sunday morning.

Wallington. Coach & Horses.

We turned right over Carshalton Pond, over the elegant little bridge, and entered new territory for me. Previously I had passed the Pond on green buses, heading west or east. Now we passed Carshalton Station, and headed up into St.Helier, where we joined the road down into Morden. We followed the bus-wriggle round to reach the forecourt of the great Underground Station, that grand model for pre-war transport interchanges where Tube met omnibus. There still were plenty of buses here, if not parked tail-on to the station front.

Carshalton Pond. Morden Station.

But that was an RF on the other side of the road. RF429 was on the 80 shuttle between Morden Station and Sutton Garage. We dropped off many of our passengers, and headed for Merton Garage, following Volvo / Plaxton President PVL98 on the 118 out of the bus station.

RF429 on 80, Morden Station. PVL98 on 118, Morden Station.

We entered the modern industrial landscape that I associate with Merton, and met RF366 setting off on a clockwise evolution of the 127 towards Morden Station, North Cheam and Malden Fountain. We went round a few corners to avoid the roadworks at South Wimbledon Station and arrived opposite Merton Garage, where we all had to alight while the bus ducked inside....

RF366 on 127, South Wimbledon. RT2043 outside Merton Garage.

Part Two: Merton Garage

Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part Two: Merton Garage