Brooklands Bus Running Day
Sunday 23rd October 2011
Prepared by Ian Smith, 25th October 2011
RT1702 on the 131
131: (Crystal Palace -) Clapham Common - Wimbledon - Walton (- Brooklands)I was tucking into breakfast at 0845 when I heard the unmistakeable sound of an RT engine. I looked up as RT1702 went past. "I must have got the departure time wrong" I thought. I continued with breakfast: if I was going to face the train to Weybridge I needed sustenance.
A few minutes later I looked up again as RT1702 pulled up alongside the cafe, having gone round the block. Departure time WAS 0915, as I had first thought. I abandoned the final wreckage of a rather good breakfast, and went to join the bus.
RT1702 was dressed for Circular Tour of London route J, which it worked from Old Kent Road garage during the Festival of Britain in 1951, after its tour of Europe. Appropriately it wore P garage plates too. The side adverts - "London Transport at London's service" - are replicas of those worn by RTs in the post-war Victory Parade.
Just on nine o'clock RMC4 appeared, trundling up along Crystal Palace Parade. It too went round the one-way system (the convenient roundabout at the top of Anerley Hill having been removed some time back). After pausing to consult, Paul took it back down the Parade to the far end roundabout, and back to park it briefly on the westbound bus stand.
At five past nine we boarded RT1702, which followed, east along the Parade, round the roundabout, then back past the RMC behind PVL389 on the 363, to the westbound departure stop just before the bus station.
Whilst we awaited departure time, one of Bromley's very long Super Pointer Darts pulled out from the bus station to begin its 227 journey back to Bromley.
Arriva DAF/Wright DWS8 pulled out westwards on a 419, and just as we set off, out popped Abellio MPD 8031 on a 322. We followed it across the intersection, and headed for Streatham.
We headed west down towards Streatham. Despite doing a majestic 23mph we caught up with VLA35 on the 432, but it turned off. VLA19 headed the other way, presumably running dead to take up the 249 at Anerley Station.
Down in Streatham we met longer DAF/Wright DWL6 on a 255 to Pollards Hill. We came up behind new Wrightbus Gemini DW296, setting off northwards on the 59 at traffic lights near Brixton garage, and were passed by Tucana D7116.
My geographical knowledge of this part of London is not the best, and I cannot remember exactly how we turned left to get onto the old 131 Sunday route. But we did. The 131 had a Summer Sunday extension inwards, from Wimbledon Station (its weekday terminus) to Clapham Common.We called at Clapham South Station and headed south-west down Balham High Road. We met London General President PVL378 on a northbound 155 by Tooting Bec Station, and continued on into Daimler-land. As we approached Merton Garage we met LDP191 heading north, not in service on the 219.
Then almost at the garage we met EnviroTrident E138, also not in service. But LDP257 was, working on the 219 in Merton Road.
We wiggled our way through to Wimbledon Station, to find stop P, but no-one was waiting. We passed one of London United's tridents on the current 131, still working between Kingston and Tooting Broadway. Round the corner from Wimbledon Station stood Sullivan Buses' Vyking ELV6 on Railway Replacement duties.
Then we met TA211, also on the 211, heading into Wimbledon through suburban scenery typical of the area. TA324 was a third, two minutes later.
TA220 was next as we ran towards Kingston. We negotiated a way through Kingston, and stopped behind the shopping centre. Abellio Surrey Dart came in from Kingston Bridge on the 515A.
We took the opportunity of the stop in Kingston to grab a photo of RT1702. While we paused, RMC4 passed by onto Kingston Bridge.
We crossed Kingston Bridge, and came up behind RMC4, which had been following us until Kingston. We went past, then waited for it to come up behind. RFW14 passed by.
At Hampton Court we began to have navigation problems, straying into strange territory for all of us, and without a map. Our instructions made no mention of stopping at Hampton Court Station - so our driver didn't. Waiting passengers were picked up by RMC4.
Then we missed the right turn for East Molesey, and found ourselves heading for Esher. We made a right turn, and rejoined the old 131 route to pass through West Molesey.
Then we missed the turn in Walton Road, and found ourselves heading for the low railway bridge at Hersham Station. None of us knew that the 131 used to run to Hersham Station and turn there on Sundays, so we turned using a side road near Esher Rugby Club. RMC4 made the turn too. We were given directions to use Rydens Road to get to Walton. We didn't know that that too was the old 131 route on Sundays.
Bus sightings in Sunday Surrey had been rare, but in Walton we spotted one of Abellio's Dart MPDs heading for Hersham on the 555. We made our way through Walton, where we managed not to cross the Thames. We made our way along Oatlands Drive to Weybridge, and headed up to Weybridge Station. There we passed RF226 waiting on the shuttle from the Station to Brooklands Museum.
We went on south towards the Vickers Works. Our navigator knew the way here, so we turned in at the old entrance to Brooklands, not noticing the instructions to head towards Byfleet and use the posh new entrance.
So we were conducted right through the site to the western gate, so that we could be deposited outside the entrance to pay our entrance money. Welcome to Brooklands!.
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.