Brooklands Bus Running Day
Sunday 23rd October 2011
Prepared by Ian Smith, 25th October 2011
I joined Jim Andress on RF366, sure of a pleasant ride. This red RF, at a quick glace just one of many, has many unique features. Most obvious on boarding was the Routemaster style interior, with Routemaster moquette on the seats, red side walls and yellow ceiling. Less obvious is the missing conductor bar - the horizontal bar added inside the front window after an early mishap on the type. Later we would hear- and see - the flashing semaphore arms fitted in the slots provided for them, and hear the electric fans fitted underneath to aid cooling to the horizontally mounted radiator. Jim has always been an enthusiastic and very competent engineer, and riding on his bus is a delight.
The museum had cobbled together a circular ride combining parts of local red RF routes. We were to do the anti-clockwise circuit, starting with the 219.
219: Weybridge (Vickers Works) - Hersham Green (RF366)For most of the day the 219 worked out from Kingston Station through Hersham Green to Weybridge and Weybridge Station, where they tortuously turned on the station approach. But at works shift changes the red buses made their way out to visit the Vickers Aircraft factory, where they made Valiant V-bombers, Viscount airliners and Vanguard turbo-props - all classics in their day - at Brooklands. That worked in through the steep east entrance that we had used in RT1702. Now on RF366 we had to depart via the access road past the Mercedes-Benz Museum and across the old airfield. We circled round to climb up into the woods past the old entrance, and on along to Weybridge Station.
Beyond the station roundabout we headed straight down into Weybridge. I had been this way before on RF366, on the Sandown Park Running Day in April 2009, only then it was Jim himself at the wheel. We squeezed through the High Street, then took Queens Road eastwards to Hersham Green, where we met RF486 going the other way..
264: Hersham Green - Shepperton Station (RF366)The blinds were changed for the 264 to Shepperton Station, and the photographers (and crew) reboarded. We headed north-east along Molesey Road to Hersham Station.
Going on under the low bridge we passed Esher Rugby Club, and turned west along Rydens Road towards Walton.
Yes, I had been here earlier, on RT1702. But we did not follow Rydens Road all the way into Walton.
We turned right along Ambleside Avenue, then left along St.John's Drive.
This continued straight across into Bowes Road, although the road names were not easy to see.
Another right turn took us back onto the main road, and down into the centre of Walton,
where we passed, fleetingly, one of Abellio Surrey's little Darts.
We headed for Walton Bridge, where we crossed the Thames into Shepperton.
We found a way to Shepperton Station, and paused there under the trees.
237: Shepperton Station - Chertsey Station (RF366)We set off again for Chertsey. At the main junction in Shepperton we met one of Abellio Surrey's air-conditioned mini-Darts, 8003 on the 458 to Kingston. We turned south, down the High Street, then followed Chertsey Road into Chertsey Road, and headed westwards , sometimes close to the Thames, to Chertsey Bridge. We crossed the river again. We lost our way entering Chertsey, at an unexpected mini-roundabout, where a right turn took us not into London Street (a main road) but into a narrow cul-de-sac. An inch perfect series of turns by our driver turned the thirty-foot long bus on the little T at the end of the close, and regained us the main road. We wiggled our way on through to Chertsey Station.
Chertsey Station - Brooklands (RF366)The special blinds for the return to Brooklands were wound up, and we turned back to follow the 462 route towards Addlestone. There we continued ahead across Station Road, on the 427 route towards West Weybridge Station. We met RF354 coming the other way, just starting out on the clockwise trip. We came to the station (now called Byfleet & New Haw), and all breathed in as the RF negotiated the low narrow arch. It is plated as 9ft 9in clearance. RFs are 10ft 6in high. Our road now cut through the embankment of the Brooklands circuit and ran inside it to a roundabout. The embankment is still an impressive structure.
We turned in to the Brooklands access road, and skirted past the Mercedes Benz Museum. We waited for RM1005 to pass, going out on a 131 to Hampton Court Station. The access road to the bus museum is too narrow for two buses to pass (!)
I alighted from RF366: it had been a delightful hour and a half.
I went back into the museum. I thought it was time that I ate something. But all the hot food was gone from the cafe, and even the burger stand was reduced to simple burgers. Hungry, I mooched around a little more. I found that CR16 was on display, and that the older buses had been rearranged.
I checked the time of departure of RLH48, acquired a programme, and decided I probably ought to go to see the London Bus Museum.
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.