East Grinstead Running Day
Sunday April 21st 2002
Prepared by Ian Smith, 12th May 2002
Part 5: GS RidesGS2 had been up in the bus park, and descended to King Street for another turn on the 494 a few minutes later. This GS worked for London Transport from 1953 until 1963, and then for Southern Motorways, before passing into preservation. It has worn the maroon and red livery for 39 of its 49 years. Its stable-mate, green GS1, was in the King Street carpark, having a well-deserved break. This year the GSs have been worked leaving East Grinstead in pairs, to try to alleviate the chronic crowding that attends workings of these popular little buses. GS2 loaded to capacity, and I didn't try to squeeze my way in.
But after it had gone GS76 came up to perform the short working to Lingfield. A chance to get on? Yes! Even though GS76 was limited to sixteen for the day, its first "public" outing, I found a place near the front. After resolutely closing the doors we were away. GS76 did sound good. The little Perkins diesel sounds like nothing else from the LT stable. We wended our way round the backstreets of East Grinstead onto the High Street, and headed off to the station and Baldwins Hill. Approaching Lingfield we hit a traffic snarl-up, all of a sudden. It was the St George's Day parade, with uniformed organisations marching through the town to the church. It didn't take long, and then we pulled round to the Post Office stop. To let the march get away we asked for a photo-stop, which seemed generally agreeable.
With the march well out of the way we headed on down to the Racecourse and the Station, where we turned. Another photographic opportunity. Then it was back through Lingfield and Baldwin's Hill towards East Grinstead. GS1 came the other way on the next Oxted run. RLH48 also sped past at the start of the long run to Hemel Hempstead.
Too soon we were back at King Street. The afternoon shadows were lengthening. We alighted from GS76 and were greeted by an apparition. RT4599 with its back cut down to represent a Tillings ST, and the front upper deck butchered similarly. It was advertising local attractions at Hartfield, where it is (has been) associated with Bolebroke Castle & Lake Railway, providing a free service between Groombridge and Hartfield. Whether it still does was unclear. Masquerading as ST2001 it at least provided a focus for discussion.
RF486 passed through on a 434 trip, and RP90 took a rest from the 473 (Ooops - that photo I used in Part Two by mistake!). Up in the bus park Southdown Leopard 199 was also taking a rest after journeys on the 92 in conjunction with the Queen Mary.
As I walked down from the bus park again Alan Charman came round the corner in GS62. I flagged him down and hopped aboard. Any excuse for a GS ride, even for fifty yards! Up in the bus park it looked like Bromley garage, with two TB-flagged LSs parked side by side and another red RF in the background.
The afternoon was drawing on towards a close. Time for catching up with people. The special buses were starting to depart, and one-way outward journeys beginning - but that will feature in Part6:
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.