RIDING THE 460 TO REIGATE

Ride with us on the 0800 departure of Metrobus route 460 from Crawley Bus Station to Reigate Station on 28th November 2015. All the views are taken on the move from the top deck of a Scania Omni Decker, so expect some camera shake, reflections and dirt on the windows, but remember, this is the genuine bus ride!

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We’ve left Crawley Town Centre via Northgate Avenue on to the Gatwick Road, passing a new development on the site of the old Thales/Rediffusion factory

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A short wheelbase Scania Omni-City pulls out from Metrobus’s Crawley depot in Tinsley Lane North ready to take up duty on the Fastway 100.

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We’re waiting at the ‘depot’ stop at Gatwick Road North as an Enviro and a dual door long wheelbase Omni-City leave the depot to start their day.

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One of the second generation Fastway vehicles, a Wright-Volvo in the Gatwick Road bus lane on route 20 to Broadfield.

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A Boeing 737 descends on to the Gatwick runway. If the second runway is ever built, it will cut from left to right roughly where the roundabout is situated.

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Gatwick’s original terminal from the 1930’s, ‘The Beehive’ to our right.

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Having left the Gatwick Road and turned by The Beehive we now find ourselves in City Place, a small business park on the site of the first Gatwick Airport. It was on this piece of ground that The Beatles filmed a couple of sequences for ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in 1964.

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Out on the main A23 dual carriageway now and the top deck of a bus provides splendid views over the fence into the airport, something you just don’t get from a car!

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There’s always something interesting to look at! Similar views are available from the railway line but it’s frequently obscured by trains berthed in the sidings.

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The Inter-Terminal Shuttle crosses the A23 close to the South Terminal bus stop.

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Approaching the Longbridge Roundabout on the Surrey border where we will turn right to follow the A23. A Scania Omni-City leaves the roundabout for Povey Cross on Fastway 100.  The short wheelbase Scanias provided for the 100 are unique as they are not fitted with the guidewheels found on other Fastway vehicles. The 100 is not required to use the guideways.

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We’ve caught up with another Omni-City on the 100, re-furbished with the new Fastway decals and bound for Redhill as it turns into Horley along Massetts Road. Our 460 will take the direct route ahead along the A23.

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Horley, the Traffic Lights at a cross roads junction along side The Air Balloon pub, although us older patrons will remember it as The Game Bird or (even further back) The Thorns.

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Still in Horley, now approaching The Chequers roundabout, named after a hotel (since closed) hidden just behind the direction sign. Our bus will follow the A23 straight ahead.

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Industrial units on the A23 between Horley and Salfords.

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The shopping parade at Salfords village centre. It’s beginning to look a lot like Surrey now, in fact things start to take on a real suburban appearance with very little in the way of true open countryside as we creep closer towards London.

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Over the hill from Salfords and we’re approaching Earlswood.

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We’re about to leave the main A23, turning right at the traffic lights for a ‘double run’ to the Whitebushes estate and East Surrey Hospital.

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In the Whitebusehes estate we meet a Dart of Souhdown PSV on the 424, also running from Crawley to Reigate and Redhill but taking a less direct route via Copthorne, Smallfield and Woodhatch, a pleasantly scenic alternative route.

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Having done the circle of Whitebushes we’re now approaching East Surrey Hospital where the 424 has crept ahead of us and is ready to depart.

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A Southern Railways Electrostar speeds southbound on the Brighton line as we leave the grounds of East Surrey Hospital.

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After many months of meetings, discussions, surveys and consultations, the town planners at Surrey County Council decided to name this street ‘Three Arch Road’.

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Nearly at the end of the hospital ‘double run’, about to re-join the A23 where we left it, as you can see the 424 has crept in front of us.

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We both turn right to resume our northbound journey on the A23.

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The spire of St John’s church is glimpsed through the trees as the bus casts a shadow over Earlswood common (and our photographer makes a cameo appearance).

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The long descent into Redhill from Earlswood.

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Almost alongside Redhill station now, this is the frontage of the old Odeon cinema as viewed from the inside. The cinema was demolished to make way for flats but the classic frontage was preserved to be ‘stapled’ on to the new development.

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We’re followed into Redhill Bus Station by a red Metrobus Omni-Decker on TFL service 405. Now of course, for us older bus fans the 405 should really be green but such is…… The frontage of the Odeon cinema can be seen behind the bus.

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Now making our way through Redhill town centre as the shopping area gradually comes alive for the day.

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Alongside ‘The Belfry’ shopping centre, an area that could really do with a touch of tlc……

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Round behind ‘The Belfry’, was once a pub, now a curry house.

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We’ve now turned left onto the main A25 east-west trunk route heading towards Reigate.

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Crossing the roundabout by the Red Lion pub and Donyngs Leisure Centre, we follow the road ahead over the bridge crossing the Redhill-Reading line.

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Shaws Corner. Our bus will turn left by the church along Blackborough Road, the A25 curving off to the right.

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An oncoming Omni-Decker in the new Metrobus livery finds just enough room to squeeze past us.

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Blackborough Road becomes Lesbourne Road, home to the old London Transport Reigate bus garage, the frontage of which has been preserved while the original shed has been demolished and replaced by a new office development, appropriately called ‘Omnibus’. Happily, the bus stop at this location bears the title ‘Old Bus Garage’.

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We’ve turned right from Lesbourne Road into Bell Street heading up towards Reigate town centre. On our left behind the buildings is Reigate Priory Park. The gap between the white buildings in the distance is the original course of the A217 London Road which passed through a tunnel under the castle grounds at this point. Today, all traffic follows a one way system around the hill.

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Re-joining the A25 on the one way system, we’re now on Reigate High Street about to squeeze past the old Town Hall.

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Westbound along Reigate High Street.

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The A25 continues ahead to Dorking and Guildford, we’ll turn right to follow the A217 towards Reigate Hill.

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Still on the one way circuit but now heading north. The bus shelter on the left has only recently replaced one which dated from the 1920’s erected by the London General Omnibus Company.

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We’re now leaving the one way system as our road becomes the A217 London Road, while the route to the right continues as the A25 towards Redhill.

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Approaching journey’s end now as the signal box and level crossing at Reigate Station come into view.

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Approximately one hour after leaving Crawley we’re at the end of the ride. Our 460 makes it’s way up Reigate Hill to Epsom via Kingswood, Tadworth and Tattenham Corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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