Dorking Running Day

Posted on 17/04/2022 By

Programme for the shelved Dorking Running Day, Sunday 29 March 2020.

The programme was printed for 2020, but shelved because of Covid until now.

In 1933, the London Passenger Transport Board was formed. Part of its responsibility was the Country Bus and Coach Department, which took charge of the country area and Greenline coach operations. In the next few years, a vast network was established. Many new country bus garages built.

Until, in 1947, the whole empire of London Transport was taken into public ownership under The London Transport Executive. Through the 50s and 60s, the network changed very little. In the Greater London area and beyond, these were the buses that Bobby’s generation grew up with and they saw no reason why it should change.

Red buses in the Central Area. Green outside the central area in the ‘country’. If you lived in Surrey and the other Home Counties, you might have red and green. Routes overlapping. These were the buses we went to school on; to work; to football and so on.

In Cheam, where Bobby lived, you were in a red bus area, but green buses were on the fringe of their area and they took you to the country for leisure. Both red and green networks had Rover Tickets, giving you a whole day on each network for a few shillings.

London Country’s green buses were restricted to just a few classes back then. The ubiquitous RT double decker and the highly successful RF single decker. The latter, the standard bus for Greenline Coach routes. They were long distance coach services. Starting on the southern or northern fringe. in general going right through Central London to the other limit. A few routes east west were the exception. In true rural areas, the little GS for small country lanes was a familiar sight.

It was inevitable that the motor car would change everything. More and more cars. Less and less people needing buses. This story could go into the decline and massive changes in bus services in general, but we are stopping in their hey day of the fifties and sixties.

So here is a typical day out for Bobby and his girlfriend in 1963.

Pack the sandwiches (and Penguin biscuits!) and walk to Cheam Village to catch the 408 London Country green bus to Guildford. Chat to the conductor and buy two Green Rover Tickets for about 7 shillings each. Get off at Effingham to walk the Surrey hills all day to arrive at Abinger Hammer. There to catch the single decker London Country 425 back to Dorking and the fish and chip shop. The final journey of the day back home to Cheam was on the London Country 470 double decker that started in Dorking and headed through Cheam to Croydon and beyond.

They were halcyon days in the Surrey Hills and one of the main reasons they came to live in Dorking in 1972. The buses were a big part of the adventures. How would you rather travel? In a boring motor car, or with a panoramic view from the top deck of a London Country RT double decker?

Many of our ageing generation have never forgotten those days. Lots of the buses have been preserved and cherished. They are seen as working vehicles, not museum pieces, and there are lots of bus rallies throughout the country to show them at their best. One Society organises rallies from an Amersham base and comes to Dorking every couple of years or so.

Dorking had its bus garage and terminus for many routes including Green Lines. The garage, like so many Country area bus garages, became surplus to requirements. Few are left, mostly becoming residential housing developments.

Dorking Running Day

The whole purpose of the Dorking Running Day is to recreate the bus services in and around Dorking from the 1950s et al. The original buses run the services and the rides are free. Just buy a programme for the day. Sit back and remember when you were young. That’s not to say that younger people are not attracted. Who wouldn’t want to ride on a little GS bus to Ewhurst on a sunny afternoon in the Surrey Hills?

RF 673 (NLE 673) on Route 449 outside Dorking Station.

RF Route 449.

T 792 (HLX462) on Route 425.

T. Oldest bus there and before Bobby’s time. Route 425.

RT 3491 (LYR910) on Route 414 outside Dorking Station.

RT Route 414.

Close up of the advert for the Green Rover ticket on the RF.

Green Rover. 7 shillings (30p) all day on London Country.

And so to the rides An RF around town

RF 673 (NLE673), with RF 281 (MLL533) behind outside the station on Dorking Running Day.

Bertie in an RF.

Bertie sat on the blue/green moquette seat.

Much more comfortable seats than modern buses.

Bertie looking out of the window as the RF goes past Dorking Halls Theatre.

Dorking Halls Theatre.

Passing the site of Dorking Bus Garage.

The site of Dorking Bus Garage. Residential housing for many years now. Note the tree on the corner.

RF Green Line coach to Leatherhead

RF 281 (MLL818).

Greenline.

Route board: Dorking - London - Luton or Dunstable.

Greenline route board. Long journey.

Signage requesting smokers to occupy rear seats.

That’s how it was.

Bertie sat on the longitudinal seat behind the driver with the bus facing Letherhead station.

Leatherhead station.

RF 281 (MLL818) outside St Mary and St Nicholas church, Leatherhead.

St Mary and St Nicholas church, Leatherhead.

And finally and best of all. A GS Route 449 to Ewhurst. All around the country villages and narrow roads to Ewhurst.

GS 13 (MXX313) on route 449.

GS Route 449.

Classic London Transport moquette.

Classic London Transport moquette.

The famous Cockerel roundabout in Dorking.

Round the famous Cockerel roundabout.

Bertie on the bus going through South Holmwood.

South Holmwood. Home for Bobby and the bears.

Passing T 792 (HLX 462) in Capel.

Capel .T going the other way.

GS 13 (MXX313) at Ewhurst.

GS Route 449. Ewhurst.

Bertie on the front offside mudguard of GS 13 (MXX313).

Bertie sat on a bus.

I love buses.

More on 10 April for the big bus rally at Brooklands Museum.

Pictures from Yesteryear

RT 1064 (JXN92) at Dorking Bus Station.

Two shots of Dorking bus station with variousbuses outside.

1960s. Note the trees in the top picture. Still there. All that is left of Dorking Bus Station.

1935 shot of Dorking bus and forecourt.

Dorking bus and forecourt.

Dorking Bus Station and Garage in the early 1960s. RT3693 MXX206 outside.

Dorking Bus Station in the early 1960s with two RFs outside.

In Dorking Bus Garage yard. RFs MLL773 (RF 236), MLL813 (RF 276), LYF393 (RF 42). RT 3125 (KXW233).

Dorking Bus Garage yard. RFs and an RT. 1969.

RT 3145 (KYY874) on route 408 near Effingham.

RT Route 408 near Effingham. 1969.

RT 4048 (LUC397) on route 470, Dorking High Street.

RT route 470, Dorking High Street. 1969.

Dorking Garage forecourt. Two RF Greenlines on Routes 712 and 714 and an RT on Route 470.

Dorking Garage forecourt. Two RF Greenlines on Routes 712 and 714 and an RT on Route 470.

RFF 255 (MLL792) on Route 425 in 1975.

RF Route 425. 1975.

London Country Bus Network

Map of the London Country network, with depot codes.

Poor map, but it’s the codes that matter (see below).

London Country Garage Codes: Addlestone (WY) Amersham (MA) Bishops Stortford (BS) Chelsham (CM) Crawley (CY) Dartford (DT) Dorking (DS) Dunton Green (DG) East Grinstead (EG) Epping (EP) Garston (GR) Godstone (GD) Grays (GY) -- Argent Street (GA) Guildford (GF) Harlow (HA) Hatfield (HF) Hemel Hempstead (HH) Hertford (HG) High Wycombe (HE) LCBS Garages Location Map (59Kb) Hitchin (HN) Leatherhead (LH) Luton (LS) Northfleet (NF) Reigate (RG) Romford London Rd (RE) --North St (RF) St.Albans (SA) Staines (ST) Stevenage (SV) Swanley (SJ) Tring (TG) Tunbridge Wells (TW) Ware Park Road (WE) --Town Hall (WA) Watford High Street (WA) --Leavesden Rd (WT) Windsor (WC)(WR)

Check the garage codes with the map and see how far London Country extended. Most of the garages gone now. Underlined garages Bobby had been to on Green Rovers.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley

Bertie, with a red model RF, a green RT and GS with a candle lit for Diddley.

RF… RT… GS

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Buses    


  1. Phil Barnett says:

    I just love the old buses. I was a bus spotter back in the day, including sneeking in to bus garages especially when on holiday. For me it was the green of Western National, or the red of Wilts & Dorset. The buses were all on Bristol chassis where I grew up. I could go on…

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