Country Bus Rallies
updated 26th February 2014

GS2 at Chapmore End, June 2011 Do you like GREEN London Transport buses?

Do you enjoy days out in the Country?

Do you remember glorious days on Green Rovers?

Answer yes to any of these and Country Bus Rallies are for you. Whether you are a bus enthusiast, a fifties fanatic, a number collector, a photographer, or someone who just likes a good day out, Country Bus Rallies are the thing for you.

They happen on about four Sundays a year, during the warmer (if not drier) months. Preserved green London Transport buses, mainly from the fifties and sixties - and their drivers and conductors - plus a few red friends, gather together for a day running services around a market town somewhere in the London Country Area, places like East Grinstead, Hertford and Sevenoaks, plus an annual Summer Holiday event in Eastbourne.

GS2 at the rural terminus at Chapmore End, in June 2011.

RF28 in Dorking, September 2009 There are proper published timetable for the days, that can be obtained in advance so that you can plan your excursions and make connections. There are enough buses for you to do this, with connecting points scattered around in towns and villages - and at pubs. We even try not to leave anyone behind at the end of the day! Sometimes events conspire to wreck the best of well-laid plans, like road closures, drivers getting lost, or even punctures. It all adds to the enjoyment if you come in the right frame of mind!

Services at the major events are provided free of charge. Possession of a programme is not required, and does not constitute a ticket or a right to ride on services. Nevertheless we do hope that you will purchase a programme!

RF28 worked Green Line route 713 between Epsom and Dorking in September 2009. Here it is at the Dorking terminus.

RMC4 on arrival at East Grinstead, April 2010
Getting there
can be done in several ways: public transport from London is one, and there are often free feeder services from various places around London. (Details in programmes or from here a few days before each event).

Feeder journeys can often be very interesting in themselves. In April 2010 RMC4 worked to East Grinstead from Bromley using route 410 to Godstone and then 409 to East Grinstead, before working on routes 409 and 708 during the day.
Next Events

EAST GRINSTEAD: Sunday 6th April 2014

East Grinstead, a country town on the junction of East and West Sussex with Surrey and Kent, is a fascinating transport town, having been served by London Transport, Southdown and Maidstone & District in days of yore.

This year the organiser is serving up a number of routes serving the town, and also featuring the transport circle from East Grinstead through Edenbridge, Westerham and Oxted, with routes 485, 410 and 494 all operating, with conections at Westerham and Oxted.

For more information please click here This includes the expected feeder services. (But please note that all these vehicles are elderly, and none can be guaranteed to be fit on the day. Have a backup plan!)

GS2 on rural 386, June 2003

GS60 Events

October 2013 marked 60 years since the introduction GS buses for small saloon work. More garages received the little buses for their niche routes during 1954, and we hope that we may be able to visit some of these during 2014, subject of course to availability of the buses.
GS2 on the very rural 386 in June 2003, when we celebrated fifty years of GS operation.

When and where?
RT2083 on 715 at Hertford, June 2011

6th April 2014: East Grinstead.
18th May 2014: Sevenoaks.
8th June 2014: Hertford & Stevenage.
3rd August 2014: Eastbourne
24th August 2014: Chesham mini-running day.

Past Events
Sun 14th April 2013: East Grinstead.
Sun 19th May 2013 Sevenoaks & Otford*.
Sun 9th June 2013: Hertford & Stevenage.
Sun 14th July 2013: Eastbourne
Sun 8th December 2013: Bromley.


RT2083 at Hertford Bus Station, June 2011, running short journeys on the Green Line 715.

Route Recreation Days
RF633 on 388 to Mardley Hill, June 2011 Country Bus Rallies also run single route or small area events using one or two vehicles. These are published in advance in the programme for larger events, and are notified to postal purchasers of programmes. Because of their small size they have to be booked in advance from the organisers. These are CLUB events for which a CLUB subscription is payable.

Forthcoming events:
Sat 7th June 2014: Hertford: details to follow
Sun 20th July 2014: Fort Halstead Works journeys
Sat 23rd August 2014: 703: Wrotham - Amersham (one way)


Past events:
Sat 6th June 2010: Route 351.
Sat 4th June 2011: 388,303,386
Sat 2nd June 2012: 386A (RF), 333 & 390 (RW)
Sun 15th July 2012: Surrey Hills 1950s
Sun 2nd Sept. 2012: 364/A,337,360,366,304
Sun 8th June 2013: 807,383,364,386
Sun 1st Sept. 2013: 424 branches

RF633 in the lane to Tewin on the 388 to Mardley Hill on Saturday 4th June 2011.

If you wish to enquire or register for any of the 2013 events please send contact details and A5 stamped address envelop to : Country Bus Rallies 19, Hampton Way East Grinstead West Sussex RH19 4SG

Please don't e-mail ian smith, as he doesn't have the lists.

GS62 and RF308 meet at Tewin on the 388, June 2007.

SO43 at Sevenoaks, May 2010
What sort of buses?
The theme for most events is London Transport 1950s and 1960s, so you can reasonably expect RTs, RFs and GSs. An RLH or two make appearances sometimes too. Most of the buses are green, but there are some red ones, a reminder that on Summer Sundays in the fifties the Country Area had to borrow heavily from the Central Area to keep up with demand. There is a growing more modern contingent too, with Routemasters, Leyland Nationals, AEC Reliances... plus non - participating visitors. As the Country Area abutted other operators there may also be some planned routes using preserved buses of Maidstone & District, Southdown, United Counties...as appropriate. Have a look at 2005's Gravesend report.

Maidstone & District Bristol SO43 operated at the Sevenoaks Running Day in May 2010.

MB90 at Chipstead, May 2010
Where can I buy a programme / timetable?
Programmes for each event can be obtained for about a month in advance of each event. They include the expected allocation/running sheet.
Send a strong A5 envelope with sufficient stamps for the return post (First Class) containing the number of programmes you require, with a cheque or postal order for 7.50 to:
Country Bus Rallies
19 Hampton Way
East Grinstead
RH19 4SG
Programmes can also be purchased on the day, but buying one in advance will help you plan your day (and is 0.50 cheaper!). Possession of a programme is not required to use the services.

Some journeys that we expect to be heavily in demand will require a free control ticket to be obtained from the control point before boarding.

The first three programmes (ie EG, DG and HG) can be pre-ordered for 21 (three stamped A5 envelopes required!) or the first four (including Eastbourne) for 28 (with four stamped A5 envelopes).

MB90 pauses in Chipstead with a 454 working from Tonbridge, May 2010.

Who organises it? What should I know?
RT604 at Effingham, September 2009 RT3148 at East Grinstead, April 2010

Country Bus Rallies are a group of volunteers, who have come together to offer these events. They have a wealth of experience in bus preservation, and enjoy sharing their hobby with the public through these running days. It is NOT a business! The group has no obligation to provide the services, to operate in accordance with the published timetable, or to provide particular buses - but do try!

The buses are mostly provided by private preservationists. Some have private vehicle insurance, some are public service vehicles.
Please respect the vehicles, which are elderly and cared for in their owners' spare time. Enjoy your day, and help others to enjoy theirs.

RT604 worked on the 408 between West Croydon and Effingham or Guildford in September 2009, while RT3148 worked on the local 435 at the East Grinstead Day, April 2010.
Please note:Vehicle owners ask that people who travel on their buses refrain from eating or drinking while aboard, and please do not bring aboard framed rucksacks or non-folding pushchairs. (The food and drink tends to encourage mice in places where the buses are kept, which don't do the buses much good, the rucksacks have been found to scratch the elderly paintwork, and non-folding pushchairs cause access difficulties in the narrow gangways of these older buses.)
RT3062 on 167, Fairlop, September 2011.

What about the Central Area?

Operating in Greater London (Central Area) is more difficult. The main problem is not Transport for London, who are very co-operative with responsible groups, but the problem of finding places to stand or park buses. Bus stations are often not useable in the TfL zone as these are in intensive use seven days a week. So CBR operations in red areas usually involve small numbers of buses which operate without using a central location. For these reason the Bromley mini-Running Days have operated without a programme or published timetable, and the days at Loughton have had few buses to avoid parking problems and allow use of Loughton bus station.

RT3062 pauses at Fairlop on a 167 working to Barkingside, during the 2011 Loughton mini-event


RF429 and GS15 on 465 at Holland, September 2011.

Text and photos by Ian Smith. Click on photos for a larger picture.

Ian Smith and Ian's Bus Stop have no official connection with Country Bus Rallies, although I have enjoyed riding and recording some of the events in the last few years, and am regarded as group photographer for the events I can get to. Information is provided in good faith, but I have no responsibility for organising or providing facilities.

The reports are purely my personal record of the days, and not an official record, so the emphasis is purely mine and not that of the CBR organisers. Some aspects of the days get overlooked by me, or left until next time, so apologies to anyone who expects comprehensive coverage of all aspects!

As was common in the 1950s, red buses feature on the Country Bus Running Days. Here RF429 duplicates GS15 on a 465 journey to Staffhurst Wood, passing Holland (September 2011).

OTHER ORGANISERS also have London-orientated running days and rallies.
Please note that although many of the buses and participants in these events may be the same as on the CBR events,
Country Bus Rallies have no responsibility for any aspect of their organisation or content. Amersham & District are organising a number of events, but because when I mentioned them here people applied to us for programmes instead of to the organisers you will have to look them up for yourselves.


Bus-stop L2011 CM2011 TB2011 EG2012 DG2012 HG2012