The October 1989 Exodus of Buses from Chelsham Garage


 The beginning of the end, the last day of route 403 from Chelsham



Friday 27th October 1989



Friday 27th October proved to be a very sad day in the history of Chelsham Garage. It was the last day of operation of local Bus services, the day started in the usual way, the canteen opened for business as usual but for the last time, buses were prepared for duty on Routes 127, 289, 403, 594 and 595 and the vehicles and crews went out as usual on the road in search of business, but for the last time from Chelsham Bus Garage. Here is my copy of the yellow poster which was posted in the buses on all routes from Chelsham Garage


During the day AN's 353 and 356 were sent away to Guildford Garage (GF) and LN 77 newly repainted in London & Country livery went off to Leatherhead Garage (LH).

Farewell to Chelsham - AN 353 off to pastures new at GF Guildford Garage. 27th October 1989

Farewell Chelsham - LN 77 heading off to LH Leatherhead Garage. 27th October 1989

Seven SNB's (99, 147, 189, 328, 352, 366 and 510) and the six relatively new Volvo Citybus double deckers (625, 633, 634, 635, 636, 638 and 643) were all sent to Godstone Garage (GD) that night after doing their days work from Chelsham.Garage

AN 299 had come back from being on loan to Reigate Garage (RG) and was lined up along with Chelsham's own AN's (295. 296, 297, 298, 300, 303, 304 and 305) Four other withdrawn AN's (335, 361, 365 and 380) made the total up to 13 buses, truly an unlucky number for Chelsham Garage!

Chelsham Garage was originally planned to close after the final route 403 had run from CM on 27/10/1989 but had a reprieve when Chelsham was awarded the contract to work route 196 the following day. so seven AN's (124, 184, 188, 191, 197 and 229) arrived from Godstone Garage to join Chelsham's own AN's (196, 223, 226, 267 and 268) were being prepared ready for working the short term contracted Route 196 Norwood Junction to Brixton with peak hour extension to Kennington Oval and early morning extension to Islington Green, which started running from Chelsham Garage the next day.Saturday 28th October 1989

During the day Route 403 had a variety of buses in use,

AN 196 (London Country)

AN 295, 300 and 302 (ex Southdown)

AN 354 (ex Northern General)

Volvo Citybus 625

SNB 189

SNB 510 (Series B flat top)

Later that evening the last local bus journey to be operated from Chelsham Garage, Route 403, the 22.11 Chelsham Garage to Cheam Village and the 23.11 Cheam Village to Chelsham Garage was worked by Chelsham's own AN 302 duplicated with privately preserved RT 604 and RMC 1487. London Buses, South London Transport ran the evening timetabled service using L Class Leyland Olympian double deckers from South Croydon Garage ( TC ), which took over Route 403 completely from the following day.

Warlingham Park Hospital on 27th October 1989, the last day of Chelsham Garage operating green buses on route 403. AN 354 about to depart to West Croydon alongside is s Preserved RMC1487 which I travelled on from Chelsham Garage to Warlingham Park Hospital.

Leyland National SNB510 makes a rare visit to route 403 and is seen here about to turn right out of Chelsham Road on to the Limpsfield Road then passing Chelsham Garage. 27th October 1989

A very sad and rare historical sight in the late afternoon at West Croydon bus station as Chelsham's ex Southdown AN302 and preserved RT604 are both preparing to operate the final green bus route 403 journeys to Wallington and back to Chelsham Garage on Friday 27th October 1989.

The evening timetabled service on route 403 on Friday 27th October 1989 was operated by South London Transport from TC Croydon Garage, here is L199 in the bus parking area at Chelsham Garage alongside AN267 and AN 223 which were ready to take over the short term contract route 196 from Norwood Junction to Brixton on the next day, Saturday 28th October 1989 which was operated from Chelsham Garage until 29th April 1990.

 The very last journey back to Chelsham Garage is seen here at West Croydon Bus Station with AN302 leading, closely followed by preserved RT604 which I rode on back to Chelsham Garage

 West Croydon bus station, the view from inside RT604 with AN302 just in front

Preserved RT604 at Chelsham after the nostalgic final journey on route 403. 27th October 1989

 Terry Farren in the driving cab of RT604 at Chelsham Garage 27th October 1989.

Preserved RMC1487 backing into position for a final photo line up at Chelsham Bus Garage

The final fling for the 403 - RMC 1487, RT604 and AN302 lined up outside Chelsham Bus Garage. 27th October 1989



The mass exodus from Chelsham - October 28th 1989 >>

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