Riding the Adur Valley Line

Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 2019

The ever professional conductor James gets ready to take up his duty

Southern Transit run a once a week bus route between Horsham and Shoreham-by-Sea following as closely as possible the Adur Valley railway line between those towns which closed in 1966 and the more recently established Downs Link footpath.

Route 3 has been running as a commercial venture for a number of years; not only is it a nostalgic ride between communities once connected by steam and diesel trains but it also provides a valuable bus service for people living in villages and small towns on the route. It used to operate on all-the-year round on Thursdays and Saturdays and more frequently in the summer school holidays but dropped back to just Thursdays earlier this year in February.

It’s a lovely route running north/south through West Sussex linking Horsham and Shoreham-by-Sea with Southwater, West Grinstead, Partridge Green, Henfield, Upper Beeding, Bramber, and Steyning along the way. The normal Thursday timetable includes four return journeys between 0935 and 1715 utilising two buses.

Route 3 sits alongside Southern Transit’s main work in private and corporate hire, contracts and rail replacement as well as engineering services based at the old cement works site in Beeding.

Neil Bird runs a smart outfit with strong links to his time at London Transport and it’s easy to see old traditions kept alive in vehicle presentation. It’s becoming a tradition on Spring and Summer Bank Holiday Mondays to run an enhanced timetable with Routemasters, open top buses and one of the Compay’s two one-year old very smart ADL Enviro400 City double deck buses christened Citymaster.

My good friend Ray Stenning and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day today taking a ride on some of the extra vehicles as we made our way from Horsham down to Shoreham-by-Sea on the Bank Holiday special route 3. With fifteen return journeys running more or less a half hourly service it was a great way to travel across this delightful part of West Sussex.

What really impressed us was the eclectic mix of passengers travelling on the route including people going shopping at the Holmbush shopping centre at the southern end of the route, residents in isolated spots along the route jumping aboard for a ride to Horsham or other attractive places to visit and noticeably passengers were young and teenagers as well as more aged; very mixed female and male; as well as families with young children; and naturally those like ourselves who were just enjoying the unusual bus rides and the spectacular views of the Downs from the top deck.

Temporary “dolly” stops were impressively sited along remote sections of the route

It helped that there was a Bank Holiday fair taking place in Steyning which closed the main High Street necessitating a diversion along narrow roads which was expertly handled by the enthusiastic and friendly drivers.

It was a lovely day out and many thanks to Neil and the Southern Transit team and everyone who made the day possible. If you’re in the area on August Bank Holiday Monday, it’s well worth a visit.

The Citymaster is superb; we loved the UB garage code (presumably for Upper Beeding), the smart moquette and the light streaming in from the upper deck roof windows and a large rear window. It was a real treat to ride through such delightful countryside on board this splendid vehicle. The Routemasters and open top were good fun too.

Roger French

2 thoughts on “Riding the Adur Valley Line

Add yours

  1. It was a pleasure to have your good self and Ray on board the open topper on Route 3 yesterday which I was driving and thank you for your very kind words and Great pictures.

    Kind Regards,


    Ex B&H Conway St

    Liked by 1 person

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