London Transport
Central Area Routes 7–9

Last updated 25-01-10.

Route 7 is a long-established central London route and has run between Acton and the West End for most of the last 50 years. It was introduced in 1959, running on Mondays to Saturdays between Acton (Tram Depot) and London Bridge Station via Acton High Street, East Acton, Wormwood Scrubs, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park Road, Westbourne Grove, Paddington, Edgware Road, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Holborn, St. Paul’s and Bank. In 1963 it was extended on Saturdays from Acton to Kew Green (Coach & Horses), but this was cut back again in 1966. In 1970 it was withdrawn from London Bridge, running to Tottenham Court Road Station on Mondays to Fridays, Oxford Circus on Saturdays, and through to Bloomsbury during peak hours. In 1981 it was introduced on Sundays between Oxford Circus and Acton, and extended on to Richmond via Acton Town, Gunnersbury Avenue, Kew Bridge and Kew Road. In 1987 it was withdrawn on Mondays to Saturdays between Wormwood Scrubs and Acton (but this cut was reversed two years later), and extended from Oxford Circus/Tottenham Court Road to Bloomsbury. In 1989 route 7 was withdrawn between Kew Green and Richmond. In 1992 it was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Bloomsbury to Russell Square, with the Sunday service following a year later. In 1996 it was withdrawn on Sundays between Acton (Horn Lane) and Kew Green. In 2000 it was further cut back on Sundays to East Acton. In 2003 it was extended daily in East Acton from the station to Brunel Road. It was worked by Middle Row Garage [X] with RTL, then later Routemaster buses, which it has only lost as recently as June 2007.

The previous route 7 ran Monday to Saturday between Kew Green (Coach & Horses) and Oxford Circus via Kew Bridge, Gunnersbury Avenue, Acton Town, Acton High Street, East Acton, Wormwood Scrubs, Barlby Road, St. Marks Road, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park Road, Westbourne Grove, Paddington, Edgware Road and Marble Arch, with a daytime extension to Liverpool Street via Holborn and Bank. In 1952 it was withdrawn between Acton and Kew Green, with this section replaced by new route 265 between East Acton and Chessington. In 1955 RTs were replaced by RTL buses, and the service was withdrawn in 1958, route 7A being strengthened to compensate in part.

A more detailed history of route 7 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

Route 7 ticketRoute 7 ticket
A 2d London General ticket for SERVICE 7 & 107, and a 1d London Passenger Transport Board one from the mid-1930s.
7
7 WEEKDAY
The two WEEKDAY “E” plates are presumably quite old as they carry that legend rather than MON.-SAT. or MON.-FRI..
7 WEEKDAY FARE STAGE
7 MON.-FRI. EXCEPT PEAK HOURS
7 SPECIAL JOURNEYS ONLY


 7 MON.-SAT. MIDDAY & SAT. MORNINGIan Armstrong suggests that this “E” plate was likley to be for Middle Row garage journeys at Ladbroke Grove. (I had thought that it may have come from the section between Oxford Circus and London Bridge Station which only ran between the Monday to Friday peaks and in the Saturday a.m. However, a plate similar to the one pictured to the right would have been more likely to have been posted there.)

8
8
8
8 FARE STAGE
8 MON-FRI
8 MON.-FRI. RUSH HOURS
It seems as if almost every occurrence of the numeral 8 on an “E” plate is slightly different.
8 MON-FRI SPECIAL JOURNEYS
8 MON.-FRI. SPECIAL JOURNEYS & SATURDAY
8 MON-FRI SPECIAL JOURNEYS
The plate stared out with the same text as the one to the left (albeit without the full-stops), but the last line of text was ground off (officially) and painted over.
I believe the unusual “E” plates on this row would have come from the section of route between Neasden and Alperton.
8 MON.-FRI PADDINGTON GREEN
◀ This “E” plate would have come from a bus stop in Harrow Road at Edgware Road, where buses terminating at Paddington Green stopped off line of route. It is an especially rare plate.
A pair of punch tickets from the London General Omnibus Company Ltd. for service 8 with stages from Willesden to Old Ford (1½d) and Willesden to St. Martins-le-Grand (2d). The peach one probably dates from the 1910s, as it still bears the word FARE and sports the ornate letter “C” in SERVICE 8. ▶
Route 8 ticketRoute 8 ticket

Route 8 ran daily between Old Ford and Kingsbury via Bethnal Green, Shoreditch, Liverpool Street, Bank, Holborn, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Maida Vale, Kilburn, Willesden and Neasden. On Sundays the route was extended to Alperton via Wembley Park. In 1957 it was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours from Kingsbury to Wembley Trading Estate, and on Saturdays extended from Kingsbury to Wembley (Empire Pool). The Sunday service was renumbered 8B. In 1958 route 8 was withdrawn outside peak hours and on Saturdays north of Neasden. In 1964 the 8B was withdrawn between Willesden and Alperton and renumbered 8. In 1970 the 8 was withdrawn between Willesden and Neasden except during Monday to Friday peak hours when journeys ran on to Wembley, and except during Saturday shopping hours, although the Saturday extension was withdrawn in 1981, and the peak journeys to Wembley were withdrawn in 1982, thus making the route Old Ford to Willesden Garage at all times. It was extended from Old Ford to Bow Church in 1984, and its western ends have been replaced by the 297 and 98. In 1992 it was rerouted at Oxford Circus to run to Victoria via Green Park and Hyde Park Corner replacing the 25, and replaced to Willesden by new route 98. In June 2009 the 8 was cut back from Victoria to Oxford Circus and replaced over this section by route C2. It was one of the final twenty Routemaster routes, finally giving way on 5th June 2004 to one-person-operated double deckers.

A more detailed history of route 8 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).


Route 8A ran Mondays to Fridays, and Saturday and Sunday mornings between Old Ford and London Bridge Station via Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and Liverpool Street Station. The Saturday and Sunday services were withdrawn in 1969. In 1984 it was reduced to peak hours only, and was finally withdrawn in 1989.

8A MON.-FRI.
8A MON.-FRI. SPECIAL JOURNEYS ONLY

9
This is one of the early post-war “E” plate without the black bands at the top and bottom. These plates were fitted into the older flat bus stop flags which also had horizontal cross bars and thus the top and bottom edges were hidden. However, they required a great deal of dismantling to change and hence the modern style was devised with the black top and bottom edging and which could simply be dropped into the runners. We can tell that it did not come from route 6 because of the pattern of the weathering.
9
9 EXCEPT EVENINGS


FARE STAGE plates are a little more uncommon than those without.
9 - 11
◀ These two “E” plate would have come from a stop on the common section of routes 9 and 11, between Trafalgar Square and Liverpool Street. The FARE STAGE plate dates from after 1970 when the Saturday service was withdrawn between Aldwych and Liverpool Street. ▶ 9 MON.-FRI. FARE STAGE - 11 FARE STAGE
A selection of different geographical punch tickets from route 9, all with the later style smaller value overprint.
Tickets courtesy jrs232.
Route 9 tickets
This set of tickets was produced in 1952 after the use of punch tickets had otherwise ceased in central London, due to the closure of Hammersmith Bridge for repairs. With the routes split in two, geographical tickets were used so that the second conductor would know how far passengers were entitled to travel. Values range from 2d to 1′-, and all are in unused condition.
Route 9 tickets
These ten date from the early 1950s, with fare stages from Mortlake L.T. Gar[age] to Green Park Station. The values range from 1d to 8d, with some stage variations.
Route 9 tickets
Six different tickets from routes 9S/23C, running from Mortlake to Becontree Heath. Values range from 1½d to 11d.

Route 9 is one of London’s oldest and most well-known routes and goes back to the start of motor-buses in around 1910. It was also one of the longest users of Routemasters, for over 40 years from 1963. The 9 ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Mortlake Garage and Liverpool Street Station via Barnes, Hammersmith, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, Fleet Street, St. Paul’s and Bank, but on Sundays buses were diverted at Bank to run to Becontree Heath via Aldgate, Stepney East, Limehouse, Poplar, Canning Town, Plaistow, Upton Park, East Ham, Barking and Longbridge Road. In 1968 the Sunday service was withdrawn between Aldgate and Becontree Heath and replaced by route 23. In 1970 the Saturday service was withdrawn between Aldwych and Liverpool Street, and in 1971 the Sunday service was diverted to run via Cannon Street and Tower instead of Bank and renumbered 9A. In 1978 the 9 was diverted to run daily between Mortlake and Aldgate via Tower and the Sunday 9A was withdrawn. In 1981 the 9 reverted to Liverpool Street on Mondays to Saturdays and the Sunday service to Aldgate was renumbered 9A once again but just for three months as the Sunday service on the 9 was reintroduced to Liverpool Street yet again. In 1987 the 9 was withdrawn between Aldwych and Liverpool Street except during Monday to Friday peak hours, and in 1990 the Liverpool Street service became all day once again on Mondays to Fridays. In 1992 it was withdrawn between Hammersmith and Mortlake except on Sundays, and the Monday to Friday service was cut back from Liverpool Street to Aldwych. In 1997 the 9 became Hammersmith to Aldwych at all times. The route is one of just two routes now (the other being the 15) which are partially-operated by Heritage Routemasters. It was traditionally worked by Mortlake [M] and Dalston [D] garages, both of which have long since closed.

Route 11 is one of the most famous routes in London, and has featured many times on postcards, in films and on television. It ran daily between Liverpool Street and Shepherd’s Bush via Bank, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Victoria, Sloane Square, Chelsea, Fulham Broadway and Hammersmith. In 1970 it was withdrawn between Hammersmith (Brook Green) and Shepherd’s Bush, and in 1983 further cut back to Hammersmith Broadway. In 1986 it was re-extended to Shepherd’s Bush on Mondays to Saturdays except evenings, but cut back again in 1992 when it terminated at Hammersmith (Bus Station). In 1993 it was withdrawn between Fulham Broadway and Hammersmith and replaced by route 211 over this section. In 2003 it was converted to one-man-operation.

A more detailed history of routes 9 and 11 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).


These split “E” plates would have come from the common section of routes 9 and 9A between Aldwych and Mansion House Station.
9 MON.-FRI. - 9A SUNDAY
This “E” plate would have been used for the first route 9A, as at that time the 9 ran to Liverpool Street on Mondays to Fridays for only a short while.
9 MON-FRI - 9A SUNDAY
This plate is especially unusual as the Sunday element is shown in black, since normally this would be in red. It can be considered a minor error, as most examples do have the 9A portion in red like the split plates to the left and right.
9 MON.-SAT. - 9A SUNDAY
9 MON.-SAT. - 9A SUNDAY

Route 9A was introduced in 1971 as a Sunday variant of the 9 running between Mortlake Garage and Aldgate via Barnes, Hammersmith, Kensington, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, St Paul’s, Cannon Street and the Tower of London in order to serve the tourist market. It provided the first direct bus route from the West End to The Tower. It was withdrawn in 1978 when route 9 was rerouted to serve the Tower, but the number 9A was re-introduced for three months from January to April 1981 when the main (route 9) service was changed to terminate at Liverpool Street on Monday to Saturday, again for a service to the Tower as an interim arrangement until the 9 once again took over. Route 9A was always operated by Routemasters from Mortlake [M] and Dalston [D] Garages.

These plates could have been used for either of the 9As but, if they’re from the short-lived 1981 route, they will be amongst the last traditional “E” plates to be produced as, by this time, “E” plates were being discontinued in favour of vinyl stickers.

9A SUNDAY
9A SUNDAY
The unevenness of the lettering and the unusual colour suggest that this plate may have been hand-made.
9A SUNDAY FARE STAGE
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