London Transport
Central Area Routes 40 & 40A

Last updated 27-12-09.

A 1½d (approximately 0.6p) Bell punch ticket for route 40, dating from the early- to mid-1930s. ▶

Route 40 is a long-established route that ran daily between Wanstead (Woodbine Place) and Camberwell Green via Wanstead Flats, Forest Gate, Green Street, Upton Park, Barking Road, Canning Town, Poplar, Limehouse, Stepney East, Aldgate, Fenchurch Street, London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle. It was extended during Monday to Saturday peak hours to Herne Hill (Post Office). In 1958 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Camberwell Green and Herne Hill, but extended on Sundays from Camberwell to Norwood Junction via Herne Hill and West Norwood. In 1965 route 40A was introduced between Herne Hill and North Woolwich on Mondays to Fridays, and the 40 was withdrawn on Mondays to Fridays between Wanstead Flats and Wanstead, and between Aldgate and Camberwell, except for rush hour journeys to Herne Hill. In 1970 it was withdrawn completely on Mondays to Fridays and replaced by an increased service on the 40A. It continued to run on Saturdays and Sundays between Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel) and Camberwell Green, extended on Saturday afternoons to Herne Hill, and on Sundays to Norwood Junction. It was also extended on Saturday afternoons from Poplar to East Ham (White Horse). In 1974 the Sunday extension to Norwood Junction was cut back to Norwood Garage and reduced to run only from 1000 to 1400. In 1978 it was withdrawn between Poplar and East Ham, and between Herne Hill and Norwood Garage, but was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours from Poplar to North Woolwich via route 40A which was withdrawn. The extension to North Woolwich was withdrawn in 1982. In 1991 the Monday to Friday service was extended from Aldgate to Canary Wharf via Limehouse, and further extended in 1992 to Poplar, but later that year reverted to running via East India Dock Road instead of Canary Wharf. In 1993 it was again extended from Poplar to Blackwall DLR Station. In 1994 it was diverted at Camberwell Green to run to Dulwich via East Dulwich instead of Herne Hill. In 1999 it was withdrawn between Aldgate and Blackwall Station.

An even more detailed history of route 40 and its variants can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

40
40 MON.-FRI. PEAK HOURS
I believe that this “E” plate will have come from the Herne Hill extension in the late ’60s.
40 MON.-FRI. RUSH HOURS SATURDAY & SUNDAY
This “E” plate probably came from the section of route between Poplar and East Ham between 1970 and 1978.
40 MON.-FRI. RUSH HOURS & SUNDAY
40 SATURDAY AFTERNOON
This plate likely came from the Poplar to East Ham section of the route. It is unusual to find “E” plates for Saturday operations, and even more so for one restricted to just Saturday afternoons.
40 SATURDAY AFTERNOON
There are sublte differences in the spacing between characters on this and the other SATURDAY AFTERNOON “E” plate.
40 SATURDAY AFTERNOON & SUNDAY
This “E” plate would have come from the Herne Hill extension.
40 SAT.-SUN.
40 SAT-SUN
This is a rare example of an “E” plate with black used to indicate Sunday service instead of red which was normally used for this day.
40 SAT.-SUN. FARE STAGE
40 SUNDAY
The Sunday-only section of the 40 was between Camberwell/Herne Hill and Norwood.
40 SUNDAY FARE STAGE
Sunday only “E” plates with the FARE STAGE background in black are not as common as ones with that element in red.
40 SUNDAY A.M.
I believe this plate came from the Norwood Junction end of the route. It is extremely unusual to have the expression A.M. on an “E” plate.
40 SUNDAY A.M. FARE STAGE
This plate would probably have come from the Norwood Garage extension between 1974 and 1978 when service was reduced to just a few hours, mainly on Sunday mornings. This is a particularly nice example being entirely in red.
40 SAT.-SUN. - 40A MON.-FRI.
This “E” plate likely came from a stop somewhere between Hearne Hill and Canning Town, where the 40 and 40A ran together.

40A MON.-FRI.
The very large numbers on this “E” plate are more typical of the 1950s and early 1960s.
40A MON.-FRI.
40A MON-FRI
This plate either predates 1966 or post-dates 1970, when the 40A only ran Monday to Friday; however, I suspect it dates from the later period when the lack of full-stops after abbreviations was more common.
40A MON-SAT
40A MON.-SAT. RUSH HOURS
This “E” plate was used on the section of route between Poplar and North Woolich during the years 1966 to 1970.

Route 40A was introduced in 1965 and ran on Mondays to Fridays between Herne Hill (Post Office) and Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel) via Camberwell Green, Elephant & Castle, Borough, London Bridge, Fenchurch Street, Aldgate, Stepney East and Limehouse. It was extended during rush hours to North Woolwich (Free Ferry) via Canning Town and Silvertown. In 1966 it was introduced on Saturdays, partly replacing the 40B, but was withdrawn on Saturdays again in 1970 when the 40 was revised. In 1978 it was renumbered 40.

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