London Transport
Country Area Routes 450–456

South of the Thames

Last updated 10-11-09.

450
450

Route 450 ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Dartford Garage and Gravesend (Clock Tower) via Horns Cross, Greenhithe, Bean, High Cross, Betsham and Southfleet.

The first plate is one of the very early post-war ones without the black line at the top and bottom, and it is in very good condition for its age with virtually no chipping and a couple of small scrathes at the bottom. These “E” 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, hence the modern style was devised with the black top and bottom edging and which could simply be dropped into the runners. Note also the slightly condensed figures.


Route 451 ran between Gravesend and Hartley Court via Betsham, Longfield and Hartley. This “E” plate is hand-painted onto sheet aluminum, hence the slight irregularities.

451

452
452 - 457 FARE STAGE
These two split “E” plates are from the later route, as the original 452 did not run anywhere near the the 457 (Uxbridge to Windsor via Iver Heath, George Green and Slough).
452 - 457 FARE STAGE

Route 452 ran on Saturdays and Sundays between Dartford Garage and West Kingsdown (Portobello) via Horns Cross, Greenhithe, Bean, High Cross, Westwood, Longfield and Fawkham Green. The route was withdrawn by the early ’70s.

The number 452 was soon re-used for the renumbering of the 457A, and ran between Uxbridge Station and Windsor (Bus Station) via Iver Heath, Upton Lea, Slough and Windsor Castle.


Route 453 ran from Warlingham Green to Caterham on the Hill via Upper Warlingham and Whyteleaf. It normally terminated at Clifton Arms, apart from a couple of rush hour journeys which were extended to Caterham Station. The route was notable in that there was RT operation on Saturdays well into the 1970s.

The CATERHAM STATION plate came from the southbound Caterham (Golden Lion) stop when the London Transport-style stops were replaced with London Country standard stops in the late ’70s. As far as I can remember, this particular plate only appeared on this one stop. The only other location it could possibly have been used was at Dene Hospital, but I’m pretty sure that there weren’t any plates on that stop; therefore pretty rare.

453
453 CATERHAM STATION

454
454 SPECIAL JOURNEYS RIVER HEAD FORT HALSTEAD

Route 454 ran daily between Tonbridge Station and Chipstead (Square) via Hildenborough, River Hill, Sevenoaks and Riverhead. In later days some journeys were extended north to Fort Halstead.

The second “E” plate —for the Fort Halstead extension—is particularly interesting, especially as RIVER HEAD should be all one word. It may have come from the Sevenoaks bus station.


Route 454A provided just a few isolated Monday to Friday journeys between Tonbridge Station and Riverhead via Hildenborough, Riverhill, Sevenoaks Weald and Sevenoaks Station. The main 454 service ran daily and served Bat & Ball instead of Sevenoaks Station.

454A FARE STAGE

455
455
The second “E” plate came from a bus stop in High Wycombe. (A photo of the stop before the plate was removed is on the Other Operators: A–D page.) Because High Wycombe garage was always regarded as a “4” garage, the 455 was one of several 4xx series routes (which also included 457 through 460) that ran entirely north of the River Thames.

Route 455 had its origin in the London General Omnibus Company’s service 95 which began running on 16 March 1921 between Uxbridge and High Wycombe via Gerrards Cross, Beaconsfield and Wycombe Marsh. Later that year it was extended to West Wycombe. In 1922 it was transferred to Thames Valley as their route W21. This lasted until the end of 1928, when it was renumbered 502 and transferred back to London General, but just six months later on 1 June 1930 operation was transferred to Amersham & District. During the early 1930s the 502 was renumbered 502A, but the number 455 was assigned on 1 December 1934. At some point the Uxbridge to West Wycombe service was given the number 455A, the 455 being withdrawn beyond High Wycombe. The route was renumbered 325 on 1 October 1977 when High Wycombe garage [HE] was closed.

Within a couple of years the number was reused for a renumbering of the 405B, between Crawley (Bus Station) and Redhill via the Rutherford Way industrial area, Gatwick Airport and Horley, with some journeys extended to West Croydon (Bus Station) via Coulsdon and Purley. This service was in turn renumbered 422 in August 1982.

A more detailed history of route 455 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).


Route 456 ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Woking Station and Addlestone Garage via Maybury, Pyrford, West Byfleet, Woodham and New Haw, with certain journeys extended to Weybridge (Ship).

The number was reused in 1978 for a Sunday-only service replacing route 401 between Sevenoaks and Dartford (Darenth Park Hospital) via Otford, Shoreham Station, Eynsford, Farningham, Sutton-at-Home, Hawley, Wilmington, Dartford Station and Joyce Green Hospital. It was little used, and was withdrawn after a short while when operating subsidies ran out.

This “E” plate likely came from the Woking—Addlestone route, as by the late ’70s London Country was favouring vinyl stickers on NBC-style flags.

456
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