London Transport
Green Line Coach Routes 724 & 727

Last updated 14-03-10.

The original Green Line route 724 was introduced after the War on 3 April 1946, running daily between High Wycombe and Oxford Circus via Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross, Uxbridge, Southall, Ealing and Shepherds Bush. It was withdrawn just 19 months later on 12 November 1947, replaced by an extension of route 711.

1947 route 724 and 725 leaflet
◀ A copy of what was likely the last timetable issued for the original 724, with a print code of 547/1150S/2,500 (R), indicating that it was reprinted in May of 1947. Route 725 (Chesham–London) was also included in this leaflet.
August 1966 TIMETABLE AND FARES leaflet for route 724. ▶
1966 route 724 leaflet

The new 724 was introduced in July 1967 as an express coach service between Romford (Market Place) and High Wycombe via Abridge, Epping, Harlow, Hertford, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, St. Albans, Watford, Rickmansworth and Amersham. It was rerouted in 1972 to Staines via Uxbridge and Heathrow Airport with the growth of travel to the airport. In 1977 the route was withdrawn between the Market Place and Station in Romford, but extended from Staines to Windsor via Runnymede and Datchet. In 1978 the section between Harlow (Bus Station) and Romford was replaced by new route 712. The 724 survives as the last remnant of the “’round-London” routes introduced in the 1950s (725, later 725/726 between Gravesend and Windsor; now X26 Croydon to Heathrow) and 1960s (724 and 727: Luton–Heathrow–Crawley). It was operated by RF coaches, and subsequently RPs and latterly Leyland Nationals. It was once a major link and remains alive and well, operating daily with coaches hourly (two-hourly on Sundays) between Harlow and Heathrow. (Thanks to Matthew Keyte for the additional information.)

724 ALIGHTING POINT ONLY
This “E” plate may have come from London (Victoria), as most points served by this limited-stop route would have been marked with blue EXPRESS plates. It’s also possible that it was for the original High Wycombe–Oxford Circus service.
724 EXPRESS
724 EXPRESS FARE STAGE
724 EXPRESS ALIGHTING POINT
AIRLINK STANSTEAD HEATHROW 724
In later years the route was rebranded Airlink and rerouted to join Stanstead and Heathrow airports. This is a vinyl sticker, as used on standard MoT stop signs.

E A S T B O U N D
724 EXPRESS HEATHROW AIRPORT ROMFORD
◀ Unlike other eastbound “E” plates, this one could only have been posted at Staines and could quite possibly be one of only four made. It was originally bought at a LOTS sale, and its sale on ebay in November 2007 for £787.47 was the first appearance of such a plate since the mid ’seventies. It is in immaculate unmarked condition. 724 EXPRESS ROMFORD

W E S T B O U N D
724 EXPRESS HIGH WYCOMBE
724 EXPRESS HEATHROW AIRPORT STAINES
724 EXPRESS STAINES
 

724 EXPRESS - 727 EXPRESS
724-727 leaflet
London Country fare and timetable leaflet for routes 724 and 727 from 3 June 1972.
724-727 poster
A London Country Bus Services poster advertising the new 724 and 727 services. The design emphasizes the orbital nature of the two routes.

The first route 727 was introduced on 4 November 1964 as a Monday to Saturday express service between London (Victoria) and Tring via Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Circus, Baker Street, Finchley Road, Golders Green, Hemel Hempstead, Two Waters and Berkhamsted. It was withdrawn on 30 October 1965.

On 13 May 1967 the 727 was reintroduced as a limited-stop western orbital service, running daily between Crawley and Luton Station via Gatwick Airport, Woodhatch, Reigate, Kingswood, Tadworth, Epsom, Ewell, Tolworth, Kingston, Teddington, Hanworth, Hatton Cross, Heathrow Airport, West Drayton, Uxbridge, Rickmansworth, Watford Junction, Garston, St. Albans and Harpenden. (In fact, the only part of the original routeing that the new 727 still served was a short stretch of St. Albans Road between Watford North Station and Garston!) In 1971 the Luton terminus was moved north to Luton Airport. The service was branded JetLink for a number of years, but following the opening of the M25, the 727 effectively withered away and died in the late ’80s. However, National Express continues to use the number for its coach route between Gatwick Airport and Norwich (University of East Anglia) via Heathrow, Waltham Abbey, Stansted, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Thetford.

◀ This leaflet From 13 May 1967 gives details of the new express 727 Green Line coach route.
This timetable from a decade later—i.e. well into the the London Country/National Bus Company era—has a drawing of one of the then-new RS class Plaxton-bodied AEC Reliances on the cover. ▶
727 EXPRESS
◀ This “E” plate could have come from stops on either route, although was most likely used on the latter service—but you never can tell!
The vinyl stickers used on modern TƒL stops signs have the same proportions as enamel “E” plates. This one probably came from the 1990s JetLink days, as National Express now runs the service ’round the clock. ▶
Express 727 Mon-Sat except evenings

N O R T H B O U N D
727 CRAWLEY GATWICK WATFORD LUTON
The is technically not actually an “E” plate, being a non-standard size, but was displayed at Heathrow Airport. Its unusual size—approximately 5 inches × 8 inches (12.5 × 20 cm)—is because at the time the bus stops at Heathrow were provided by the British Airports Authority and were non-standard. Therefore, a number of the plates at Heathrow were this size.
GREEN LINE 727 EXPRESS HEATHROW AIRPORT WATFORD JUNCTION LUTON AIRPORT
Here are two examples of the magnificent “double verticals” (as they were commonly known; technically “E2”) plates. They were only to be found at major interchange points and termini (e.g. Aldgate Bus Station). The northbound one ◀ could possibly be from Crawley Bus Station, whilst the southbound one ▼ was most likely posted at Watford Junction. The GREENLINE headline at the top is also unusual.

S O U T H B O U N D
727 EXPRESS CRAWLEY
This plate obviously came from a southbound stop on the later route. There were very few “E” plate variations for this service, hence this one could have been posted at nearly all of the southbound stops, with the exception of Watford Junction.
GREEN LINE 727 EXPRESS HEATHROW AIRPORT GATWICK AIRPORT CRAWLEY
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