London Transport
Lettered Routes A–C


 

Last updated 21-03-10.

Airport Express
A1 AIRPORT EXPRESSThere were only two bus stops on the A1 Airport Express: one at Hounslow West Station and one at Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station. However, only the bus stop at Hounslow West carried conventional “E” plates such as this, because the stop at Heathrow, over the years, always had special plates—sometimes plastic and sometimes signwritten—to match the non-standard size of the signs. Garage journeys on the A1 did continue to and from Hounslow bus station, but “E” plates were not displayed there as there was not a regular service. The route is particularly special in having just one pair of “E” plates at the sole bus stop at Hounslow West Station. The description AIRPORT EXPRESS also makes this unusual, as does the special route number A1. This is an astonishingly rare plate and, as far as I know, there is only one other. It sold on ebay for £575 in February 2008. A1 AIRPORT EXPRESS
This example is painted and signwritten on aluminium and fractionally wider than a standard enamel “E” plate. It has smears of blue paint on the reverse.
Airbus A1 & A2 faretable
This single-sided faretable for Airbus services A1 (Heathrow – Victoria Station) and A2 (Heathrow – Paddington Station) unusually has fares in five currencies: British pounds, American and Canadian dollars, French francs and German marks. The table is not wrinkled, but rather is printed with a blue sky and cloud effect background. The chart measures 13" × 19¼" (49 cm × 33 cm) and was posted on board the buses. I think that this was the first faretable issued for these services and dates from 1981. It was in use from the routes’ introduction, and the adult single fare between the Heathrow and central London was only £2 (US$6 / CAD$6 / 20F / 10DM)!
September 1969 London Transport Magazine
The new A1 Airport Express was service was the cover feature of the September 1969 London Transport [employees’] Magazine.

The A1 Airport Express was introduced in 1969, providing a direct non-stop link between Hounslow West Underground Station and Heathrow Airport Central, as a forerunner to the Piccadilly Line extension to Heathrow. The route was initially operated by MBSs and later SMSs, and was withdrawn in 1977 when the Piccadilly Line extension opened.

The number A1 was reused in 1981 for London United’s express Airbus service between Heathrow and London (Victoria Station) via Cromwell Road. It was withdrawn in 1999 when Heathrow Express trains began running to Paddington.

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Bromley

Route B1 was introduced in 1972 between Eltham Church and Bromley North Station via New Eltham and Elmstead Woods. During rush hours the service ran via Logs Hill to Bickley Station instead of Bromley. The B1 was one of the first four experimental routes that were introduced using 16-seater midibuses which could serve new areas that larger buses could not reach. The B1 has long since been replaced and absorbed by the current route 314.

1972 B1 notice
B1 ALIGHTING POINT ONLY
B1 MON-SAT
B1 MON-FRI EXCEPT EVENINGS & SATURDAY
B1 MON-FRI EXCEPT PEAK HOURS & SATURDAY
This plate is particularly unusual in having a full stop between the letter and the number, something that featured on only a very few “E” plates.
 

◀ This “E” plate is likely to have come from the section to Bromley which was unserved during peak hours.
Bexleyheath
B13 DAILY BEXLEY hoppa B13 MON-SAT BEXLEY hoppa

Route B13 was introduced in 1988 from Avery Hill Road to Bexleyheath (Shopping Centre) via Days Lane, Sherwood Park Road and Blendon, then via Upton Road and Townley Road (Mondays to Saturdays except evenings) or Danson Road, Crook Log and Bexleyheath Broadway (evenings and Sundays). In 1989 it was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Bexleyheath to Erith (Bexley Road) via Barnehurst Station, Parkside Avenue, Slade Green and Manor Road. In 1990 Sunday service was withdrawn and all journeys were routed via Upton Road. In 1991 the route was extended from Avery Hill Road to New Eltham Station via Halfway Street.

These are examples of the vinyl stickers that are used on the current Transport for London stop flags.


Route B15 began running in 1988 between Joydens Wood and Belvedere via Bexleyheath. It was a replacement for Kentish Bus service 421 (the former London Country route 401A). In 1991 the Sunday service was withdrawn. In 2004 the B15 was extended from Welling to Eltham via Welling Way and Riefield Road. In 2009 the Joydens Wood–Bexleyheath section was transferred to route B12, while the B15 was extended at the other end to Horn Park Estate (Alnwick Road). It now operated from Bexleyheath (Market Place) to Horn Park via Bexleyheath Station, Elsa Road, Welling Corner, University of Greenwich, Riefield Road, Eltham, Eltham Hill and Eltham Green.

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B15 DAILY BEXLEY hoppa B15 MON-SAT BEXLEY hoppa
Borehamwood
BW1

Route BW1 was a local circular route in the Borehamwood area in the late ’70s. It was to have been a joint operation between London Transport and London Country, but agreement could not be reached with the staff of Edgware Garage (who would have operated the London Transport allocation), and so in the event the route was operated only by London Country. The route did not last very long.

Croydon

Routes C1, C2, C3 and C4 were one-man-operated flat-fare routes introduced in 1970 as express runnings of the 130 group of services between Croydon and New Addington. They ran non-stop between East Croydon Station and Gravel Hill (Addington Village Road). Originally operated by XA-class Atlanteans, the “C” routes were converted to DMS buses in 1973. Today the express service to New Addington is provided by TramLink.

In 1973 the fare was 10p, with a 5p local fare charged in New Addington for journeys away from Croydon only. The children’s fare was 3p. In 1975 the adult fares increased by 2p to 12p and 7p respectively.

Route C1 originally ran daily except Saturday between New Addington (Homestead Way) and West Croydon (Bus Station) via King Henry’s Drive, Lodge Lane, East Croydon Station and Wellesley Road. (The Saturday service served the shops in North End in Croydon and was numbered C3.) Around 1978 the Monday to Friday service on the C1 was withdrawn, replaced by the C3 on those days and leaving the C1 on Sundays only. At the same time it was rerouted from King Henry’s Drive to Arnhem Drive. The C1 lasted until 1980 when the C3 was introduced on Sundays.

Without the legend EXPRESS and no days of operation stated on this “E” plate, it likely came from West Croydon Bus Station where route details were posted at each stop.

C1
C1 MON-FRI & SUNDAY EXPRESS
C1 MON-FRI & SUNDAY EXPRESS
This is an astonishingly rare “E” plate with the word SUNDAY in red letting on a white strip. I don’t recall any other route having the word Sunday on a strip in a different colour, and most C1 plates simply had the word in white out of the blue background.
C1 SUNDAY EXPRESS
Blue background “E” plates are far less common than the white versions, and a Sundays-only express operation is even rarer! This plate dates from the last year(s) of the route.

C2 MON-FRI EXPRESS

The C2 ran Monday to Friday between New Addington (Salcot Crescent) and West Croydon (Bus Station) via Gasciogne Road, Fieldway, Lodge Lane, East Croydon Station and Wellesley Road. The route was withdrawn in 1978 or 1979 and replaced by route C4 journeys.

This “E” plate features a blue background which was traditionally used by London Transport for express services, and is far less common than the white ones.


The C3 was effectively the Saturday version of the C1. It ran between New Addington (Salcot Crescent) and West Croydon (Bus Station) via King Henry’s Drive, Lodge Lane, East Croydon Station, Croydon High Street and North End. A Monday to Friday service was added in 1978 or 1979, replacing the C1 and with more stops added. At the same time it was rerouted from King Henry’s Drive to Arnhem Drive. The C3 lasted until 1982.

C3 SATURDAY
I believe this black on white “E” plate came from one of the additional stops which were added in the late 1970s.
C3
This plate is unusual in that it does not have the word EXPRESS, nor the days of operation. The route details were posted separately on the bus stop at West Croydon Bus Station.
C3 EXPRESS
This “E” plate dates from the introduction of the route in 1970.
C3 SATURDAY EXPRESS
This plate bears traces of a sticker over the word SATURDAY from when the route was later altered and Monday to Friday service was added.
C3 SATURDAY EXPRESS NEW ADDINGTON
This “E” plate likely came from Croydon High Street or the vicinity of East Croydon Station.

C4 SATURDAY EXPRESS C4 MON.-SAT. EXPRESS

Route C4 ran Saturdays between New Addington (Salcot Crescent) and West Croydon (Bus Station) via Gasciogne Road, Fieldway, Lodge Lane, East Croydon Station, Croydon High Street and North End. In 1978 or 1979 it was introduced on Monday to Friday, replacing route C2.The service has long since been withdrawn.

As with all express routes, the C4’s “E” plates are on a dark blue background.

Chelsea Harbour
C3 MON-SAT CHELSEA HARBOUR hoppa

The Chelsea Harbour Hoppa was introduced in 1987, providing a Monday to Saturday circular daytime service between Chelsea Harbour and Earl’s Court Station via Lots Road and Finborough Road, returning via Redcliffe Gardens and Chelsea (World’s End). The following year it was extended during shopping hours from Earl’s Court to High Street Kensington via Barkston Gardens and Marloes Road. In 1989 the C3 was extended at the other end, from Chelsea Harbour to Sands End (Sainsbury’s) via Townmead Road. In 1990 the Kensington extension was withdrawn, terminating the route at Earl’s Court (Tesco), but extended in the opposite direction from Sands End to Clapham Junction via Wandsworth Bridge, Plantation Wharf, Plough Road and Grant Road.

Camden

Route C11 was one of four experimental minibus routes introduced in 1972 (the others being B1, P4 and W9). The cross-Camden C11 was operated by FS-class Ford Transit minibuses and had a flat-fare of 10p. It ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Highgate (Archway Station) and Cricklewood (Shoot-up Hill) via Parliament Hill Fields, Gospel Oak, Hampstead Heath, Swiss Cottage, Finchley Road, West Hampstead, West End Green and Mill Lane. In 1976 it was extended from Mill Lane to Willeseden Green Station via Cricklewood Broadway. In 1979 journeys were added on Bank Holiday Mondays, but these were withdrawn in 1981. In 1983 the route was extended from Highgate to King’s Cross Station via Tufnell Park, Brecknock Road and York Way, but withdrawn between West End Green and Willeseden. The following year the C11 was extended twice: first from West End Green to Cricklewood, except early morning and late evening when it ran to West Hampstead (Hillfield Road), then from Cricklewood to Brent Cross Shopping Centre via Claremont Road; with service provded from King’s Cross to West Hampstead (late evenings), Shoot-up Hill (early Saturday mornings), Cricklewood Broadway (early Monday to Friday mornings), and Brent Cross (all other times). In 1985 the C11 was withdrawn from Cricklewood Broadway and rerouted instead via Westbere Road. In 1990 it was withdrawn between Highgate and King’s Cross, replaced over that section was by new minibus route C12. Sunday journeys were also introduced between Archway Station and West Hampstead; Monday to Saturday service ran to Brent Cross during shopping hours and to Cricklewood (Pennine Drive)at all other times.

Route C12 was another Camden service, started in 1990 and operating every 20 minutes on Monday through Saturday. It followed the same routing as the C11 between Finchley Road Station and Archway Station, then continued on to King’s Cross via Tufnell Park, Brecknock Road and York Way. It was withdrawn in 1998, replaced by route 390.


BS1 on route C11
◀ BS1 [GHV501N] in Cricklewood Broadway just south of Chichele road, while working route C11 en route to Archway Station. This Bristol LHS was allocated to Holloway [HT] Garage for the C11 from August 1975 to March 1981, but the route wasn’t extended to Willesden Green Station until 1976. The five “E” plates on this B(C)C(C) fare stage stop are:

DRL20

DRL20 [K820NKH] photographed at—I believe—King’s Cross while working the C12. This Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer 9.8m Long was later sold on to Sunrise Travel, Birmingham. ▶
Photograph © Jimmy Sheng
1972 C11 notice
◀ Timetable leaflet for the new C11 minibuses starting 28 October 1972, with print code 972/3361S/64,000. On one side of the leaflet is a description of the buses and route, with fares and frequencies plus a large drawing of a Ford Transit. The other side is a bus stop timetable for the service.
Route C11 service notice from 1984. ▶
This service notice from April 1985 likely came from a stop in the vicinity of Cricklewood Station, where the early Monday to Friday morning and Saturday late evening journeys turned; hence the limited service to King’s Cross. ▶▶
1984 C11 notice
1985 C11 notice
C11
C11 MON-SAT
This plate has some edge chips, particularly on the left, which are due to the plate being unusually thick and were obviously caused through being slotted into the runners on a bus stop flag. It is the heaviest “E” plate I have found, and is also notable because the C is of a narrower, condensed style, which is rather uncommon.
C11 - C12 MON.-SAT.
One of the vinyl stickers, as used after the manufacture of enamel “E” plates ceased in the 1980s. It would have been on stops between Archway and Finchley Road Underground Stations.
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