London Transport NIGHT
Night Routes N1–N83

Last updated 03-03-10.

London Transport used black “E” plates with white lettering for night routes to distinguish them from the daytime services. These plates are far less common than the white versions as there were, until the 1990s, relatively few all-night routes. They are rarely seen nowadays, especially as it was such a small network of routes with many “E” plate variations. Unfortunately, the black enamel plates never seem to survive particularly well.

White-on-black “E” plates also exist for regular routes, as originally LT indicated Sunday-only routes in this manner. This method did not last for too long, and red numbers and lettering on white became the normal way in which these workings were shown.

September 1964 night buses map NIGHT
59 SUNDAY NIGHT Early black and white SUNDAY “E” plate for route 59.
Timetable and diagram of routes for all-night buses dating from September 1964.
N14 Special Journeys
This vinyl sticker was probably from a stop along the Waterloo–Aldwych–London Bridge section of route.

Route N14 was introduced in 1984, running from Roehampton (Danebury Avenue) to Liverpool Street Station via Dover House Road, Putney, Fulham Broadway, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Waterloo Station. In 1985 the N14 was extended from Putney to Kingston via Roehampton, Kingston Vale, Kingston Hill and Norbiton, and the City routeing was changed to circular, returning to Trafalgar Square via Bank, St. Paul’s and Fleet Street, with certain up journeys diverting via Aldwych and Strand instead of London Bridge. In 1987 it was withdrawn from Waterloo, and now normally ran via Fleet Street in both directions between Trafalgar Square and Liverpool Street, although one journey was rerouted to serve Victoria Station and Westminster, and the Aldwych journeys remained in the timetable. In 1992 the route was extended from Kingston to Chessington, but the City service was withdrawn, with all journeys now terminating at Victoria Station. In 1995 it was cut back from Chessington to Roehampton, and rerouted at Piccadilly Circus to Tottenham Court Road Station, bringing it in line with the day route 14. After 2003 the N14 was no longer listed separately, as the 14 was now officially a 24-hour service.


Route N18 was introduced on 13 April 1984 between Sudbury (Swan) and Aldwych via Wembley, Stonebridge Park, Harlesden, Kensal Green, Harrow Road, Royal Oak, Bishops Bridge Road, Paddington Station, Praed Street, Edgware Road, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square; with meal relief journeys projected to Liverpool Street via Fleet Street, Ludgate Circus, St. Paul’s and Bank. Although this was a new route, the only new section was from Craven Park to Sudbury as the N91 already operated between Willesden Garage and Liverpool Street via Craven Park. Garage journeys ran in service over route 260. In October 1984 route N91 was withdrawn, replaced by the N18. In April 1985 the route was extended from Sudbury to Edgware over portions of routes 182 and 286, but withdrawn between Trafalgar Square and Aldwych except for the meal break projection. In August the meal relief journeys were diverted to Waterloo, running over Waterloo Bridge. After the break buses ran light to Liverpool Street and then on times as before. In September 1987 certain journeys were diverted to Watford Junction via Bushey Heath and Watford (serving route 142), diverging at Stanmore Broadway after “double running” past Stanmore Station. In October 1989 the meal relief point was changed to Victoria. At the end of January 1994 the service was withdrawn between Harrow Weald (Red Lion) and Watford. In February 2001 the route was rerouted direct via Harrow Road, instead of serving Paddington Station.

Route N18 map NIGHT
◀ Route N18 in its current form, after the Watford service was discontinued. Adapted from The Greater London Bus Map.
This plate is one of the plastic ones which superseded enamel “E” plates and vinyl stickers. This type of plate has a fitting on the back which fits into a kind of keyhole mounting on the bus stop flag. ▶
N18 NIGHT

Night Bus N23 Night Bus N47

Route N23 began running in May 1993 between Liverpool Street and Ealing Broadway via Bank, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Fleet Street, Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Paddington, Westbourne Grove, Ladbroke Grove, Cambridge Gardens, Barlby Road, North Pole Road, Ducane Road, East Acton and Acton High Street as a replacement for part of route N50 (Trafalgar Square to Ealing). In 1996 it was extended from Ealing to Northolt Station via Eaton Rise, Pitshanger Lane, Scotch Common, Ruislip Road East, Greenford, Yeading and Church Road over the withdrawn section of route N89. In 1998 service was withdrawn between Aldwych and Liverpool Street, but in 2003 this section was restored. At the same time the N23 was withdrawn between Ladbroke Grove and Northolt (being replaced by new route N7), and diverted instead to Westbourne, thus following the same routing as the daytime 23. In July 2004 the N23 number was withdrawn and all journeys operate simply as route 23.

Route N47 runs between Trafalgar Square and St. Mary Cray via Aldwych, Fleet Street, St. Paul’s, Cannon Street, Monument, London Bridge, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays, Deptford, Lewisham, Catford, Downham, Bromley, Bromley Common, Southborough, Petts Wood and Orpington.

This plasic night bus “E” plate is of the style used on modern-day bus stop flags. I believe it came from a stop in the Trafalgar Square area. It appears the route numbers were printed onto a piece of vinyl which was then affixed to the plastic plate.


Route N26 began operating in July 1992 as a replacement for the eastern section of the withdrawn N6. It ran between Victoria and Walthamstow Central Station via Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, Fleet Street, Ludgate Circus, Mansion House, Bank, Liverool Street, Shoreditch, Hackney Road, Cambridge Heath, Hackney, Morning Lane, Hackney Wick, Ruckholt Road, Leyton High Road and Bakers Arms. In 1995 it was withdrawn between Trafalgar Square and Victoria, but extended from Walthamstow Central to Walthamstow (Fulbourne Road) via Church Hill and Shernhall Street. Unofficially, the route went to Crooked Billet, which was the destination shown on the blind. In 2001 the route was withdrawn between Walthamstow Central and Fulbourne Road, but extended to Chingford Station via Crooked Billet, Chingford Mount and The Ridgeway to replace route N38 which was curtailed at Walthamstow Central. At the same time it was also diverted between Mare Street, Hackney, and Leyton Town Hall via Well Street instead of Morning Lane, and Clays Lane instead of direct via Ruckholt Road. The N26 still operates today, at a frequent 20-minute interval.

In 2003 route N50 ran between Trafalgar Square (Cockspur Street) and East Beckton (Tesco) via Embankment, Blackfriars, Bank, Aldgate, Limehouse, Westferry, Canary Wharf, Island Gardens, Poplar, Canning Town, Keir Hardie Estate, Prince Regent and Beckton. By 2005 it had been extended from Beckton to Gallions Reach (Retail Park). The route no longer operates, having been withdrawn 30 August 2008.

Route N26 map
◀ Routes 26 and N26 as of 26 April 2001.
This plasic night bus “E” plate is of the style used on modern-day bus stop flags. I believe it came from a stop in the Trafalgar Square area. It appears the route numbers were printed onto a piece of vinyl which was then affixed to the plastic plate. ▶
Night Bus N26 Night Bus N50

N29 NIGHT

Route N29 was introduced in the early 1980s, running from Trafalgar Square to Enfield Town (Little Park Gardens) via Piccadily Circus, Shaftsbury Avenue, Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Harringay, Turnpike Lane Station, Wood Green, Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill. It has since been extended to Ponders End.

This plate is actually a self-adhesive vinyl label on the back of a route 7 “E” plate.

7 NIGHT


Route N31 was introduced in 1990 between Camden Town and Kensington via Chalk Farm, Swiss Cottage, Kilburn, Westbourne Park and Notting Hill Gate, then circular via Earls Court and Fulham. It only ran on the weekend nights of Friday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday, and was the first orbital night route. In 2000 the N31 was extended from Earls Court to Clapham Junction Station (St. John’s Hill) via Chelsea and Battersea. It now runs nightly, the same as other night routes.

NIGHT ARROW N31 FRI-SAT

N56 NIGHT

Route N56 began operating in the mid-’80s, running non-stop in one direction only from Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station, thence to Kings Cross via Baker Street Station, Warren Street Station and Euston. One outbound journey also operated from Paddington Station to Heathrow via Marylebone, Baker Street Station, Warren Street Station, Euston, Kings Cross, Waterloo, Horseferry Road, Victoria and Hyde Park Corner, running non-stop between Kings Cross and Waterloo, and between Hyde Park Corner and Heathrow. It had ceased running by the late 1990s.

This vinyl sticker dates from the 1980s, when the “Night Owl” symbol was introduced for identifying night services.


Route N68 was introduced in the ’70s, and ran between Wandsworth (Armoury Way) and Farringdon Street via Clapham Junction, Lavender Hill, Vauxhall, Millbank, Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square and Aldwych. It replaced the night service on route 168, and was the last night route to be introduced using “E” plates, and also before the major enhancement of the night bus network during the ’80s, when a great many more routes were introduced. The N68 had the meal relief journeys to Liverpool Street “livened up” in 1975, and was diverted to run via Strand and Aldwych instead of Victoria Embankment during the ’70s.It is mainly covered now by route N87, and today’s N68 covers the 68 day bus.

Route N88 was renumbered from route 288 in 1960. The route ran between Wandsworth (Armoury Way) and Farringdon Street via Battersea, Albert Embankment, Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square and Aldwych. Meal relief journeys to Liverpool Street were “livened up” in 1975, and the route was also diverted to run via Strand and Aldwych in the 1970s.

Route N92 was renumbered from 292 in 1960. It ran from Archway Station to Trafalgar Square via Holloway, Highbury, Islington, Bloomsbury and Aldwych. The route was subsequently absorbed into route N43 and now forms part of route N41.

N68 NIGHT
N68 NIGHT - N88 NIGHT
N68 NIGHT - N92 NIGHT
This “E” plate would have come from one of the bus stops on the short common section of route between Trafalgar Square and Aldwych.

Night Bus N77 Night Bus N171
◀ This plasic night bus “E” plate is of the style used on modern-day bus stop flags. I believe it came from a stop in the Trafalgar Square area. It appears the route numbers were printed onto a piece of vinyl which was then affixed to the plastic plate.
A pocket timetable dated 28th May 1999 for route N77. ▶
April 28, 2006, bus stop timetable card for the N171. ▶ ▶
1999 N77 timetable 2006 N171 timetable

Route N77 ran between Aldwych and Tolworth (Ewell Road) via Trafalgar Square (Whitehall), Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, New Malden, Norbiton, Kingston and Surbiton. It no longer operates, having been withdrawn from service on 3rd June 2006.

Route N171 runs between Bloomsbury (Museum Street) and Catford Bus Garage via Holborn, Aldwych, Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell, Peckham, New Cross, Brockley Cross, Brockley Rise and Lewisham Town Hall. Journeys had previously run beyond Catford to Hither Green Station, and from Holborn to Tottenham Court Road Station.


Route N81 was introduced in 1971 to replace a single late night journey on route 181 which was converted to one-man-operation, the night N81 retaining crew operation. It was worked by an RT or Routemaster and ran from Stockwell to Streatham Common via Clapham, Balham, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway and Southcroft Road, returning to Stockwell and on to Kennington where the bus either ran back to the garage, or in latter days out-of-service to Victoria where the crew took their meal break before going back into service on the N68 or 168. It was London Transport’s least frequent bus route, providing just one return journey each week on early Sunday morning.

N81 NIGHT
N81 NIGHT
N81 NIGHT
This “E” plate is unusual in having the plural NIGHTS—especially so given that the service only operated on the one day of the week!
N81 NIGHT
For some reason the text A.M (note the omission of the final full-stop) is larger than normal, at the expense of the route number.

N82 NIGHT
N82 NIGHT - N92 NIGHT
I wasn’t sure where the split “E” plate would have come from, as, according to the information I had, the N82 ran in southeast London, and the N92 operated north of the Thames, without even an intersection point. However, the actuality was much more complicated, as explained by Chris Sisson:

“The earliest night bus guide I have is Buses, Tubes & trains for Night Owls with timetables stated as correct from the night of 29/30 October 1982. This has the N82 as an intermittent service between New Cross Garage and Woowich Arsenal Station. The N92 is a basic 30 minute service between Trafalgar Square and Archway Station (with a one hour gap in the middle of the night). Both routes ran every night except Saturday night/Sunday morning.
“The next reference I have is for the N82 in Getting About by bus in and around Packham, New Cross, Bermondsey from March 1986. The timetable itself is dated 1/2.11.85. Here, the N82 has been extended to run every night at approximately two-hourly intervals between Trafalgar Square and Thamesmead (St. Paul’s Church), with the final two journeys starting from Victoria Station. The route in Central London is (Victoria)–Trafalgar Square–Aldwych–Ludgate Circus–Elephant & Castle… I don’t have a timetable for the N92 from that period, but if the Central London route of Trafalgar Square–Aldwych–Holborn… was the same as in 1982 then the two routes shared a common section between Trafalgar Square and Aldwych.
“The November 1989 edition of Buses for Night Owls has the N82 as a Friday night/Saturday morning & Saturday night/Sunday morning service between Trafalgar Square and Welling (Nag’s Head), using the 1985 Central London route, at approximately hourly intervals augmenting the main N72 service (every night Victoria–Dartford (Market Street)). The N92 was by then running every night, basically hourly between Trafalgar Square and Oakwood Station via Archway, with some journeys starting from Victoria and one journey extended to/from Potters Bar Garage.
“So, to answer your original query, the two routes definitely had a common section between Trafalgar Square and Aldwych in 1989, and possibly from an earlier date. (1985?)”

Route N82 was introduced in 1969 to replace the night journeys on route 182. The N82 ran between Woolich (General Gordon Place) and New Cross Gate (the 182 ran to New Cross) via Eltham, Lee and Lewisham.

Route N92 is described under route N68.


Route N83 was introduced in 1960 replacing the night trolleybus services on routes 543 / 643. It ran between Tottenham Garage and Trafalgar Square via Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Dalston Junction, Shoreditch, Old Street, Clerkenwell, Farringdon Street and Strand. During the 1970s the journeys to and from Liverpool Street were “livened up” to run in service, and during the 1980s the route was extended to Wood Green via route 243. The route now forms part of route N243.

Route N85 was renumbered from 285 in 1960. It ran from Victoria Embankment to Grove Park Station via Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Old Kent Road, Bricklayers Arms, New Cross, Lewisham, Catford and Downham Way. It was subsequently rerouted to serve Trafalgar Square via Fleet Street and the Strand. The route now forms part of today’s route N36.

Route N90 was renumbered from 290 in October 1960. It ran from Pimlico to Edmonton via Victoria, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Stamford Hill and Tottenham. The route was later extended to Ponders End and Waltham Cross, and during 1975 was also diverted to serve Euston and King’s Cross stations. For many years, it was the only night route running outside the Greater London area. After the use of enamel “E” plates ceased, route N90 was renumbered N279, but I am unsure of the exact date.

Route N91 was introduced in 1960, replacing night route 291 and ran between Liverpool Street and Willesden Garage via Bank, St. Paul’s, Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Kensal Green and Harlesden. It was later diverted to serve Paddington Station, and has since been withdrawn and mainly replaced by route N6 (simply as route 6 these days).

Route N94—numbered 294 until 1960—ran between Liverpool Street and Cricklewood Garage via Bank, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Edgware Road, Maida Vale and Kilburn. It was unusual at the time as there was a single journey provided on Sunday mornings, when most of the night routes did not run. The route now forms part of today’s route N16.

Route N97 was similarly renumbered from 297 in 1960. It ran between Liverpool Street and Turnham Green Garage via Bank, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Fulham Broadway, Dawes Road, Hammersmith and Stamford Brook. It was subsequently rerouted to serve Earl’s Court. In 1977, when the Piccadilly Line was extended to Heathrow, the N97 underwent a major change when it was extended to Heathrow Airport via Chiswick, Gunnersbury, Brentford, Isleworth, Hounslow, Hounslow West, Cranford and Harlington Corner, and at the same time was introduced on Saturday night/Sunday morning and substantially increased in frequency. This was the start of a steady increase in the night bus network which has resulted in the extensive network that we have today. The route still runs today but only between Trafalgar Square and Hammersmith, having been replaced to Heathrow by route N9.

N83 NIGHT
N83 FARE STAGE NIGHT
Fare Stage plates have always been much less common, and this is a superb example in excellent condition.
N83 STONECUTTER STREET NIGHT
This plate will have come either from a stop in St. Bride Street (or possibly in latter days in Charterhouse Street), the roads used by the short-working journeys to Farringdon Street (Stonecutter Street). As with all “destinated” plates, they are exceedingly rare, and especially so for a night route.
N83 NIGHT - N85 NIGHT
Notice the larger-than-normal space between N and 8 on this “E” plate.
N83 NIGHT - N85 NIGHT
The only place routes N83 and N85 ran together was for “up” journeys in Fleet Street between Farringdon and Aldwych. This remarkably rare plate would only have been displayed on a handful of stops at most.
N83 NIGHT AND N90 NIGHT
Needless to say, split “E” plates are always rare as they tended to be made for specific bus stops where there was insufficient space to display all route numbers on separate plates. This one is notable as there is the word AND instead of a dividing line, making it rather unusual. It could only have been used between Tottenham and Stamford Hill or less likely from Trafalgar Square.
N83 NIGHT AND N91 NIGHT
This “E” plate would have come from a bus stop between Ludgate Circus and Trafalgar Square.
N83 NIGHT - N84 NIGHT - N97 NIGHT
Triple-split “E” plates were extremely rare, and were only used where space was at a premium. I believe this one came from Trafalgar Square, where most of the night routes terminated. It is also unusual in that the back is white, rather than the background colour of its face.
◀ NIGHT ▶ NIGHT
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