London Transport Central Area Routes 13–16

London Transport
Central Area Routes 13–16

Last updated 24-12-09.

RML 903

Route 13 ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Hendon (Bell) and London Bridge Station via Golders Green, Swiss Cottage, Baker Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, Fleet Street and Cannon Street. In 1952 it was withdrawn between Golders Green and Hendon, apart from garage journeys to Hendon Garage. In 1970 it was withdrawn between Aldwych and London Bridge and replaced by Red Arrow route 513 over this section. In 1978 it was extended from Golders Green to North Finchley, but withdrawn between Oxford Circus and Aldwych on Saturdays and Sundays. In 1982 it was re-extended on Saturdays from Oxford Circus to Aldwych, and similarly extended on Sundays in 1991. In 1993 it was transferred to Borehamwood Travel Services under the tendering scheme and withdrawn between Golders Green and North Finchley. It lost its Routemasters in 2005.

Route 15 is described below.

Route 26 was introduced in 1970 between Victoria and New Barnet Station via Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Baker Street, Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, Golders Green, Finchley Central, North Finchley and Whetstone. The route was withdrawn between Golders Green Station and Victoria in 1978, and extended on Sundays from New Barnet on to Barnet (Chesterfield Road). In 1980 it was converted to one-man operation and extended from Golders Green to Brent Cross Shopping Centre on Mondays to Saturdays. The route was withdrawn completely in 1991, and mainly replaced by routes 84A and 326. An earlier version of the 26 ran from Aldgate to Leyton, and today’s 26 runs between Waterloo and Hackney Wick.

Route 30 ran from Roehampton to Hackney Wick via Putney, Fulham, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Baker Street, Kings Cross, Islington, Highbury and Dalston. It has been worked by Hackney [H] and Putney [AF] garages with RT, RTL and Routemaster buses.

Route 210 ran between Golders Green Station and Finsbury Park Station via North End Road, Spaniards Road, Hampstead Lane, Highgate Village, Archway, Hornsey Rise and Stroud Green. In 1963 it was extended on Sundays over route 236 to Leyton (Hainault Road) via Highbury Barn, Mildmay Grove, Crossway, Ridley Road, Queensbridge Road, Hackney, Victoria Park Road, Hackney Wick, Eastway, Grove Green Road and Fairlop Road. In 1968 the Sunday extension was cut back to Leytonstone Station. In 1970 it was converted to one-man-operation and withdrawn between Finsbury Park and Leytonstone. In 1976 it was extended during Monday to Saturday shopping hours from Golders Green to Brent Cross Shopping Centre, and this extension now runs at all times.

A more detailed history of route 13 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

◀ Oxford Circus’ stop JA was the weekend stand for the 13, as well as for the 113 at all times. This B(C)E3G3 stop flag carries “E” plates for both routes, a “G” plate directing intending passenger to FORM QUEUE THIS SIDE, and a vinyl sticker affixed over the enamelled flag.
Photo courtesy the London Bus Routes web site.

Four different geographical punch tickets issued in the 1940s from route 13, all with the older style large value overprint. Values range from 1½d to 5d. ▶
Route 13 tickets
13 WEEKDAY - 15
Routes 13 and 15 ran together through the City and West End from Mansion House to Baker Street via Ludgate Hill, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Regent and Oxford Streets.
13 - 26
This “E” plate would have come from a stop in the roads where the 13 and 26 ran together, between Oxford Street and Golders Green.
13 MON-SAT-30
This “E” plate would have come from the short section between Baker Street and Portman Square which would only have been a handful of stops at most, but the split of routes where space was tight could mean that routes were combined differently. This is likely to be an extremely rare combination of totally unrelated routes from the time when SAT was still noted in red.
This plate was produced for the section of common road for the two routes, between Archway and Muswell Hill Garage [MH]. It was very unusual for routes to have “E” plates for garage journeys, and only tended to happen from the mid-’70s onwards when it was felt that there would be some benefit to passengers in promoting their use. A split GARAGE JOURNEYS plate is especially unusual. For a complete explanation of these journeys, please see the entry for route 210.

I cannot be certain where this “E” plate would have come from, as there was no section of route only covered by special journeys, so it might have been for just a single bus stop at a curtailment point, or it could have been for service journeys to Holloway Garage. Nevertheless, a very rare plate for this major central London route.
My guess is that this plate was posted at (or the vicinity of) Putney Station, where the regular service turned into Upper Richmond Road then looped via Oxford and Disraeli Roads, and the Sunday journeys to Hampton Court likely boarded at a different stop.
From October 1992 to April 1996 the 14 only ran during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday daytime.
2½d route 14 ticket1d route 14 ticket
A pair of tickets for route 14: an earlier 2½d London General (note the ornate curlicue on the large 2 and the word FARE), and a mid-1930s London Transport example.
Route 14 timetable slip
This is a bus stop timetable slip dated 8.1.72 with print code 1171/1014K/600 (2 ch ) 300. These used to be posted at stops where the service was considered to be frequent. It gives a description of the route from Hornsey Rise to Putney (Oxford Road). There is useful (?) information such as the service interval is about every 4–8 minutes, a warning that at certain times (but does not tell when) that it runs in two sections, and the last bus times at five timing points.
RTW 472
Wide Leyland RTW 472 [LLU 962] is captured heading for Hornsey Rise whilst passing the Trans World Airlines office. (Does anybody remember where it was? Please if you do.) A further clue to the location is the PRINCES (or possibly PRINCESS) sign wich is just visible above the rear dome of the bus.
M 1063 in Piccadilly
Type 3M4 Metrobus M1063 [B63WUL] displays the Sunday-only PUTNEY HEATH (GREEN MAN) destination whilst on duty in Piccadilly. The B(C)E9 stop flag immediately in front of it carries vinyl stickers stickers for routes 9, 14, 19, 22, 38, N8, N9, N14, N19, N22, N38, N52 and N97 (individual for the day routes, paired for the night ones); a point identifier disk, and a vinyl sticker affixed over the enamelled flag which (I believe) says PICCADILLY CIRCUS. This bus was allocated to Holloway [HT] Garage. It was sold to Ensignbus in 2001, but withdrawn by the end of the year. ▶
Photo courtesy the London Bus Routes web site.

Route 14 is a very long-established trunk route. Its predecessor was started in 1905 by the London Road Car Company, operating from Oxford Circus to Putney Station through Fulham. The following year it was extended from Putney to Bow Bridge. In 1908 the LRCC amalgamated with the London General Omnibus Company, and the service was numbered 14 and further extended from the West End to Stratford Broadway. In 1910 the route was extended from Bow Bridge to Wanstead, and now ran via Aldgate, Stand, Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park Corner, Brompton Road, Walham Green and Fulham Broadway. A year later it was withdrawn between Piccadilly Circus and Stratford, and now travelled from Putney to Hornsey Rise (the Favourite) via Fulham Boradway, Fulham Road, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, King’s Cross, Caledonia Road and Seven Sisters Road. In 1925 the route was extended from Putney to Hampton Court (Vrow Walk) on summer Saturday afternoons and Sundays, with the Hornsey Rise–Putney service being renumbered 14A. In 1929 some weekday journeys were extended to Kingston Vale via Putney Heath and Roehampton. In 1934 all journeys were numbered 14, regardless of their destination, and in 1939 the summer extension to Hampton Court was withdrawn, not resuming until 1953. In 1958 the Sunday service was extended to Kingston via Kingston Hill and Norbiton year round, but Monday to Friday journeys beyond Putney (Oxford Road) were withdrawn. The summer Sunday extension to Hampton Court then continued from Kingston each year until 1965. In 1971 the 14 was withdrawn between Putney and Kingston and replaced by the introduction of the 85 on Sundays. In 1987 the Monday to Saturday service was withdrawn between Euston (Tottenham Court Road Station in the evenings) and Hornsey Rise—the Euston to Hornsey section being replaced by new route 14A—but Sunday afternoon journeys were extended via Crouch End to Turnpike Lane Station (and on to Wood Green Garage for meal relief journeys). The route was also extended from Putney to Putney Heath (Green Man). Later that year the Monday-to-Friday off-peak service was also withdrawn between Tottenham Court Road and Euston. In 1988 Sunday service was withdrawn between Crouch End and Turnpike Lane Station, and in 1992 withdrawn on Sundays beyond Euston, replaced by new route 91. In 1995 the route was reduced to Putney–Tottenham Court Road Station at all times. In 1999 two afternoon school journeys were added, commencing at Elliot School then via Carslake Road, Westleigh Avenue, Putney Hill and Putney Heath. In 2005 the route finally lost its Routemaster allocation. In 2007 the route was extended at its northern end to Warren Street (University College Hospital).

A more detailed history of route 14 and its branches can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

London General route 15 first ran on 1 November 1908 between Shepherd’s Bush and East Ham (Duke’s Head). By August 1914 the route worked between Putney Common and East Ham, with a Sunday extension to Plaistow. In 1921 the 15 was shown as Ladbroke Grove (Eagle) to East Ham, extended daily to Barking and North Woolwich on weekdays. A Sunday extension from Ladbroke Grove to Acton Vale appeared in the ’20s, and the North Woolwich journeys were later diverted to Becontree Heath (although this service was transferred to route 23 after World War II). In November 1949 the route ran on Sundays from Kew Green via Kew Bridge, Gunnersbury Lane, Acton, Acton Vale, East Acton, Wormwood Scrubs, Barlby Road and St. Marks Road, or on Mondays to Saturdays from Ladbroke Grove, then daily via Westbourne Grove, Paddington, Marble Arch, Oxford Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, Fleet Street, St. Paul’s, Bank, Aldgate, Stepney and Limehouse to Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel), extended to East Ham (White Horse) via Canning Town, Plaistow and Upton Park during Monday to Friday peaks and evenings, Saturdays and Sundays. On Sundays, buses operated in two sections: East Ham–East Acton, and Aldgate–Acton or Kew Green. In connection with the Trolleybus Replacement Programme, route 15 was extended daily from Poplar to East Ham. From January 1967 journeys to Kensal Rise were introduced as a result of the Ladbroke Grove canteen closure, and in October 1969, the route was suspended between Acton and Kew Green for the winter months, being reinstated in 1970, with this continuing for future years. In May 1975 the Sunday service was rerouted at Kew Road to Richmond Bus Station. This extension was all through the year instead of just seasonal. In May 1985 the route was diverted between St. Paul’s and Aldgate via Cannon Street and Tower of London. In June 1987 the Sunday service was converted to one-man operation and withdrawn between East Acton and Ladbroke Grove. In March 1991 the route was extended at Ladbroke Grove to the new Sainsbury’s store. In July 1992 the Monday to Saturday service was withdrawn between Ladbroke Grove and Paddington, being replaced by new route 23. May 1993 brought the withdrawal of service between Paddington and Ladbroke Grove, and in September 1999 the 15 was withdrawn between Poplar and Canning Town, with buses diverting from East India Dock Road to Blackwall DLR Station via Cotton Street. In August 2003 the route was withdrawn between Blackwall and East Ham, and now runs between Paddington and Blackwall Station. Of course, the 15 is now one of just two routes in London that continue to use Routemasters, and this “heritage” service runs between Trafalgar Square and Tower of London.

Route 260A was a short-lived Sunday-only service that ran between Hammersmith and Golders Green Station via Acton, Harlesden, Willesden, Cricklewood and Pennine Drive. It was introduced in January 1966 as a partial replacement for route 226 which ceased running on Sundays, but was itself withdrawn in September 1968 when Sunday journeys were reintroduced on the 226.

A more detailed history of routes 15 and 15A can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

2d route 15 ticket4d route 15 ticket
2d and 4d London General tickets for route 15. The 4d ticket is of the later style, with the service number at the top instead of along the right side.
Four route 15 tickets
Four different geographical punch tickets from the 15/100 group, all with the older style large value overprint. They were issued in the 1940s.
This plate would prabably have come from a stop at Ladbroke Grove, possibly the terminal stand. It is a highly unusual “E” plate, with the route number repeated, and is one of only two that I have seen where SPECIAL JOURNEYS is on one line. (The other is for route 34 and is set in condensed type.)
The colour on this “E” plate is rather unusual.
This “E” plate would have come from one of the nine stops in each direction along the 1½ miles of The Vale and Acton High Street between Askew Road and Gunnersbury Lane.

route 15A Mondays to Fridays This vinyl sticker dates from the period when there was a hodge-podge of colors and styles, before Transport for London reimposed a semblance of order. The yellow background colour denoted a “tourist route”. The various services deemed to be of use to tourists were given different colours and the numbers were displayed in those colours on a yellow background on bus front posters and on “E” stickers. Most—but not all—the routes were then Routemaster operated (at least during the week). An exception that sticks in the mind was the 188 which used Leyland Titans, but was included because it served Greenwich. (Thanks to Andrew Colebourne for the additional information.) 3-53 | 11-24 | 12-53 | route 1 | 24-29 | route 15A | route 38 | route 52 | route 188

Route 15A is a Monday to Friday service between East Ham (White Horse) and Ladbroke Grove via Upton Park, Plaistow, Canning Town, Poplar, Limehouse, Stepney, Aldgate, Bank, St Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and Paddington. It was introduced in May 1985 when route 15 was rerouted via the Tower of London, resulting in Bank journeys being renumbered 15A. In June 1987 the evening service was withdrawn and renumbered 15. When first introduced, the route used yellow-on-black blinds to alert passengers of its diversion, but this distinction has now been lost.

Route 16 ran between Victoria Station and Sudbury Town Station via Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Edgware Road, Maida Vale, Kilburn, Cricklewood, Neasden, North Wembley and Sudbury. In 1970 it was withdrawn between Neasden (Dog Lane) and Sudbury Town and replaced by route 245. The same year an express service numbered 616 was introduced between Cricklewood and Oxford Circus, but was eventually replaced by route 16A. In 1973 the terminus changed to Neasden (Shopping Centre). In 1985 the 16 was extended during Monday to Saturday shopping hours to Neasden (Tesco), and similarly extended on Sundays in 1992. In 1997 it was withdrawn between Cricklewood Garage and Neasden and replaced by new route 316.

A more detailed history of route 16 and its variants can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

Route 16 timetable slip
This special timetable dated 31/12/66 was posted on the northbound bus stop in Cambridge Gardens, Kilburn Park, for journeys starting there. There may have also been a SEE BELOW “E” plate on the stop.
This is one of the early post-war “E” plate without the black bands at the top and bottom. These 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 and hence the modern style was devised with the black top and bottom edging and which could simply be dropped into the runners.


Route 16A was introduced in 1976 as a replacement for express route 616, running on Mondays to Saturdays between Victoria and Brent Cross Shopping Centre via Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Edgware Road, Maida Vale, Kilburn, Cricklewood and Staples Corner. In 1981 it was rerouted at Marble Arch to run to Oxford Circus instead of Victoria. A Sunday service was introduced in 1994. The route was withdrawn in 1997, partially replaced by new route 189.

Previous page Next page
Click on any of the tiles below to go to images of the “E” plates and the route descriptions for that number series.
Clicking on any stop flag will return to the home page.
“E” Plates
Stop Flags


Advanced Search
Advanced Search