London Transport
Central Area Routes 45–49

Last updated 27-07-08.

The figures 4 and 5 are particularly close together on this “E” plate.
WEEEKDAY was the older wording on “E” plates; however, as more and more people began working a five-day week the term became ambiguous and was replaced with MON.-SAT. or MON.-FRI., as appropriate.
45 MON.-SAT.
This “E” plate must date from a period in the late 1970s when the section between Elephant & Castle and King’s Cross was only worked in the rush hours and at weekends.
“E” plates showing ALIGHTING POINT ONLY are very rare, as they were usually for a bus stop at the terminus, and even then were used only in certain circumstances.
This is obviously a very old “E” plate and will have come from a bus stop at a terminus, but I cannot be sure which one. In any event, ALIGHTING POINT plates without the word ONLY are much rarer that the regular version.
This plate is particularly interesting as it is a very rare example with the word ONLY. It would have come from a stop in King’s Cross Road to the rear of the normal 45 stop towards Hampstead Heath, as the short-working buses needed to stop farther back to make the right turn into York Way.
Route 45 timetable
Route 45 timetable for journeys to King’s Cross Station dated 8.1.72.

Route 45 was a tram replacement route introduced in 1950 from Clapham Garage, and ran daily between Faringdon Street and Battersea Garage via Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell Green, Brixton, Stockwell, Clapham Common and Clapham Junction. In 1951 it was extended to South Kensington Station, replacing trolleybus routes 513/613. In 1961 it was extended from Farringdon Street to Hampstead Heath via Grays Inn Road, King’s Cross, Camden Town and Prince of Wales Road. In 1966 it was withdrawn on Sundays between Farringdon Street and Hampstead Heath, and later that year withdrawn completely on Sundays and replaced by route 17. In 1971 the Saturday service was withdrawn between Battersea Garage and South Kensington apart from early journeys, and it was also reintroduced on Sundays between South Kensington and King’s Cross Station. In 1972 it was withdrawn between King’s Cross and Hampstead Heath and replaced by new route 46. Later that year it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Clapham Junction and Battersea Garage except during shopping hours. In 1977 it was withdrawn on Mondays to Fridays between Elephant & Castle and King’s Cross except during peak hours, and during Saturday shopping hours it was diverted at Clapham Junction to Battersea Park Station. In 1978 it was revised to run daily between South Kensington and King’s Cross, extended on Mondays to Fridays via Caledonian Road and Holloway to Archway Station, covering route 17. In 1983 it was extended on Saturdays and Sundays from King’s Cross to Archway. In 1985 it was withdrawn between King’s Cross and Archway, and replaced by a reintroduced route 17. In 1988 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Farringdon Street and King’s Cross. In 1990 it was diverted at Brixton to terminate at Lambeth Town Hall, and also extended to run to King’s Cross at all times. In 1994 it was extended from Brixton to run to Streatham Hill (Telford Avenue). The route has seen operation with RTL, RTW, RM, DM and T buses prior to today’s low-floor double-deckers.

Route 46 tickets

An early 2d London General ticket for SERVICE 46.

Route 46 ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Alperton Station and Waterloo via Wembley, Blackbird Cross, Neasden, Willesden, Kensal Rise, Westbourne Park, Notting Hill Gate, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Sloane Square, Victoria, Horseferry Road and Lambeth Bridge. In 1968 it was withdrawn between Victoria and Waterloo and between Kensal Rise and Alperton, except for rush hour journeys to Neasden. The route was withdrawn completely in 1969.

This “E” plate could have come from either version of route 46.

46 MON.-SAT.

This daily “E” could not have come from the 1960s route, which did not operate on Sundays.
This plate would probably have come from King’s Cross where terminating buses would have served a different stop from through buses.
This plate is extremely rare as it came from a single stop, most likely at King’s Cross.

The current route 46 was introduced in 1972, replacing the northern end of route 45 and running on Mondays to Saturdays between Hampstead Heath (South End Green) and Farringdon Street via Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town, King’s Cross, Grays Inn Road and Holborn Circus using Routemasters. After only five months it was converted to one-man-operation and was introduced on Sundays between Hampstead Heath and King’s Cross. In 1982 it was extended daily from Hampstead Heath to Swiss Cottage via Pond Street, Haverstock Hill, Belsize Avenue and Belsize Park. It was further extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Kensal Rise Station via Finchley Road, Warwick Avenue, Shirland Road and Queens Park. It was withdrawn between King’s Cross and Farringdon Street outside peak hours on Mondays to Fridays, and on Saturdays except for some early journeys. In 1983 it was re-extended from King’s Cross to Farringdon Street between the peaks on Mondays to Fridays, but the Saturday journeys were withdrawn. In 1984 it was withdrawn between Warwick Avenue and Kensal Rise outside peak hours on Mondays to Fridays and all day Saturdays. In 1986 the Sunday service was withdrawn. In 1990 it was extended from Warwick Avenue to Kensal Rise at all times on Mondays to Saturdays except evenings. In 1993 it was introduced on Sundays between Kensal Rise and King’s Cross. In 2000 it was withdrawn daily between Warwick Avenue Station and Kensal Rise. In 2002 it was extended to Farringdon Street at all times.

Route 47 is a very long-established route and ran daily between Farnborough and Shoreditch Church via Locksbottom, Bromley Common, Bromley, Downham, Catford, Lewisham, Deptford, Surrey Docks, Bermondsey, London Bridge, Monument and Liverpool Street Station. From 1950 until 1953 it was extended on Summer Sundays from Farnborough to Knockholt Pound via Pratts Bottom. In 1957 it was withdrawn between Bromley Garage and Farnborough on Sundays and replaced by route 199. In 1961 it was extended daily from Shoreditch to Stoke Newington via Dalston. In 1962 it was further extended on Sundays from Stoke Newington to Stamford Hill. In 1965 it was revised to run daily between Stamford Hill and Farnborough. In 1970 it was withdrawn between Shoreditch Church and Stamford Hill. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Bromley Garage and Farnborough and replaced by new route 261. In 1985 the 47 was withdrawn between Downham Way (Bromley Road) and Bromley Garage, and replaced by new route 47A. In 1988 the 47 was withdrawn between Catford Garage and Downham Way. In 1999 it was rerouted to serve Canada Water.

A more detailed history of route 47 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

RM 40
◀ RM 40 [VLT 40] approaching stop Z in Bromley High Street. Besides route 47, there are also vinyl stickers for routes 61, 261 (which dates this photo after 04.08.82), 705, 706, 805 and National Express on this B(C)C(C)E6G3 stop. The “G” plate at the bottom reads ALSO BUSES TO BROMLEY COMMON GARAGE [TB], which—coincidentally—is where service 222 from Catford [TL] garage is headed to on this fine sunny day.
Seven different geographical punch tickets from route 47, all with the later style small value overprint. Issued in the late 1940s, the tickets are from two different sets with differing print layouts. ▶
Route 47 tickets
This “E” plate comes from the route of the garage journeys to Dalston Garage running to and from Shoreditch Church via Hackney Road and Mare Street, which were affixed in the 1980s when there was policy of advertising garage runs along some routes.

48 MON.-FRI. The second “E” plate is either from the long-since-gone tram replacement service, or alternatively it could be from the trolleybus replacement service started on 11 November 1959. It cannot be from current route 48 which has never had a Monday-to-Friday-only section.

Route 48 began operating in January 1952 as a tram replacement route running daily between West Norwood Station and Elephant & Castle via Herne Hill, Denmark Hill and Camberwell Green, with a Monday to Saturday extention to Cannon Street via Borough and Southwark Bridge. In 1952 the Sunday service was withdrawn, and in 1955 the Saturday service was withdrawn; in both cases replaced by a revised route 42. The route—operated by RTL buses from Camberwell Garage [Q] for its entire life—was withdrawn completely in August 1958.

In November 1959 the number 48 was reused for the 569 trolleybus replacement service running daily along the trolleybus routeing from Aldgate to Poplar via Stepney and Limehouse, then extended to North Woolwich via Canning Town and Silvertown during Monday to Friday peak hours and on weekends. It also ran west into the City via Bank, Mansion House, St. Paul’s, Fleet Street and Aldwych to Waterloo Station on Monday to Friday. In 1961 it was withdrawn between Aldgate and Waterloo, replaced mainly by new route 4A running between St. Paul’s and Waterloo, and Saturday journeys were withdrawn between Poplar and Aldgate. In 1962 the Sunday service was withdrawn. At the end of January 1965, the second 48—which was operated by Routemasters from Poplar Garage [PR]—was withdrawn.

In 1968 the 48 reappeared at Leyton Garage [T], with RTs running daily between London Bridge Station and Whipps Cross via Monument, Bishopsgate, Shoreditch, Kingsland Road, Dalston Junction, Dalston Lane, Pembury Road, Clapton, Lea Bridge Road and Bakers Arms. It replaced route 38A between Whipps Cross and Clapton, and route 35 between Leyton and Shoreditch. In 1971 Routemasters first appeared on Sundays, then RMLs took over operations. In 1983 it was withdrawn between Bakers Arms and Whipps Cross, but extended evenings and weekends to Walthamstow Central Station. In 1985 the route was converted to one-person-operated Titans, and garage journeys now ran to its new base at Walthamstow Garage [WW]. In 1987 Monday to Friday evening service was extended from Leyton Green to Walthamstow Central Station. In 1989 Walthamstow Garage was closed and the allocation transferred back to Leyton. In 1990 the route was diverted via Hackney instead of Dalston, now running via Shoreditch, Hackney Road, Cambridge Heath, Hackney, Lower Clapton Road and Clapton.


Route 49 ran daily from Shepherds Bush Green to Crystal Palace via Holland Road, Kensington High Street, Gloucester Road, Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, Chelsea, Oakley Street, Battersea Bridge, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Common, Tooting Bec, Streatham Common, Crown Point, Beaulah Hill and Church Road. In 1958 the Sunday service was extended from Shepherds Bush Green to Harlesden (Willesden Junction) via Old Oak Common Lane, East Acton, Western Avenue, Park Royal and Acton Lane, replacing part of route 12. In 1971 the 49 was withdrawn between Streatham Garage and Crystal Palace. The withdrawn section was replaced by new route 249. In 1978 the Sunday extension between Shepherds Bush and Harlesden was replaced by a re-introduced route 12. In 1984 Streatham Garage was closed for three years for re-construction and the terminal was temporarily moved to Streatham (St. Leonard’s Church). Later in 1987 the route was converted to one-person-operation. In 1989 it was extended back to Crystal Palace, replacing the withdrawn route 249. In 1991 the 249 once again replaced route 49 between Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace, except on Sundays when route 349 ran over this section.

1d route 49 ticket 1d route 49 ticket
A pair of 1d punch tickets from the London General Omnibus Company Ltd. for route 49 with stages from Shepherd’s Bush to Lewisham, probably dating from early 1920s.
DMS 2454
DMS 2454 [OJD454R] at stop D in Crystal Palace Parade. A total of ten “E” plates (or vinyl stickers)—including two red ones—are displayed. This was accomplished by affixing one to the lower right corner of the flag itself, rather in than in the proper slots in the runners.
Photo courtesy of London Bus Routes.
This plate likely came from a stop in Shepherd’s Bush Green on the south or west side of Shepherd’s Bush Common where the Monday-to-Saturday service had a separate stop from the Sunday routeing so that buses could make the right-hand turn into Uxbridge Road.
Adapted from The Greater London Bus Map
This plate once also had the destination HARLESDEN below SUNDAY, but this has been ground off, as London Transport sometimes did when they needed to change the description on a plate. It may have also come from Shepherd’s Bush Green.
This “E” plate likely came from Shepherd’s Bush Green where terminating buses stopped on a different stop from through journeys.
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