London Transport
Central Area Routes 96–99

Last updated 4-1-09.

Route 96 was (numerically) the first trolleybus replacement route, replacing the 696 on 4 March 1959 as part of Phase I. It ran from Dartford (Market Street) to Woolwich (Parsons Hill) via Crayford, Bexleyheath, Welling, Wickham Lane and Plumstead Station, with an extention to Woolwich Road (Victoria Way) via Woolwich Road during Monday to Saturday peak hours. In 1969 the Saturday peak journeys to Victoria Way were withdrawn. In 1971 the peak hours terminal was changed from Victoria Way to Charlton Station. In 1980 the 96 was rerouted in Dartford via Northern Link Road and Overy Liberty, instead of Hythe Street and High Street. In 1984 the Monday to Friday peak-hour extension to Charlton was withdrawn. In 1999 the route was extended with a non-stopping service during shopping hours from Dartford to Bluewater Park (Shopping Centre).

An earlier route 96 ran Monday to Saturday only between Putney Common (Spencer Arms) and Redbridge Station via Putney Bridge, Fulham Road, Fulham Broadway, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde park Corner, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, Strand, Aldwych, Fleet Street, Bank, Aldgate, Mile End, Bow, Stratford, Leytonstone and Wanstead. In April 1958 the Saturday service was withdrawn between Aldwych and Redbridge, and in August of that year the route was withdrawn completely.

Both of these “E” plates came from the trolleybus replacement route, as the original 96 never ran daily. The DARTFORD plate may have come from a stop in the network of one-way streets in the vicinity of Woolwich Arsenal where the regular service would have turned away from the peak hour extension along Woolwich Road. 96 DARTFORD

This “E” plate could have come from either route 97.
97 MON.-SAT.
1933 route 97 timetable panel
A norhbound bus stop timetable from April 1933.
1965 route 97 timetable panel
This timetable panel was posted on the bus stop in the Station Approach, Ruislip for the Sunday short journeys on route 97 that started there instead of at Ruislip Lido. It is dated 4.7.65, when the route was operated by RT-type buses. It is slightly larger than an A4 sheet of paper, and the other side is blank.

In January 1950 route 97 ran between Brentford Half Acre and Greenford Red Lion via Northfields, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway, Eaton Rise, Woodfield Road, Pitshanger Lane, Scotch Common, Argyle Road and Ruislip Road. During April 1952 the route was extended to Ruislip. In May 1952 a summer Sunday extension commenced to Ruislip Lido, being withdrawn in October the same year, and continuing each year until the withdrawal of the route. During July 1964, route 97 was withdrawn between Greenford and Ruislip, being replaced over this section by route 211. The route was withdrawn on 30 November 1968, and partly replaced by routes 273 and E2.

Today’s 97 was introduced in 1981—replacing the northern end of route 69—and ran daily between Leyton (Downsell Road) and Chingford Station via Leyton Station, Leyton (Baker’s Arms), Walthamstow Central, Crooked Billet, Chingford Mount, Old Church Road and The Ridgeway. It was withdrawn in 1987 and replaced by the re-extension of the 69 to Chingford Station, but the following year the 97 was reintroduced and the 69 again cut back.

This double-vertical plate will have originated from Walthamstow Central Station in 1981. Most of the bus stops there carried double-vertical plates as this enabled more destinations to be included. It still had double-vertical plates to match the other routes. These plates were always exceptionally rare, and in almost every case only two were ever made. ▶



Route 97A began operating at the end of January 1981 between Walthamstow Central Station and Chingford Station via Chingford Mount, New Road, Larkshall Road, Kings Road and Station Road, in part to compensate for the withdrawal of route W21. In 1982 the evening and Sunday service was withdrawn. In 1983 the 97A was rerouted in Chingford via Friday Hill instead of Larkshall Road, and extended on Mondays to Fridays from Walthamstow Central to Leyton (Downsell Road) via Baker’s Arms. In 1985 it was further extended from Leyton to Hackney (Clapton Garage) via Lea Bridge Road and Clapton, with some Saturday journeys extended from Walthamstow to Leyton Green. In 1987 the Monday to Friday service was withdrawn between Leyton and Hackney, and a year later the Saturday journeys beyond Walthamstow were also discontinued. In 1992 Sunday service was reintroduced, and the route was extended from Walthamstow Central to Whipps Cross via Baker’s Arms. In 1994 Sunday journeys were extended in Whipps Cross to the Hospital. Finally, in February 2000, the 97A was withdrawn, replaced mainly by new route 357.

This double-height “E2” plate will also have been erected at Walthamstow Central Station in 1981.

In 1949 route 98 ran from Hounslow Garage to Ruislip Station via Hounslow West, Cranford, Harlington Corner, Hayes, Church Road, Hayes End, Uxbridge Road, Long Lane, Hillingdon, Ickenham and Kingsend. The service was renumbered H98 in 1990.

The number 98 was reused in 1992 for a service replacing route 8 between Willesden and Oxford Circus, running between Willesden Garage (Pound Lane) and Holborn (Red Lion Square) via High Road Willesden, Willesden Lane, Kilburn High Road, Maida Vale, Edgware Road, Marble Arch, Oxford Street, Oxford Circus and New Oxford Street.

1967 route 98 timetable
A northbound bus stop timetable from October 1967.
1973 route 98 timetable
Route 98 timetable leaflet dating from 6 January 1973, when the service was converted to one-person-operated SMS buses.

I believe this “E” plate dates back to the period from 1969 to 1972 when the 98A operated between Hayes and Ruislip Stations.
This “E” plate dates from before 19.07.69, when Saturday service on the 98A was withdrawn for the last time.
It was unusual to find the words TERMINATING HERE appearing on an “E” plate.

Route 98A began operating on 16 April 1952, running weekdays between Hounslow Garage and Pinner (Red Lion) via Hounslow West, Cranford, Harlington Corner, Hayes, Church Road, Hayes End, Uxbridge Road, Long Lane, Hillingdon, Western Avenue, West End Road, Ruislip and Eastcote Road. After just seven months, Saturday journeys were withdrawn, and Monday to Friday service was withdrawn between Hillingdon and Pinner outside of peak hours. In 1954 Saturday journeys were reintroduced to replace withdrawn route 98, and the route was withdrawn beyond Hillingdon and diverted in Hillingdon via Oak Farm Estate (running via Long Lane, Windsor Avenue and Granville Road instead of Uxbridge Road and Long Lane). In 1957 it was extended from Hillingdon via Ickenham to Ruislip Station. In April 1968 it was once again withdrawn beyond Hillingdon except for Monday to Friday peaks and daytime Saturday. Seven months later the Saturday service was withdrawn entirely. In 1961 Sunday service was introduced to replace the withdrawn 98 on this day, travelling beyond Ruislip to North Harrow Station via Eastcote, Pinner, Hatch End and Headstone Lane. In 1963 the 98A was reduced to Sunday only, with Monday to Friday service replaced by a revised route 98, and the Oak Farm section replaced by a diverted 98B. In 1964 the 68A was withdrawn between Hounslow and Hayes, and the route was cancelled on 23 January 1966.

1969 route 98A timetable

Route 98A began running again on 15 June 1968 to replacing part of the 98 and withdrawn route 98B. It operated between Hayes Station and Ruislip Station via Judge Heath Lane, Lees Road, Long Lane, Oak Farm Estate, Hillingdon and Ickenham, with a Monday to Friday peak hours extension from Hayes Station to Hatton Cross via Harlington Corner. In 1969 the Saturday service was withdrawn. In 1971 the peak hours extension between Hayes and Hatton Cross was withdrawn, and on 17 June 1972 the route was withdrawn entirely. Both the first and second incarnations of the 98A used RT-type buses for their entire life.

◀ A northbound bus stop timetable from February 1969.

The number 98A reappeared once more for a Monday to Friday peak hour service between Hayes Station and Ruislip Station via Hayes End, Long Lane, Hillingdon Station and Ruislip High Street, operated by M-type Metrobuses. In 1990 it was reduced to single-direction-only journeys, running from West Drayton Station to Ruislip Station via Cherry Lane, Hayes, Hayes End, Long Lane, Hillingdon and Ickenham in the a.m. and the opposite in the p.m. In 1981 the mourning trips were extended to start at Uxbridge Station, then ran to Ruislip via Cowley, West Drayton, etc. Route number 98A was finally withdrawn for the last time on 24 July 1993.

Route 99 started its days as a London General service on 22 May 1916, and ran daily between Woolwich (Earl of Chatham) and Erith (Prince of Wales) via Plumstead, Bostall Hill, Upper Belvedere and Erith Road. In 1979 it was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Erith to Slade Green Station via Manor Road and Hazel Road, but in 1985 this extension was withdrawn and replaced by the 122A. The 99 was probably one of the last routes in London—along with sister route 122A—to not pass through a traffic light for the whole of its journey. From Woolwich to Erith there were none—this in the 1970s. There was one traffic light, however, on the return at Thomas Street, Woolwich.

Route 99
Route 99 in 1940. Adapted from The Greater London Bus Map.
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