London Transport
Central Area Routes 165–169

Last updated 19-11-09.

This “E” plate would have come from the stop at Rainham Clock Tower in the days when the route terminated there, as buses stood on the north side of the Memorial, facing away from Romford.
Route 165 timetable
Route 165 bus stop timetable, dated 18 July 1970.

Route 165 has run between Havering Park (Hunters Grove) and Rainham (War Memorial) via Collier Row, Romford, Roneo Corner, Abbs Cross Road, Elm Park Avenue and Rainham Road since 1950. It saw various intermediate rerouteings over the years, and in 1968 was converted to RML operation as it was a very busy route. It was the only route from Hornchurch Garage to use RMLs. In 1973 the Havering Park terminus was changed to Firbank Road, and it was also converted to one-man-operation, making Hornchurch Garage the first all omo (one-man-operated) garage. In 1975 part of the service was diverted to serve Mardyke Estate during the off-peak on Mondays to Fridays and during Saturday shopping hours, but this section became route 365 in 1988. A peak hour service to Mardyke Estate was introduced in 1976. In 1986 the 165 was extended at Rainham to run beyond the Clock Tower to Abbey Wood Lane. In 1987 the service to Abbey Wood Lane and to Mardyke Estate was revised to run at all times. In 1988 the Mardyke Estate service was renumbered 365, and in 1991 the 165 was withdrawn between Romford and Havering Park.

Route 166 was introduced in 1948 running on Mondays to Saturdays between Chipstead Valley and Thornton Heath Pond via Coulsdon, Purley and Croydon. In 1951 it was extended to Streatham Common via South Lodge Avenue and Streatham Vale. In 1952 it was withdrawn between Thonton Heath Pond and Streatham Common and rerouted to Thornton Heath (High Street) via Brigstock Road. In 1970 it was withdrawn between Croydon and Thornton Heath and rerouted to Beckenham Junction Station via Shirley, West Wickham and Eden Park to replace the withdrawn route 194A. In 1990 it was withdrawn between Shirley and Beckenham Junction and a Sunday service was introduced between Chipstead Valley and East Croydon Station later that year. In 1993 it was revised to run daily between Chipstead Valley and Shirley (Monks Orchard) and rerouted via Bridle Road in Shirley. In 1998 it was withdrawn between West Croydon and Shirley, and part of the service previously numbered 498 was absorbed into the 166, with journeys running beyond Chipstead to Langley Vale via Epsom. The terminus changed to Epsom General Hospital in 2001.

Route 166 leaflet
Leaflet for the one-person-operation conversion of routes 166 and 166A starting 6 January 1973, with print code 1172/3781S/51,500. This fold-out leaflet lists brief details of the changes and has a fare table on the front. Inside are bus stop timetables for the service and on the back are diagrams showing how to use split entrance buses.
Routes 166 & 166A, 1970-1985.
Routes 166 and 166A, as they ran from 1970 to 1985.
Adapted from The Greater London Bus Map.
166 MON.-SAT.
166 MON.-SAT.
166 MON.-SAT.
166 MON.-SAT. - 166A SUNDAY
This “E” plate would have come from any of the stops along the common section of the two routes, i.e. just about anywhere between Chipstead Valley and Croydon.

These two “E” plates are for the 1970–1985 Sunday-only route.
Route 166A fare chart
A fare chart for the reintroduced route 166A, dated 10.10.70.

Route 166A was introduced on 7th April 1948 and ran on Mondays to Saturdays from Old Coulsdon (Tudor Rose) to Thornton Heath Pond via Coulsdon, Purley and Croydon. It was operated at first by ST type and later RT type buses from South Croydon garage [TC]. The route was renumbered 190 on 22nd October 1952.

On 31st October 1970 the route number was resurrected for a Sunday-only variation of route 166 which ran from Chipstead Valley (Midday Sun post house) to Thornton Heath Garage via Coulsdon, Purley and Croydon. This route was operated by SMS-type AEC Swifts and then by DMS type buses from 6th January 1973. The route was withdrawn on 2nd February 1985.

Route 168 was a tram replacement route introduced in 1950 between Wandsworth and Victoria Embankment via Clapham Junction, Vauxhall and Westminster Bridge, running on to Farringdon Street via Blackfriars on Mondays to Saturdays. In 1951 it was extended daily from Wandsworth via Tibbets Corner to Putney Heath (Green Man). In 1953 the Saturday pm service was withdrawn between Horse Guards and Farringdon Street. In 1956 the Sunday service was cut back to Vauxhall, and withdrawn completely in 1958. In 1961 the route was revised to run Mondays to Saturdays from Putney Heath to Turnpike Lane Station, being extended from Blackfriars via Holborn Circus, Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross, Holloway, Finsbury Park and Manor House, but the following year the Saturday service was withdrawn between Farringdon Street and Turnpike Lane Station. It was cut back to Farringdon Street again in 1965 when the northern section was renumbered 168A. The 168 was rerouted via Trafalgar Square later that year. The Farringdon Street extension was gradually reduced to peak hours only by 1978, and the route was withdrawn completely in 1980.

168 MON.-FRI.
MON.-FRI. was the newer replacement for the somewhat ambiguous WEEKDAY
This “E” plate would have come from the Farringdon Street extension, and dates from the last years of the 168.
This plate is particularly rare as it will have come from the section of route between Embankment and Farringdon Street at a time when the Saturday service was limited to just a few early journeys. It also has rather unusual wording in that there is no & between MON-FRI and SATURDAY, making the message somewhat ambiguous.
168 MON.-SAT.
… since WEEKDAY could have also meant MON.-SAT. in the era of the six-day work week. The larger numbers and rounder 8 suggest that this is an older plate from the early days of the route, from the section between Westminster and Farringdon.
◀ This plate would have come from a stop on Victoria Embankment only served when buses were terminating at Horse Guards Avenue. It is notable that HORSEGUARDS is shown incorrectly as one word, and for some reason the need was found to abbreviate “Avenue”.

168A MON.-FRI.
This “E” plate dates from the 168A’s last days, after the route was altered in 1981 to run only from Hornsey Rise to Waterloo but extended during peak hours to Vauxhall, and this plate is from that short peak-hours section.

Route 168A was introduced in 1965 to replace the northern end of the 168, running on Mondays to Fridays between Turnpike Lane and Clapham Junction via Manor House, Finsbury Park, Holloway, Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, Grays Inn Road, Holborn Circus, Blackfriars, Stamford Street, Waterloo, Albert Embankment and Vauxhall. In 1968 it was withdrawn between Finsbury Park and Turnpike Lane. In 1979 it was rerouted at Holloway to run to Hornsey Rise instead of Finsbury Park. In April 1981 it was converted to one-man operation and withdrawn between Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. It was also withdrawn outside peak hours between Waterloo and Vauxhall, and was finally withdrawn in September 1982. The 168A was worked by RTs from both Holloway garages: HT and J.

Route 169 was introduced in October 1950 to replace tram service 28, running daily between Victoria and Clapham Junction via Vauxhall and Wandsworth Road. This route did not change throughout its life and it was withdrawn in August 1958.

The next route 169 was introduced 12 months later as a replacement for trolleybus service 691, running daily between Barking (London Road) and Barkingside via Ilford, Ley Street, Newbury Park and Horns Road. A few months later, some rush hour journeys were extended from Barking to Remploy Works. In 1962 some rush hour journeys were extended at the other end of the route to Hainault Industrial Estate. In 1965 the Monday to Saturday service was extended from Barkingside to Claybury (Caterham Avenue) via Fullwell Avenue, and the Hainault Industrial Estate journeys were renumbered 169B. The Remploy Factory journeys were withdrawn in 1966. In 1968 the Sunday service was also extended to Claybury. In 1973 it was converted to one-man-operation, and on Sundays was extended to Oban Road in Barking to serve the Gascoigne Estate. In 1982 the daily service was extended beyond Barking to Thames View Estate replacing the 179 and 199 over this section, but was cut back again in 1991 when new routes B1 and B2 were introduced. The route now runs daily between Barking and Clayhall (The Glade).

May 1965 timetable for routes 169 and 169B
A May 1965 timetable for routes 169 and 169B. The schedule must have been fairly simple, as it was possible to include both directions on the one side of the sheet.
This plate came from one of the early 1960s rush hour extensions that ran to the Remploy Works and the Hainault Industrial Estate.
169 MON.-SAT.
This “E” plate is likely to have come from the Barking route when the Monday to Saturday service ran on to Claybury between 1965 and 1968.


Route 169A was introduced in August 1959 as a Monday to Saturday service between Barkingside (High Street) and Bow Church via Newbury Park, Ilford, Manor Park, Forest Gate and Stratford Broadway, with a Monday to Friday peak hours extension to Mile End Gate via Mile End. In 1963 the evening service was withdrawn between Stratford and Bow. In 1968 all service was withdrawn beyond Stratford, and in 1969 the route was reduced to peak hours only. In 1973 it was extended from Stratford Broadway to the new Stratford Bus Station. The 169A was withdrawn in March 1977 without replacment.

For its first four years the 169A was worked by RTs and RTLs from Seven Kings [AP] and Bow [BW] garages, but the operations were transferred to Upton Park [U] in 1963. The route only saw Routemasters on Saturdays, which were a spare allocation from route 15.

Timetable for routes 169 and 169C

Route 169C was introduced in 1968, running on Sundays only between Barking (London Road) and Claybury Broadway via Ilford Lane, Ilford, Newbury Park, Barkingside and Clayhall Avenue. In 1973 it was extended from Barking to Gascoigne Estate and converted to one-man-operation. The route was withdrawn in 1976.

◀ This timetable panel is dated 1.8.71(A), when these routes were operated by RT-type buses. The table for westbound service is on the other side. This is a very interesting “E” plate as it is a rare example of a red Sunday-only plate being combined with a rather uncommon “C” suffix route. ▶
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