London Transport
Central Area Routes 170–174

Last updated 19-11-09.

Route 170 was introduced in 1950 as a replacement for tram route 31 and ran daily between Wandsworth (Armoury Way) and Hackney (Well Street) via Battersea, Nine Elms, Vauxhall, Albert Embankment, Westminster Bridge, Victoria Embankment, Aldwych, Bloomsbury, Clerkenwell Green, Old Street, Shoreditch and Cambridge Heath. In 1952 the Sunday service was withdrawn between Clerkenwell Green and Hackney. In 1953 the Sunday service was withdrawn completely. In 1959 it was extended from Hackney to Leyton Green via Clapton and Lea Bridge Road, and further extended during Monday to Friday peak hours to Leyton (Downsell Road). At the same time a Sunday service was introduced between Bloomsbury and Leyton Green. The Sunday service was extended to Loughton and renumbered 170A for the summers of 1960 and 1961. At the end of 1961 a limited Sunday service was reintroduced on the 170 between Bloomsbury and Leyton Green. In 1964 the Saturday service was withdrawn. In 1966 the Monday to Friday service was withdrawn between Hackney Station and Leyton Green, although some rush hour journeys to Downsell Road were retained. In 1968 a Saturday service was reintroduced between Bloomsbury and Hackney Station. In 1969 the 170 was withdrawn between Bloomsbury and Leyton except for peak hour journeys to Shoreditch Church, and replaced by new route 55. In 1971 the 170 was converted to one-man-operation and withdrawn between Westminster and Shoreditch, but diverted instead to Aldwych via Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and Strand, and further extended to Euston via Russell Square during peak hours. It was withdrawn completely at weekends. In 1981 it was rerouted between Wandsworth and Battersea via East Hill and Falcon Road, and extended from Wandsworth to Roehampton (Danebury Avenue) via Putney Heath. It was also introduced on Saturday shopping hours between Roehampton and Vauxhall. In 1982 the peak hour extension from Aldwych to Euston was withdrawn. In 1984 the 170 was used to evaluate different types of double deckers: Leyland Olympians (L), Volvo Ailsas (V), Dennis Dominators (H) and Metrobus MkIIs (M). In 1991 the 170 was converted to midibus operation and revised to run daily between Roehampton and Clapham Junction.

1971 route 170 leaflet
A 1971 leaflet announcing the introducton of omo DMS buses to the 170.
170 MON.-FRI.
170 MON.-FRI.
170 MON-FRI PEAK HOURS
170 MON-FRI RUSH HOURS
170 MON.-SAT.

171
171 FARE STAGE
171 WEEKDAY FARE STAGE

Route 171 ran daily between Tottenham (Bruce Grove) and Norwood via Harringay, Manor House, Newington Green, Islington, Bloomsbury, Kingsway, Aldwych, Victoria Embankment, Westminster, Kennington, Brixton and Herne Hill. On Mondays to Saturdays it terminated at West Norwood (Thurlow Arms). In 1957 the southern end of the route was exchanged with route 172, and so ran from Westminster via Elephant & Castle, Camberwell, Peckham, New Cross and Brockley to Forest Hill. In 1958 it was diverted between Islington and Elephant & Castle via Grays Inn Road, High Holborn, Chancery Lane, Fleet Street, Aldwych and Waterloo to replace route 67. In 1966 the 171 was withdrawn on Sundays and replaced mainly by new route 171A. In 1972 it was reintroduced on Sundays between Tottenham Garage and Forest Hill. In 1986 it was withdrawn north of Aldwych, except for a Monday to Friday extension to Rosebery Avenue, and a Sunday extension to Tottenham Garage, being replaced at the northern end again by a new route 171A. Later that year the Sunday extension to Tottenham Garage was cut back to Aldwych, but the Monday to Friday service was extended to Islington Green. In 1992 it was withdrawn between Holborn and Islington. In 1994 it was extended from Forest Hill to Catford Garage via Catford.


Route 171A was introduced in 1966 running on Sundays only between Abbey Wood Garage and Tottenham (Bruce Grove) via Abbey Estate, Plumstead, Woolwich, Greenwich, New Cross, Peckham, Camberwell, Elephant & Castle, Westminster Bridge Road, York Road, Waterloo, Aldwych, Chancery Lane, Holborn, Grays Inn Road, Rosebery Avenue, Islington, Essex Road, Newington Green, Green Lane, Manor House, Harringay, Black Boy Lane, West Green, Philip Lane and Tottenham High Road. It was a very long route—in fact, once one of the longest red bus routes—and replaced the 163A and 171 on Sundays, effectively joining them together. The route lasted only six years and was withdrawn in 1972, replaced by the introduction of the 171 on Sundays and new Sunday-only route 180A.

The 171A would have had quite a number of “E” plates throughout its length, but nevertheless it was extremely short-lived and they are not all that common.

171A SUNDAY
171A SUNDAY

172
172 WEEKDAY
172 MON.-FRI.
172 MON.-SAT.
This “E” plate dates from 1974 and would have come from a stop on the Westminster to West Norwood section of the route.
Route 172 diversion leaflet
◀ Timetable leaflet for the diversion of route 172 to serve Barnsbury, starting 27 March 1971, with print code 271/1316S/45,000. This is a 12-page stapled leaflet that contains a description of the changes, full timetables for each day of the week, and an Underground map. In the centre pages is a line drawing of the original and revised routeing between Holloway Road and the Angel. There was also an insert flyer that said “It’s good money on the buses, bus drivers can now earn £29 (or more) and conductors £28 with overtime.”

Route 172 was introduced on 7th April 1952 as a tram replacement route that ran daily between Highgate and Forest Hill via Holloway Road, Highbury, Islington, Angel, Bloomsbury, Kingsway, Aldwych, Victoria Embankment, Westminster Bridge, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell, Peckham, New Cross and Brockley. In 1957 the northern terminus was altered to Archway and the southern section of the route beyond Westminster Bridge was exchanged with route 171, and so ran from Westminster via Kennington, Brixton and Herne Hill to West Norwood (Thurlow Arms) on Mondays to Saturdays, or Norwood Garage on Sundays. In 1964 it was withdrawn on Sundays. In 1966 it was extended on Saturdays in West Norwood from Thurlow Arms to the Rosendale. In 1971 the Sunday service was reintroduced between Archway and Bloomsbury, and it was rerouted daily between Holloway and Islington via Liverpool Road and Barnsbury. In 1974 the route was withdrawn on Saturdays between Westminster and West Norwood. In 1978 it was diverted between Aldwych and Westminster via Strand and Trafalgar Squate, and the Saturday terminus was changed from Horse Guards to Trafalgar Square. In 1982 the route was withdrawn between Bloomsbury and Archway, diverted instead to King’s Cross. In 1985 the route was withdrawn, although the number has since been back a couple of times, and is now used for a route between St. Paul’s and Brockley Rise.


Route 173 was introduced in 1973, replacing the western end of route 175, and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Canning Town and Becontree Heath via Newham Way, Dagenham and Heathway. During Monday to Friday peak hours it was extended from Canning Town to Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel). In 1978 the peak hour extension was withdrawn and the route diverted to serve Barking Road and New Barn Street. In 1979 it was extended from Canning Town to Stratford Bus Station via West Ham Station. In 1983 it was diverted to serve East Beckton (Asda). In 1984 it was diverted at East Beckton to run to Stratford via Tollgate Road, Prince Regent Lane and Plaistow. It was also introduced on Sundays between East Beckton and Stratford, but the Sunday service was withdrawn in 1985. In 1986 it was rerouted via Connaught Road instead of direct via Tollgate Road. In 1993 it was extended from Becontree Heath to Little Heath via Whalebone Lane South and Chadwell Heath Lane, and a Sunday service was introduced between East Beckton and Little Heath. In 1993 it was extended from Little Heath to King George’s Hospital. Later that year it was withdrawn between East Beckton and Stratford. The 173 saw DMS and LS operation and was worked at different times by West Ham [WH] and Poplar [PR] garages which have both since closed.

173 MON.-SAT.
173 MON.-SAT.
173 MON.-SAT. FARE STAGE

174
Although the lettering size was never entirely consistent, this “E” plate has larger numbers, which were more common on older plates.
174
174
174 EXPRESS
This plate could date from the original introduction of the express service, as days of operation are not shown, and the style of manufacture is similar to older plates.
174 EXPRESS
174 EXPRESS
There seems to be much variation in the 174 Express “E” plates, no doubt because of the long life of this service.
174 EXPRESS
Route 174 & 174X fare charts.
◀ Route 174 fare chart with 174 Express on the back, dated 1968. It was displayed under the stairs where the conductor stood, and is the later Routemaster size.

Route 174 ran between Dagenham (Kent Avenue) and Romford (Parkside Hotel) via Rush Green in 1950, and was extended in October of that year to Harold Hill (Myrtle Road) via Gallows Corner, replacing withdrawn route 86B. In February 1952 it was further extended in Harold Hill from Myrtle Road to Gooshays Drive. It was extended in 1955 to Noak Hill. In November 1955 an express service was introduced during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday shopping hours, running between Romford Station and Harold Hill (Gooshays Drive). In 1957 the Saturday express service was withdrawn, but the peak hour express journeys remained unchanged for the next two decades. From January 1958, some Monday to Friday peak journeys were extended in Dagenham to Ford’s Foundry, and in August the same year, Monday to Saturday journeys continued to Noak Hill Pentowan, and in November, the Ford’s journeys became daily. In April 1974, the Pentowan journeys became schooltime only. The express service was withdrawn on 23 July 1977. In May 1980 the 174 was diverted via Oldchurch Hospital and the Pentowan journeys were withdrawn. In June 1986, a Saturday express service was reintroduced and weekend journeys to Ford’s Foundry on the 174 withdrawn. The 174 was rerouted northbound in Romford to serve the Bus Station during February 1987. On 5th April 1988, Monday to Friday peak journeys were introduced to Dagenham Dock. The express service was yet again withdrawn on 1 September 1990. Today’s route 174 runs between Noak Hill (Tees Drive) and Dagenham (Kent Avenue) via Whitchurch Road, Harold Hill, Hilldene Avenue, Gallows Corner, Romford, Oldchurch Hospital, Oxlow Lane and Dagenham Heathway, extended to Dagenham (Marsh Way CEME) on Mondays to Saturdays.

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