London Transport
Central Area Routes 175–179

Last updated 25-03-10.

This “E” plate would probably have come from a stop at Chase Cross where terminating buses stopped separately from the journeys running on to Ongar.
It is quite unusual to have the word VIA on a Central buses “E” plate, and this one would probably have come from the stop at Dagenham, where buses could either run via Heathway, or via Rippleside to Poplar.

Route 175 ran daily between Ongar and Dagenham (New Road) via Stanford Rivers, Passingford Bridge, Stapleford Abbotts, Chase Cross, Collier Row, Romford, Rush Green, Becontree Heath and Heathway. It was diverted at Dagenham on Mondays to Saturdays to Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel) via Rippleside, Barking By-Pass and Canning Town. Some journeys also ran to Ford’s Main Works. The route always ran in sections. In 1970 it was withdrawn on Sundays between Passingford Bridge and Ongar, and in 1972 further withdrawn between Chase Cross and Passingford Bridge. In 1973 it was withdrawn completely between Chase Cross and Ongar, and replaced over this section by new route 175A, and also withdrawn between Dagenham and Poplar, mainly replaced over this section by new route 173. In 1979 it was diverted at Collier Row to North Romford (Hillrise Estate). In 1981 it had some journeys rerouted on Mondays to Saturdays via Chase Cross, Havering Green and Stapleford Abbotts to Passingford Bridge, although these were withdrawn in 1982. The route achieved its greatest notoriety when it was home to the RMA class front-entrance Routemaster coaches, after London Transport put the former BEA buses into normal stage service from October 1975 to September ’76.

175 - 250
◀ This plate dates from when route 175 ran between Blackwall Tunnel and Chipping Ongar and route 250 ran between Hornchurch Garage and Epping. The plate would most probably have been used at stops along the common section of the two routes between Collier Row and Passingford Bridge. The routes served separate stops between Romford and Collier Row due to the special fares charged on route 250 to discourage passengers from making “local” journeys.

In 1949 route 250 ran between Romford Station and Epping Town (Cock) via Collier Row, Chase Cross, Stapleford Abbotts, Passingford Bridge, Abridge and Theydon Bois. In May 1950 it was extended from Romford to Hornchurch Garage. In October the Sunday service was withdrawn over this section, but reinstated the following May. In 1952 the 250 was extended in Epping Town to Grove Lane. In 1958 the route was diverted between Theydon Bois and Epping via Ivychimneys. In February 1959 Monday to Friday peak hour journeys were extended to Corbets Tey via Upminster, but this lasted for only seven weeks. In 1973 the route was withdrawn between Romford and Hornchurch Garage. In 1974 it was extended from Epping (Grove Lane) to St. Margaret’s Hospital. The 250 was withdrawn in January 1977, replaced by a revised 247 service.

Route 175A had a very short and simple history by London Transport terms. It was introduced on 16th June 1973 running on Mondays to Saturdays between Romford Station and Ongar (Cripsey Avenue) via Collier Row, North Romford, Havering Green, Havering-atte-Bower, Stapleford Abbotts, Passingford Bridge and Stanford Rivers. It was scheduled for RT operation but towards the end Routemasters often appeared. It was a replacement for the northern local section of the long 175 route which ran from Blackwall Tunnel to Ongar (although no bus made the complete journey and the route ran in a number of sections). The 175A was the rather pleasant “country” end. It was a very infrequent route for London Transport, running about every two hours. The route was withdrawn on 8th January 1977 when it was renumbered 247B and converted to one-man operation, becoming one of the first LT routes to use the new Bristol LH single-deck buses.

The third plate is rather unusual for a number of reasons. Apart from having the word ONLY, the 175A was operated by just one vehicle which provided a bus about every two hours between Romford and Ongar. There may have been a short journey running only as far as North Romford (Chase Cross), possibly towards the end of the duty, although I cannot recall one. If this was the case as seems likely, this “E” plate would have been from the bus stop at Chase Cross where terminating buses loaded and unloaded at a different stop from those continuing beyond, which stopped just around the corner, along with the 250 to Epping. Moreover, the 175A was not a daily route but it does not carry the words MON-SAT, so it is also likely to be an error. Thus, it is a very interesting plate for an infrequent route, produced for just one bus stop, and possibly for just one journey! Maybe an error as well.

176 MON.-FRI.
176 MON-FRI - 188
◀ This “E” plate would have come from the common section of routes 176 and 188, between Aldwych and Elephant & Castle.

Route 176 was introduced in 1951 as a tram replacement route and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Victoria Embankment and Forest Hill via Westminster, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell and Dulwich, extended on Mondays to Fridays except during peak hours and on Saturdays to Catford (Rushey Green). In 1952 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Victoria Embankment and Elephant & Castle except for a rush hour service. In 1956 it was rerouted at Elephant & Castle to run to Willesden Garage via Waterloo, Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Tottenham Court Road, Marylebone Road, Edgware Road, Maida Vale and Kilburn, and later that year the Catford terminus was changed to Catford Garage. In 1965 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Waterloo and Willesden and replaced by route 1. It was also diverted at Catford to run to Lewisham. In 1969 the remaining Saturday service was withdrawn. In 1971 it was withdrawn between Forest Hill and Lewisham. In 1987 it was diverted at Tottenham Court Road Station to Oxford Circus instead of Willesden, and a Sunday service was introduced between Waterloo and East Dulwich (Goose Green). At the same time the Saturday service was cut back to East Dulwich. In 1988 it was extended daily from East Dulwich / Forest Hill to Penge (Pawleyne Arms) via Darmouth Road and Kirkdale. In 1990 the Sunday service was extended from Waterloo to Aldwych, and in 1994 it was revised to run to Oxford Circus at all times.

Route 188 was introduced as a tram replacement route in 1951 running between Chalk Farm Station and Greenwich (Cutty Sark) via Camden Town, Euston, Russell Square, Holborn Station, Aldwych, Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, Bricklayers Arms, Tower Bridge Road, Rotherhithe and Surrey Docks. In 1958 it was withdrawn on Saturday afternoons between Aldwych and Chalk Farm. In 1963 it was re-extended to Chalk Farm on Saturday afternoons, but cut back to Aldwych on Mondays to Fridays except during peak hours. Later that year it was withdrawn on Sundays between Waterloo and Chalk Farm. In 1964 the Sunday service was diverted to Archway Station and renumbered 188A. In 1970 the 188 was revised to run from Greenwich to Waterloo on Mondays to Saturdays, and extended on Mondays to Fridays to Euston Station. A few early Saturday journeys continued beyond Waterloo to Aldwych. In 1971 it was converted to one-man operation and withdrawn between Surrey Docks Station and Greenwich on Mondays to Fridays except during peak hours. A Sunday service was reintroduced between Greenwich and Waterloo. In 1978 the route was simplified (at last) to run daily between Greenwich and Euston. In 1982 the Monday to Friday service was extended to King’s Cross as part replacement for route 239, but in 1985 this extension was reduced to peak hours only, and being withdrawn completely in 1986 so that it again ran Greenwich to Euston at all times. In 1999 it was extended from Greenwich to North Greenwich Station, and later that year withdrawn between Russell Square and Euston. Since the route has been tendered, it has seen a number of operators running on it: Boroline Maidstone, Selkent, London & Country, South London, Arriva North East, Arriva London North, London General and London Central, now being operated by Travel London.

Route 176A ran Monday to Friday from Cannon Street to Forest Hill/Catford (Rushey Green) via Southwark Bridge, Borough, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell Green, East Dulwich and Dulwich, but only to Dulwich (Plough) during Monday to Saturday peak hours. In 1956 the Catford journeys were extended from Rushey Green to Catford Garage. In 1958 Saturday service was withdrawn and the RTW-type was introduced, replacing the RTLs previously used. In 1965 journeys beyond Forest Hill were diverted at Catford to Lewisham, and RTLs returned to the route. In 1966 RTs supplanted the RTL-type. Ten years later Routemasters were assigned to the route. In 1977 the City terminal was changed from Cannon Street to Mansion House Station. Route 176A was withdrawn on 4 September 1982.

These “E” plates would have come from the section beyond Dulwich after 1958.


These SPECIAL JOURNEYS ONLY plates would have most likely come from the section around Victoria Embankment or via Trafalgar Square. They are quite rare and difficult to obtain.
1999 route 177 timetable2003 route 177 timetable
A pair of rather attractive pocket timetable booklets for the 177. The 1999 copy sports a Selkent Dart Pointer, and the 2003 edition features a drawing of a Dennis Trident with Alexander ALX400 body, although the usual equipment assigned to this service was VN class Volvo Olympians with Northern Counties Palatine I bodywork.

Route 177 was introduced in 1952 as a bus replacement route for trams 36 and 38, and ran daily between Abbey Wood and Victoria Embankment via Plumstead, Woolwich, Greenwich, New Cross, Old Kent Road, Elephant & Castle and Westminster. On Mondays to Saturdays the route served Victoria Embankment via a loop working continuing via Westminster and Blackfriars back to Elephant & Castle. The Saturday p.m. and Sunday services were withdrawn between Elephant & Castle and Victoria Embankment in 1964. In 1967 the Saturday service to Victoria Embankment was reduced to just early morning journeys, and in 1971 the Monday to Friday service was similarly reduced. In 1973 the 177 was extended daily from Abbey Wood to Thamesmead (Yarnton Way), and further extended later that year to Alsike Road. In 1978 the remaining early morning journeys to Victoria Embankment were rerouted via Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and Fleet Street. In 1980 the route was cut back from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood, and the service between Woolwich and Thamesmead renumbered 178. At the same time the route was extended daily from Elephant & Castle to Waterloo. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Woolwich and Abbey Wood apart from garage journeys, but in 1984 it was re-extended to Plumstead Station. From 1983 to 1993 peak-direction-only express journeys were operated between Thamesmead (Bentham Road North) and Woolwich via Plumstead, then non-stop to Elephant, Blackfriars, Fleet Street, Aldwych, Whitehall and Westminster, terminating at County Hall. (The p.m. peak trips worked the opposite pattern.) In 1985 the London terminal was changed to Victoria. In 1988 the early journeys via Trafalgar Square were withdrawn. In 1994 the 177 was withdrawn between New Cross and Elephant & Castle, and rerouted instead to Peckham. In 1996 it was extended from Plumstead to Abbey Wood to cover the withdrawn section of route 380 via Abbey Estate and Thamesmead. In 1999 it was rerouted again from Plumstead to run via Abbey Estate to Thamesmead (Safeway). The route was especially interesting in that the Saturday night/Sunday morning journeys around Victoria Embankment retained Routemaster crew operation for many years after the main service was converted to one-man-operation in 1972.

Route 177A was a short-lived route and introduced in 1959 running on Mondays to Saturdays between Abbey Wood Estate and Woolwich (Parsons Hill) via Eynsham Drive and Plumstead High Street. A Sunday service was introduced later that year. In 1960 it was extended on Mondays to Fridays except evenings from Woolwich to New Cross Garage via Greenwich, and the Saturday all day service was similarly extended in 1962. The route was withdrawn in 1963 and replaced by a revised route 180.



Route 178 has previously run between Victoria and West Norwood, and later from Clapton Pond to Maryland, but this particular plate is from the more recent route introduced in 1980 between Thamesmead and Woolwich via Abbey Wood, and which replaced the eastern end of the 177.

Route 179 began operating on 6 January 1952 as a replacement for tram route 54 between Grove Park and Elephant & Castle via Downham Way, Catford, Stanstead Road, Crofton Park, Brockley Cross, New Cross and Old Kent Road, with a Monday to Saturday extension to Farringdon Street via Blackfriars. After exactly six months, Sunday service was extended from Elephant & Castle to Farringdon Street. In October 1957 the Sunday service was extended to Finsbury Park via Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s Churchyard, Aldersgate Street, Angel, Highbury Corner and Highbury Barn and re-numbered 179A, but this only lasted until April 1958 when the 179A was withdrawn and Sunday service was reintroduced on the 179 between Grove Park and Finsbury Park. Four months later the Monday to Saturday service was also extended from Ludgate Circus to Finsbury Park. On 8 November 1961 route 179 was withdrawn, partly replaced by new route 141.

Grey Green 151
Grey Green 151 [G151TYT] was a 1989 Volvo Citybus B10M with Alexander RV body.
Image courtesy London Bus Routes.

On 9 October 1963 the number 179 was reused for a new service replacing routes 145 between Chingford and Ilford and 193 between Ilford and Thames View, running between Chingford (Royal Forest Hotel) and Thames View Estate (Abridge Way) via Whitehall Road, Woodford High Road, Woodford New Road, Grove Road, Southend Road, Gants Hill, Ilford, Ilford Lane, Barking, Ripple Road, Movers Lane, River Road and Bastable Avenue. In September 1968 the Chingford terminal cut back from the Royal Forest Hotel to Chingford Station. In June 1972 the route was withdrawn between Barking and Thames View Estate except for Saturday shopping hours and Sundays, the section between Barking and Thames View replaced by new route 199. In October 1975 the Saturday service was extended from Barking to Thames View Estate at all times. In September 1982 the Sunday service was withdrawn, partly replaced by additional journeys on route 169 between Ilford and Thames View Estate, and the route was terminated at Barking (London Road) the rest of the week. In November 1985 the route was reallocated from Barking [BK] to Loughton [L] garage, and garage journeys ran in and out to Chingford Station via Rangers Road; however this arrangement only lasted for six months when the 179 was transferred to Leyton Garage [T]. In 1987 the route was transferred to Grey Green, and then on to Capital Citybus in 1996. Also that year the Sunday service was reintroduced. In 2010 the 179 was withdrawn between Ilford and Barking and replaced by routes EL1 and EL2.

This “E” plate could have come from either of the 179s, but judging by its excellent condition, my guess is that it was for the newer service.
← →
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