London Transport
Central Area Routes 240–245

Last updated 7-2-10.

1971 route 241 timetable
Bus stop timetable panel dated 16.1.71 for westbound 240 and 240A service.
SMS742 [JGF742K] on route 240 at Golders Green Station. Note the unusual route 210G6” plate:

Route 240 operated between Golders Green Station and Edgware Station via Hendon, Holders Hill Road, Bittacy Hill, The Ridgeway, Hammers Lane, Daws Lane, Mill Hill Broadway and Hale Lane. Unusually, it ran in two sections with two different types of buses: Golders Green–Mill Hill with RT double deckers from Cricklewood Garage [W], and Edgware Garage [EW] provided single deck TDs for Mill Hill to Edgware. In 1951 the Edgware to Mill Hill section was transferred to the 240A. In 1966 the 240A was withdrawn on Mondays to Saturdays, and the 240 was extended back to Edgware Station. Other than new garage allocations, and conversions between single- double-decker and minibuses, there have been no further changes since.

Route 240A originally ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Edgware Station and Page Street (Bunns Lane) via Hale Lane and Mill Hill Broadway. In 1951 it was introduced on Sundays and extended from Page Street to Mill Hill East Station via Bittacy Rise. In 1962 it was converted to RF operation, thus removing the last TDs from London Transport service. In 1966 the 240A was withdrawn on Mondays to Saturdays and replaced by an extended route 221, and the Sunday service was extended from Mill Hill East to Golders Green via Hendon. The route was withdrawn in 1979.

The numbers (but not the letters) on this “E” plate are slightly condensed, compared to the norm.
The marks left from paint once used to cross out the route number when stickers were placed on the reverse are visible, a practice frequently followed as the use of enamel “E” plates declined and stickers were increasingly used.
Red Sunday “E” plates with the  FARE STAGE  element in black are always a rather pleasing (and unusual) colour combination.

These “E” plates could have come from the original Sidcup route, or the Mondays to Saturdays section between Manor House and Stratford. In any event the last one is more unusual as it shows FARE STAGE as well, which would have only applied to relatively few stops.

Route 241 originally ran daily from Sidcup Garage to Welling Station via Foots Cray, Sidcup Station, Blackfen and Hook Lane. In 1958 it was converted to double-deck-operation and withdrawn on Saturdays and Sundays, being replaced by route 51 on these days. In 1963 it was extended from Welling to Woolwich (Parsons Hill) via Wickham Street, Edison Road and Plumstead Common, and further extended during rush hours to Woolwich Road (Victoria Way). In 1964 the 241 was renumbered 51B.

A new route 241 was introduced in 1968, running daily between Victoria & Albert Docks and Stratford via Freemasons Road, Balaam Street and Plaistow, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Manor House Station via Leytonstone Road, Crownfield Road, Leyton Station, Markhouse Road, Forest Road, Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters, replacing part of route 41. In 1973 the 241 was withdrawn between Stratford and Manor House. In 1976 it was diverted at Victoria Dock Road to run to Keir Hardie Estate instead of the V&A Docks. In 1981 it was extended during Monday to Saturday shopping hours from Keir Hardie Estate to Canning Town (Hermit Road). In 1987 it was withdrawn on Sundays and replaced by route 147. In 1988 it was withdrawn between Keir Hardie Estate and Canning Town, and replaced by route 262 over this section. In 1991 it was re-extended from Keir Hardie Estate to Canning Town.

Route 242A ran between Upshire and Potters Bar via Waltham Abbey, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt and Goffs Oak. It ran during the ’60s and covered part of the 217 and 242 routes which at that time did not run on Sundays. It was a fairly short-lived route and “E” plates for it are quite uncommon.

This is a nice example of a route that disappeared over 30 years ago and is no doubt much forgotten. Red Sunday-only plates with suffix letters are especially interesting.


243 MON-SAT FARE STAGE These plates are of the less-common FARE STAGE type. The marks on the letter “F” of the second plate are not damage, but occurred during the manufacturing process.

Route 243 is one of London’s oldest routes and has used a 43-series number since 1914. The route was originally a horse-tram operation in the 1870s and was first numbered in 1914 by the London County Council Tramways as their 43 running from Stamford Hill to Holborn. In 1939, trolleybuses took over and the route was renumbered 543 / 643, running from Wood Green Underground station to Holborn Circus via Bruce Grove, Tottenham, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Dalston, Kingsland Road, Old Street and Clerkenwell Road, looping via Gray’s Inn Road and Farringdon Road (543) or Farringdon and Gray’s Inn roads (643). The route was re-numbered 243 in 1961 when Routemasters replaced the trolleybuses and there were no changes to the terminals until 2000 when the southern end was extended to Waterloo Station to replace Red Arrow route 505. Until that time the route had only operated on Mondays to Saturdays, however it is now a seven-day-a-week operation. Until the recent introduction of low-floor buses, the 243 had only operated Routemasters and Metrobuses since 1961!

Route 243A ran from Wood Green (Redvers Road) to London Docks (Leman Street) via Lordship Lane, Tottenham High Road, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Dalston Junction, Shoreditch, Commercial Street and Aldgate, but subsequently diverted at Shoreditch to Liverpool Street in 1971. The only other change was in 1991 when the Wood Green terminal changed from Redvers Road to Wood Green Garage. The primary reason for this Sunday alternate was to serve the markets in the Shoreditch area, and the arrangement survived right until 2000, the 243A being withdrawn after operation on 13 August after just over 60 years. The route was notable as being the very last of a long line of “Sunday suffixed” bus routes in London, i.e. routes where the Sunday service differed slightly from the Monday to Saturdays and was numbered with a suffix letter. This tradition thus narrowly failed to survive into the 21st century, although a similar but undistinguished arrangement lasted on the 43 until 2005.

◀ With the amount of weathering on this “E” plate, it could well be an original installed in July 1961 when the the trolleybuses were withdrawn.
One of the vinyl stickers used after the manufacture of enamel “E” plates was phased out in the 1980s.

These “E” plates would likely have come from the Archway extension. In later years the wording RUSH HOURS replaced PEAK HOURS.

In 1947 route 244 ran daily from Muswell Hill Broadway to Winchmore Hill (Capitol Cinema) via Alexandra Park Road, Durnsford Road, Bounds Green Station, Powys Lane, Southgate High Street, Southgate Station, Winchmore Hill Road, Highlands Hospital and Green Dragon Lane. Originally using LTL types, the route progressed through single deck Qs and TDs in the early fifties, until the RT-type took over in 1953. In 1954 it was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours from Muswell Hill to Archway via Archway Road. In 1954 the Sunday service was withdrawn. There were no changes for over a decade, until Routemasters replaced RTs in 1969. Fifteen months later in January 1971 the 244 reverted to single deckers—this time the SMS type. At the same time, it was diverted beyond Muswell Hill to Golders Green via Fortis Green, East Finchley, The Bishops Avenue, Falloden Way and Finchley, replacing route 102. At the opposite end, it was withdrawn between Southgate and Winchmore Hill. Monday to Friday peak hour journeys continued running to Highlands Hospital, but only for four months. From February through October ’76 MBs replaced the SMS type. DMS double deckers operated on the 244 from June 1978 through June 1979, until Leyland Nationals took their place. The route was withdrawn in April 1982.

In September 1982 a new route 244 began operating using Leyland Nationals between Romford Market and Upminster Park Estate via Roneo Corner, Hornchurch, Upminster, St. Mary’s Lane and Cranham. It was relatively short-lived, being withdrawn in August 1986.

Route 245 was introduced in 1962 as a replacement for trolleybus route 645 and ran daily between North Finchley and Stanmore Station via Finchley Central, Golders Green, Childs Hill, Cricklewood, West Hendon, Colindale, Edgware and Canons Park. In 1964 it was withdrawn on Saturdays and Sundays and replaced partly by new route 245A. In 1968 the 245 was withdrawn between West Hendon and Stanmore, apart from a rush hour extension to Colindale Station. In 1970 it was converted to one-man-operation, introduced on Saturdays and rerouted at Cricklewood to Sudbury Town Station via Tanfield Avenue, Neasden and North Wembley. It was also withdrawn between Golders Green Station and North Finchley. In 1978 it was introduced on Sundays replacing the 245A. In 1992 it was extended during Monday to Saturday shopping hours from Sudbury to Alperton (Sainsbury’s) and in 1996 the Sunday service was similarly extended. In 1998 it was extended to Alperton at all times.

This 40-page timetable booklet was issued to publicize the alterations to bus services in the Edgware Road and Finchley Road areas when new pay-as-you-enter one-man buses were introduced onto route 245 on 13 June 1970. It contains details of and a centre page diagrammatic route map of the route changes, first and last buses times for routes 2, 2B, 26, 32 and 266, full timetables for route 16, route 26 journeys to and from New Barnet, and routes 245, 245A and 260, and a fare table for routes 245 and 245A.
With departure times like these, I’m guessing that this September 1972 poster was at a stop that was only served by the 245 on school journeys, and would have had a SPECIAL JOURNEYS plate like the one below.
1973 route 245 & 245A leaflet
Timetable leaflet for the one-person-operation conversion of routes 245 and 245A starting 20 January 1973 with print code 1172/37935/30,000. This fold-out leaflet lists brief details of the changes and 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.
I don’t know if it helped, but at least London Transport was trying! January 1983.
245 MON.-SAT.
The two MON.-SAT. plates probably date from the short period when the route was running on Mondays to Saturdays only between Golders Green and Sudbury Town via Cricklewood. This happened for 212 years from 1970.


Route 245A was introduced in June 1970, running between Golders Green Station and Sudbury Town Station via The Vale, Pennine Drive, Cricklewood, Neasden and North Wembley. It was operated by SM, SMS and latterly DMS vehicles before being withdrawn in October 1978 when the 245 was introduced daily.

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