London Transport
Central Area Routes 250–254

Last updated 10-2-10.

◀ This “E” plate is from the 1979–1986 route. Kenneth Shabby suggests “… this plate came from Loughton Station where the route would have run from two different stops in the station approach”.
Bus stop timetable dated Winter 1935–1936 for routes 250 and 250A. Shows to Ongar and Epping Town on one side and to Romford on the reverse. ▶
Routes 250 & 250A timetable

The original route 250 ran between Romford Station and Epping Town (Cock) via Collier Row, Stapleford Abbotts, Passingford Bridge, Abridge and Theydon Bois. In May 1950 the route was extended from Romford to Hornchurch Garage. In October of the same year Sunday service was withdrawn between Romford and Hornchurch, but was restored some seven months later. In 1952 the 250 was extended in Epping Town to Grove Lane. In 1958 it was diverted via Ivychimneys between Theydon Bois and Epping. On my birth day (18 February 1959) Monday to Friday peak hour journeys were extended to Corbets Tey via Upminster, but were withdrawn after only seven weeks. The next chage didn’t ocurr until 1973 when the 250 was once again withdrawn between Romford and Hornchurch Garage. In 1974 the Epping terminus was moved once more, this time extended from Grove Lane to St. Margaret’s Hospital. The route was withdrawn one week into 1977, replaced by a revised 247 service.

The number 250 was reused in March 1979 for a new service between Waltham Cross and Grange Hill (Limes Farm Estate) via Waltham Abbey, Ninefields South, Epping Forest, Loughton, Valley Hill, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell. In 1981 it was withdrawn between Chigwell and Limes Farm Estate, and diverted instead on Monday to Saturday via the withdrawn 255 to South Woodford Station via Maybank Road. In 1982 Sunday service was withdrawn between Loughton and Buckhurst Hill. At the same time the 250 exchanged routeings with the 167 and now travelled between Loughton and Buckhurst Hill via Loughton High Road and Palmerston Road instead of Roding Road, Valley Hill and Loughton Way. In May 1986 the route was transferred to Eastern National under the Essex tendering scheme.

The present route 250 was introduced in May 1988 as a Monday to Saturday service between Brixton Station and Croydon (Katharine Street) via Streatham Hill, Green Lane, Parchmore Road, Brigstock Road and London Road, as a partial replacement for route 159 between Green Lane and Parchmore Road. In 1990 Sunday service was added.

Bristol LH BL4 [KJD404P] in March 1979, just weeks after emerging from overhaul in its unique NBC-style paint scheme for the proposed joint operation of route BW1 with London Country Bus Services.

Route 251 ran between Arnos Grove Station and Burnt Oak (Edgware Road) via Bowes Road, Oakleigh Road South, Whetstone, Totteridge Station, Totteridge Lane, Highwood Hill, Lawrence Street, Mill Hill Broadway, Bunns Lane, Woodcroft Avenue and Watling Avenue. In 1963 Sunday garage journeys were extended from Burnt Oak to Edgware. In 1968 the route was extended Monday to Saturday from Burnt Oak to Stanmore Station via Stonegrove and Canons Circus, replacing the withdrawn section of route 245; however, Sunday service was withdrawn between Arnos Grove and Burnt Oak. In 1982 Monday to Saturday evening service was withdrawn between Edgeware and Stanmore, and Sunday service was withdrawn completely. In 1985 service was extended from Stanmore Station to Stanmore Church. In February 1990 the 251 was rerouted to double-run via Edgware Station. The journeys towards Stanmore were denoted with black on yellow blinds. In November of the same year evening service was extended from Edgware to Stanmore. In 1992 Sunday service was reintroduced, but only between Edgware and Stanmore. At the same time a limited service (0830–0900 and 1615–1645) was added to Elm Park College: morning buses arriving at Stanmore continued via Elm Park before terminating, and afternoon journeys departing Stanmore operated via the College. In 1993 the Sunday service was withdrawn, and the service between Edgware and Stanmore was replaced by rerouteing the 142. In 1996 a Sunday service was again reintroduced.

Route 251 bus stop timetable
Bus stop timetable panel for journeys to Arnos Grove Station, dated 19.6.72.
251 MON.-SAT.
This “E” plate likely came from between Burnt Oak and Stanmore during the 1970s.
This double-vertical plate will have originated from Edgware Bus Station between 1963 and 1968. Some bus stops there carried double-vertical plates as this enabled more destinations to be included. These were always exceptionally rare, and in almost every case only two were ever made.
I believe this “E” plate was posted along the section served by Edgware Garage [EW] journeys in the 1960s and ’70s.

This “E” plate will have no doubt come from one of the school extension sections, and thus will be relatively rare, as are most SPECIAL JOURNEYS plates.
119 MON-SAT.The SPECIAL JOURNEYS & SUNDAY legend—often associated with parks and other recreational destinations—would suggest that this plate was used on the schoolday and Sunday variation of the route via Lodge Lane and Turpin Avenue at the Collier Row end of the route. On the reverse is a torn paper sticker for route 119.
Occasionally “E” plates were manufactured with the explicit SCHOOL JOURNEYS message rather than the vaguer SPECIAL JOURNEYS; however, they are very rare, having been made for only a few routes.
Route 252 bus stop timetable

Route 252 was running in 1949 between Romford Station and Romford (Birch Road) via Mawney Road. It was extended to Collier Row (Lowshoe Lane) in 1958. Later that year it was extended from Romford Station to South Hornchurch via Elm Park Avenue and Coronation Drive. In 1960 school journeys were extended in Collier Row to Stapleford Gardens, and in 1970 they ran to Turpin Avenue, where the whole service was extended in 1971, although this was cut back again outside peaks and on Saturdays to Lowshoe Lane. In 1974 the route was extended to Havering Park on Sundays, but again cut back in 1982. In 1984 it was extended from South Hornchurch to Hornchurch (White Hart) via Airfield Estate, and further extended in 1986 to Gidea Park Station. In 1990 school journeys were extended from Collier Row to Chase Cross. In 1991 it was withdrawn between Hornchurch and Gidea Park again, and in 1996 it was withdrawn between Collier Row and Chase Cross.

Bus stop timetable panel for route 252 to Collier Row (Lowshoe Lane) Daily and (Turpin Avenue) Mon to Fri journeys and Sundays, overprinted Starting on 18th April, 1971.

Route 253 is London’s famous “horseshoe” route, and probably one of its busiest ever with 53 Routemasters allocated on weekdays through the 1980s. Running from Euston northwards through Camden the route bends eastwards heading back in the direction of the city to Hackney. It was introduced 2 January 1961 as a replacement for trolleybus route 653, running daily between Tottenham Court Road (Maple Street) and Aldgate via Mornington Crescent Station, Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Stamford Hill, Clapton, Hackney, Bethnal Green and Mile End Gate. It ran this routing unchanged until November 1991 when it was withdrawn between Mornington Crescent and Warren Street. In 1992 it was extended from Mornington Crescent to Euston via Eversholt Street. After another 11 years it was withdrawn in May 2003 between Hackney and Aldgate. This section was covered by new route 254, running between Holloway and Aldgate. In 2006 the 253 was rerouted northbound direct in Camden via Eversholt Street instead of Harrington Square.

The original route 253A was a Sundays-only Routemaster service between Aldgate and Marylebone Station via Mile End Gate, Bethnall Green, Hackney, Clapton, Stamford Hill, Manor House, Finsbury Park, Holloway, Camden Town and Prince Albert Road. It only operated for 17 weeks, between 8 May and 9 October 1963. The route was then suspended for the winter months, and renumbered 253B for the 1964 season. On 29 January 1964 the number was reused for a new Monday to Saturday route between Finsbury Park and Clerkenwell Green via Manor House, Stamford Hill, Clapton, Hackney, Shoreditch and Old Street Station, extended daytimes and Saturday to Bloomsbury. On the last day of 1966 it was withdrawn Monday to Friday between Clerkenwell Green and Bloomsbury except during peak hours. At the same time, RTs replaced RTLs. The 253A was withdrawn on 23 March 1968.

Route 259 is described below.

This triple-split “E” plate would have come from a stop in Seven Sisters Road; likely at Finsbury Park Station, but possibly anywhere between there and Amhurst Park, where the 253 and 253A turned off to Stamford Hill.

The 254 is not an easy route to find “E” plates for.
254 MON.-SAT.
This “E” plate is from the South Woodford extension.
254 MON.-SAT.
A later “E” plate, as evidenced by the lack of full-stops.
Timetable for the 254’s northbound service dated 8.1.58.
Bus stop panel timetable with a print date of August 1965, effective from 3 October. The red headline across the top is unusual, but probably thought necessary to advise passengers of the Pay As You Enter nature of the route, the 254 being one of the earlier conversions to this fare collection method.
DMS307 at Beddington Lane Post Office
DMS307 [JGF307K] at Beddington Lane Post Office on 25 April, 1981, the first day of operation. The “G3” plate below the stop sign says MONDAY · FRIDAY RUSH HOURS. Unfortunately, I can’t read the message pasted onto the stop flag.
John Parkin collection, courtesy London Bus Routes.

Route 254 began operating in January 1950 using T-type single deckers between Buckhurst Hill Station and Loughton Station via Loughton Way, Valley Hill, Roding Way, Alderton Hill, Loughton Station, High Road Loughton, Loughton Garage, Rectory Lane, Debden Station, Chigwell Lane and Oakwood Hill. In May 1953 the T-type was replaced by Mann Egerton TDs, which gave way in turn to RFs in October. In 1958 the 254 was extended to South Woodford Station via Buckhurst Way, Hillside Avenue, St. Barnabas Road, Latchett Road and Maybank Road. In 1965 the route was converted to one-person-operation. In 1975 it was diverted away from Latchett Road and Maybank Road (now renamed Mulberry Way) because of A406 and M11 construction, and was rerouted via Southend Road, Charlie Brown’s Roundabout, Chigwell Road, Mulberry Way, Daisy Road and Cowslip Road; returning via George Lane, Chigwell Road, Charlie Brown Roundabout, Chigwell Road and Maybank Road, rejoining St. Barnabas Road. In 1976 Sunday service was withdrawn, and the SMS-type replaced the venerable RFs. In 1978 the 254 was taken over by Leyland Nationals. A year later the route was withdrawn, replaced mainly by new route 255.

The 254 reappeared briefly as a Monday to Friday peak hour service between West Croydon Bus Station and Morden Station via Duppas Hill Road, Waddon, Croydon Road, Hilliers Lane, Beddington Lane, Mitcham and Wandle Road. It only ran from April 1981 to September 1982.

Today’s route 254 replaced part of route 253 in May 2003. It runs between Aldgate Bus Station and Holloway (Camden Road) via Whitechapel Road, Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath Road, Hackney, Clapton, Stamford Hill, Amhurst Park, Manor House and Finsbury Park.

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Click on any of the tiles below to go to images of the “E” plates and the route descriptions for that number series.
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