London Transport
Central Area Routes 260–263

Last updated 12-2-10.

Route 260 was introduced on 27 June 1956, as a Monday to Friday service between Colindale Station and Waterloo via West Hendon, Cricklewood, Kilburn, Maida Vale, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Strand, with a peak hour and Saturday extension to Surrey Docks Station via Elephant & Castle, Tower Bridge Road, Grange Road, Southwark Park Road and Galleywall Road. In 1957 Saturday service was withdrawn between Waterloo and Surrey Docks, and the prototype RM1 began running on the route. In 1958 all Saturday journeys were withdrawn. The entire service was renumbered 60 in October 1961.

The 260 was reintroduced on 3rd January 1962 as a replacement for trolleybus route 660, running daily between Barnet Church and Harlesden via Whetstone, North Finchley, Finchley Central, Golders Green, Cricklewood, and Willesden, with a Saturday and Monday to Friday rush hours extension to Hammersmith via North Acton and Acton. In 1969 it was withdrawn on Mondays to Saturdays between New Barnet Station and Barnet Church, and at the same time extended on Sundays from Barnet Church to New Barnet (Chesterfield Road) via Medway. In 1970 it was withdrawn on Mondays to Fridays between North Finchley and New Barnet and also during rush hours between Acton Vale and Hammersmith. On Saturdays it was withdrawn between Golders Green and New Barnet, and between Harlesden (Willesden Junction) and Hammersmith. On Sundays it was withdrawn between Willesden Garage and Harlesden. This made the route a most complicated one running to different terminals on different days. In 1971 the 260 was withdrawn on Saturdays and weekday evenings. In 1978 the route was simplified once again running daily between North Finchley and Hammersmith. In 1985 it was withdrawn between Willesden Garage and Hammersmith, except for a Monday to Friday daytime, and Saturday shopping hours service to Harlesden (Willesden Junction). In 1987 it was extended daily from Willesden Garage to Shepherd’s Bush via Acton Lane, Park Royal, East Acton, Old Oak Common Lane and Uxbridge Road. In 2003 the route was withdrawn daily between Golders Green and North Finchley. In 2008 it was extended from Shepherd’s Bush to White City.

Route 260 in 1970
Route 260 in 1970. Adapted from The Greater London Bus Map.
1974 route 260 timetable1981 route 260 timetable
Two northbound bus stop timetables for the 260: starting on 4 August 1974 (), and from October 1981, showing NEW ZONES ().
This plate could have come from either of the 260s: between Waterloo and Surrey Docks from October 1957 to October 1961, or along the Harlesden–Acton Vale section between June 1970 and October 1978; however, the lack of full stops after the MON and FRI abbreviations suggests the later dates.
These two “E” plates would probably have come from the short section of route between Barnet Church and New Barnet (Chesterfield Road).
This “E” plate would have been posted at a stop between North Finchley and Golders Green, post 1971.

261 MON.-SAT.

Route 261 was introduced in 1961, running on Mondays to Saturdays between New Barnet Station and Arnos Grove Station via East Barnet and Hampden Square. In 1964 it was extended from New Barnet Station to Barnet (Chesterfield Road) via Meadway and Barnet Church, replacing the withdrawn section of route 34. In 1978 the route was converted to one-man operation, and in 1980 it was withdrawn.

A new route 261 was introduced in 1982, running between Orpington (Goodmead Road) and Lewisham via Farnborough, Bromley Common, Bromley, Grove Park and Lee Green. During Saturday shopping hours buses ran on from Lewisham to Brockley Rise. It was converted to one-man operation in 1983, and in 1985 the Saturday extension to Brockley Rise was withdrawn. In 1986 the route was withdrawn between Bromley Garage and Orpington, and further cut back to Bromley Common in 1987. In 1989 when the route was tendered and won by Metrobus, some journeys were extended beyond Bromley Common to Green Street Green with one Monday to Friday journey starting from Pratts Bottom, although this journey was withdrawn in 2000.


◀ A new Sunday bus timetable leaflet for the one-person-operation conversion of routes 241 and 262 starting 29 October 1972, with print code 972/3194 S/41,000. This is a fold-out leaflet with 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.

Route 262 was introduced in 1966 to replace part of route 26, and ran daily between Leyton (Baker’s Arms) and Stratford via Whipps Cross, Leytonstone and Maryland, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Victoria & Albert Docks via Plaistow, Prince Regent Lane and Connaught Road. In 1968 it was extended daily from Leyton to Walthamstow Central Station, and further extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Chingford Station via Crooked Billet, Chingford Mount and Oldchurch Road. It was also extended on Sundays from Stratford to Victoria & Albert Docks. In 1973 it was withdrawn between Walthamstow Central Station and Chingford. In 1986 it was rerouted at Prince Regent Lane to run to East Beckton (Asda) instead of Victoria & Albert Docks, and the Sunday service was diverted in the Beckton area and renumbered 262A. In 1988 it was withdrawn between Stratford and Walthamstoiw Central and replaced by new route 257. It was extended during Monday to Saturday shopping hours from East Beckton to Canning Town via Cyprus, Strait Road Connaught Road, Silvertown, Custom House and Keir Hardie Estate. In 1989 it was rerouted between Cyprus and Custom House via Woolwich Manorway and Albert Road instead of Strait Road. In 1991 it was withdrawn between East Beckton and Canning Town. In 1993 it was extended from East Beckton to Beckton (Savacentre) via Cyprus and Claps Gate Lane and also introduced on Sundays. In 1997 it was further extended to Beckton (Showcase Cinema).

Route 263 was introduced in 1971, running daily between Barnet Church and Archway Station via North Finchley and East Finchley, extended Saturdays and Sundays to King’s Cross Station via Holloway and Caledonian Road, with early journeys continuing to Farringdon Street via Grays Inn Road. Routemasters were used from Finchley [FY] and Holloway [HT] garages until conversion to one-man-operation with DMSs and, after only 18 months Metrobuses in turn took over in the early 1980s. In 1983 the 263 was extended from Barnet Church to Potters Bar Garage via Hadley Woods, and further extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Potters Bar Station, but it was withdrawn between Archway and King’s Cross / Farringdon Street. In 1986 the service was rerouted to Barnet General Hospital, with only the daytime service on Mondays to Saturdays and some Sunday journeys running to Potters Bar Garage. In 1991 the Sunday journeys to Potters Bar were withdrawn, with the Monday to Saturday service following in 1994. The 263 is now worked by Metroline with low-floor double-deckers.

1982 route 263 bus stop poster
September 1982 bus stop poster from Nether Street, North Finchley, where some evening journeys evidently turned. Typically, this type of notice would be accompanied by a SEE BELOW “E” plate.
263 263 SAT-SUN
I can only presume this “E” plate was from the Holloway, Caledonian Road or King’s Cross area, as the route changed in 1983 when “E” plates were being phased out.
This plate will be rather rare as it will have come from one of the relatively few stops on the King;s Cross to Farringdon Street section, served only by early morning journeys between 1971 and 1983.
These two “E” plates would likely have come from the short section of route between King’s Cross and Farringdon Street. Both of these plates contain minor errors: the Sunday element is in black—not red—on the one plate, and the wording on the FARE STAGE plate could suggest that service is provided on Saturday and Sunday and by special journeys at other times.
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