London Transport
Central Area Routes 290–294

Last updated 3-12-09.

Route 290 was introduced in 1968 replacing route 90C, running daily between Hammersmith (Metropolitan) Station and Richmond (Bus Station) via Youngs Corner, Chiswick Lane and Chiswick Bridge. It was operated by RFs from Twickenham Garage [AB]. The allocation changed to Riverside Garage [R] in 1970 when Twickenham closed, and was the only one-man-operated service to run from Riverside owing to the size of the building. In 1982 Riverside Garage closed and the 290 was transferred to Fulwell Garage [FW], and was extended from Richmond to Staines via Twickenham, Hanworth, Sunbury, Ashford Common, Ashford and Fordbridge Road, replacing most of route 90. In 1989 it was diverted at Twickenham via Hampton Road and Sixth Cross Road instead of Staines Road. From 1990 until 1995 it was extended on summer Sundays to Thorpe Park. In 1991 it was withdrawn between Richmond and Hammersmith—apart from a few Monday to Friday peak hour journeys to Chiswick (Edensor Road)—and was replaced by new route 190. In 1992 it was extended during shopping hours on Mondays to Saturdays in Staines to Sainsbury’s. In 1995 the Sunday extension to Hammesmith was withdrawn, but it was extended to Staines (Sainsbury’s) at all times. In 1997 the Monday to Friday peak hour journeys to Chiswick were withdrawn. In 1999 it was withdrawn between Staines (Bus Station) and Sainsbury’s. In 2001 it was withdrawn between Twickenham and Richmond.


291 MON.-SAT.

Route 291 was introduced in October 1965, running on Mondays to Saturdays between Ilford Broadway and Barking (Blakes Corner) via Green Lane and South Park Drive using single-deck RF buses. In December 1966 the Saturday service was withdrawn, but was reinstated in March 1967. In July 1969 the 291 was extended to Barking (Oban Road) to serve Gascoigne Estate, but was cut back again in 1973 when the 169 took over the extension. In April 1978 the route was withdrawn and replaced by an extension of route 199.

The number 291 was subsequently reused for a daily route between Lewisham and Woodlands Estate.

This is not an easy route to obtain “E” plates for as it was very short in length and also rather short-lived, lasting only 13 years.

Route 292 was introduced on 3rd January 1962 on Mondays to Saturdays between Borehamwood (Rossington Avenue) and Willesden Garage via Theobald Street, Elstreet Way, Manor Way, Stirling Corner, Burnt Oak, Colindale, West Hendon and Cricklewood, replacing the northern end of route 52. An express service was also introduced during Monday to Friday rush hours between Borehamwood and Colindale. In June 1962 the Saturday service was withdrawn and replaced by new route 292A running on to Watford Junction. It seems that the express service was withdrawn at the beginning of 1965, and thus lasted for just three years. Also that year the 292 was withdrawn between Colindale (Annesley Avenue) and Willesden. In 1973 the route was converted from RT to one-man operation and revised to run daily except Monday to Friday peak hours between Borehamwood and Edgware Station via Burnt Oak, and during peak hours was diverted instead at Burnt Oak to Colindale, with some journeys running on to Grahame Park (Quaker’s Course). In 1983 the peak hour service to Colindale (Annesley Avenue) was extended to Colindale Station. The journeys to Grahame Park were withdrawn in 1989. In 1993 it was diverted at Mill Hill to run direct to Edgware, and then on to Burnt Oak and Colindale (Asda). The route has been operated by a number of companies since tendering, including London Country North East, Borehamwood Transport Services, Metroline, Sovereign and London United.

1986 route 292 bus stop notice
◀ Bus stop timetable panel dated 25 June 1986 for the rush hour journeys starting from Colindale. The other side is blank.
This 1988 notice leads me to believe that London Country North East, who was the contracted operator for the 292 from June 1987, was having difficulties fulfilling its obligation. The route was transferred to Borehamwood Transport Services less than a year later. ▶
1988 route 292 bus stop notice
This “E” plate would have only been used during the first five months of the route in 1962 when it ran on Mondays to Saturdays, thus would have been very short-lived.
292 MON.-FRI.
The plate was used after June 1962, when the 292’s Saturday service was withdrawn.
739This plate appears to have been recycled, for on the reverse, the white face has had green vinyl numerals affixed for use on Green Line route 739. This was a short-lived special service introduced upon the demise of route 719, running from Victoria to Brands Hatch for motor race meetings only.
This “E” plate would have come from a stop on the section of route in Edgware from 1973. It is an interesting plate owing to the complexity of the message spread over four lines, and the only one that I can recall with the words OFF PEAK HOURS.
This “E” plate was for the journeys to Grahame Park (Quaker’s Course) where the special journeys ran between 1973 and 1989.
Express route plates are not common at the best of times, but one for a conventional route such as this is astonishingly unusual, particularly as it appears to have had such a relatively short life.
This double-vertical “E” plate will have originated from Grahame Park, which operated 1973–1989. Some of the bus stops there carried double-vertical plates as this enabled more destinations to be included. These double-verticals were always exceptionally rare, and in almost every case only two were ever made. The other one of this pair, which although not having the surface discolouration, is more extensively chipped at the edges. ▶

292A SAT. & SUN.
This is an interesting pair of “E” plates. The (slightly) more common usage was SAT - SUN, except when the days were spelled out in full. However, the 292A is the only route for which I have discovered both variations.

Route 292A was introduced in June 1962 and ran on Saturdays between Borehamwood (Rossington Avenue) and Edgware Station via Theobald Street, Elstreet Way, Manor Way, Stirling Corner and Burnt Oak. In 1963 it was extended from Edgware to Watford Junction via Edgwarebury Lane, Stanmore, Bushey Heath and Bushey. In 1966 it was withdrawn between Edgware and Watford except during shopping hours, and was also introduced on Sundays between Borehamwood and Burnt Oak Broadway. In 1967 it was extended on Sundays from Burnt Oak to Edgware Station. In 1970 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Edgware and Watford Junction. In 1973 it was completely withdrawn and replaced by the introduction of route 292 at weekends.

Route 293 was introduced in 1962, running during Monday to Friday rush hours between Paddington Green and Acton (High Street) via Harrow Road, Kensal Green, Harlesden, Old Oak Lane, North Acton and Horn Lane. It was renumbered 18A in 1967 after just five years operation.

As this is a particularly heavy plate—in fact the heaviest I have discovered—I presume it came from the earlier route which was rush hours only.


This “E” plate still bears traces of a vinyl sticker for route 55, which was applied over the original number. Years of exposeure to the weather have left baked-on adhesive under white portions o f the label.

Route 293 was subsequently reintroduced in 1970 for the one-man-operation conversion of the southern end of longstanding route 93 between Epsom and Cheam via Morden. The route still runs today from Epsom to Morden, and is operated by Epsom Buses.

Route 55 was introduced in 1969, running daily between Walthamstow Garage and Hackney (Well Street) via Leyton and Clapton. It was extended on Mondays to Saturdays, with some early Sunday journeys, via Cambridge Heath, Hackney Road, Old Street, Clerkenwell Green to Bloomsbury, and further extended on Mondays to Fridays via Oxford Circus and Baker Street to Marylebone Station. In 1971 the Monday to Friday extension was diverted at Holborn Station to run to Aldwych instead of Marylebone. In 1978 it was extended daily to Aldwych, and the Monday to Friday peak hour service was extended to Waterloo Station. In 1981 it was withdrawn between Walthamstow Central Station and Walthamstow Garage, and also diverted at Holborn to run via Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner to Victoria Station. In 1983 it was diverted at Leyton to run to Whipps Cross instead of Walthamstow Central. In 1987 the 55 was withdrawn between Tottenham Court Road Station and Victoria. In 1990 the route was withdrawn between Clapton Pond and Whipps Cross, and in 1992 was extended to Oxford Circus. In 1998 it was further extended from Clapton Pond to Leyton Green.

Route 294 was introduced in July 1970, running on Mondays to Saturdays between Collier Row (Turpin Avenue) and Hornchurch (St. George’s Hospital) via Lodge Lane, Collier Row Lane, Romford, Victoria Road, Gidea Park and Slewins Lane, replacing parts of routes 66 and 66A. Less than a year later, in March 1971, the 294 was converted to one-man operation. In 1974 it was extended from Collier Row to Havering Park (Firbank Road). A Sunday service was introduced in 1982. In 1986 the route was diverted at Romford to run to Noak Hill (Tees Drive) via Harold Wood and Harold Hill, with some journeys extended during peak hours to Gidea Park Station via Noak Hill Road, Straight Road and Gallows Corner. In 1988 the peak journeys to Gidea Park Station were withdrawn. In 2001 the Noak Hill terminus was changed to North Hill Drive.

◀ This booklet details the alteration to the bus services in the Hornchurch and Romford area when the 294 was introduced on 18 July 1970.
This was the first use of the number 294 for a day route, only previously having been used for the night service between Cricklewood Garage and Liverpool Street until 1960 when it was renumbered N94 (now part of today’s N16). This number is quite rare to find on “E” plates for some reason, possibly because they only tended to appear on stops in Romford town centre. ▶
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