London Transport
Country Area Routes 404 & 405

South of the Thames

Last updated 08-11-09.

405
405
121 WEEKDAYTowards the end of the use of enamel “E” plates they were often reused with stickers, as was the case with this plate. The numbers 405 have been stuck onto the reverse side of a route 121 plate. A close examination—especially of the numeral 4—reveals that “Granby”, rather than London Transport’s Johnston typeface was used.
405 CRAWLEY
I had thought that this plate may have come from West Croydon Bus Station where many of the bus stops had destinations on the “E” plates. If so, it may be one half of an unique pair. However, Ray Rock writes, “I spent many boyhood hours bus spotting at West Croydon bus station in the late sixties/early seventies and recall the ‘E’ plates being plain numbers, as the route destinations were displayed on a poster in the timetable panels, along with the stop locations.”
405 FARE STAGE - 405B FARE STAGE
This “E” plate will have been in use on the common sections of the two routes (Redhill–Gatwick Airport, or in Crawley) between 1963 and 1977.
405 - 455
This “E” plate would have come from the northern end of the two routes.
405 - 414 - 455
I believe this may be one of the final triple-split “E” plates produced. It likely came from Crawley.
Timetable for routes 405 and 405B

This timetable for routes 405 to WEST CROYDON via Gatwick Airport Station, Horley, Redhill and Coulsdon and 405B to REDHILL dates from 20.2.71, early in the London Country era.

Route 405 ran daily between West Croydon (Bus Station) and Crawley (Bus Station) via South Croydon, Purley, Coulsdon, Hooley, Merstham, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley, Povey Cross (now under Gatwick Airport), Lowfield Heath and County Oak. In the late fifties it was extended to Horsham via Faygate but this extension was withdrawn in 1968. The 405 group of routes used RT double-deckers out of Reigate [RG] and Crawley [CY] Garages.

Route 405B is described below.

Route 414 was a major trunk route running between West Croydon Bus Station and Horsham Station via South Croydon, Purley, Coulsdon, Hooley, Merstham, Redhill, Reigate, Buckland, Betchworth, Brockham Lane, Dorking, North Holmwood, South Holmwood, Beare Green, Capel, Kingsfold and Warnham.

Route 455 was a latter-day variation of the 405—introduced in London Country days—that ran between Crawley and Gatwick Airport via the Rutherford Way Industrial Area, with some journeys running through to West Croydon.

A more detailed history of routes 405 and 414 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).


Route 405A was a short local service from Horsham (Carfax) to Roffey Corner via Littlehaven. In the 1960s it was extended to Redhill (Market Place) via Crawley, Gatwick Airport, Horley and Earlswood. The 405A ran mostly between Horsham and Crawley with projections to Redhill, but on Sundays prior to 4 November 1964 journeys ran right through to West Croydon. From that date the Sunday service ran from Horsham to Merstham. However, this did not last long as the route was withdraw by 1970, the service to Littlehaven being provided by revised routes 434 and 473.

London Country Bus Services reused the number in 1971 for a short-lived Crawley–Merstham (Delabole Road) route via Gatwick, Horley and Redhill.

I would suggest that the second plate would have come from either West Croydon or Merstham. Also, I cannot recall any other red SUNDAY “E” plates that are also ALIGHTING POINT ONLY.

405A SUNDAY FARE STAGE
405A SUNDAY ALIGHTING POINT ONLY

405B
405B
405B ALIGHTING POINT ONLY
This plate likely came from one of the major termini: Croydon, Crawley or Gatwick Airport.

Route 405B was a variant of the main 405 Croydon–Crawley service. It was introduced in 1963 and ran daily from Redhill via Earlswood, Horley, Gatwick Airport, Manor Royal and Crawley, then circular via Furnace Green and Tilgate. It was withdrawn in 1977.

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