London Transport
Country Area Routes 470–479

South of the Thames

Last updated 24-03-10.

This is an especially interesting “E” plate having a destination shown, and I would guess that it came from West Croydon Bus Station where buses ran through in both directions.

Route 470 ran from Dorking (Bus Station) to West Croydon via Boxhill, Leatherhead, Ashtead, Epsom, Ewell, Cheam Village, Sutton, Wallington and Beddington, and—from the 1930s until the 1970s—on to Warlingham Park Hospital or Farleigh (The Harrow) via South Croydon, Sanderstead, Hamsey Green, Warlingham Green and Chelsham. It can trace its origins to 1914 as London General Omnibus Company route 107 (which was renumbered 70 in 1924). In early London Transport days it was, very unusually, operated by both the Central and Country bus departments until this situation was “corrected” in 1939 when it became Country Area route 470. It has long since disappeared, but the number is in use today by London Buses for a route between Colliers Wood, Morden (its orginal northern terminus in the 1920s) and Epsom. At its peak, it—together with associated route 408—required 23 RT-type buses from Leatherhead [LH], Guildford [GF] and Chelsham [CM] garages, but is operated today by five single-deck Solos.

Route 471 was an Orpington local service that ran from Orpington Station via Green Street Green, then circular through Cudham, Scotts Lodge, Knockholt, Knockholt Pound, Pratts Bottom and Green Street Green. Some journeys were extended beyond Orpington Station to Kelvin Parade.

1971 route 471 bus stop timetable
This London Country bus stop timetable card from August 1975 is for Bus 471 to ORPINGTON STATION Circular service via Pratts Bottom, Knockholt and Cudham. It also includes details of Service 402 journeys from Orpington.

This plate is unusual in having the the word ONLY in red, along with the SUNDAY element (but curiously not the ampersand, which is on the same line!). Other versions exist where the word ONLY is in black.
The dash between WED and SUN would imply (at least to me) that the service ran Wednesdays through Sundays.

Route 472 was a limited-stop service between Leatherhead and Netherne Hospital, and was possibly the least frequent of any Country Area services. It ran via Ashtead, Epsom, Ewell, Cheam, Sutton, Carshalton, Coulsdon and Hooley. The route only ran one journey in each direction and that was only twice a week, resulting in a headway of approximately 80 hours. Passengers were only permitted to alight at the Netherne on the inward trips, and only board there on the return journey—effectively making the route an express working, but it was to prevent the bus filling up with non-hospital visitors. In reality the service was never very well used. The 472 was a Leatherhead [LH] operation and was once operated with RTs, but eventually Bristol BNs took over. The Hospital (originally the Surrey County Asylum, built in 1909) was high up on the downs beyond Coulsdon and reached by a series of steep winding roads: Netherne Lane one side and Woodplace Lane the other. It was closed in 1994, and presumably the route was withdrawn at the same time. To this day some of the old bus stop posts and shelters can be seen on the road up to the site of the old hospital.

Route 473 provided just a few—mainly rush hour—journeys between Dormansland (Plough) and Manor Royal via Dormans, East Grinstead, Kingscote, Turners Hill, Rowfant, Three Bridges and Crawley.

This unusual “E” plate is a rare example of a hand-painted aluminium plate.
This SPECIAL JOURNEYS plate is obviously very old, possibly came from just a single bus stop, and is probably a very rare example for this route.


Route 474 ran in the Addlestone area to Botleys Park (St. Peter’s Hospital). A later version of the route ran in Crawley between the Industrial Area and Langley Green.

Route 474A ran during Monday to Friday rush hours between the Crawley Industrial Area and Broadfield via Fleming Way, Manor Royal and Gossops Green. It was one of a number of routes taken over from Southdown Motor Services in the 1970s.



Route 475 provided a works service in the late ’50s on Mondays to Fridays from Crayford Ness via Slade Green, Perry Street and Barnehurst, then to Belvedere (Crabtree Manorway) or to Lower Belvedere. The route had disappeared by the mid-sixties.

In the early ’70s, a number of routes in the Crawley area were taken over from Southdown, and their route 75 became London Country’s new route 475. running between Crawley bus station and Hand Cross via Pease Pottage.

The plain “E” plate could have come from either route, but most likely from the more recent one.

Route 476 was a Crawley town service. It began running in 1954 as a daily service between Crawley (Bus Station) and Langley Green via County Oak. In 1957 it was extended from the Bus Station to Tilgate (Canterbury Road) via Southgate Avenue, and in 1960 or ’61 it was extended from Langley Green to Ifield (The Parade). In 1966 the eastern end was changed to a circular service, extended from Tilgate back to Southgate Avenue via Furnace Green, allowing for the later withdrawal of the 476B. In the mid ’70s it was withdrawn between Langley Green and Ifield except for a few journeys. In 1978 the service was replaced by London Country routes C3 and C4, and the number was reused for the old 418 service between Kingston (Bus Station) and Langley Vale via Surbiton, Berrylands, Tolworth, Ewell, West Ewell, Longmead Road and Epsom, with some journeys extended via Ashtead and Leatherhead to Bookham.



Route 476A was introduced in 1959 as a Monday to Friday peak hours local works service in Crawley, running between Three Bridges and Langley Green via Manor Royal. In 1960 or ’61 it was extended from Langley Green to Ifield (The Parade), and from Three Bridges to Pound Hill South. In the late ’70s the service was replaced by Crawley local routes C1 and C2.

The 476B was a twice short-lived Crawley town service. From 1959 to 1961 it ran between Gatwick Airport and Tilgate via Manor Royal and Crawley. It returned in 1964 running between Crawley and Furnace Green via Southgate Avenue, was extended from Furnace Green to Tilgate by 1966, and was withdrawn in 1967.

This “E” plate could have come from either route 476B.



Route 477 ran between Henderson Drive, Temple Hill Estate and Chelsfield via Dartford, Wilmington, Hextable, Swanley, Crockenhill, St. Mary Cray and Orpington. By the late ’60s the route had been curtailed at Dartford Garage, the section beyond to Temple Hill Estate being covered by route 499. The 477 was notable for being the last crew-operated London Country service.

Graham Johnson writes, “The 477 route still runs from Orpington to Dartford today, though it is operated by Arriva Buses. The route now extends beyond Dartford to Bluewater (a large shopping mall near Horns Cross).”

Route 478 ran between Wrotham (The Square) and Swanley Station via West Kingsdown and Farningham. This route disappeared in the ’60s and the number 478 was reused in the Crawley area in the ’70s for a service running between Pound Hill and Broadfields via Three Bridges, Crawley Town Centre and Southgate.



Route 479 was a circular route running clockwise between Crawley (Bus Station) and Gossops Green via Buckswood Drive and Ifield Avenue. It replaced Southdown Motor Services’ route 79 soon after London Country took over from London Transport.

Route 479A was a circular route running anti-clockwise between Crawley (Bus Station) and Gossops Green via Ifield Avenue and Buckswood Drive. It replaced Southdown route 79A soon after London Country took over from London Transport.

My guess is that the destinated “E” plate came from Crawley Bus Station.

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