London Transport
Country Area Routes 480–484

South of the Thames

Last updated 11-11-09.

480 480

Route 480 was a major trunk route running daily between Erith (Wheatley Arms) and Denton (Milton Ale Shades) via Slade Green, Crayford, Dartford, Horne Cross, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend. It was a very busy and frequent route and hardly changed at all over the years, which explains why the first “E” plate is rather old and weathered.

Graham Johnson adds, “In the fifties, the frequent 480 service ran alternate buses [to] Erith or Dartford. They all terminated at the Gravesend end at Denton Milton Ale Shades, where it was quite usual to see two waiting to depart. Very occasionally, a red visitor from London Transport was seen operating the route. I can remember one from Alperton garage being posted to Northfleet garage for several weeks at one stage. The only London Transport service vehicle allocated to Northfleet in the fifties was BLH886 [fleet number 970J], a tree-lopping vehicle, essential for the maintenance of 489/490 country routes.”


Route 481 began running in 1953 or ’54. It was a short local service from Epsom (Town Centre) to Wells Estate (latterly identified on maps simply as “The Wells”). It survived unchanged into the London Country era, lasting until 1978 or ’79.

The total route length was only about 1½ miles, so there would have been very few pairs of “E” plates made for the 481—possibly even only a single set!

481

482

Route 482 was a special hospital route providing a limited-stop service running on Thursdays and Sundays between Caterham Station and Smallfield Hospital via Godstone, Bletchingley, Nutfield, Redhill and Horley. It was withdrawn in the early 1970s.

The number 482 was reused for a short time in the mid-’70s for part of route 480 between Dartford and Singlewell via Swanscombe and Gravesend, and this is the service for which this “E” plate was most likely made.


In the 1950s route 483 was a Crawley local service from Crawley Bus Station into Northgate. The route ran on weekdays only and was discontinued about 1958.

The second route 483 was the new number for the old 403A route which was renumbered in 1974 to avoid the use of suffix letters on the new Leyland Nationals which had individual blinds for each of the three digits of the route number. It ran between West Croydon and Tonbridge Station via South Croydon, Sanderstead, Hamsey Green, Warlingham, Chelsham, Tatsfield, Westerham, Brasted, Sundridge, Riverhead, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough.

483
This plate is from the first incarnation of the route and dates from the 1950s. It has larger numerals than the ’70s version and was in my possession prior to the renumbering of the 403A in 1974.
483
With its larger numbers, this “E” plate could be from the 1950s’ route 483.
483
This “E” plate is from the second incarnation of the route and dates from 1974.

484
484
484
This “E” plate appears to have had its old number officially painted over and replaced with 484.
484 FARE STAGE
484-484A-484B
A round dozen routes ran past “The Crown” in Slough, where this plate probably came from.

Route 484 ran between Langley Village and Farnham Road or Slough Trading Estate via Slough and Salt Hill.

Routes 484A and 484B are described below.



Route 484A ran between Dachet and Slough (The George) via Langley, Slough and Salt Hill. Route 484B is described below.

484A
◀ This is one of the rare early plates, dating from the 1940s. It differs from the later style in having the white enamel extend fully to the top and bottom. (The later design had a black top and bottom to create horizontal lines). The glazing also has a different appearance and the metal is of a different quality. The rear of the plate is glazed but not enamelled. Again, this differs from the later style which were again enamelled on one side only. This plate was evidently displayed for a very long time and has become a victim of the weather, with discolouring and some oxidation to the lower left area, but is probably rare, and a historically significant plate, being one of the very first country area “E” plates. Also note that the loops of the 8 are circular rather than teardrop shaped, which is characteristic of old plates, and the 4s are flat-topped and slightly condensed. 484A
Judging by the extreme amount of weathering on these “E” plates, it seems as if the 484A didn’t change much at all though the years.
484A
484A ALIGHTING POINT ONLY
ALIGHTING POINT ONLY plates are normally used either at—or the stop before—a bus terminus where passengers should not board buses. This “E” plate likely came from a stop in Farnham Road, Slough.
484A - 484B

484B

Route 484B ran between Colnbrook (Sutton Lane) and Farnham Road or Slough Trading Estate via Slough and Salt Hill. Relatively few journeys, mainly during rush hours, carried the “B” suffix—not an easy route plate to find!

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