London Transport
Trolleybus Routes

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Trolleybus services were assigned to the 5xx and 6xx series in the bus route renumbering scheme of October 1934. The ultimate demise of London’s trolleybus network was on 8 May 1962.

521

Route 521 ran from North Finchley to Holborn Circus via New Southgate, Wood Green, Finsbury Park, Holloway, King’s Cross and Gray’s Inn Road, returning to King’s Cross via Farringdon Road. It was paired with route 621 which ran ’round the King’s Cross–Holborn loop in the opposite direction. The 521 and 621 were replaced on 7 November, 1961 by route 221.



Route 601 was London’s first trolleybus route (in the form of London United Tramways’ route 1), and ran from Tolworth to Twickenham via Surbiton, Kingston, Hampton Wick, Teddington and Fulwell. It was replaced on 8 May, 1962 by route 281.

601 601

602

Route 602 ran from The Dittons to Kingston via Surbtion, looping anti-clockwise via Eden Street, London Road, Park Road, Kings Road and Richmond Road. It lasted until the final day of trolleybuses,being replaced by route 282.


Route 603 ran from Tolworth to Kingston via Surbiton and Eden Street, with a circular loop in Kingston via Richmond Road, Kings Road, Park Road and London Road. It was replaced on 8 May, 1962 by route 283.

603

605 SUNDAY

Route 605 was possibly the most unusual trolley bus service. Started in 1932 as London United’s route 5, it ran on Saturdays only between Twickenham and Wimbledon via Teddington, Kingston, Norbiton, Malden and Raynes Park. In 1940 Monday to Friday journeys were added, but it was withdrawn between Malden and Wimbledon except for peak hours. By 1947 it had been withdrawn between Twickenham and Teddington. By 1952 the 605 had been reduced to Sundays only—except during the summer months when there was no service at all—as its entire route was also served by the 601 west of Kingston, and route 604 to the east. Surprisingly, at also survived to the end. The replacement route 285 operated an extended daily service between London Airport and Haydons Road Station.

I believe the 605 was the only trolleybus route to have Sunday-only “E” plates. An “E” plate for the 605 sold for £520 at auction in July 2008.


Trolleybus route 639 ran from Hampstead Heath (South End Green) to Moorgate via Chalk Farm, Camden Town, Crowndale Road, King’s Cross, Islington and City Road. It was replaced on 31 January, 1961 by route 239.

In 1981 the number 639 was used for a short-lived single-direction-only peak-hour service between Kings Cross and Caledonia Road via York Way and the Vale Royal Industrial Estate. The number was chosen because the service paralleled route 239 for most of its length.

This plate came from the bus route, as the 639 trolleybus operated daily. The 639 was probably the highest-numbered bus route to have enamelled “E” plates made for it.

639 MON.-FRI. PEAK HOURS

645FS

Route 645 had its origin as as tramway 45, itself the first new Metropolitan electric route (as opposed to a horse-car conversion). The 645 began running on 2 August 1936 from Barnet to Canons Park via High Barnet Station, Great North Road, North Finchley, Church End, Golders Green, Cricklewoood, Hendon, Colindale and Edgware. The route lasted just two days into 1962, being replaced by bus 245 on 3.01.62.

This “E” plate is very unusual in that it is stencilled onto the reverse of the number 699 (or is it 669?) plate shown below. Parts have worn away, including the letter A in STAGE.


Route 657 ran from Hounslow to Shepherd’s Bush via Isleworth, Brentford, Kew Bridge, Chiswick, Turhnam Green and Goldhawk Road. It was replaced on 8 May, 1962 by route 117.

657

660

Route 660 ran from North Finchley to Hammersmith via Fichley, Golders Green, Childs Hill, Cricklewood, Willesden Green, Craven Park Junction, Harlesden, Acton Vale and Ravenscourt Park. It was replaced on 2 January, 1962 by route 260.


Route 662 ran from Sudbury to Paddington Green via Wembley, Stonebridge Park, Craven Park, Harlesden, Kensal Green, Royal Oak and Harrow Road. It was replaced on 2 January, 1962 by route 18.

662

666

Route 666 ran between Edgware (Station Road) and Hammersmith Broadway via Burnt Oak, Colindale, West Hendon, Staples Corners, Cricklewood, Willesden, Church Road, Harlesden, North Acton, Acton, Acton Vale and Starch Green, with additional Monday to Saturday rush hour journeys between Harrow Road (Scrubs Lane) and Acton (Horn Lane). The 666 began running on 5 July 1936, replacing route 6 (Hammersmith–Acton), and for most of its service life it operated only during peak hours and part-day Sunday. In 1940 there were journeys six days a week plus early Sunday mornings. By 1947 Sunday journeys ran in the afternoon; later, Sunday, then Saturday service was withdrawn. However, all-day service was introduced on 7 January 1959 when route 664 was withdrawn. The 666 was replaced on 3 January 1962 by the 266 (the route which ran past my flat when I lived in London).


Route 667 ran from Hampton Court to Hammersmith via Hampton, Fulwell, Twickenham, Isleworth, Brentford, Kew Bridge, Chiswick, Turham Green, Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park. When it was replaced on 8 May, 1962 by route 267, the section of road between Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith could lay claim to being the longest-served in London by electric traction: London United trams had run along there from the early 1900s until replaced by LUT trolleybus 67.

667

669

Route 669 began operating on 6 June 1937 between Stratford Broadway and Canning Town via West Ham Lane, Plaistow Station, Upper Road and Hermit Road, replacing tram 69 (originally West Ham route 6). It was extended via Silvertown to North Woolwich (Free Ferry) on 6 February 1938, and in the process became the longest trolleybus deviation from an original tramway route replacement. The 669 was replaced by route 69 on 3 February 1960.


Route 698 ran between Bexleyheath and Woolwich (Free Ferry) via Barnehurst, Erith, Belvedere, Abbey Wood and Plumstead. It was a replacement and extension of the Bexleyheath UDC/Dartford Council tram route 98 between Abbey Wood and Woolwich. The 698 was one of three routes withdrawn on 3 March, 1959 as part of Stage 1 of the trolleybus conversion program, its service being taken over by route 229.

698

699

Route 699 ran from Chingford Mount (Prince Albert) to Victoria & Albert Docks via Walthamstow (Hoe Street), Leyton Green, Crownfield Road, Leytonstone, Stratford Broadway, Plaistow, Greengate Street and Prince Regent Lane. Fittingly, the highest-numbered trolleybus route operated the last service into West Ham depot [WH] on 26 April 1960 with E2 class number 622 (which had also inaugurated trolleybus service in the area). The 249 took over the next day.

This “E” plate could also have been from route 669, as there is not enough weathering to determine which way ’round it was mounted.

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