London Transport
Green Line Coach Routes 717–719

Last updated 07-03-10.

Route 717 began running in May 1946 between Woking and Welwyn Garden City via Woodham, Addlestone, Weybridge, Walton, East Molesey, Hampton Court, Kingston, Ham, Richmond, Barnes, Hammersmith, Kensington, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Baker Street, Finchley Road, Golders Green, North Finchley, Barnet, Potters Bar, Brookmans Park and Hatfield. In October 1955 this routing was renumbered 716A, the number 717 being used for a new service between London (Victoria) and Welwyn Garden City via Golders Green, Barnet, Potters Bar, Little Heath, Brookmans Park, Welham Green, Hatfield and Stanborough. In 1964 the 717 was extended from Victoria to Wrotham via Elephan & Castle, New Cross, Lewisham, Eltham, Sidcup, Swanley and Farnigham, replacing the east half of withdrawn route 703. In 1967 the section between London (Baker Street) and WGC was withdrawn, replaced by the 716A. In November 1968 the remainder was withdrawn, replaced by an extension of route 719. Two months later the 717 returned, once again running north from London (Victoria), but this time to Luton Airport via Golders Green, Brent Cross, Hill Hill, Borehamwood, Shenley, St. Albans and Harpenden. One Sunday journey bypassed the Brent Cross Shopping Centre, instead serving Shenley Hospital.

717
◀ This plate is from the later years of the 717, after white replaced cream on enamelled Green Line “E” plates.
This plate is quite an early example, as later ones tended to have three points served instead of the word VIA. The plate could have been posted at any central London stop between Hyde Park Corner and Baker Street Station, Golders Green Station, Tally Ho Corner or Barnet Church. It would have been current 5.10.1955 until 1.12.1967. ▶
717 WELWYN GARDEN CITY VIA HATFIELD

Route 718 was established after the War in April 1946, and ran between Windsor and Epping via Englefield Green, Egham, Staines, Ashford, Sunbury, Hampton Court, Kingston, Kingston Vale, Putney Heath, Putney, Fulham Broadway, Chelsea, Victoria, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Baker Street, Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Tottenham, Walthamstow, South Woodford, Woodford Green, Buckhurst Hill and Loughton. It replaced the pre-War service “G” in the west and “N” in the northeast. In 1950 it was diverted between Walthamstow and Woodford Green, now via Chingford Mount and Chingford. In 1956 the 718 was extended from Epping to Harlow New Town (Bus Station) via Thornwood and Potter Street. In 1962 the route was converted to RMC-class short Routemaster coaches out of Harlow [HA] and Windsor [WR] garages, but was converted to one-man-operated single deckers ten years later. As the Green Line network declined, it was withdrawn between Victoria and Harlow in April 1977, and ultimately disappeared completely.

718
718
1949 route 718 timetable1976 route 718 timetable
Route 718 timetables from June 1949 and April 1976.

N O R T H B O U N D
718 LOUGHTON EPPING HARLOW
This plate could have come from Walthamstow.
718 HARLOW

W E S T B O U N D
718 VICTORIA KINGSTON WINDSOR
718 KINGSTON STAINES WINDSOR
This “E” plate also exists with cream numbers and lettering.
718 WINDSOR VIA KINGSTON
The use of the word VIA on a plate with white lettering is unusual.
718 WINDSOR VIA HAMPTON COURT
My guess is that this “E” plate came from Kingston, since the important traffic centre of Staines is listed more commonly than Hampton Court.

Route 719 was unusual in a number of ways: firstly, it was not part of the original, post-war Green Line network. The number instead lay vacant until July 1956 when a new daily service was introduced using RF coaches between Hemel Hempstead and London (Victoria) via Leverstock Green, Bedmond, Garston, Watford, Bushey, Stanmore, Queensbury, Kingsbury, Neasden, Willesden, Kilburn, Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner, which was also unusual in that the route did not cross central London. Converted to double-deck operation with RMC Routemaster coaches in 1962 and back to RFs in 1967, the route finally became a cross-town service in 1968 with a southern extension to Wrotham via Millbank, Elephant & Castle, Old Kent Road, New Cross, Lewisham, Eltham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Swanley, Farningham and West Kingsdown to replace the southern end of the withdrawn 717. As most of the coach network died away in the 1970s, from April 1978 the 719 was diverted to East Grinstead to replace the south half of route 708—the Victoria–Wrotham service being assumed by new route 729—before breathing its last.

719
719
719
What makes this plate astonishingly rare is that it has black numbers on a white background. I have never seen any other Green Line “E” plate with this colour arrangement, and I can only presume it was produced in error, which would also account for its exceptionally immaculate condition.

N O R T H B O U N D
719 SWANLEY VICTORIA HEMEL HEMPSTEAD
This “E” plate is likely to be from the terminal coach stand in Wrotham.
719 WILLESEDEN WATFORD HEMEL HEMPSTEAD
This plate came from possibly a stop in the vicinty of Marble Arch or Baker Street.
719 HEMEL HEMPSTEAD

S O U T H B O U N D
719 STANMORE VICTORIA WROTHAM
This “E” plate was possibly in Hemel Hempstead or Watford.
719 STANMORE VICTORIA WROTHAM
Although this “E” plate has the same place names as the previous one, they are spaced differently. The white characters suggests that it is newer, and the poor centring is characteristic of the malaise that affected London Transport in 1980s.
719 STANMORE VICTORIA WROTHAM
719 SIDCUP SWANLEY WROTHAM
This plate was obviously from somewhere beyond central London, possibly Eltham where many bus stops had “E” plates.
719 FARNINGHAM WROTHAM
My guess is that this plate came from either Sidcup or Swanley.
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