London Transport
Green Line Coach Routes 725–799

Last updated 21-12-09.

Route 725 was the first orbital Green Line service (unlike most coach routes which operated though central London) introduced in July 1953, and ran between Gravesend and Windsor via Swanscombe, Northfleet, Dartford, Crayford, Bexley, Sidcup, Chislehurst, Bromley, Beckenham, Addiscombe, Croydon, Wallington, Sutton, North Cheam, New Malden, Worcester Park, Kingston, Hampton Court, Sunbury, Ashford, Staines, Egham and Englefield Green. In later years a sister route was introduced between Gravesend and Heathrow Airport numbered 726, which gradually replaced the 725 (which was eventually withdrawn).

725
725 726
◀ This “gem” illustrates just how far things sank during the 1980s. Some rather crude self-adhesive vinyl numbers—hardly resembling London Transport’s famous Johnston font—were stuck onto the back of an HEAD STOP “E” plate, somewhere along the combined 725-726 routes.
HEAD STOP
725 fare table
A route 725 fare table.
725 fare table
A route 725 timetable, dated 25 May, 1974.
SMA18 on route 725, 13 October 1978
This photo taken by Stephen Dowle on Friday, 13 October 1978, clearly shows London Country’s home-made “E” plates with green vinly numbers, as SMA18 [JPF118K] boards passengers at stop “X” in Kingston-upon-Thames en route to Windsor while working the 725. Posted are plates for the 726, 715, 727, 716, 718 and 725.

E A S T B O U N D
725 KINGSTON CROYDON GRAVESEND
This rare “E” plate sold for £600.00 on ebay in February 2010.
725 CROYDON BROMLEY GRAVESEND
This “E” plate came from an eastbound stop somewhere in the west half of the route.
725 GRAVESEND VIA DARTFORD
725 GRAVESEND
725 GRAVESEND VIA LONDON
This “E” plate is an error—it probably should have been numbered for route 701.

W E S T B O U N D
725 CROYDON HAMPTON COURT WINDSOR
725 KINGSTON HAMPTON COURT WINDSOR FARE STAGE
This is a very rare five-line version of an “E” plate. It sold for £480 on ebay in February 2007.
725 WINDSOR VIA KINGSTON

Route 726 was originally a summer-only route which ran between Romford and Whipsnade Zoo via Chadwell Heath, Ilford, Stratford, Aldgate, Baker Street, Finchley, Golders Green, Barnet and St. Albans. In the early ’60s it was extended in the east to Harold Hill Estate for a few summers. By 1964 it had become a limited-stop service runing via the M1 and Edgware instead of St. Albans and Barnet, but nonetheless could not compete with the private motorcar and disappeared before the end of the decade.

Normally ALIGHTING POINT ONLY plates are found at terminals, but the 726 was an exception. Passengers were only conveyed from Whipsnade Zoo, so all the southbound intermediate stops right through to Romford would have been posted as APO. The route ran for the last time on 6 September 1968, which raises the question: with summer-only routes, were the plates taken down for each winter?

726 ALIGHTING POINT ONLY

726

The 726 was re-introduced in the late ’70s as part of the 725 rerouted via Heathrow Airport. It ran from Gravesend to Windsor with route 725 via Northfleet, Dartford, Bexley, Sidcup, Chislehurst, Bromley, Beckenham, Croydon, Wallington, Sutton, Cheam, Worcester Park, Kingston and Hampton Court, then diverted via Feltham, Heathrow Airport and Slough. The 726 (and its predecessor 725) can still be traced today between Croydon and Ashford under London Buses’ route X26.

“E” plates for the newer 726 (with white instead of cream numbers) are rather uncommon, as the route was re-introduced at a time when “E” plates were being phased out. This explains why this otherwise-unremarkable undestinated “E” plate sold for £409.99 on ebay in January 2008.


During the revamp of the network in the ’70s and ’80s route 726 was proposed for withdrawal. However, the majority of the route—now withdrawn between Dartford and Gravesend and between Heathrow Airport and Windsor—ran within Greater London, and London Transport decided to put the route out to tender and retain its operation within the London area, still retaining the established “Green Line” marketing name. It became operated by Kentish Bus and Luton & District, and ran daily between Dartford and Heathrow Airport via Bexley, Sidcup, Chislehurst, Bromley, Croydon, Sutton, Kingston, Hampton Court, Feltham and Hatton Cross. The route has since been progressively cut back to Bromley and more recently was curtailed at Croydon, and now remains as route X26 between Croydon and Heathrow Airport, rerouted away from Hampton Court.

1991 route 726 timetable
This timetable folio is dated From Saturday 29th June 1991, and bears advertising proclaiming the 726 to be Your South London Link: The daily route to the best in shopping, leisure and entertainment.
The 726 was the only Green Line route put out to tender by London Transport, and was the only route to have special vinyl “E” stickers made for it. ▶
GREEN LINE 726 DAILY
 

In the mid-1990s the Green Line brand was resurrected for a number of coach services from the Home Counties into central London, resulting in many more 7xx series route numbers. Among the companies participating were Alder Valley, Arriva the Shires, Bee Line, County Bus, London & Country, Maidstone & District, Reading Buses, Southdown, Southend Transport and Sovereign.


729

Route 729 was a Monday to Friday rush hour service running between London (Victoria) and Borough Green via Millbank, Elephant & Castle, Old Kent Road, New Cross, Lewisham, Eltham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Swanley, Farnigham, Brands Hatch and Wrotham. It was a replacement for the southern leg of route 719.

This plate appears to have been recycled since it has green vinyl numerals affixed to the white reverse of a route 295A “E” plate that was withdrawn in 1975.

295A SATURDAY

Route 737 began in June 2000 as a renumbering of National Express service 76 (Heathrow to Ipswich via Stansted). It was later shortened to run between Oxford and Stansted Airport via Headington, Stokenchurch, High Wycombe, Chesham, Hemel Hempstead, London Colney, Hatfield and Hertford. In March 2007 Stagecoach was awarded the contract to operate the route.

This sticker, however, is from the joint Stagecoach/Trent Barton route between Chesterfield and Nottingham in Derbyshire, a good hundred miles to the north of Essex.

 Stagecoach express 737

739

Route 739 was a short-lived special service introduced in April 1978 upon the demise of Green Line route 719, running only for major race meets, between London (Victoria) and Brands Hatch via Lewisham, Eltham, Sidcup and Swanley. The plate appears to have been recycled since it has green vinyl numerals affixed to the white reverse of a route 292 “E” plate which was withdrawn in July 1973.

292 MON-FRI FARE STAGE

GREEN LINE 739 SPECIAL HOURNEYS ONLY739 SPECIAL HOURNEYS ONLYTwo possibilities of what this plate should have looked like, had they done it correctly. ▶


Routes 760 and 761 were introduced in the late ’70s after the network started to be revamped. These routes ran between Croydon and Crawley as express links for commuting and shopping, I believe.

The use of the usual style of Green Line “E” plates on green backgrounds had ceased at this time, hence the very unusual use of green lettering on a white background similar to the style used for Provincial operator’s “E” plates. This mode lasted only a short time on “E” plates, as they ceased to be made around 1980. Only a handful of routes saw Green Line plates in this style. However, had they followed normal practice, the Green Line name would have been below the route numbers.

GREEN LINE 760 761

Stagecoach 780

Green Line route 780 began as one of Maidstone & District’s 978 to 990-series “Invictaway” routes from Kent to London (Victoria). In 1995, the Invictaway services became part of the Green Line network. In 2004 the routes were renumbered 780–785, after a Transport for London request to bring them in line with other London express services, which are all numbered with 7xx prefixes. The 780 was withdrawn in August 2005.

more…

This vinyl route sticker with self-adhesive backing was used to “dress” bus stops, and measures 4" (10.2 cm) × 258" (6.7 cm). This route 780 began operating in 1982 as a Southdown limited stop service between Eastbourne and East Grinstead via Hailsham and Uckfield. I had thought that the 780 followed the A22 into East Grinstead; however, the West Sussex County Council press release announcing the replacement of Stagecoach East Sussex by RDH Services of Plumpton in April 2001 indicated that the route ran via Haywards Heath and Cuckfield (but this may have been a later development). In 2006 Countryliner Sussex was formed to take over RDH’s bus operation. By that time the number 780 had been discontinued for the route. Although running to the edge of London Transport territory and separated by only about 30 miles (50 km), the two routes were never associated with each other. “Stagecoach” was a branding used by Southdown to promote its trunk—or 7xx series—routes and had nothing to do with the Scottish company.


Route 798 was introduced in April 1981 as a late addition to the Green Line network—as a joint venture between London Country Bus Serices and Eastern Counties—covering part of National Express service 098 between London and Cambridge. It provided a daily limited-stop service from Victoria Coach Station to Cambridge (Drummer Street) via Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Camden Town, Finsbury Park, Turnpike Lane Station, Edmonton, Enfield, Wormley, Broxbourne, Hoddesdon, Ware, Wadesmill, Colliers End, Puckeridge, Buntingford, Royston and Shepreth.

798 ALIGHTING POINT ONLY
798 ALIGHTING POINT ONLYTowards London passengers were not allowed to board within the Greater London area, hence plates displayed ALIGHTING POINT ONLY in the “up” direction. From London, the plates displayed 798 CAMBRIDGE. I believe this was a unique arrangement for a latter-day Green Line route. These must have been some of the very last Green Line “E” plates to be produced, which would account for them not being in the traditional white on green style. The small image is a Photoshop rendering of the “proper” version of this plate.
Route 798 timetable
Timetable for Green Line/Eastern Counties route 798, effective 1 November 1981.
GREEN LINE 798
After London Country switched to standard MoT signs, vinyl stickers were used instead of “E” plates to identify the routes serving that stop.
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