London Transport
Country Area Routes 805–854

Town Services
805-814 – North of the Thames 830-839 – Watford Schools & Hospital
840-849 – Welwyn Garden City 850-854 – South of the Thames

Last updated 12-11-09.

805-809 809+

Route 805 ran from Potter Street to Little Parndon via Brays Grove or Bush Fair then Tye Green, Harlow Bus Station and Harlow Town Station. Some journeys may have been extended from Potter Street to Epping. Michael Bennett adds, “I believe that the route did on occasions extend to Epping (peaks/garage journeys I suspect) as the plate shows. The Pinnacles service I believe was either a westward extension from Little Parndon or bifurcation westward from the town station (both have operated). The 805 always had Pinnacles journeys as I recall, and this continued in the 1980s on the replacement T5, later renumbered back to 805, then 5, now incorporated into Harlow town service 6. … Most certainly the westward service to Pinnacles has been a feature of the service for all of the time that I can recall (about 30 years).” This appears to be a case of the printed matter from “head office” never being changed to match what was actually “on the ground”, so to speak. Obviously, at some point in time (the 1970s?) The Pinnacles industrial estate was constructed and became a more important traffic centre that the town of Little Parndon, and although “E” plates were updated for the benefit of the locals who actually used the service, evidently maps and other central records never were.

Route 805 map
Given the existence of this “E” plate, I suspect that some journeys were extended from Potter Street to Epping via Thornwood and the routeing of the 396. The dash between the two destinations is—to my knowledge—unique.
I don’t know if this plate is for the Potter Street–Town Centre–Pinnacles journeys, or from a northbound stop between Epping and Potter Street, but my guess would be for the former.


Route 805A was a Harlow Town Service that ran during Monday to Friday rush hours, lunchtimes, and early Saturday mornings, providing a few journeys between Harlow (Templefields Industrial Area) and Potter Street (Fullers Mead) via The Stow and Brays Grove. One journey in each rush hour ran beyond Potters Street to Epping Station via Thornwood: from Epping in the morning, and towards Epping in the evening. A few journeys ran beyond Templefields to Harlow Mill Station.

It is quite unusual to have the word VIA on an “E” plate, and in this case it was to differentiate it from the journeys on the main 805 running via Bush Fair.

Route 805B was one of the Harlow Town Services, and was a school service providing a number of individual journeys. My 1965 timetables shows the morning ones running from Foldcroft to Burnt Mill County Secondary School, from the Bus Station to Latton Bush (Tysea Road) and from Rivermill (Hodings Road) to Passmores School, with return journeys in the afternoon. By 1969 the 805B was running from Harlow (The Stow) via the bus station to either Latton Bush or Passmores Schools.

My guess is that this “E” plate came from the Harlow Bus Station

This plate is undoubtedly a very old one, possibly dating back to the very first introduction of the town services in Harlow New Town. Despite the rather poor condition, it shows a most unusual route.
It is very unusual to have “E” plates with the words SCHOOL CHILDREN and I do not know of any other routes where this happened, even for the many other school services in the Country area. Curiously, several examples for the 805B are known to exist.


Route 806 ran between Harlow Mill Station and Little Parndon via Templefields, Harlow Town Centre and Harlow Town Station. By 1969 the route had been extended from the Town Station to Canon’s Gate.

Route 807 map

Route 807 ran between Letchworth and Stevenage (Bus Station) via Letchworth Gate, Weston and Friends Green. This service was withdrawn in the early 1970s.

By 1973 the number 807 had been reused for a route that ran between Epping Station and Little Parndon via Potter Street, Brays Grove and Harlow Bus Station.

This “E” plate could have come from either route 807.



Route 808 ran Sunday, Monday and Wednesday through Friday, providing a limited-stop service between Longmeadow (Shephall Way) and Hitchin (Lister Hospital) via Longmeadow, Marymead, Bedwell, Stevenage and Little Wymondley. On Sundays it ran beyond Longmeadow to Chells via Bandley Hill. By 1973 it was withdrawn south of Stevenage Bus Station, and was discontinued completely in 1976.

Route 808 map

In 1977 the number 808 was reused for a Harlow town service between the Town Centre and Katherines via Staple Tye. It was later extended south from Katherines to Sumners, and east from the Town Centre via Fishers Hatch and Ladyshot to Mark Hall North, Mill Station or Old Harlow.

I am not sure if this “E” plate was for this route, or whether it was from the earlier Lister Hospital route.


Route 809 was extended to St. Nicholas shortly before the service was replaced by Superbus.
Route 809 map
Route 809 in 1965 (Hitchin–Pestcotts) and 1968 (Stevenage to Chells).
It appears that the numbers on this plate have been added by an early form of adhesive lettering rather than the normal enamelling, although I have not tried to remove them for fear of damage. This may have been due to the nature of the route being experimental when first introduced (and it certainly became experimental when it was turned into Superbus!).
SM498 + RT4038
SM 498 [DPD 498J] operating the original Superbus service and RT 4038 [LUC 197] waiting to perform an 809 journey are seen in this September 1971 view at Stevenage Bus Station.
R.C. Riley photo; LCBIC

In 1965 route 809 ran between Hitchin and Pestcotts via Little Wymondley, Stevenage Bus Station and Bedwell. By 1968 it had been withdrawn beyond Stevenage (BR) Station, but had been extended from Pestcotts to Chells. In the ’70s Stevenage Station was moved to nearer the bus station, which became the new terminus for the 809. Soon after, the RTs on the route were replaced by one-man-operated SM single-deckers painted in a bright yellow and blue livery as part of the Superbus experiment where the fares were reduced and the frequency was increased substantially. Needless to say, the experiment was a success and more routes developed on the same principle.

1973 route 810, 810A, 810B & 811 timetable

Route 810 ran in Harlow between Old Harlow and Staple Tye via the bus station, Passmores and Stewards.

This London Country timetable for Harlow town routes 810, 810A, 810B and 811 is dated 20 January 1973.



Route 810A ran during peak hours between Harlow Mill Station and Pinnacles via Templefields and the Harlow bus station.

Route 810B ran during peak hours between Staple Tye and Pinnacles via Stewards.



Route 811 was introduced in 1957, taking over the Tuesday and Saturday journeys on the 801A from Longmeadow to Hitchin via Stevenage, and ran non-stop from the White Lion to Hitchin. Few routes ran on Tuesdays only, and combined with being express possibly makes the 811 unique.

This “E” plate is is particularly interesting (apart from being especially old) as not only does it sport a rather unusual route number in the Country Area “town” series, it is also an example of an blue express plate with just a single day shown. All in all a remarkable survivor.

A later route 811 was introduced on 14 October 1972 with the Harlow fare box scheme, using AN class Leyland Atlanteans. It was a combination of the 804 and 810, running Monday to Friday off-peak from Staple Tye to Latton Bush, and Saturdays from Staple Tye to the Bus Station. It ran direct via Third Avenue instead of Hare Street.



Routes 813 and 814 were a short-lived town centre service in Stevenage. These short routes were introduced in 1973 and were renumbered into the Superbus network as route SB3 in 1976. The 813 and 814 were unusual in that the routes had a circular section and that was why they were given two route numbers: 813 for the clockwise service and 814 for anticlockwise. I believe that for much of the day the two routes were worked by one bus which changed route number for alternate journeys.

These two “E” plates would have come from a stop on the eastbound non-circular part of the route. Many factors make these rare and desirable plates: short duration, short length, single direction only, two route numbers for one service, and the use of the word VIA. ▶ 814 VIA MARTINS WOOD SISHES END

Route 849 was a Welwyn Garden City circular service that ran only on summer Sundays. It operated between Stanborough Lakes and Haldens via WGC, Knightsfield and Panshanger. The 849 was a very short-lived route, being noted only on the 1974/5 London Country bus map.

Sunday-only Country Area routes were quite rare.


◀ This “E” plate is unusual in its use of black instead of green for a non-LT operator. This was sometimes done in areas where London Transport was the minority operator, but in that case the other operator’s name was usually omitted. It may be an error.
North Downs’ route 853 in 1970, adapted from The Greater London Bus Map. ▶
North Downs 853 route map

What at first blush appears to be a destinated plate for an extension of the Crawley–Pound Hill circular service, is actually for North Downs’ route 853 between Orpington (War Memorial) and Croydon via Locks Bottom, Coney Hall, Addington, Forestdale and Coombe Road. The number was chosen to fit into their existing series. The route was transferred to Orpington & District in 1976, which in turn became Metrobus when O&D ceased operating in February 1981. Interestingly, the number 853 has been the basis of the similar route run for London Buses which today uses the number 353.

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