London Transport NIGHT
Night Routes N89–N93

Last updated 23-01-10.


 

London Transport used black “E” plates with white lettering for night routes to distinguish them from the daytime services. These plates are far less common than the white versions as there were, until the 1990s, relatively few all-night routes. They are rarely seen nowadays, especially as it was such a small network of routes with many “E” plate variations. Unfortunately, the black enamel plates never seem to survive particularly well.

N89 NIGHT
N89 NIGHT
N89 NIGHT
The “teardrops” on thie figure 8 on this plate are slightly asymmetrical. It is one of the originally manufactured night bus “E” plates with the matt black background finish.
N89 NIGHT SOUTHALL
◀ This plate came from the stop in Poultry towards Southall. Bus stop “E” plates with destinations are extremely rare, being made usually for just a couple of stops, but they are even more so for the “N” night routes as there were only around 20 in this series in the days of “E” plates.
While there were many combinations of split night bus plates, there were relatively few with three routes. Split plates were made where the number of routes was too great to be accommodated in the normal space, and were often made for individual stops. This one would have come from a stop between Oxford Circus and Edgware Road where the routes were common. ▶
N89 NIGHT

Route N89 was renumbered from 289 in 1960. It ran from London Bridge Station to Southall (Brent Road) via Bank, Holborn, Oxford Street, Marble Arch, Lancaster Gate/Notting Hill Gate, Shepherds Bush, Acton, Ealing and Hanwell. It was later diverted between Marble Arch and Lancaster Gate to serve Paddington Station. In 1976 the journeys that ran out of service to Liverpool Street were changed to run in service, and so at Bank some journeys ran to Liverpool Street instead of London Bridge, meaning that at that point the N89 ran in three different directions. The bus stops at Bank were therefore fitted with “E” plates with destinations to make it clear which way the bus was going. In 1981 the route was diverted at Southall Town Hall to run to Uxbridge via Hayes End and Hillingdon. The route has now been absorbed mainly by route N207, running between Holborn and Uxbridge.

Route N91 is described below.

Route N94, numbered 294 until 1960, ran between Liverpool Street and Cricklewood Garage via Bank, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Edgware Road, Maida Vale and Kilburn. It was unusual at the time as there was a single journey provided on Sunday mornings, when most of the night routes did not run. It now forms part of today’s N16.


Route N90 was renumbered from 290 in October 1960. It ran from Pimlico to Edmonton via Victoria, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Stamford Hill and Tottenham. The route was later extended to Ponders End and Waltham Cross, and during 1975 was also diverted to serve Euston and King’s Cross stations. For many years, it was the only night route running outside the Greater London area. After the use of enamel “E” plates ceased, route N90 was renumbered N279, but I am unsure of the exact date.

Route N93 is described below.

Route N95 was introduced in 1960 when the night buses were renumbered with an “N” prefix from the 2×× series, and so the 295 became N95. It ran from Trafalgar Square to Becontree Heath via Tottenham Court Road Station, Holborn, St. Paul’s, Bank, Aldgate, Stepney Green, Limehouse, Poplar, Canning Town, East Ham and Barking. It had some journeys extended from Trafalgar Square to Victoria via Westminster in the ’60s for crews’ meal reliefs. It was operated by RTs, DMSs and Ts over the years, and the route now forms part of route N15.

N90 NIGHT
N90 NIGHT - N93 NIGHTN90 NIGHT - N95 NIGHT

N91 NIGHT
N91 NIGHT
N91 NIGHT
This “E” plate sports a self-adhesive vinyl sitcker over its original route number.
N91 NIGHT - N94 NIGHT
As always, split night route plates come in many combinations. Some of these combinations are extremely difficult to find, having often been produced for just a single stop.
N91 NIGHT FARE STAGE - N94 NIGHT FARE STAGE
This split “E” plate is especially interesting as it combines two FARE STAGE routes, which were always less common than plain numbered plates. It likely came from a stop between Trafalgar Square and Edgware Road.
N91 NIGHT - N94 NIGHT - N97 NIGHT
It is astonishingly rare to find triple split “E” plates at the best of times, and being a night plate makes this one even more unusual. These three routes ran parallel between Liverpool Street and Trafalgar Square and this plate would have been produced for a stop which had a great many routes serving it.

Routes N91, N94 and N97 were renumbered from 291, 294 and 297 respectively in 1960 to allow for the greater need of numbers for day routes. Route N91 ran between Liverpool Street and Willesden Garage via Bank, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Edgware Road, Harrow Road and Harlesden. It was subsequently rerouted to serve Paddington Station, and the route now forms part of today’s route 6 which runs 24 hours.

Route N94 is described above.

Route N97 ran between Liverpool Street and Turnham Green Garage via Bank, St. Paul’s, Ludgate Circus, Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Fulham Broadway, Dawes Road, Hammersmith and Stamford Brook. It was subsequently rerouted to serve Earl’s Court. In 1977, when the Piccadilly Line was extended to Heathrow, the N97 underwent a major change when it was extended to Heathrow Airport via Chiswick, Gunnersbury, Brentford, Isleworth, Hounslow, Hounslow West, Cranford and Harlington Corner, and at the same time was introduced on Saturday night/Sunday morning and substantially increased in frequency. This was the start of a steady increase in the night bus network which has resulted in the extensive network that we have today. The route still runs today but only between Trafalgar Square and Hammersmith, having been replaced to Heathrow by route N9.


Route N92 was renumbered from 292 in 1960. It ran from Archway Station to Trafalgar Square via Holloway, Highbury, Islington, Bllomsbury and Aldwych. The route was subsequently absorbed into route N43 and now forms part of route N41.

N92 NIGHT

N93 NIGHT
N93 NIGHT SPECIAL JOURNEYS ONLY
This plate is especially interesting, and it would have come from a stop served by the scheduled short working to Farringdon Street, the stop being in Stonecutter Street. There is likely to be just one other plate the same.
N93 NIGHT STONECUTTER STREET
This plate will have come either from a stop in St. Bride Street (or possibly in latter days in Charterhouse Street), the roads used by the short-working journeys to Farringdon Street (Stonecutter Street). STONECUTTER STREET “E” plates also exist for route N83.
N93 NIGHT AND N94 NIGHT

Route N93 was introduced in 1960, running between Hampstead Heath (South End Green) and Trafalgar Square via Camden Town, King’s Cross, Ludgate Circus, Fleet Street and Strand. Just one bus was required which provided a mixture of through and short journeys. In subsequent years the route was diverted to serve Kentish Town, and later to serve Euston. The northern end of the route is now covered by a 24-hour service on route 24.

Route N94 is described under route N89.

◀ This “E” plate would have come from a stop in the common section of route between Ludgate Circus and Trafalgar Square. It is unusual in having the word AND instead of a dividing line between the two route numbers.
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