London Transport NIGHT
Night Routes N94–N299

Last updated 13-11-09.


 

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.

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. The route now forms part of today’s route N16, having been renumbered in late 1990.

N94 NIGHT

N95 NIGHT
N95 NIGHT
Although it is true that the numbers were never of a constant size, they seem to be particularly small on this “E” plate. Especially notable is the word NIGHT being smaller than usual.
N95 NIGHT FARE STAGE
N95 NIGHT SEE BELOW
This plate is especially interesting and it would have come from a single stop served where there was a restricted service—possibly a stand working—and passengers were advised to see the publicity below for details.
N95 AND N98 NIGHT
This “E” plate is one of the originally manufactured night bus plates with the matt background black finish (visible in the picture). It is unusual as a split plate in that it uses the word AND to separate the routes rather than a straight line. It would have come from a stop between Trafalgar Square and Aldgate which was common to both services.
1970 farechart
A 1970 farechart for the N95.

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.

Route N98 is described below.


Route N96 started as LGOC route 613 in about 1933 and was re-numbered 296 by London Transport in 1934. It was renumbered from 296 in 1960 in order to free up numbers for the new routes required for trolleybus replacement services. It ran from Waterloo to Leyton Green via Aldwych, Farringdon Street, Islington, Dalston Junction, Hackney, Clapton and Lea Bridge Road. A few years later one journey was extended from Leyton to run to Highams Park Station via Wood Street, and for many years this was the only bus to turn round at Highams Park Station, usually requiring a three-point turn! Later it was extended to Chingford Mount, then Debden and Waterloo, and ultimately Trafalgar Square. It was operated by Routemasters, Leyland Nationals and DMSs over the years. It was finally withdrawn in 1995, and the route now forms part of route N38.

Route N97 is described below.

N96 NIGHT
N96 NIGHT
N96 NIGHT - N97 NIGHT
This “E” plate would have been used on the short section of road where the N96 and N97 ran together, probably in Fleet Street. It appears to be very old; and judging by the thickness of the enamel, it could even be an original N “E” plate dating from 1960.

N97 NIGHT

Route N97 was similarly renumbered from 297 in 1960. It 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 N98 was introduced in 1960 when the night buses were renumbered with an “N” prefix from the 2×× series, and so the 298 became N98. It ran from Trafalgar Square to Hornchurch Garage via Tottenham Court Road Station, Holborn, St. Paul’s, Bank, Aldgate, Stepney Green, Mile End, Bow, Stratford, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Seven Kings, Chadwell Heath, Romford and Roneo Corner. The Hornchurch extension was cut back to Romford Station, but some journeys were extended from Trafalgar Square to Victoria via Westminster for crews’ meal reliefs. It was one of the few night routes in the early days to run on Saturday night, but the service only came into central London as far as Holborn. It was operated by RTs, RMs, DMSs and Ts over the years, and the route now forms part of 24-hour route 25.

N98 NIGHT
N98 NIGHT FARE STAGE
N98 NIGHT SEE BELOW
This “E” plate likeley came from the stretch of route between Trafalgar Square and Victoria. The words SEE BELOW have been partially erased by London Transport staff

N99 NIGHT
N99 NIGHT FARE STAGE
The FARE STAGE variations are obviously much rarer than the normal ones.
N99 NIGHT FARE STAGE

Route N99 was introduced in 1960 to replace the staff trolleybus service. It ran between Chingford Mount and Victoria & Albert Docks via Crooked Billet, Walthamstow, Leyton (Bakers Arms), Thatched House, Maryland, Stratford and Plaistow. One journey was subsequently extended from Chingford Mount to Chingford Station, and latterly one journey was provided between Plaistow (Bull Road) and Canning Town. It was for many years the only night bus route West Ham Garage had and also, I believe, at the time the only nighter not to go into central London, but provided a maintained connection at Leyton with route N96 and at Stratford with route N98. West Ham later got the N76 which ran from Trafalgar Square to Hainault. The N99 was eventually withdrawn, being partly replaced by later and earlier running of today’s route 69 which now runs 24 hours. It was a one-bus operation.

The number N99 was reused for a new service between Trafalgar Square and Stanmore via Wembley and Queensbury, but this was after the use of enamelled “E” plates had ceased.


Route N109 began operating in the summer of 1994 between Aldwych and Croydon via Trafalgar Square, Brixton and Streatham; then continued either to New Addington or to Coulsdon via Purley. It no longer operates.

Route N171 runs between Tottenham Court Road and Catford via Holborn, Aldwych, Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell, Peckham, New Cross, Brockley and Brockley Rise.

This plasic night bus “E” plate is of the style used on modern-day bus stop flags. I believe it came from a stop in the Trafalgar Square area. It appears the route numbers were printed onto a piece of vinyl which was then affixed to the plastic plate.

Night Bus N109 Night Bus N171

Night Bus N133

Route N133 operates between Liverpool Street Station and Mitcham (Raleigh Gardens) via Finsbury Circus, Moorgate, King William Street, London Bridge, Borough High Street, Elephant & Castle, Kennington, Brixton, Streatham and Upper Green. It had previously run as far as Tooting Broadway Station.

This is one of the current style of plasic plates.

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