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London Transport
Central Area Routes 175–179

Last updated 24-08-06.

This plate would probably have come from a stop at Chase Cross where there was a separate stop from terminating buses for journeys running on to Ongar.

Route 175 ran daily between Ongar and Dagenham (New Road) via Stanford Rivers, Passingford Bridge, Stapleford Abbotts, Chase Cross, Collier Row, Romford, Rush Green, Becontree Heath and Heathway. It was diverted at Dagenham on Mondays to Saturdays to Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel) via Rippleside, Barking By-Pass and Canning Town. Some journeys also ran to Ford’s Main Works. The route always ran in sections. In 1970 it was withdrawn on Sundays between Passingford Bridge and Ongar, and in 1972 further withdrawn between Chase Cross and Passingford Bridge. In 1973 it was withdrawn completely between Chase Cross and Ongar, and replaced over this section by new route 175A, and also withdrawn between Dagenham and Poplar, mainly replaced over this section by new route 173. In 1979 it was diverted at Collier Row to North Romford (Hillrise Estate). In 1981 it had some journeys rerouted on Mondays to Saturdays via Chase Cross, Havering Green and Stapleford Abbotts to Passingford Bridge, although these were withdrawn in 1982.

Route 175A had a very short and simple history by London Transport terms. It was introduced on 16th June 1973 running on Mondays to Saturdays between Romford Station and Ongar, Cripsey Avenue, via Collier Row, North Romford, Havering Green, Havering-atte-Bower, Stapleford Abbotts, Passingford Bridge and Stanford Rivers. It was scheduled for RT operation but towards the end Routemasters often appeared. It was a replacement for the northern local section of the long 175 route which ran from Blackwall Tunnel to Ongar (although no bus made the complete journey and the route ran in a number of sections). The 175A was the rather pleasant “country” end. It was a very infrequent route for London Transport, running about every two hours. The route was withdrawn on 8th January 1977 when it was renumbered 247B and converted to one-man operation, becoming one of the first LT routes to use the new Bristol LH single-deck buses.

The two “CHASE CROSS” plates are rather unusual for a number of reasons. Apart from having the word “ONLY”, the 175A was operated by just one vehicle which provided a bus about every two hours between Romford and Ongar. There may have been a short journey running only as far as North Romford (Chase Cross), possibly towards the end of the duty, although I cannot recall one. If this was the case as seems likely, these “E” plates would have been from the bus stop at Chase Cross where terminating buses stopped on a different stop from those continuing beyond, which stopped just around the corner, along with the 250 to Epping. Moreover, the 175A was not a daily route but the plate does not carry the words “MON-SAT”, so the second one is also likely to be an error. Thus, it is a very interesting plate for an infrequent route, produced for just one bus stop, and possibly for just one journey! Maybe an error as well.



Route 176 was introduced in 1951 as a tram replacement route and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Victoria Embankment and Forest Hill via Westminster, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell and Dulwich, extended on Mondays to Fridays except during peak hours and on Saturdays to Catford (Rushey Green). In 1952 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Victoria Embankment and Elephant & Castle except for a rush hour service. In 1956 it was rerouted at Elephant & Castle to run to Willesden Garage via Waterloo, Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Tottenham Court Road, Marylebone Road, Edgware Road, Maida Vale and Kilburn, and later that year the Catford terminus was changed to Catford Garage. In 1965 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Waterloo and Willesden and replaced by route 1. It was also diverted at Catford to run to Lewisham. In 1969 the remaining Saturday service was withdrawn. In 1971 it was withdrawn between Forest Hill and Lewisham. In 1987 it was diverted at Tottenham Court Road Station to Oxford Circus instead of Willesden, and a Sunday service was introduced between Waterloo and East Dulwich (Goose Green). At the same time the Saturday service was cut back to East Dulwich. In 1988 it was extended daily from East Dulwich / Forest Hill to Penge (Pawleyne Arms) via Darmouth Road and Kirkdale. In 1990 the Sunday service was extended from Waterloo to Aldwych, and in 1994 it was revised to run to Oxford Circus at all times.

176 MON-FRI - 188
This “E” plate would have come from the common section of routes 176 and 188, between Aldwych and Elephant & Castle.

Route 188 was introduced as a tram replacement route in 1951 running between Chalk Farm Station and Greenwich (Cutty Sark) via Camden Town, Euston, Russell Square, Holborn Station, Aldwych, Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, Bricklayers Arms, Tower Bridge Road, Rotherhithe and Surrey Docks. In 1958 it was withdrawn on Saturday afternoons between Aldwych and Chalk Farm. In 1963 it was re-extended to Chalk Farm on Saturday afternoons, but cut back to Aldwych on Mondays to Fridays except during peak hours. Later that year it was withdrawn on Sundays between Waterloo and Chalk Farm. In 1964 the Sunday service was diverted to Archway Station and renumbered 188A. In 1970 the 188 was revised to run from Greenwich to Waterloo on Mondays to Saturdays, and extended on Mondays to Fridays to Euston Station. A few early Saturday journeys continued beyond Waterloo to Aldwych. In 1971 it was converted to one-man operation and withdrawn between Surrey Docks Station and Greenwich on Mondays to Fridays except during peak hours. A Sunday service was reintroduced between Greenwich and Waterloo. In 1978 the route was simplified (at last) to run daily between Greenwich and Euston. In 1982 the Monday to Friday service was extended to King’s Cross as part replacement for route 239, but in 1985 this extension was reduced to peak hours only, and being withdrawn completely in 1986 so that it again ran Greenwich to Euston at all times. In 1999 it was extended from Greenwich to North Greenwich Station, and later that year withdrawn between Russell Square and Euston. Since the route has been tendered, it has seen a number of operators running on it: Boroline Maidstone, Selkent, London & Country, South London, Arriva North East, Arriva London North, London General and London Central, now being operated by Travel London.

Route 176A ran Monday to Friday from Cannon Street to Forest Hill/Catford (Rushey Green) via Southwark Bridge, Borough, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell Green, East Dulwich and Dulwich, but only to Dulwich (Plough) during Monday to Saturday peak hours. In 1956 the Catford journeys were extended from Rushey Green to Catford Garage. In 1958 Saturday service was withdrawn and the RTW-type was introduced, replacing the RTLs previously used. In 1965 journeys beyond Forest Hill were diverted at Catford to Lewisham, and RTLs returned to the route. In 1966 RTs supplanted the RTL-type. Ten years later Routemasters were assigned to the route. In 1977 the City terminal was changed from Cannon Street to Mansion House Station. Route 176A was withdrawn on 04 September 1982.

This “E” plate would have come from the section beyond Dulwich after 1958.



Route 177 was introduced in 1952 as a bus replacement route for trams 36 and 38, and ran daily between Abbey Wood and Victoria Embankment via Plumstead, Woolwich, Greenwich, New Cross, Old Kent Road, Elephant & Castle and Westminster. On Mondays to Saturdays the route served Victoria Embankment via a loop working continuing via Blackfriars back to Elephant & Castle. The Saturday p.m. and Sunday services were withdrawn between Elephant & Castle and Victoria Embankment in 1964. In 1967 the Saturday service to Victoria Embankment was reduced to just early morning journeys, and in 1971 the Monday to Friday service was similarly reduced. In 1973 the 177 was extended daily from Abbey Wood to Thamesmead (Yarnton Way), and further extended later that year to Alsike Road. In 1978 the remaining early morning journeys to Victoria Embankment were rerouted via Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and Fleet Street. In 1980 the route was cut back from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood and the service between Woolwich and Thamesmead renumbered 178. At the same time the route was extended daily from Elephant & Castle to Waterloo. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Woolwich and Abbey Wood apart from garage journeys, but in 1984 it was re-extended to Plumstead Station. In 1988 the early journeys via Trafalgar Square were withdrawn. In 1994 it was withdrawn between New Cross and Elephant & Castle, and rerouted instead to Peckham. In 1996 it was extended from Plumstead to Abbey Wood to cover the withdrawn section of route 380 via Abbey Estate and Thamesmead. In 1999 it was rerouted again from Plumstead to run via Abbey Estate to Thamesmead (Safeway).

← This “E” plate would have most likely come from the section around Victoria Embankment or via Trafalgar Square. As with all “SPECIAL JOURNEYS ONLY” plates, they are quite rare and difficult to obtain.

Route 177A was a short-lived route and introduced in 1959 running on Mondays to Saturdays between Abbey Wood Estate and Woolwich (Parsons Hill) via Eynsham Drive and Plumstead High Street. A Sunday service was introduced later that year. In 1960 it was extended on Mondays to Fridays except evenings from Woolwich to New Cross Garage via Greenwich, and the Saturday all day service was similarly extended in 1962. The route was withdrawn in 1963 and replaced by a revised route 180.



Route 178 has previously run between Victoria and West Norwood, and later from Clapton Pond to Maryland, but this particular plate is from the more recent route introduced in 1980 between Thamesmead and Woolwich via Abbey Wood, and which replaced the eastern end of the 177.

Route 179 was introduced in the ’60s and runs between Chingford Station and Barking via Whitehall Road, Woodford Wells, Woodford Green, South Woodford, Gants Hill and Ilford. It once ran on to Thames View Estate but this section was withdrawn and replaced by a more local service on route 199, which has since been withdrawn.

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Click on any of the tiles below to go to images of the “E” plates and the route descriptions for that number series.