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London Transport
Central Area Routes 40–44

Last updated 06-09-06.

Route 40 is a long-established route that ran daily between Wanstead (Woodbine Place) and Camberwell Green via Wanstead Flats, Forest Gate, Green Street, Upton Park, Barking Road, Canning Town, Poplar, Limehouse, Stepney East, Aldgate, Fenchurch Street, London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle. It was extended during Monday to Saturday rush hours to Herne Hill (Post Office). In 1958 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Camberwell Green and Herne Hill, but extended on Sundays from Camberwell to Norwood Junction via Herne Hill and West Norwood. In 1965 route 40A was introduced between Herne Hill and North Woolwich on Mondays to Fridays, and the 40 was withdrawn on Mondays to Fridays between Wanstead Flats and Wanstead, and between Aldgate and Camberwell, except for rush hour journeys to Herne Hill. In 1970 it was withdrawn completely on Mondays to Fridays and replaced by an increased service on the 40A. It continued to run on Saturdays and Sundays between Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel) and Camberwell Green, extended on Saturday afternoons to Herne Hill, and on Sundays to Norwood Junction. It was also extended on Saturday afternoons from Poplar to East Ham (White Horse). In 1974 the Sunday extension to Norwood Junction was cut back to Norwood Garage and reduced to run only from 1000 to 1400. In 1978 it was withdrawn between Poplar and East Ham, and between Herne Hill and Norwood Garage, but was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours from Poplar to North Woolwich via route 40A which was withdrawn. The extension to North Woolwich was withdrawn in 1982. In 1991 the Monday to Friday service was extended from Aldgate to Canary Wharf via Limehouse, and further extended in 1992 to Poplar, but later that year reverted to running via East India Dock Road instead of Canary Wharf. In 1993 it was again extended from Poplar to Blackwall DLR Station. In 1994 it was diverted at Camberwell Green to run to Dulwich via East Dulwich instead of Herne Hill. In 1999 it was withdrawn between Aldgate and Blackwall Station.

An even more detailed history of route 40 and its variants can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

40 SATURDAY AFTERNOON
40 SAT-SUN
This is a rare example of an “E” plate with black used to indicate Sunday service instead of red which was normally for this day.
40 SUNDAY
This “E” plate would have come from the Herne Hill extension.
40 SATURDAY AFTERNOON & SUNDAY
40 SAT-SUN FARE STAGE
40 SUNDAY FARE STAGE
Sunday only “E” plates with the “FARE STAGE” background in black are uncommon.

This plate would probably have come from the Norwood Garage extension between 1974 and 1978 when service was reduced to just a few hours, mainly on Sunday mornings. It is extremely unusual to have the expression “A.M.” on an “E” plate and this is a particularly nice example being entirely in red. →40 SUNDAY A.M. FARE STAGE

40 SAT-SUN - 40A MON-FRI
40A MON-FRI
This plate either predates 1966 or post-dates 1970, when the 40A only ran Monday to Friday; however, I suspect it dates from the later period when the lack of full-stops after abbreviations was more common.
40A MON-SAT RUSH HOURS
This “E” plate was used on the section of route between Poplar and North Woolich during the years 1966 to 1970.

Route 40A was introduced in 1965 and ran on Mondays to Fridays between Herne Hill (Post Office) and Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel) via Camberwell Green, Elephant & Castle, Borough, London Bridge, Fenchurch Street, Aldgate, Stepney East and Limehouse. It was extended during rush hours to North Woolwich (Free Ferry) via Canning Town and Silvertown. In 1966 it was introduced on Saturdays, partly replacing the 40B, but was withdrawn on Saturdays again in 1970 when the 40 was revised. In 1978 it was renumbered 40.


Route 41 ran daily between Archway Station and Tottenham Hale via Hornsey Rise, Crouch End, Turnpike Lane, West Green and Broad Lane. It was extended on Mondays to Saturdays during rush hours to Ilford Station via Forest Road, Grove Road, South Woodford and Gants Hill. In 1958 it was withdrawn between Tottenham Hale and Ilford on Saturdays. In 1960 it was withdrawn completely between Tottenham Hale and Ilford and rerouted instead to Stratford on Mondays to Saturdays via Forest Road, Blackhorse Road, Markhouse Road, Leyton Station and Maryland. In 1961 it was further extended to Victoria & Albert Docks via Plaistow, Balaam Street and Freemasons Road replacing route 249A. In 1968 it was withdrawn between Tottenham hale and Victoria & Albert Docks and replaced by new route 241. In 1981 it was extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Ferry Lane Estate. In 1984 it was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday shopping hours from Archway Station to Highgate (The Wellington) via Highgate Village, but this extension was withdrawn again in 1985. In 1992 it was withdrawn between Tottenham Hale and Ferry Lane Estate.

BUS ROUTE 41This poster details the changes to be made to route 41 on 27th April 1960 when trolleybus routes 623 and 625 were replaced by bus routes 123 and 275. These posters were displayed along the trolleybus routes that were being replaced by Routemaster buses, usually on the poles that supported the overhead wiring. As such they were subjected to the weather. This example is not bad considering it was displayed during March of 1960.41

42 42 FARE STAGE

In 1949 route 42 ran daily from Aldgate (Bus Station) to Camberwell Green via Minories, Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, Bricklayers Arms, Old Kent Road, Albany Road and Camberwell Road. In 1952 it was extended on Sunday from Camberwell Green to Norwood Garage via Loughborough Junction, Herne Hill and West Norwood to replace the Sunday withdrawal of route 48. In 1954 the Sunday service was withdrawn between Herne Hill and Norwood Garage. In 1955 the Saturday service was extended from Camberwell Green to Norwood Garage to partially replace route 48 on Saturdays. In 1956 Saturday service was withdrawn between Herne Hill and Norwood Garage. The following year it was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours from Camberwell Green to Herne Hill to again compensate for route 48’s partial withdrawal. In 1965 the 42 was withdrawn between Camberwell Green and Herne Hill on Saturday, with this section covered by new route 40B. In 1966 it was withdrawn between Camberwell Green and Herne Hill, with this section being left unserved. In 1970 it was converted to single deck one-person-operation, but double deck buses were reintroduced in 1973. In 1979 it again reverted to single deck operation, but was again converted back to double deck operation the next year. In 1985 the evening service withdrawn, and later that year operation was transferred to London Country South East. In 1990 the 42 was converted to Metrorider minibus operation. In 1994 Darts replaced the Metroriders, and it was extended (except evenings) from Aldgate to Liverpool Street Bus Station. In 1996 a late evening service was introduced. In 1997 it was extended from Camberwell Green to Denmark Hill via Red Post Hill, and the contract was transferred from Kentish Bus (the new name for LCSE) to Limebourne. In 2001 operation was transferred to Connex Bus, and then contracted to Durham Travel Services the next year. When DTS went into liquidation in 2002, the service was transferred to East Thames buses.

Fare stage “E” plates are always rather more interesting as they are far less common. Although not as pronounced as on the route 43 MON-SAT plate below, there is a larger-than-normal space between the two numbers on this plate.


Route 43 ran between Friern Barnet and London Bridge Station via Muswell Hill Broadway, Highgate, Archway, Holloway, Highbury, Islington, Old Street Station, Moorgate and Bank. The Sunday service was withdrawn in 1958. A Sunday service was reintroduced in 1991 running between Muswell Hill Broadway and Moorgate, continuing on to Liverpool Street. In 1998 the Sunday service was extended to Friern Barnet, and diverted at Old Street to run to London Bridge Station via Shoreditch and Liverpool Street Station during market hours. The Sunday service has since been rerouted via Moorgate to follow the Monday to Saturday service.

A more detailed history of route 43 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

Weekday plates are always rather more interesting as the expression became ambiguous in the ’60s as more and more people started to work a five-day week rather than a six-day one, and so the expression was changed to “MON-SAT”. Of particular interest is the unusual space between the two numbers on the second “E” plate.

43 WEEKDAY 43 MON-SAT

44 SUNDAY

Route 44 was a tram replacement route that ran daily between between London Bridge Station and Mitcham via Southwark Bridge Road, St. George’s Circus, Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea, Wandsworth, Earlsfield and Tooting Broadway. In 1958 it was extended on Sundays to Wallington via Hackbridge Corner and Carshalton Station replacing route 77B. In 1963 it was extended on Sundays from London Bridge to Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel) via Aldgate, Stepney East and Limehouse. In 1964 the Sunday extension beyond Mitcham to Wallington was withdrawn and replaced by new route 115A. In 1967 the Sunday extension to Poplar was reduced to market hours only, and in 1971 was withdrawn between Aldgate (Bus Station) and Poplar. In 1988 it was again extended on Sundays from Mitcham to Sutton via St. Helier. In 1991 it was withdrawn south of Tooting Station and north of Vauxhall, and replaced to London Bridge by new route 344.

This “E” plate could have come from either the original Wallington extension, or the Blackwall Tunnel extension. In any case, it is a nice red Sunday variation on a long-established route.

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