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London Transport
Central Area Routes 45–49

Last updated 02-08-06.

Route 45 was a tram replacement route introduced in 1950 from Clapham Garage, and ran daily between Faringdon Street and Battersea Garage via Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell Green, Brixton, Stockwell, Clapham Common and Clapham Junction. In 1951 it was extended to South Kensington Station, replacing trolleybus routes 513/613. In 1961 it was extended from Farringdon Street to Hampstead Heath via Grays Inn Road, King’s Cross, Camden Town and Prince of Wales Road. In 1966 it was withdrawn on Sundays between Farringdon Street and Hampstead Heath, and later that year withdrawn completely on Sundays and replaced by route 17. In 1971 the Saturday service was withdrawn between Battersea Garage and South Kensington apart from early journeys, and it was also reintroduced on Sundays between South Kensington and King’s Cross Station. In 1972 it was withdrawn between King’s Cross and Hampstead Heath and replaced by new route 46. Later that year it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Clapham Junction and Battersea Garage except during shopping hours. In 1977 it was withdrawn on Mondays to Fridays between Elephant & Castle and King’s Cross except during peak hours, and during Saturday shopping hours it was diverted at Clapham Junction to Battersea Park Station. In 1978 it was revised to run daily between South Kensington and King’s Cross, extended on Mondays to Fridays via Caledonian Road and Holloway to Archway Station, covering route 17. In 1983 it was extended on Saturdays and Sundays from King’s Cross to Archway. In 1985 it was withdrawn between King’s Cross and Archway, and replaced by a reintroduced route 17. In 1988 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Farringdon Street and King’s Cross. In 1990 it was diverted at Brixton to terminate at Lambeth Town Hall, and also extended to run to King’s Cross at all times. In 1994 it was extended from Brixton to run to Streatham Hill (Telford Avenue). The route has seen operation with RTL, RTW, RM, DM and T buses prior to today’s low-floor double-deckers.

“E” plates showing “ALIGHTING POINT ONLY” are very rare, as they were usually for a bus stop at the terminus, and even then were used only in certain circumstances.
This “E” plate must date from a period in the late 1970s when the section between Elephant & Castle and King’s Cross was only worked in the rush hours and at weekends.
“WEEEKDAY” was the older wording on “E” plates; however, as more and more people began working a five-day week the term became ambiguous and was replaced with “MON-SAT” or “MON-FRI”, as appropriate.45 MON-SAT


Route 46 ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Alperton Station and Waterloo via Wembley, Blackbird Cross, Neasden, Willesden, Kensal Rise, Westbourne Park, Notting Hill Gate, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Sloane Square, Victoria, Horseferry Road and Lambeth Bridge. In 1968 it was withdrawn between Victoria and Waterloo and between Kensal Rise and Alperton, except for rush hour journeys to Neasden. The route was withdrawn completely in 1969.

The current route 46 was introduced in 1972, replacing the northern end of route 45 and running on Mondays to Saturdays between Hampstead Heath (South End Green) and Farringdon Street via Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town, King’s Cross, Grays Inn Road and Holborn Circus using Routemasters. After only five months it was converted to one-man-operation and was introduced on Sundays between Hampstead Heath and King’s Cross. In 1982 it was extended daily from Hampstead Heath to Swiss Cottage via Pond Street, Haverstock Hill, Belsize Avenue and Belsize Park. It was further extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Kensal Rise Station via Finchley Road, Warwick Avenue, Shirland Road and Queens Park. It was withdrawn between King’s Cross and Farringdon Street outside peak hours on Mondays to Fridays, and on Saturdays except for some early journeys. In 1983 it was re-extended from King’s Cross to Farringdon Street between the peaks on Mondays to Fridays, but the Saturday journeys were withdrawn. In 1984 it was withdrawn between Warwick Avenue and Kensal Rise outside peak hours on Mondays to Fridays and all day Saturdays. In 1986 the Sunday service was withdrawn. In 1990 it was extended from Warwick Avenue to Kensal Rise at all times on Mondays to Saturdays except evenings. In 1993 it was introduced on Sundays between Kensal Rise and King’s Cross. In 2000 it was withdrawn daily between Warwick Avenue Station and Kensal Rise. In 2002 it was extended to Farringdon street at all times.

The first “E” could not have come from the 1960s route 46, as it didi not operate on Sudays. The second plate is extremely rare as it came from a single stop, most likely at King’s Cross.

Route 47 ran daily between Farnborough and Shoreditch Church via Locksbottom, Bromley Common, Bromley, Downham, Catford, Lewisham, Deptford, Surrey Docks, Bermondsey, London Bridge, Monument and Liverpool Street Station. From 1950 until 1953 it was extended on Summer Sundays from Farnborough to Knockholt Pound via Pratts Bottom. In 1957 it was withdrawn between Bromley Garage and Farnborough on Sundays and replaced by route 199. In 1961 it was extended daily from Shoreditch to Stoke Newington via Dalston. In 1962 it was further extended on Sundays from Stoke Newington to Stamford Hill. In 1965 it was revised to run daily between Stamford Hill and Farnborough. In 1970 it was withdrawn between Shoreditch Church and Stamford Hill. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Bromley Garage and Farnborough and replaced by new route 261. In 1985 the 47 was withdrawn between Downham Way (Bromley Road) and Bromley Garage, and replaced by new route 47A. In 1988 the 47 was withdrawn between Catford Garage and Downham Way. In 1999 it was rerouted to serve Canada Water.

A more detailed history of route 47 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in Central London (Ian Allan, 1986; ISBN 0 7110 1568 6).

47 47


This “E” plate is either from the long-since gone route 48 which ran between West Norwood and Camberwell Green as a tram replacement service. Alternatively, it could be from the 569 trolleybuses replacement service started on 11 November 1959. This ran between Waterloo Station and Poplar via Fleet Street and Bank, thence along the trolleybus routeing via Aldgate and Stepney, with a Monday to Friday peak hour extension via Canning Town to North Woolwich. It cannot be from current route 48 (started in 1968) which has always been daily.

DMS 2454
DMS 2454 [OJD454R] in Crystal Palace Parade. A total of ten “E” plates—including two red ones—are displayed at this stop. This was accomplished by attaching one to the lower right corner of the flag itself, rather in than in the proper slots in the runners.
Photo courtesy of London Bus Routes.
Route 49 ran daily from Shepherds Bush Green to Crystal Palace via Holland Road, Kensington High Street, Gloucester Road, Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, Chelsea, Oakley Street, Battersea Bridge, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Common, Tooting Bec, Streatham Common, Crown Point, Beaulah Hill and Church Road. In 1958 the Sunday service was extended from Shepherds Bush Green to Harlesden (Willesden Junction) via withdrawn Old Oak Common Lane, East Acton, Western Avenue, Park Royal and Acton Lane, replacing part of route 12. In 1971 the 49 was withdrawn between Streatham Garage and Crystal Palace. The withdrawn section was replaced by new route 249. In 1978 the Sunday extension between Shepherds Bush and Harlesden was replaced by a re-introduced route 12. In 1984 Streatham Garage was closed for three years for re-construction and the terminal was temporarily moved to Streatham (St. Leonard’s Church). Later in 1987 the route was converted to one-person-operation. In 1989 it was extended back to Crystal Palace, replacing the withdrawn route 249. In 1991 the 249 once again replaced route 49 between Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace, except on Sundays when route 349 ran over this section.

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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.