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London Transport
Central Area Routes 70–75

Last updated 03-07-06.

A second line of description has been officially removed from the surface of this plate, possibly to take off “RUSH HOURS”. This was sometimes done to avoid the cost of or delay in making new plates.
This is a rare “E” plate as it might have come from just a single bus stop served only by odd journeys, such as at Monument where just a couple of early morning journeys ran.

Route 70 was introduced in 1951 as a replacement for tram route 70 and ran daily between Greenwich Church and London Bridge via Deptford, Surrey Docks Station, Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Waterloo Station via Southwark Street and Stamford Street. In 1952 the Sunday service was withdrawn but restored a week later, and again withdrawn in 1953! In 1954 the 70 was extended from Greenwich to Eltham (Southend Crescent) via Blackheath and Kidbrooke, and extended during Monday to Saturday peak hours from Waterloo to Victoria via Lambeth Bridge, although the Saturday peak extension was withdrawn in 1956. In 1960 it was withdrawn between Greenwich and Eltham on Mondays to Fridays, and between Waterloo and Victoria apart from peak hours. In 1963 the Saturday service was withdrawn between London Bridge and Waterloo, and further cut back the following year to Surrey Docks apart from some early journeys. In 1966 the remaining Saturday service was withdrawn completely, and in 1968 the Monday to Friday peak extension to Victoria was withdrawn, leaving the route as just Greenwich to Waterloo on Mondays to Fridays. In 1970 it was converted to one-man-operation. In 1971 some early morning journeys were diverted over London Bridge to Monument Station. In 1978 it was revised to run daily between Lewisham (Riverdale Centre) and Victoria via Deptford and the existing route to Waterloo, then over Westminster Bridge. In 1980 it was withdrawn in Lewisham between the bus station and Riverdale Centre. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Surrey Docks Station and Lewisham. In 1985 the Saturday and Sunday sevices were withdrawn. Later in 1985 it was revised to again run daily from Peckham Garage to Rotherhithe Station via South Bermondsey, Surrey Docks and Redriff Road, and extended on Mondays to Fridays to Victoria. In 1987 it was again withdrawn on Saturdays and Sundays, and the route was totally withdrawn in 1988.

Today’s route 70 runs between South Kensington Station and Acton (High Street) via Kensington, Notting Hill Gate, Queensway, Westbourne Park Road, Ladbroke Grove, Du Cane Road and East Acton.

Up through the ’60s route 71 ran Monday through Saturday between East Acton and Kingston (Bus Station) via Shepherd’s Bush, Hammersmith, Chiswick Bridge and Richmond. On Saturdays it was extended to Sunbury via Hampton Court and Hampton, but this was withdrawn by 1965. In 1966 the 71 was cut back to run between Hammersmith and Kingston. By 1968 it was further cut back to run only between Richmond and Kingston via Ham Estate. In 1969 the 71 ran was extended to Leatherhead via Surbiton, Hook and Chessington Zoo, and a Sunday service was introduced between Kingston and Leatherhead. In 1972 the service was converted to one-man-operation. In 1973 service was provided daily between Richmond and Leatherhead, but was rerouted via Riverside Drive in Ham Estate on Sundays. In 1975 service was again withdrawn between Kingston and Richmond on Sunday mornings. Eventually, changes to the parallel route 65 in the mid-’80s introduced a daily service on the 71. It currently runs Kingston to Chessington (World of Adventures).

This “E” plate was one of those produced to cover the Sunday diversion.

For most of its life the 73 has been worked by Tottenham [AR] Garage and this plate would have come from one of the northbound bus stops between Stoke Newington and Tottenham for the considerable number of buses that used to be extended over that section. It is astonishingly rare to find an “E” plate showing the name of a bus garage.
73 - N89 NIGHT
Another extremely rare “E” plate is this one with two differently-coloured backgrounds. It would have come from the short stretch of Oxford Street between Marble Arch and Gower Street where routes 73 and N89 ran together. I would imagine that London Transport avoided making split-background-colour plates as far as possible owing to the additional complexity.

Route 73 is a very long-established central London route and in 1949 was running daily between Stoke Newington and Richmond via Newington Green, Islington, King’s Cross, Euston, Court Road, Oxford Street, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Kensington, Hammersmith, Barnes and East Sheen. In 1958 it was extended on Sundays from Richmond to Hounslow Garage via Twickenham, Warren Road and Whitton, and later that year it was extended to Hounslow daily. In 1966 it was withdrawn on Mondays to Fridays between Hammersmith and Hounslow, except for a peak hour service to Richmond, and was withdrawn on Saturdays between Richmond and Hounslow, and replaced by new route 33. In 1970 the Richmond extension was withdrawn on Mondays to Saturdays. In 1978 the Sunday service to Hounslow was cut back to Twickenham Station, and in 1982 the remainder of the Sunday extension was curtailed at Hammersmith. In 1988 the route was diverted at Hyde Park Corner to run to Victoria Station at all times, with new route 10 taking over the Hammersmith service. The 73 is probably one of the most famous, long-established and busy routes in London, and now runs to Seven Sisters Station at the northern end. In 2004 the route lost its Routemasters. It was one of the first non-trolleybus replacement routes to receive them 1962, but has now succumbed to bendy-buses.

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. In later years the N89 was diverted to serve Paddington Station, and latterly was diverted at Southall Town Hall to Uxbridge via Hayes End and Hillingdon. The route has now been absorbed mainly by route N207, running between Holborn and Uxbridge.

Route 74 ran daily between Camden Town and Putney Heath (Green Man) via Prince Albert Road, the Zoo, Baker Street, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, Earl’s Court, West Brompton, Fulham Palace Road, Putney Bridge and Putney Hill. Some Monday to Saturday journeys were extended to Putney Heath (Telegraph Inn). In 1966 the Telegraph Inn journeys were withdrawn and transferred to route 85, and the 74 was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours from Putney Heath to Kingston Vale. In 1981 it was rerouted at Putney Heath to run daily to Roehampton (Earl Spencer) via Dover House Road, and extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Roehampton (Bessborough Road). In 1982 the Sunday service was withdrawn between Putney Heath and Roehampton. In 1984 the Monday to Saturday service was diverted to run to Danebury Avenue instead of Bessborough Road. In 1985 it was withdrawn between West Brompton (Empress State Building) and Putney Heath / Roehampton. In 1987 it was extended daily from West Brompton to Roehampton (Danebury Avenue). In 1991 it was rerouted at Baker Street to run to King’s Cross Station via Euston instead of Camden Town, and replaced by new route 274. In 1993 it was withdrawn between Baker Street Station and King’s Cross. In 2002 it was withdrawn between Putney Garage and Roehampton, and replaced by new route 430.


This “E” plate has larger numbers (and smaller suffix letters), which tended to be found on older plates.

Route 74B was introduced in August 1963, running on Mondays to Fridays between Camden Town and Hammersmith Broadway via the Zoo, Baker Street, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Earl’s Court and Lillie Road. The route was in effect the extension of service 74 shorts from West Brompton to Hammersmith. The 74B replaced the 74’s Monday to Friday Riverside allocation at this time. The route was withdrawn in October 1978, with route 74 enhanced to compensate. It was worked by Riverside Garage [R] which has long since closed, and used Routemasters for most of its life.

Route 74X was a seasonal express route between Baker Street Station and London Zoo during the 1980s. It was operated by a wide range of vehicles, sometimes on loan to London Transport, and the “E” plates would have only been found at either Baker Street or the Zoo, as buses did not stop intermediately. It is therefore an astonishingly rare “E” plate. Express “E” plates are in any case quite uncommon.



Route 75 ran between the Woolwich Free Ferry and West Croydon Bus Station via Charlton, Blackheath, Lee Green, Catford, Perry Hill, Sydenham, Penge, Anerly, Norwood Junction and Selhurst Road. In 1960 the route was extended on Mondays to Fridays to South Croydon Garage, and in 1962 was withdrawn between Blackheath (Royal Standard) and Woolwich on Sundays, and in 1963 the South Croydon extension was cut back to West Croydon once again. In 1969 the route was withdrawn on Sundays, apart from a few early journeys between Norwood Junction and West Croydon except for a few early journeys, but was re-extended there once again in 1977 when the route was converted to one-man-operation. In 1991 the route was withdrawn completely between Blackheath and Woolwich, and later that year was rerouted at Catford to run between West Croydon and Lewisham, with an extension to Surrey Quays Shopping Centre during Saturday shopping hours. At the same time it was rerouted in Sydenahm via Mayor Road and Woolstone Road instead of Bell Green and Perry Hill. In 1994 it was withdrawn between Lewisham and Surrey Quays, settling to running at all times between West Croydon and Lewisham only. In 2002 the 75 was extended from West Croydon to Croydon (Fairfield Halls).

Elmers End Garage had an allocation on the 75 from 1951 until 1964, and again for a short time from 1985 to 1986, however this later period was after the production of “E” plates had ceased so would therefore date from the earlier allocation. The second plate would have come from a bus stop at Anerley (Robin Hood) where the garage journeys would have deviated from the normal line of route. It is astonishingly rare to find any garage name on an “E” plate. Elmers End garage has, of course, long since closed and been replaced with housing on the site.

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