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London Transport
Central Area Routes 80–89

Last updated 21-08-06.

London Buslines DM 1078 [GHV 78N]
London Buslines DM 1078 [GHV 78N] at Houslow West Station in 1987.
J.J. Eadon-Clarke photo; DMSHB

Route 81 ran daily between Hounslow Garage and Slough Station via Hounslow West, Cranford, Harlington Corner, Harmondsworth, Longford, Bath Road, Colnbrook and Langley. It was extended on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to Windsor Castle. In 1963 it was withdrawn between Slough and Windsor Castle. In 1966 it was extended on Sundays from Hounslow to Shepherd’s Bush Green via Isleworth, Brentford, Turnham Green and Goldhawk Road. The extension to Shepherd’s Bush was withdrawn in 1969. In 1985 it became the very first route to be operated under tender for London Transport, and was worked by Len Wright Travel doing business as London Buslines using yellow and brown DMS buses.



Route 81B was introduced in 1954 running on summer Saturdays and Sundays between London Airport Central and Hounslow Garage via the airport tunnel, Harlington Corner, Cranford and Hounslow West. It was withdrawn for the winter but reintroduced daily the following year. In 1962 it was extended on Sundays from Hounslow to Shepherd’s Bush Green via Isleworth, Brentford and Chiswick, but the Sunday extension was withdrawn in 1969. The route was withdrawn completely in 1970 and replaced by new route 82.

This “E” plate would have come from bus stops along the Sunday extension between Hounslow and Shepherd’s Bush during the years 1962 to 1969.

Route 82 was introduced in September 1970 running daily between Hounslow Bus Station and Heathrow Central via Hounslow West, Cranford and Harlington Corner. It was extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Hatton cross via the Cargo Tunnel and Cargo Terminal, and further extended on Mondays to Fridays to Hounslow West Station. It replaced route 81B and provided the first regular bus service through the Heathrow Cargo Tunnel. Because the route ran as a loop, buses travelling clockwise had yellow destination blinds. On the opening of the Piccadilly Line extension to Heathrow Airport in July 1975, the 82 was withdrawn between Hatton Cross and Hounslow West via the direct routeing, and became a daily route between Hounslow and Hatton cross via Heathrow Airport. The route was withdrawn in September 1982 and replaced by route 202.

The current route 82 runs between North Finchley and Victoria.

This “E” plate is especially interesting not only because of the informative wording, but also because of the spelling error where terminal is spelt as “TEMINAL”. (It was extremely rare to get errors of wording on “E” plates.) It would most likely have come from a stop at Heathrow Central, where buses ran both ways through the bus station.



Route 83 ran daily between Golders Green Station and Ealing Broadway via Hendon, West Hendon, Kingsbury, Wembley Park, Wembley, Alperton and Hanger Lane, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Hayes Station via West Ealing, Hanwell and Southall. From 1950 until 1953 the Sunday service was suspended in the summer and replaced by route 83A. In 1954 the Monday to Saturday service was extended from Hayes Station to Hayes North. In 1958 the 83 was withdrawn between Ealing Broadway and Hayes North. From 1960 until 1964 it was extended on summer Sundays to London Airport Central via South Ealing, Osterley, Lampton, Hounslow West, Cranford and Harlington Corner. In 1965 it was extended daily from Ealing Broadway to Brentford (Half Acre) via Hanwell Broadway and Boston Manor. In 1968 it was withdrawn between Hanwell Broadway and Brentford on Mondays to Saturdays, and between Ealing Broadway and Brentford on Sundays, and replaced by route E1. In 1969 it was withdrawn on Sundays between Alperton and Ealing and replaced by new route 83A. In 1971 the 83 was converted to one-man-operation on Sundays and extended from Alperton to Ealing Broadway, replacing route 83A. In 1970 it was extended from Hanwell and Ealing Broadway to Ealing Hospital.

Route 85 ran daily between Putney Bridge Station and Kingston via Putney Heath, Roehampton, Kingston Vale and Norbiton. In 1958 the Sunday sevice was withdrawn and replaced by an extension of route 14. In 1970 some journeys were diverted to serve the Telegraph Inn. In 1971 it was converted to single-deck one-man-operation, and the Sunday service was reintroduced. The Telegraph Inn journeys were switched to route 85A in 1979, although they returned in 1981, and were withdrawn again in 1990 when the route was tendered and passed to London & Country. It has since been operated by London United and now London General.



Route 85A was introduced in 1961 and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Putney Bridge Station and Roehampton (Danebury Avenue) via Putney Heath and Roehampton. In 1973 it was converted to double-deck one-man operation. Journeys to Telegraph Inn were introduced to replace those on route 85 in 1979. The route was withdrawn in 1981 and replaced by route 170.

Route 87 ran from Gidea Park (Bob’s Café) to Rainham (White Post Corner) via Main Road, Romford, Becontree Heath, Longbridge Road, Barking, Ripple Road and New Road. Some journeys divert at Dagenham to Church Elm via Heahway, or to Fords Main Works via Kent Avenue. In 1958 it was extended from Gidea Park to Brentwood (Yorkshire Grey) via Harold Wood Station and Brook Street, replacing withdrawn route 86. In 1962 Monday to Friday journeys were withdrawn between Becontree Heath and Brentwood, replaced by new route 287. In 1966 it was diverted at Gidea Park to Harold Hill (Gooshays Drive) via Straight Road and Hilldene Avenue. In April 1969 a new service was introduced to Rainham (Abbey Wood Lane) in addition to White Post Corner. Four months later Sunday journeys were extended in Harold Hill via Leamington Road and Petersfield Avenue to Dagnam Park Drive. In 1971 Sunday service to Rainham (White Post Corner) was withdrawn, and in 1974 Rainham (Abbey Wood Lane) became the terminal for all service. In 1977 the route was extended daily from Gooshays Drive to Dagnam Park Drive. On 6 April 1979 the 87 operated the last regular service RT bus in London. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Barking (Town Centre) and Rainham, but some Monday to Friday journeys were introduced to Creekmouth (Power Station) and some service diverted via Remploy Factory. In 1991 the Creekmouth journeys were withdrawn, and in 1993 it was Withdrawn between Romford (Market Place) and Harold Hill. In 1993 the 87 was extended via the North Circular Road to Beckton (Savacentre) except during evenings, but in 1995 this extension was withdrawn, with the route now running between Barking (London Road) and Romford (St. Edwards Way).


Route 88 ran between Acton Green and Mitcham (Cricketers) via Shepherd’s Bush, Notting Hill Gate, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Vauxhall, Stockwell, Clapham, Balham and Tooting Broadway. During Monday to Friday peak hours and on Saturdays it was extended to St. Helier, running on to Belmont on Sundays. In 1961 the service was extended to Banstead Hospital on Sunday afternoons. The Saturday service was withdrawn between Mitcham and St. Helier in 1964, with the peak hour service being similarly withdrawn in 1970. It was withdrawn between Tooting and Mitcham in 1987 on Mondays to Saturdays. In 1988 it was extended beyond Acton Green to Turnham Green. The route was further cut back from Tooting to Clapham Common on Mondays to Saturdays in 1990, and soon after was cut back from Turnham Green to Marble Arch on Sundays, and Oxford Circus on Mondays to Saturdays. The Sunday service was cut back to Clapham Common the same year. In 1992 the Sunday service to Marble Arch was cut back to Oxford Circus, and in 1990 the whole service was extended from Oxford Circus to Camden Town via Warren Street Station and Hampstead Road.

A third line of text (probably the words “FARE STAGE”) has been officially removed from the surface of the second plate. This was sometimes done to avoid the cost or delay in making new plates.

Route 89 ran daily between Lewisham and Welling (Guy, Earl of Warwick) via Blackheath, Shooters Hill and Bellegrove Road. In 1963 it was extended from Welling to Eltham (Well Hall Station) via Bexleyheath, Bexley, Blendon and Blackfen. In 1971 the Sunday service was withdrawn between Bexleyheath and Eltham. In 1978 it was diverted daily at Bexleyheath to run to Slade Green Station via Colyers Lane, with some Monday to Friday peak hour journeys running to Bexley Station, but these were withdrawn in 2000.

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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.