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London Transport
Central Area Routes 246–249

Last updated 06-09-06.

Route 246 was introduced in 1951 and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Hornchurch Station and Harold Hill (Gooshays Drive) via Butts Green Road, Ardleigh Green Road, Squirrels Heath Road, Gubbins Lane, Harold Wood and Main Road, operated by STLs. In 1953 it was extended from Harold Hill to Noak Hill (Tees Drive) via North Hill Drive. In 1954 it was further extended during Monday to Friday rush hours and Saturday midday from Noak Hill to Gidea Park Station via Noak Hill Road, Straight Road, Main Road and Upper Brentwood Road, and RT type buses were introduced. In 1970 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Noak Hill and Gidea Park. The route was converted pay-as-you-enter operation with DMS double deckers in 1972. In 1981 the 246 was withdrawn between Harold Hill (Gooshays Drive) and Noak Hill / Gidea Park, and diverted at Hornchurch Town Centre to Upminster Park Estate via Upminster Bridge, Upminster Station and Cranham, but some peak hour journeys remained to Hornchurch Station. In 1982 it was introduced on Sunday afternoons between Upminster Park Estate and Harold Wood Station. In 1987 the service was rerouted at Harold Hill to run in a loop during peak hours. In 1988 the route was operated by Ensignbus under the tendering system, and withdrawn between Upminster and Upminster Park Estate and diverted to Corbets Tey with some journeys at school times diverted to Cranham (Moor Lane). It was also withdrawn outside peak hours on Mondays to Fridays and all day on Saturdays. In September 1992 a couple of peak journeys were extended from Harold Hill to Eastern Avenue (Mawney Road), and the following month it was withdrawn between Upminster Station and Corbets Tey, although these journeys were reinstated in November. The route was finally withdrawn in 1996.

The number 246 has since been reused for a route between Bromley and Westerham.

The second “E” plate would have been used for the journeys to Hornchurch Station which were still running when “E” plates were in use.



Route 247 ran daily between Collier Row (White Hart) and Brentwood (Robin Hood & Little John) via Collier Row Lane, North Street, Romford, Brentwood Road, Balgores Lane, Squirrels Heath Lane and Warley Road. In 1970 it was withdrawn on Saturdays in Collier Row between Clockhouse Lane and White Hart, and the Monday to Friday service was similarly cut back in 1972. In 1976 it was withdrawn between Romford (North Street Garage) and Collier Row, and converted to BL single-deck operation, using the first BLs in the London Transport fleet. In 1977 it was extended from Romford to Epping (St. Margaret’s Hospital) via Collier Row, Chase Cross, Havering Green, Stapleford Abbotts, Passingford Bridge, Abridge, Theydon Bois and Epping, replacing route 250. The route was withdrawn in 1981; however, the number was reused in 1982 for the renumbering of the 247A.

Route 247A was introduced in 1950 and ran daily between Collier Row (White Hart) and Harold Hill (Gooshays Drive) via Collier Row Lane, North Street, Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood. During the summer from 1951 it was extended on Saturday afternoons and Sundays from Collier Row to Chigwell Row, and the summer Sunday service was renumbered 247B from 1956 until 1960, retaining the 247A number in the winter. It was operated by Guy G class until STLs were introduced in 1952, RTLs in 1953 and RTs in 1954. In 1956 the 247A was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Collier Row to Gants Hill Station via Hainault and Barkingside, and further extended on Saturdays to Ilford. In 1957 the Sunday service was replaced by route 247B. In 1962 the Saturday service was withdrawn between Gants Hill and Ilford. In 1969 some peak hour journeys were diverted to serve the Hainault Industrial Estate, but due to parked cars it was withdrawn by 1976. In 1971 single-deck one-person-operation was introduced on Sundays with fully PAYE (pay as you enter) operation by DMS-type buses introduced in 1972. In 1977 it was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Gants Hill to Ilford. The Leyland Titan (T class) was introduced in 1979. In 1981 the 247A was extended from Harold Hill to Noak Hill, and further extended during Monday to Friday peak hours to Gidea Park Station via Noak Hill Road replacing route 246. In 1982 route 247A was renumbered 247.



Route 247B was introduced in 1977 as a new number for the 175A and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Romford Station and Ongar (Cripsey Avenue) via Collier Row, Chase Cross, Havering Green, Stapleford Abbotts, Passingford Bridge and Stanford Rivers. In 1981 the service was reduced to journeys on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday only. In September 1982 a short working service was introduced on Mondays to Saturdays between Romford and Stapleford Abbotts, with some peak journeys to Passingford Bridge, but the whole service was withdrawn in December 1982.

Between 1956 and 1960 an earlier 247B ran on summer Sundays between Harold Hill and Chigwell Row.

Route 247C was never introduced owing to problems with the narrowness of some of the roads that it was planned to serve, and this plate is very much sought after as a result. The route would have run between Romford and Lambourne End via Bournebridge Lane or Hook Lane, both routeings proving unacceptable for the Bristol LH (BL class) vehicles that were going to be used. In any case, there would not have been very many of these plates because the new sections of route would have been “hail & ride” without bus stops, and the plates were probably intended for just a couple of stops in Romford Town Centre. The plans were cancelled at such a late stage, that not only were “E” plates produced, but also bus blinds and timetables. There would have been just a couple of journeys on Mondays to Fridays.

These plates were probably among the last ones produced before LT switched over to the cheaper stickers, and this might even have been the last “new” route to appear on an “E” plate. Most plates that were produced did not have the word “ONLY” after “SPECIAL JOURNEYS”. The second one does and is the much rarer version which is very sought after.


Route 248 ran daily between Upminster (River Drive) and Cranham via Hall Lane, Upminster and St. Mary’s Lane. In 1955 it was converted from TD single deck to RLH low-height double deck operation. In 1964 the Sunday service was withdrawn. In 1970 it was converted to SMS single deck one-man-operation and revised to run between Romford (Parkside Hotel) and Upminster Park Estate via Roneo Corner, Hornchurch, Upminster Station and Hall Lane, extended on Mondays to Saturdays back to Upminster Station via Cranham and St. Mary’s Lane. Some Monday to Friday peak hour journeys were extended from Romford to Eastern Avenue (Petits Lane). In 1972 some morning journeys were introduced running to Romford (Southern Way). In 1976 the journeys to Eastern Avenue were withdrawn. In 1977 it was extended on Sunday afternoons from Upminster Park Estate to Upminster Station via Cranham. In 1980 it was withdrawn in Romford between Parkside Hotel and St. Edwards Way. In 1981 it was withdrawn on Mondays to Saturdays between Cranham and Upminster Station and converted to double deck operation as it no longer ran under the low railway bridge on this day, and was replaced by route 246. In 1982 the Sunday extension from Cranham to Upminster was withdrawn, enabling the route to become double deck on this day. In 1988 the route was awarded to Frontrunner South East through the London Regional Transit tendering system, then to Ensignbus in 1989, Capital Citybus in 1994, and Blue Triangle in 2001 when the school journeys to St. Edwards School were withdrawn.

Route 248A ran in Monday to Friday peaks only from Upminster to Corbets Tey. The 248A was famous for many years as the shortest bus route in London—just six minutes journey time—so this plate is quite rare as it was only produced for a handful of bus stops.

Route 248A map
Curiously, route 248A didn’t appear on maps until 1969, when the Central Buses map was completely redrawn.

This plate likely came from the stretch of route between Clapham Junction and Battersea during the years 1971 to 1978. For some reason the text is off-centre on this “E” plate.
Route 249 began running daily on 27 April 1960 as a replacement for trolleybus route 699 between Victoria & Albert Docks and Chingford (Royal Forest Hotel) via Prince Regent Lane, Greengate, Plaistow, Stratford, Leyton, Walthamstow and Chingford Mount. In 1962 the Saturday service was withdrawn, replaced by new route 249B. In 1965 the Saturday service was reintroduced between the Docks and Chingford Mount, but Sunday journeys were withdrawn between Chingford Mount and the Royal Forest Hotel. In September 1968 the route was withdrawn.

In May 1971 the 249 was reintroduced as a new single-deck one-person-operated route, replacing the withdrawn section of route 49, running Monday to Saturday and Sunday mornings between Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction (Grant Road) via Church Road, Beaulah Hill, Crown Point, Streatham Common, High Road Streatham, Tooting Bec, Trinity Road, Bellevue Road, Bolingroke Grove, Broomwood Road and Northcote Road, extended via Falcon Road to Battersea (Princes Head) on Sunday evenings, and to Battersea (Parkgate Road) during Saturday shopping hours and Sunday afternoons. In 1976 it was converted to double deck operation. In 1978 it was withdrawn beyond Clapham Junction. In 1981 the 249 was rerouted at Wandsworth Common via Trinity Road, Wandsworth Common North Side and Battersea Rise instead of Bellevue Road, Bolingroke Grove, Broomwood Road and Northcote Road. In 1983 it was withdrawn in Clapham Junction between St. John’s Hill and Grant Road, instead rerouted to operate a clockwise loop from Wandsworth Common via East Hill, St. John’s Hill and Battersea Rise. In 1989 the route was withdrawn, replaced by a revised route 49.

In 1991 the number 249 was reused again, this time for a new single-deck Monday to Saturday route between Crystal Palace and Tooting Bec Station via Church Road, Beaulah Hill, Crown Point and Streatham Common. The following year Sunday service was introduced and extended on that day only from Tooting Bec to West Brompton (Empress State Building) via Bellvue Road, Broomwood Road, Clapham Junction, Battersea Bridge, Chelsea and South Kensington, replacing the withdrawn route 349. One year later Sunday service withdrawn between Chelsea and West Brompton, instead diverted to Sloane Square via Chelsea and Kings Road, replacing part of route 219. In 1996 the Sunday extension was withdrawn, replaced on this day by new service on the 319. In 1999 double-deck Leyland Olympians replaced Dennis Darts, and the route was extended from Tooting Bec Station to Balham Station via Balham High Road.

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