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London Transport
Central Area Routes 270–279

271 272 272 274 272 277 277 277 277A 277A 278 279 279 279

Last updated 02-03-06.


Route 270 ran from 1970 when it replaced the southwestern end of route 27. It ran Monday to Friday between Richmond Station and Fulwell Garage via Richomnd Bridge, Twickenham, Strawberry Hill and Teddington. It saw SM and SMD class Swifts, later BLs and DMS Fleetlines, before being withdrawn in the early 1980s.

Route 271 was introduced in 1960 as a replacement for trolleybus route 611 and ran between Moorgate (Finsbury Square) and Highgate Village via Old Street Station, New North Road, Canonbury Road, Highbury Corner, Holloway Road and Archway. The route played host to the experiment using XA Atlantean buses in the ’60s. In 1987 it was extended on Sundays to Hendon Central Station via East Finchley and Finchley, and was cut back to Highgate Village again in 1991. In 1992 it was extended on Saturdays and Sundays from Moorgate to Liverpool Street Station. The route now provides a 24 hour service.


DMS 1657

These plates could have been from either instance of the two route 272s.

Route 272 was introduced in 1960 to replace the 590/690 trolleybus routes. The 272 provided a circular service in both directions from Startford Broadway via Portway, Plashet Road, Upton Park, Lonsdale Avenue, East Ham back to Plashet Road, Portway and Stratford. It was withdrawn in 1968 when it was replaced by flat-fare route S1. The route was reintroduced around 1975 as a Thamesmead local service between Woolwich and Thamesmead (Bentham Road) via Plumstead and Abbey Wood. As Thamesmead grew, changes were made to the routeing in town and it eventually disappeared, being taken over by the X72 and today’s 472.

Bexleybus 82 [THM657M], ex-London Buses DMS1657, on the 272, loading up at Woolwich before setting out for an anti-clockwise loop of Thamesmead, during a spring 1989 lunchtime. Already enamel “E” plates had given way to vinyl stickers on the bus stop flag, at the top of its concrete post.
Photo courtesy dublo19

Route 274 was introduced in 1968 running between Hayes (Bourne Avenue) and Greenford (Red Lion) via Yeading, and extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Ealing Broadway Station via West Ealing. The Sunday service was withdrawn in 1970. In 1972 the route was withdrawn between Hayes Station and Bourne Avenue, and replaced over this section by route 208. In 1977 the 274 was converted to one-man-operation and in 1984 an additional service was introduced to Yeading Gardens Estate during shopping hours. The route was withdrawn in 1990 and replaced by new routes E6 and E7.

The current route 274 runs between Notting Hill Gate and Islington, but it was introduced a long time after the use of enamel “E” plates ceased.



Route 275 was introduced in 1960, running daily between Woodford Bridge and Turnpike Lane Station via Woodford Green, Walthamstow, Tottenham Hale, Bruce Grove, Lordship Lane and Westbury Avenue, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Winchmore Hill via Wood Green and Palmers Green, and further extended during Monday to Friday peak hours to Enfield Town. It replaced trolleybus 675. Later in the year it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Wood Green and Winchmore Hill, but reinstated again in 1963. In 1968 it was converted to one-man-operation and shortened to run daily between Woodford Bridge and Walthamstow Central Station. In 1971 it was extended from Woodford Bridge to Claybury Hospital except during peak hours. In 1977 it was extended daily from Woodford Bridge to Barkingside (Fullwell Cross), but no longer running to Claybury. In 1985 the Sunday service was withdrawn, but reinstated after just a few weeks. In 1986 it was transferred to Eastern National Citybus under the tendering scheme and was extended on Sundays to Claybury Broadway, but this was withdrawn again in 1993. In 1996 it was extended in Barkingside from Fullwell Cross to Tesco. In 2000 it was extended from Walthamstow Central to South Grove via Selborne Road.

Route 277 was introduced in 1959 running daily between Smithfield and Cubitt Town via Islington, Dalston, Hackney, Victoria Park, Mile End, Limehouse and West Ferry Road. It replaced trolleybus 677. In 1961 it was extended on Sundays to Poplar. The Saturday service was similarly extended in 1964 replacing route 56 on that day. In 1966 the Sunday service was withdrawn betwen Islington (Angel) and Smithfield. In 1969 the Monday to Friday service was extended to Poplar making it daily over this section. The Sunday service was further cut back from Islington to Mildmay Park from 1971. In 1974 it was converted to one-man-operation, and the service was withdrawn between Cubitt Town and Poplar, being replaced over this section by new route 277A. It was re-extended to Poplar in 1976 and the 277A withdrawn after road widening took place. In 1982 the evening service was withdrawn between Islington and Smithfield on Mondays to Fridays, but the Sunday service was extended to Islington. In 1989 the 277 was withdrawn on Mondays to Saturdays between Limehouse and Poplar and replaced by new route D7. The following year the route was diverted at Balls Pond Road to run to Highbury & Islington Station. In 1991 the service was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Limehouse to Canary Wharf, and the Sunday service on to Poplar was cut back to Canary Wharf in 1993. In 1994 it was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Canary Wharf to Leamouth, with the Sunday service being similarly extended in 2003.

With its extreme weatherng, this plate could well be years old!
Obviously an error as “MON” is followed by a full-stop but “SAT” is not!

277A277A SUNDAY MON-SAT SPECIAL JOURNEYS← This “E” plate would have been used on the extension section between Mile End and Hackney. It is particularly unusual in having the main route number in red (for Sundays) but with extra black wording relating to the extension at certain times, and these plates were rarely seen.

Route 277A was introduced in January 1974, at the same time as the 277 was converted to DMS one-man-operation, with RT vehicles running daily between Poplar Baths and Mile End Station via Cubitt Town, Millwall Docks and Limehouse. During evenings, early Saturday mornings and all day on Sundays, the route was extended beyond Mile End over the 277 route via Victoria Park to Hackney Station. The reason for the route’s introduction was because larger modern buses could not negotiate the approaches to the very narrow bridge crossing the entrance to the docks along Preston’s Road. This bridge was eventually rebuilt and the problem disappeared, and so the 277A was withdrawn in August 1976. Thus it was a relatively short-lived route, lasting less than three years.

Route 278 was introduced in 1960 running daily between Victoria & Albert Docks and Wanstead Flats via Freemasons Road, New Barn Street, Balaam Street, Plaistow, Upton Lane, and Forest Gate, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Chingford Mount via Cannhall Road, Crownfield Road, Leyton and Walthamstow. It replaced trolleybus 678 and this plate could well be 45 years old. In 1962 it was diverted via Forest Lane instead of Wanstead Flats, and the Sunday service was rerouted to Stratford and renumbered 278A. It was then extended from Chingford Mount to Yardley Lane Estate. In 1968 it was cut back from Yardley Lane Estate to Walthamstow Central Station. In 1973 it was withdrawn between Leyton (Grange Park Road) and Walthamstow. In 1976 it was extended from Leyton to Walthamstow Central, and further extended to Chingford Mount in 1977. In 1981 it was diverted at Forest Lane to Stratford (Bus Station), but a service to Walthamstow Central was retained during Monday to Friday rush hours. In 1982 it was extended from Stratford to Stoke Newington via Hackney Wick, Hackney and Amhurst Road, and the peak hour service to Walthamstow was withdrawn. In 1984 it was withdrawn between Stratford and Stoke Newington, and diverted instead to Limehouse via Bow replacing route 86 over this section. In 1985 it was extended from Victoria & Albert Docks to North Woolwich via Silvertown. In 1987 it was extended except during peak hours from Limehouse to Aldgate via Stepney East, East Smithfield and Tower Hill. In 1987 it was withdrawn between Limehouse and Aldgate. In 1988 it was diverted to Victoria & Albert Docks to East Beckton via Strait Road and Manor Way instead of North Woolwich. In 1991 it was introduced on Sunday afternoons between Stratford and Limehouse, but this was withdrawn later the same year. In 1992 it was rerouted in Beckton via Cyprus Place. In 1993 the route was finally withdrawn after an amazingly varied history running to a great range of places in east London. It is a route which would be fascinating to see drawn on a map.

These two “E” plates could either date from 1978, or could equally be from earlier in the 1970s for the southern end of the route which ran differently on Sundays.This plate came from the common section of route, north of Islington.

Route 279 replaced trolleybus route 679 and was introduced in 1961 between Smithfield and Waltham Cross via Islington, Highbury, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Tottenham, Edmonton and Ponders End. On Saturdays it was extended to Flamstead End. The route has had slight variations of the terminus at the northern end from time to time, and since 1986 has run only between Holloway and Waltham Cross. Routemasters gave way to Metrobuses in 1987 and the 279 has been one-person-operated since. In 1973 the Sunday service on the 279 was withdrawn south of Finsbury Park and replaced by new Sunday-only route 279A between Lower Edmonton and Liverpool Street. In 1978 the 279 was withdrawn completely on Sundays and the 279A was extended to Waltham Cross, but Sunday service was reintroduced in 1992.

Although there was an earlier route 279A which ran from 1961 to 1971, this plate is for the later route which was a Sunday-only operation introduced with one-person-operated DMSs in 1973 between Lower Edmonton and Liverpool Street via Manor House, Finsbury Park, Holloway, Islington, Angel and Barbican. It probably diverted from the weekday 279 to serve Petticoat Lane Market. In 1978 it was converted to crewed Routemaster operation and extended north to Waltham Cross via Ponders End. Converted to Metrobuses in 1987, the route was withdrawn in 1992 when the parent route 279 was reintroduced on Sundays. Operation has been from Edmonton [EM], Enfield [E] and Tottenham [AR] garages.

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