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London Transport
Central Area Routes 290–299

290 292 292 292 292 293 295 295A 296 296 298A 299 299

Last updated 28-08-06.


Route 290 was introduced in 1968 replacing route 90C, running daily between Hammersmith (Metropolitan) Station and Richmond (Bus Station) via Youngs Corner, Chiswick Lane and Chiswick Bridge. It was operated by RFs from Twickenham Garage [AB]. The allocation changed to Riverside Garage [R] in 1970 when Twickenham closed, and was the only one-man-operated service to run from Riverside owing to the size of the building. In 1982 Riverside Garage closed and the 290 was transferred to Fulwell Garage [FW], and was extended from Richmond to Staines via Twickenham, Hanworth, Sunbury, Ashford Common, Ashford and Fordbridge Road, replacing most of route 90. In 1989 it was diverted at Twickenham via Hampton Road and Sixth Cross Road instead of Staines Road. From 1990 until 1995 it was extended on summer Sundays to Thorpe Park. In 1991 it was withdrawn between Richmond and Hammersmith—apart from a few Monday to Friday peak hour journeys to Chiswick (Edensor Road)—and was replaced by new route 190. In 1992 it was extended during shopping hours on Mondays to Saturdays in Staines to Sainsbury’s. In 1995 the Sunday extension to Hammesmith was withdrawn, but it was extended to Staines (Sainsbury’s) at all times. In 1997 the Monday to Friday peak hour journeys to Chiswick were withdrawn. In 1999 it was withdrawn between Staines (Bus Station) and Sainsbury’s. In 2001 it was withdrawn between Twickenham and Richmond.

Route 292 was introduced on 3rd January 1962 on Mondays to Saturdays between Borehamwood (Rossington Avenue) and Willesden Garage via Theobald Street, Elstreet Way, Manor Way, Stirling Corner, Burnt Oak, Colindale, West Hendon and Cricklewood, replacing the northern end of route 52. An express service was also introduced during Monday to Friday rush hours between Borehamwood and Colindale. In June 1962, the Saturday service was withdrawn and replaced by new route 292A running on to Watford Junction. It seems that the express service was withdrawn at the beginning of 1965, and thus lasted for just three years. Also that year the 292 was withdrawn between Colindale (Annesley Avenue) and Willesden. In 1973 it was converted from RT to one-man operation and revised to run daily except Monday to Friday peak hours between Borehamwood and Edgware Station via Burnt Oak, and during peak hours was diverted instead at Burnt Oak to Colindale, with some journeys running on to Grahame Park (Quakers Course). In 1983 the peak hour service to Colindale (Annesley Avenue) was extended to Colindale Station. The journeys to Grahame Park were withdrawn in 1989. In 1993 it was diverted at Mill Hill to run direct to Edgware, and then on to Burnt Oak and Colindale (Asda). The route has been operated by a number of operators since tendering including London Country North East, Borehamwood Transport Services, Metroline, Sovereign and London United.

This “E” plate would have only been used during the first five months of the route in 1962 when it ran on Mondays to Saturdays, thus would have been very short-lived.
739This plate appears to have been recycled, for on the reverse, the white face has had green vinyl numerals affixed for use on Green Line route 739! This was a short-lived special service introduced upon the demise of route 719, running from Victoria to Brands Hatch for motor race meetings only.
Express route plates are not common at the best of times, but one for a conventional route such as this is astonishingly unusual, particularly as it appears to have had such a relatively short life.


Route 292A was introduced in June 1962 and ran on Saturdays between Borehamwood (Rossington Avenue) and Edgware Station via Theobald Street, Elstreet Way, Manor Way, Stirling Corner and Burnt Oak. In 1963 it was extended from Edgware to Watford Junction via Edgwarebury Lane, Stanmore, Bushey Heath and Bushey. In 1966 it was withdrawn between Edgware and Watford except during shopping hours, and was also introduced on Sundays between Borehamwood and Burnt Oak Broadway. In 1967 it was extended on Sundays from Burnt Oak to Edgware Station. In 1970 it was withdrawn on Saturdays between Edgware and Watford Junction. In 1973 it was completely withdrawn and replaced by the introduction of route 292 at weekends.

Route 293 was introduced in 1962 running during Monday to Friday rush hours between Paddington Green and Acton (High Street) via Harrow Road, Kensal Green, Harlesden, Old Oak Lane, North Acton and Horn Lane. It was renumbered 18A in 1967 after just five years.

The number 293 was subsequently reused in 1970 for the conversion of the southern end of route 93 to one-man-operation between Epsom and Morden which was renumbered 293.

As this is a particularly heavy plate—in fact the heaviest I have discovered—I presume it came from the earlier route which was rush hours only.



Route 295 ran between East Acton and Hammersmith via Sheppherds Bush. On Saturday and Sunday days, service was extended to Wandsworth Bridge via Wandsworth Road. In 1973 it was converted to one-man-operation and rerouted to run from Ladbroke Grove to Hammersmith Broadway via Latimer Road Station and Shepherds Bush, with an extension to Wandsworth Garage via Fulham Broadway Monday to Friday days, and for a short time to Fulham (Edgarley Terrace) on Saturdays. In 1975 Sunday service was withdrawn, and the 295 was extended via Plough Road to Clapham Junction at all times.

Timetable leaflet for the one-person-operation conversion of route 295 starting 17 June 1972, with print code 172/1232S/43,000. This fold-out leaflet has brief details of the changes and a fare table on the front. Inside are bus stop timetables for the service and on the back are diagrams showing how to use split entrance buses.

Route 295 leaflet

Route 295A was a Saturday-only route introduced in 1973, running between Ladbroke Grove (Eagle) and Putney Bridge Station via Shepherds Bush, Hammersmith, Fulham Palace Road and Munster Road. It was the first service along Munster Road. The route was withdrawn in 1975 making it a very short-lived route, and particularly interesting as very few central area routes ran on Saturdays only.



The original route 296 was a night service that was renumbered N96 in 1960. It ran from Waterloo to Leyton Green.

The next 296 was a short-lived service introduced in 1975, partly replacing Alton Road “shorts” on route 85, running Monday to Saturday between Wandsworth Garage and Roehampton (Alton Road) via Upper Richmond Road, Putney and Doverhouse Road. It was not successful and lasted less than eight months, from January 25th until 13 September.

This “E” plate likely came from the 1975 296. Because of its extremely short life, this plate is likely quite rare.

The 296 was reintroduced again on 31 March 1979 at the request of Barnet Council as an express route. Running from Copthall Stadium to Hendon Central Station via Page Street, Pursley Road, Engel Park, Bittacy Hill, Frith Lane, Lullingon Garth, Argyle Road, Alexandra Grove, Ballards Lane to Tally Ho Corner returning via Ballards Lane, Regents Park Road, Hendon Lane, Finchley Lane, Church Road, The Burroughs and Watford Way, returning via Queens Road and Brent Street, it stopped en route only at Mill Hill East Station, North Finchley and Finchley Central Station. Evidently the expected patronge never materialised, as the last day of operation was 28 September 1979, giving it an even shorter life than the previous (Richmond) 296. Since it was a limited-stop service, “E” plates would have been displayed only at those stops served.

Today’s 296 runs in the Romford area.

Express route plates are not common at the best of times, but one for a conventional route such as this is astonishingly unusual, particularly as it appears to have had such a short life.



Route 298A was introduced in 1968, replacing route 29A between Turnpike Lane and Oakwood on Mondays to Fridays. It was introduced on Saturdays in 1971. The 298A was withdrawn in 1980 when it was replaced by changes to route 121.

The original route 299 was a night owl and was renumbered N99 when the night services were removed from the 2×× series to release those numbers for the trolleybus replacement routes. It was the only night route to run from West Ham Garage [WH] and served the Victoria & Albert docks.

This plate must be from the night route, as I have had it since the early 1960s, well before the Southgate service was allocated that number. The less-pronounced “hook” on the “2” also suggests that this “E” plate dates from earlier times.



A new route 299 was introduced in January 1970, running daily between Southgate Station and South Mimms via Cockfosters and Potters Bar. Some peak hour journeys were diverted to Cranborne Road Industrial Estate, and a single journey in each peak was extended beyond South Mimms to Borehamwood (Chester Road). Some journeys throughout the week ran on from South Mimms to Clare Hall Hospital. It was converted to one-man-operation in July 1971. From 1977 one morning school journey was extended beyond Southgate to Palmers Green. The route was withdrawn in September 1980 and replaced by changes to route 298.

The 299 was a very interesting route with so many odd journeys running to different places, and this “E” plate is exceptionally rare as it combines “MON-FRI.” (note the lack of a full-stop after “MON”!), “PEAK HOURS”, “SPECIAL JOURNEYS” and “FARE STAGE” all on one route, something I don’t recall seeing for any other route. There might have been just a single pair of stops on which this plate would have appeared.

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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.