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London Transport Country Area Routes 315–319

North of the Thames

Last updated 21-02-06.


This is a temporary plate which was a cheaper version of the standard enamel “E” plate and had the same appearance from the front, but had a salmon coloured back and was made of possibly tin plate (but normally aluminum) with a thin glaze over the white and black facia. It weighs about 100 grams, which is about 33% of the weight of the full enamel version.
315-315A

Routes 315 and 315A ran in the Country area of London Transport: the 315 between Kimpton and Hatfield via Codicote, Welwyn, Ayot Green and Welwyn Garden City, and the 315A between Knebworth and Hatfield via Mardley Hill, Welwyn, Ayot Green and Welwyn Garden City. They were mainly a few peak hour journeys on Mondays to Fridays, and are not easy routes to find “E” plates for, and this being a split plate combining the two is exceptionally rare. This is the heaviest plate I have found so far, weighing nearly 11 ounces (315 grams)!.

Route 315A ran between Knebworth and Hatfield via Mardley Hill, Welwyn, Ayot Green and Welwyn Garden City. It was mainly a few peak hour journeys on Mondays to Fridays, with a couple running on to Welham Green. It is not an easy route to find “E” plates for.

315A
316

Route 316 latterly ran between Amersham and Ley Hill via Chesham. It had once run through from Hemel Hempstead but this had ceased by the mid-60s. In the late ’70s the number 316 was re-used for the Rye House to Enfield Town service previously numbered 310A, running via Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Wormley, Turnford, Cheshunt and Waltham Cross. In view of its condition, this plate may have come from the more recent route.

Route 316A ran just a few Monday to Friday peak and lunchtime journeys between Hemel Hempstead and Apsley Mills via Moor End and Two Waters.

316A
316B SATURDAY

Route 316B ran just a few Monday to Saturday peak and lunchtime journeys between Hemel Hempstead Station and Hemel Hempstead (St. Paul’s Road) via Moor End and Town Centre. Looking at the timetable for 1965, it appears that the only Saturday section of the route was at St. Paul’s Road, as the Monday to Friday journeys ran to Blessed Cuthbert Mayne School instead, thus this must be an exceptionally rare plate. Indeed, red plates for the country area are not common, nor are Saturday only plates, and to combine all this with a “B” suffix...!

The 317 was a long established route running in the northwest of London Transport’s Country Area. A 1949 Country Area bus map reveals this route running a long a circular service from Watford Bus Garage to Berkhamsted Station via Croxley Green, Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead and Gaddesdon before heading south to Berkhamsted. A 1968 map shows the 317 shortened to run from Hemel Hempstead Station to Berkhamsted Station, cutting out a lot of milage from Watford. I think it was a single decker route for the majority of its life, and ran from LT’s Hemel Hempstead [HH] Garage. AEC Regals were substituted by RFs in 1954.

317
317A FARE STAGE

In the 1960s route 317A ran from Two Waters Bus Garage to Little Gaddesden via Hemel Hempstead, Water End, Nettleden and Hudnall Common Turn. There were relatively few journeys as the main route was the 317 via Great Gaddesden. There would have been very few “E” plates for this route, probably just in Hemel Hempstead town centre, and even fewer showing “FARE STAGE”.

Route 318 operated between Hemel Hempstead and Abbots Langley via Watford. The section between Hemel Hempstead and Watford eventually became a route in its own right numbered 352, whilst the remaining Watford to Abbots Langley section was renumbered W4 during the late 1970s / early 1980s.

318 ABBOTS LANGLEY
318A 318A

Route 318A ran between Abbots Langley and Bucks Hill via Garston, Watford, Croxley Green and Croxley. It was renumbered 352 in 1975, along with the main 318 between Watford and Hemel Hempstead, leaving the 318 number for the Abbots Langley to Watford service.

Route 318B was a school bus for schoolchildren only and ran between North Watford (Maytree Crescent) and Garston Garage via Meriden Estate. I don’t believe the route changed at all throughout its life which accounts for the age of this plate, and being a school route it is astonishingly rare as there would have been few stops carrying “E” plates.

318B
319
319 EVENING
319-321
In this instance the plate is likely to have come from a stop in Watford town centre, although it is an unlikely combination of routes and is probably exceedingly rare.
319-347
This plate must have come from the common section of routes 319 and 347 between Watford and Abbots Langley, and there would have been very few plates split with this combination of routes.

Route 319 was the main part of a family of routes between Watford and Kings Langley, and provided the main service, every one to two hours, on Mondays to Saturdays between Watford (The Parade) and Chipperfield (Two Brewers) via Watford Junction, Garston, Abbots Langley, Kings Langley Station, Ovaltine Works and Kings Langley High Street, with a couple of journeys running on to Sarratt. The second “E” plate is very weathered, and also shows evidence that it once had the word “EVENING” under the route number but this has been removed. I’m told by an expert that it would have been added during the plate’s life and then removed again—it has not been ground off.

Route 321 was a major trunk route and ran between Luton and Uxbridge via Kinsbourne Green, Harpenden, Sandridgebury, St. Albans, Garston, Watford, Croxley, Rickmansworth, Maple Cross and Denham. Route 347 ran between Hemel Hempstead and Uxbridge via Leverstock Green, Bedmond, Abbots Langley, Garston, Watford, Bushey, Oxhey, Northwood, Harefield and Denham. Split “E” plates were only used where there was a shortage of space on a bus stop flag. Some stops might have had the route numbers split differently.

Route 319D was part of a family of routes running between Watford and Kings Langley, and the 319D provided a school journey in each peak between North Watford (Library) and Langleybury School via Garston and Abbots Langley. The 319D is a rare example of a route with a “D” suffix, and there would not have been many stops on the route which would have had “E” plates.

319D
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