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London Transport
Country Area Routes 317–319

North of the Thames

Last updated 27-07-06.

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 replaced by RFs in 1954.



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 Abbots Langley and Hemel Hempstead via Watford; Abbots Langley and Garston; and between Boxmoor and Hemel Hempstead on certain journeys attached to the main Garston, Watford, Croxley Green, Sarratt, Chipperfield, Bovingdon and Boxmoor service. The section between Hemel Hempstead and Watford eventually became a route in its own right numbered 352, whilst the remaining Abbots Langley to Watford section was renumbered W4 during the late 1970s / early 1980s.

Not much more room for any additional text on the second “E” plate! It would have been displayed at one of the add-on parts of the route.


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.



Route 318C appeared in the late ’60s and ran between North Watford (Maytree Crescent) and Alexandra School via the Watford By-Pass.

Each of these “E” plates may be one of an unique pair! I believe the “SPECIAL JOURNEYS ONLY” came from a short school-days-only routing that provided just a couple of school-day journeys for Queens Schools in Watford, probably from the Abbots Langley area.

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.

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.

319This “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. →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.

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 pair of numbers. →


Route 319C provided some Monday to Friday peak hour journeys between Garston Garage and Hemel Hempstead (Bus Station) via Abbots Langley, Kings Langley, the Ovaltine Works, Apsley Mills and Two Waters.

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.

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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.