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London Transport
Country Area Routes 400–409

South of the Thames

Last updated 03-07-06.


Route 400 was introduced on 14th May 1958 as a limited stop service running on Sundays-only between New Addington (Park Way) and Warlingham Park Hospital via Central Parade, Arnhem Drive, King Henry’s Drive, Fairchildes, Park Road (Fickleshole), Fairchildes Road, Church Lane, Common Road and Chelsham Road using one GS vehicle. The route had the misfortune to be scheduled to start operation in the midst of the 1958 bus strike. It ran on only 17 occasions before being withdrawn after Sunday 12th October.

There were very few Sunday-only Country Area routes. This “E” plate is of outstanding interest, and is in superb condiition owing to its extremely limited life. A remarkable route and a rare survivor.

A newer route 400 was the Slough town service running daily from Britwell Trading Estate (Wentworth Avenue) via Farnham Road, Salt Hill, Slough (The Crown), Upton Lea, Wexham Court Farm Estate and returning to Britwell, running both ways around the Wexham Court Farm Estate loop.

Plates for route 400 do not seem to appear very often, perhaps because it is a very sought-after number.

400 Route 400 map


Route 401A ran between Bexleyheath and Dartford via Bexley, Joydens Wood Estate and Dartford Heath. Most journeys terminated at Joydens Wood and did not run through.

A more detailed history of route 401A can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).

Route 402 must be considered something of a stalwart. In 2006 few former London Transport Country Area routes still operate over an almost identical routeing—continuously since the birth of London Transport in 1933, when East Surrey’s route S2 from Bromley (Bromley North Station) to Sevenoaks became LT route 402 via Bromley Common, Farnborough, Green St. Green, Knockholt Station, Polhill, Dunton Green and Riverhead. Over the years there were extensions via Hildenborough to Tonbridge and today to Tunbridge Wells. Apart from a short period when the Kentish Bus renumbering scheme rechristened the route 22, the number 402 has been carried throughout.

A more detailed history of route 402 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).


403 FARE STAGE 403 - 403 EXPRESS

Route 403 began running on 16 August 1921 as London General Country Services’ route S3 between West Croydon and Sevenoaks via South Croydon, Sanderstead, Hamsey Green, Warlingham, Chelsham, Botley Hill, Tatsfield, Westerham, Brasted, Sundridge and Riverhead. The S3 was renumbered 403 on 1 December 1924 as part of the Bassom scheme. In 1935 the purchase of Redcar from Maidstone & District extended the 403 on 31 July from Sevenoaks to Tonbridge Station via Hildenborough. On 2 September 1936 it was extended westward via Waddon and Beddington to Wallington Station. On 3 July 1971 the 403 was withdrawn beyond Chelsham, the through service from West Croydon to Sevenoaks being renumbered 403A. Both routes were also converted to one-man-operation at the same time.

A more detailed history of route 403 and its branches can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).

I don’t have any information about express journeys on the 409, but they likely predate the London Country era when the route was cut back to only run as far as Chelsham. Judging by the irregularities in the figures, this “E” plate may have been hand lettered.

Route 403A ran between Wallington Station and Warlingham Park Hospital via Beddington, Waddon, West Croydon, South Croydon, Sanderstead, Hamsey Green, Warlingham and Chelsham. In 1971 the Warlingham Park Hospital journeys became part of the route 410 service, 403A being used for the former 403 journeys from West Croydon to Sevenoaks. The route was later renumbered 483 to eliminate the use of suffix letters whenever possible.



In the mid-sixties route 403B provided just a few Monday to Friday rush hour and Saturday early and late journeys between Farleigh and Wallington via Chelsham, Warlingham, Hamsey Green, Sanderstead, Croydon, Waddon and Beddington. The main service to Farleigh was provided by the 408 and 470 routes.

Route 403B map

Route 406 was a very long established route running daily between Kingston (Bus Station) and Redhill Station via Surbiton, Tolworth, Ewell, Epsom, Tattenham Corner, Tadworth, Lower Kingswood and Reigate. The route still runs today as part of the London Buses’ network between Kingston and Epsom.

A more detailed history of route 406 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).



Route 406F was a shuttle service between Epsom Station and Epsom Downs which operated on special race days. It was the only “F” suffix route within the entire London Transport network. It was also noted for its eclectic collection of vehicles assigned—on Derby Day normally anything that was available! Alas, this “E” plate never actually existed, the stand for 406F journeys being marked with a portable dolly stop sign.

Sybil Andrews (using the pseudonym “Andrew Poewr”) designed this poster for the new London Passenger Transport Board. in 1933.


Route 407 ran between Langley Village and Cippenham via Slough, and the 407A provided some rush hour journeys which also served the Slough Trading Estate. Obviously, split “E” plates are much rarer as they were usually produced where there was insufficient room to accommodate every route on a separate plate, and this tended to be on just a few stops in town centres.



Route 408A ran daily between Guildford (Bus Station) and Merrow (Bushey Hill). It was a short shuttle service taking under 30 minutes to make the entire round trip, and I would think that there would only have been a couple of stops in Guildford town centre fitted with “E” plates.

A more detailed history of route 408A can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).

Route 409 began operating on 1 December 1924, when it assumed the identity of London General Country Services’ route S4, which dated from 3 June 1922. It took 2 hours and 58 minutes to run from West Croydon to Uckfield via Purley, Old Coulsdon, Caterham, Godstone, Blindley Heath, Lingfield, Felbridge, East Grinstead, Forest Row and Chelswood Gate. In 1933 it was withdrawn beyond Forest Row (which was now Southdown territory), and remained in that form for the next 46 years. On 26 October 1979 the 409 was withdrawn between East Grinstead and Forest Row, and a limited stop express service was introduced, partly replacing withdrawn Green Line route 719 which had, in its turn, replaced route 708. From 31 December 1981 bus journeys on the 409 operated only as far south as Lingfield (Stoats Nest Road).

A more detailed history of route 409 can be found in Kenneth Warren’s book, The Motorbus in London Country (Ian Allan, 1984; ISBN 0 7110 1360 8).

There were a total of only 11 stops on the express section of route 409, making this a very rare “E” plate.

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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.