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London Transport
Country Area Routes 480–489

South of the Thames

Last updated 01-08-06.

Route 480 was a major trunk route running daily between Erith (Wheatley Arms) and Denton (Milton Ale Shades) via Slade Green, Crayford, Dartford, Horne Cross, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend. It was a very busy and frequent route and hardly changed at all over the years, which explains why the plate is rather old and weathered.



Route 482 was a special hospital service running on Thursdays and Sundays between Caterham Station and Smallfield Hospital via Godstone, Bletchingley, Nutfield and Redhill. In more recent times the number was used for part of the 480 route between Erith and Gravesend, and this is the route for which this plate was most likely made.

In the 1950s route 483 was a Crawley local service from Crawley Bus Station into Northgate. The route ran on weekdays only and was discontinued about 1958.

The second route 483 was the new number for the old 403A route which was renumbered in the ’70s to avoid the use of suffix letters on the new Leyland Nationals which had individual blinds for each of the three digits of the route number. It ran between West Croydon and Tonbridge Station via South Croydon, Sanderstead, Hamsey Green, Warlingham, Chelsham, Tatsfield, Westerham, Brasted, Sundridge, Riverhead, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough.

With its larger numbers, the first “E” plate could be from the 1950s route 483. The second plate is from the second incarnation of the route and dates from 1974.

483 483

This “E” plate appears to have had its old number officially painted over and replaced with “484”.
A round dozen routes ran past “The Crown” in Slough, where this plate probably came from.

Route 484 ran between Langley Village and Farnham Road or Slough Trading Estate via Slough and Salt Hill. Routes 484A and 484B are described below.

Route 484A ran between Dachet and Slough (The George) via Langley, Slough and Salt Hill.

The first plate is one of the very early post-war ones without the black line at the top and bottom. These plates were fitted into the older flat bus stop flags which also had horizontal cross bars and thus the top and bottom edges were hidden. However, they required a great deal of dismantling to change and hence the modern style was devised with the black top and bottom edging and which could simply be dropped into the runners. Note also that the loops of the “8” are circular rather than teardrop shaped, which is also characteristic of old plates.
“ALIGHTING POINT ONLY” plates are used either at—or the stop before—a bus terminus where passengers should not board buses. The second “E” plate likely came from a stop in Farnham Road.



Route 484B ran between Colnbrook (Sutton Lane) and Farnham Road or Slough Trading Estate via Slough and Salt Hill. Relatively few journeys, mainly during rush hours, carried the “B” suffix—not an easy route plate to find!

Route 485 ran between Westerham (Kings Arms) and Edenbridge (Star) via Hosey Common and Crockham Hill. Buses on the 485 arriving at Westerham would usually change into a 464 to run back to Holland. A similar arrangement ran in the reverse direction. The route hardly altered over the years which accounts for the very old plate.

485 485 FARE STAGE


Route 486 ran between Joyce Green Hospital and Upper Belvedere via Dartford, Crayford and Bexleyheath.

Route 487 was a Gravesend area route, and in the ’60s ran daily between Singlewell (Hever Court Estate) and Swanscombe (Alkerden Lane) via Gypsy Corner, Gravesend and Northfleet. The route was operated by long Routemasters (RMLs) until the latter days of the vehicles with London Country.



Route 488 ran from Swanscombe (Eglinton Road) to Kings Farm Estate via Northfleet and Gravesend.

Route 489 is a Kent route, running from Gravesend to Ash (The White Swan) via Southfleet and Longfield. As a London Transport route, it was operated from Northfleet [NF] garage, originally by AEC Q and 10T10 class single-deckers. Although converted to RFs in 1953, the route often saw small GS-class vehicles over the next ten years or so. The route still exists in much the same form, operated by Red Route Buses. The 489 featured RFs for the 16 October 2005 Gravesend running day.



Route 489A ran from Gravesend to Meopham (Hook Green) via Southfleet, Westwood, Longfield, Longfield Hill and Meopham School. The route ran parallel to the 489 from Gravesend to Longfield. It was withdrawn in 1971.

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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.