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London Transport
Green Line Coach Routes 717–723

Last updated 04-08-06.

718 WINDSOR VIA KINGSTON 718 VICTORIA KINGSTON WINDSOR

Route 718 was established after the War commencing in April 1946, and ran between Windsor and Epping via Slough, London Airport, Chelsea, Victoria, Baker Street, Camden Town, Finsbury Park, Walthamstow, Chingford and Buckhurst Hill. It replaced the pre-War service G in the west and N in the northeast. By 1958 it had been extended to Harlow (New Town). At the transfer of Green Line services from London Transport to London Country, it was using RMC-class short Routemaster coahces out of Harlow [HA] and Windsor [WR] garages.

Both of these “E” plates are from westbound stops. The use of the word “VIA” on a plate with white lettering is unusual.


719
719 WILLESEDEN WATFORD HEMEL HEMPSTEAD
This plate is from a northbound stop, possibly in the vicinty of Marble Arch or Baker Street.

The second row of route 719 “E” plates came from southbound stops.

719 STANMORE VICTORIA WROTHAM
This “E” plate was possibly in Hemel Hempstead or Watford.
719 STANMORE VICTORIA WROTHAM 719 SIDCUM SWANLEY WROTHAM
This “E” plate was obviously from somewhere beyond central London.

Route 719 was unusual in a number of ways: firstly, it was not part of the original, post-war Green Line network. The number instead lay vacant until 1956 when a new daily service was introduced using RF coaches between Hemel Hempstead and Victoria via Leverstock Green, Bedmond, Garston, Watford, Bushey, Stanmore, Kingsbury, Neasden, Willesden, Kilburn, Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner, which was also unusual in that the route did not cross central London. Converted to double-deck operation with RMC Routemaster coaches in 1962 and back to RFs in 1967, the route finally became a cross-town service in 1968 with a southern extension to Wrotham via Millbank, Elephant & Castle, Old Kent Road, New Cross, Lewisham, Eltham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Swanley, Farningham and West Kingsdown to replace the withdrawn 717. As most of the coach network died away in the 1970s, the 719 saw a brief diversion to East Grinstead to replace the 708 before breathing its last.


Route 720 ran between Aldgate and Bishop’s Stortford via Whitechapel, Bow Road, Stratford, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Woodford, Buckhurst Hill, Loughton, Epping Forest, Epping, Thornwood, Potter Street, Old Harlow and Sawbridgeworth. The 720 was one of the very first routes to be introduced after the War, the other being the 715. (Before the war Green Line service “V” ran to Bishop’s Stortford from Liverpool Street.) It was worked by 10T10 class vehicles from Epping Garage and ran every 30 minutes daily. In the mid ’60s it was diverted between Harlow (Potter Street) and Old Harlow to serve the New Town and replace route 720A. In 1974 the 720 was extended from Bishop’s Stortford to Stanstead Airport.

Route 720 timetable 6 February, 1945This timetable for route 720 is dated “on and after February 6, 1946”, which was the date that Green Line service was reintroduced between London (Aldgate) and Bishop’s Stortford. This was therefore the first leaflet issued for this newly-numbered route. It is a single sheet of paper, folded to give six pages 312" × 514" inches, showing full timetables and boarding regulations, with the note that “single journey tickets only issued”. There were only 1,000 of these leaflets produced.



Odd Bishop’s Stortford plates actually survived the route’s extension to Stanstead Airport on 4.5.1974. One was still posted at Epping (Maltings Lane) in May 1976.
720 BISHOP’S STORTFORD

721 ILFORD ROMFORD BRENTWOOD
This “E” plate is from an eastbound stop and may have come from Aldgate or Stratford.
721 STRATFORD ALDGATE
This one is for westbound travel, and sold for a remarkable £440.01 on ebay!

Route 721 ran between Aldgate (Bus & Coach Station) and Brentwood via Whitechapel, Mile End, Bow Road, Stratford, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Gallows Corner and Harold Park. While the 721 was once one of the busiest Green Line coach routes, running every 10 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays in the mid-60s, it was an withdrawn in about the mid-70s. The routes running from Aldgate were much shorter than the rest of the cross-London network, so “E” plates for the 721 are amongst the rarest to find.


Route 722 ran from Aldgate via Mile End, Bow, Stratford, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Becontree Heath, Romford, Hornchurch and Upminster to Corbets Tey. Route 722A was planned to run from Aldgate to North Romford (Chase Cross), but it was cancelled before service started.

This -year old “E” plate has never been used as the 722 was never introduced.

722-722A

722A ALDGATE

Route 722A route was planned to run from Aldgate following the 722 from Aldgate via Mile End, Bow, Stratford, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford and Becontree Heath to Romford, from where it would have continued to North Romford (Chase Cross). However, the plans for the 722A were cancelled at the last minute owing to objections from Central Buses. Nevertheless, the number 722A did find its way onto “E” plates, and also into one timetable dated 14th October 1959.

This is an unique “E” plate, as routes rarely had plates made if they were not actually introduced. It sold on ebay for a tidy £600.


Route 723 ran between Aldgate and Tilbury (Ferry) via Stepney East, Poplar, East Ham, Barking, Dagenham, Rainham, Wennington, Aveley, Stonehouse Corner, Purfleet, Grays and Chadwell St. Mary. The 723 was worked initially by TF class vehicles from Grays garage and ran every 15 minutes daily between London and Grays, and hourly on to Tilbury.

723 ALDGATE
← There weren’t many destinated plates on this route. Two examples of this one existed at Movers Lane (The Volunteer) and New Road (Cherry Tree Lane).
I believe that this “E” plate may once have carried the destination “GRAYS”, but it has been altered to show the word “COACH”, which has resulted in some damage. This plate is also thicker, and therefore heavier than most similar ones (which I find slightly surprising for a Green Line plate with white, rather than the older cream, text). The reverse is also white enamel. →
723 COACH
723 ALDGATE CANNING TOWN
← This is a rare gem: a factory reject. This plate was never used (and is in pristine condition) because the locations are printed the wrong way ’round. It was intended for use on a westbound stop near East Ham and should have read
723
CANNING TOWN
ALDGATE
(Aldgate being the final destination), but an error was made and instead the place names are reversed!. The reverse of this plate is dark grey.

This timetable leaflet for route 723 is dated “on and after March 6, 1946”. This date saw the reintroduction of the Green Line service between London (Aldgate), Grays and Tilbury, and was therefore the first leaflet issued for the newly-numbered route. (Before the war Green Line service Z1 ran to Tilbury, and service Z2 ended at Grays.) It is a single sheet of paper, folded to give eight 312" × 514" pages, showing full timetables and boarding regulations, with a note that “single journey tickets only issued”. There were only 1,000 copies of this leaflet produced. →
Route 723 timetable 6 March, 1946

723B WEEKDAY

Route 723B ran between Aldgate and Tilbury (Ferry) via Limehouse, Poplar, Canning Town, East Ham, Barking, Dagenham, Rainham, Aveley, Stonehouse Corner and Grays. By the end of 1964 the 723B had been cut back to Grays in the east and East Ham in the west, except for a rush hour extension to Aldgate, and it was withdrawn completely by 1969. As with so many of the traditional Green Line coach routes, there is no sign of the route left today.

This plate is I think particularly interesting as it combined the very rare use of a “B” suffix for a Green Line route with the use of “WEEKDAY” rather than the usual selection of place names.

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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.