MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Up The Junction (London, 1984)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to 1984 in London . .


It’s summer 1984, back in the days when “the man on the Clapham omnibus” was more likely to be on the 19 than the 88!  The cut-back of route 19 to Battersea Bridge a few years later always seemed a particularly retrograde step, with the route terminating in the middle of nowhere rather than serving the bustling commercial centre and massive railway interchange of Clapham Junction.

Here we see RM570 at Clapham Junction,  heading northbound (the next stop would be beside the railway station itself).


MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Route 37 OPO Conversion (London, 1986)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to 1986 in West London . ..


It’s early June 1986, and lengthy orbital route 37 is in the middle of conversion from Routemaster to Metrobus, prior to OPO conversion on the 21st of the month. Both old and new order can be seen in this photo, with M514 on the 37 standing next to RM2098, and a further Metrobus on the 281 to the right of both of them (M835). Note the “Pay Conductor” flap on the 37 Metrobus (you can see it in the other, yellow “Pay Driver” position on the 281.

The 37 was a very lengthy and useful service at that time, travelling from Hounslow all the way across inner south London to Peckham in the south east. As with many other services, it has since been cut back and split over the years, and the length of the old route was such that this journey is now only possible by using three buses – the 37 from Peckham to Putney, the 337 from Clapham Junction to Richmond, and the H37 from Richmond to Hounslow.

MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Route 24 Routemaster (London, 1985)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to the mid 1980s, when route 24 was still crew operated . .



Route 24 has had something of a high-profile existence in recent decades.  Most recently the first route to be fully converted to the “New Bus for London” LT type, and previously the first really high profile route to be tendered in Central London with Grey Green.  And before that, back in the 1960s, it played host the a trial batch of Leyland Atlanteans, run alongside Routemasters.

These two pictures, taken on a hot Sunday in summer 1985, illustrate the route in the years before it got converted to one-man operation with Titans (in the late 80s).

The first shows a very smart looking RML2666 on Charing Cross Road, whlle the second features a slightly less pristine RML2294 nearby.

In the second photo a RM is running behind on route 29, identified by the yellow stripe and prominent route branding (this was applied for a while in the mid-80s to high profile central routes, though why the 29 should be more deserving than the 24 is something of a mystery).


MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: West Croydon Metrobus (London, 1985)


AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to1985, and an unusually quiet West Croydon Bus Station.


It’s a Sunday in 1985, and almost new M1167 is all alone in West Croydon Bus Station – quite an unusual situation, even on a Sunday morning!

The M is resting between turns on the high frequency 130 group of routes, which at that time linked Croydon with the vast sprawling estates of New Addington with each suffix taking in a slightly different part of the area. The coming of the trams in recent year relegated the 130 to a much lower key role, it is now a single route, operated by midibuses, and does not reach Croydon.  The London practice of using tiny lettering for the suffix makes it hard to see that what is being displayed here is route 130B, and must have been difficult for those with poor eyesight!

MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Barking Sunday (London, 1984)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to June 1984, and the eastern side of London, back in the days when Routemaster operated services still operated far out into the suburbs.


It’s Sunday 3rd June 1984, and West Ham’s RM580 is heading in from Becontree Heath, on the Sunday version of the route (which on weekdays ran as far as Waterloo, but on Sundays stopped at Old Street).  The picture is taken close to Barking.

Route 5 had an interesting history, having been converted to One Person Operation with DMS class buses in April 1971, running as an OPO route for a decade, before converting back to crew operation and Routemasters in April 1981.  Crew operation lasted until November 1985, when Titans took over. The route still survives today, but like many others, has been drastically cut back, and now comes no further in than Canning Town.

RM580 survived the conversion of the 5, and moved westwards, eventually ending its days on the 28, and being withdrawn when that route was converted to minibus operation in 1989, and recorded as scrapped the following year.

MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: (UK, 1997) This Is Not A Yellow Bus !

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week’s classic takes us to Bournemouth in 1997, for a bus that is not all it seems . .


Bournemouth, on the south coast of England. Renowned for its sandy beaches, its safe holiday atmosphere, and its large elderly population. Home, in the late 1990s, when this photo was taken, of the municipal fleet of yellow painted buses, operating under the fleet name of . . Yellow Buses.

The buses on either side of our subject are indeed Yellow Buses, in all senses of the word. The fleetname can even be seen on the bus in the background, on the right side of the picture. But the bus in the centre, the brightest, yellowest bus of all, is not a “Yellow Bus”

The fleetname could be generic to any large city, but only the small sticker on the front window gives us a clue that this is actually a London bus, a “red bus” if you will.

This was the era when London Regional Transport allowed the different operators of tendered bus services free reign in terms of livery, and with Grey Green buses on the 24, maroon and cream Routemasters of Kentish Bus on the 19, the the yellow buses of Capital Citybus dominating the east, it looked like the traditional red London bus could become a thing of the past.

Capital Citybus grew out of the the network of London routes won on tender by Ensignbus – they started small with the 145, then they got the 62, then a huge swathe of routes when Hornchurch Garage closed in 1988, and more to follow. Sold off to a Chinese investor, Capital Citybus eventually ended up much later coming into the First Group fold, and until recently formed much of the eastern edge of that group’s London operations.

So it’s a London bus, not a Yellow Bus, but what it it doing in Bournemouth?

A closer look shows it is blinded for the 752 Coastliner Excursion service – express day trips from London to the seaside towns were big business in the years after World War II, and the practice continued right through to the 90s.  So Capital Citybus number 409 is working an excursion, and, therefore, it must be a Sunday.

The bus itself is also interesting, being a representative of a small and almost forgotten type – the Dennis Arrow, the last high-floor double-deck produced by the Guildford manufacturer, and introduced (in 1995) so close to the coming of lowfloor accessible deckers that it never really had time to take off in the marketplace. Less than a hundred Arrows were built between 1996 and 1998, the vast majority went to Capital Citybus, a handful to London & Country, and ones or twos to other operators. This example has Northern Counties bodywork, but many were delivered with bodywork by East Lancs.



MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: (London 1978) Route 140 With RTs

To kick-start July we are launching a brand new feature, helping to banish those Monday morning blues while at the same time allowing us to showcase our extensive photo archive. Each Monday morning we’ll treat you to a trip back in time with our “Monday Morning Classic”

1978, possibly January, RT2076 from HD

January 1978 at Harrow,  RT2076 on route 140

For our first Monday Morning Classic we go back 35 years to 1978, when the once massive RT fleet of London Transport was down to just a handful of routes, and with a year left to go.

The 140, which in those days ran from Heathrow Airport all the way to Mill Hill Broadway (using the eastern end of what is now the 114 routing) was still RT operated until July 1978, when it went over to RMs. These two photos was taken in  early January of that year.

Taking an RT to Heathrow from Harrow was an excellent spin, especially the section through the tunnel approaching the airport. There was also a Sunday-only variation running via Cherry Lane Cemetery which added a couple of miles and some fast running sections to the route.

The destination displayed above is “Heathrow Airport Central” – in the days before Terminals 4 and 5 all flights could be accessed from the current T123 bus station, so terminal numbers were not needed on buses.

RT2076  (LYF14) seen in the photo above entered service in April 1951 from Thornton Heath garage, working on the lengthy 109 service from Croydon to Central London as well as the 190. It was transferred around the system a lot in its first two decades, eventually settling down in Harrow Weald (HD) in January 1967, where it remained for over a decade, finally being withdrawn from service in April 1978, just a couple of months before the 140 lost its RTs.

It survived as a trainer for a few months at Bexleyheath, and went for scrap in March 1979.

Below we see a rear view of RT4711 (NXP996)on the same route, and also taken in central Harrow, though the location has changed beyond recognition in recent years. I don’t have such a comprehensive history of this bus, but it also outlived most of the class, as by the time this picture was taken there were less than 200 of the once 4825 strong fleet still in service. The bus is looking quite grubby, as, although not seen in this shot, there was still a lot of slush around following an earlier snowfall.


The cold weather at the time is evidenced by how well wrapped up the people boarding the bus are – though perhaps this is just 1970s fashion!

Of the adverts on the bus, Portman Insurance is still going strong, but Colliver Fisher do not seem to be in the car business any more, but a firm of the same name (quite an unusual name) is still in business close to Harrow as an estate management company.

RT4711 is heading east on the 140, towards Mill Hill Broadway.