RF527 at Kingston StationRed RF routes

Route 264

Page last updated 2 January 2016
One of the Kingston area routes, which worked mainly from Norbiton garage until OMO conversion, whereupon it moved to Fulwell. 
An untidy-looking RF527 passes Kingston Station inbound to Kingston Bus Station, the blind already having been changed for the next journey, a short-working to Sunbury.  The picture is clearly taken in the 1970s, when RF527 was allocated to Kingston - it would have been on loan to Fulwell.  The obviously-altered blind reflects the change in short-workings from Sunbury Station to Sunbury Old Hanworth Road.
Photo © AER Brood, Peter Gomm collection
Dates of RF operation

10 Jun 59 to 17 Jul 76

Converted to OMO 23 Jan 66

(total 17 yrs 1 month, of which 5 yrs 7 months crew-operated)
KINGSTON STATION and HERSHAM GREEN (Mon-Sat, 10 Jun 59 to 14 Jul 63)
KINGSTON Bus Station and HERSHAM GREEN (Mon-Sat 15 Jul 63 to 17 Jul 76)
RF Garages

NB   Norbiton     (10 Sep 59 to 22 Jan 66)

K     Kingston     (9 May 62 to 7 May 63)

FW  Fulwell        (23 Jan 66 to 17 Jul 76)


In about 1955, Norbiton's TD51 lays over at Kingston Station.

Photo © Vic Youel


Reason for single-deck operation

The low bridge at Hersham Station always required single-deck operation, but, in addition, the weight limit on Walton Bridge also restricted the types of buses until 1953. 


Route history

Walton Bridge over the River Thames had been damaged in an air raid in 1940, resulting in the imposition of a 7-ton weight limit. At the time, the only route using the bridge was the 218, resulting after the war in the retention of the 1T1-types that were the only buses which, fully laden, met the weight limit.  Following the complete rebuilding by Marshalls of Cambridge of 18 1T1s in 1949, combined with the continuing allocation of unrestored buses to Kingston, enough buses were available for a second route over the bridge to be introduced as part of the post-war improvement programme.


Introduced daily on 3 May 50, the 264 initially operated from Hersham via Walton and Upper Halliford to Sunbury French Street and required four buses.  The route ran up Windmill Road to Staines Road West, then straight along past Sunbury Clock Tower (now the junction at the end of the M3 and renamed Sunbury Cross) along Staines Road to terminate at the White Lodge Cafe. 


In October 1950, the route was diverted away from Upper Halliford to run along the 237 road via Sunbury Village and Green Street and the following year, in June 1951, was extended along the 216 routing to Kingston (another two 1T1s being required).  In February 1957, the route was realigned again, away from Sunbury Village and back through Upper Halliford.  The Sunday service was withdrawn in November 1958.


RF419 was still hard at work at Fulwell in July 1971, although by then only on the 206 and 264.  It is seen in the yard next to RT1945, which would be off to the scrapyard within a month.

Photo Peter Gomm collection


Meanwhile, the route and seven 1T1s were transferred to Norbiton when that garage opened on 14 May 1952.  However, they were already end-of-life, despite the rebuilds, and did not survive in sufficient numbers until the replacement of the bridge at Walton in 1953.  In the intervening period, 14T12s and 10T10s were used with a limit on the number of passengers carried across the bridge.  These in turn were replaced by TDs in 1954/5.


Before Kingston received its first RFs in July 1959, Norbiton lost its TDs in favour of the RF, indirectly using buses made surplus after reductions following the 1958 strike and also the conversion of West Green's 233 to double deck.  A batch of buses (RFs 502-538) were converted to OMO in the expectation of converting Kingston's single-deck routes to OMO RF.  However, union agreement was not reached and after a short period, the RFs concerned were released to convert the 264 and 206, together with the 224 group, on 10 Jun 59, with the 216 (at K) and 250 (at NS) following on 1 July after crew training.


As part of the allocation shuffle on Fulwell's first day of bus operation, 9 May 1962, the 264 allocation was moved to Kingston, except for part of the Saturday schedule which stayed at Norbiton.  This change reversed a year later when the route returned to Norbiton, only to change again in 1966 when the whole route moved to Fulwell on conversion to one-man operation on 23 January.


From here on, the route settled down, with no changes for over 10 years until 1976.  A major reduction in the service in April was followed in July by conversion to Bristol BLs, the first of the Kingston area routes to lose its RFs.  The BLs lasted for less than 18 months before the route was withdrawn on 28 January 1978, before the Kingston RFs themselves finished.  This resulted from a withdrawal of support by Surrey CC, although a replacement service between Walton and Hersham (the section not covered by other services) was provided by Ben Stanley.  That company ceased trading in 1985 on the retirement of the proprietors; their route passed briefly to Mole Valley Transport Services and is now covered by Abellio route 564.


It appears that Ben Stanley's rather utilitarian, but at least bus-like, Marshall-bodied Bedford VAS5 replaced Plaxton coach-bodied YVQ LVS433P as a regular performer on the Walton to Hersham route.  Here is sits on the Hersham Green stand with a short-working RF on the 219 just creeping into the shot.  The date is 24 March 1979, and the RFs have less than a week left.

Photo © Dave Jones


RF route in detail, with timing points
HERSHAM GREEN, Molesey Road, Hersham Barley Mow, Molesey Road, Hersham Station, Molesey Road, Rydens Road, Ambleside Avenue, St Johns Drive, Cromwell Road, Bowes Road, Hersham Road, Walton High Street, Walton Bridge Street, Bear, Bridge Street (15 May 65, rerouted towards Kingston via Hepworth Way, Walton Hepworth Way, Bridge Street), Walton Bridge, Walton Bridge Road, Gaston Bridge Road, Green Lane Gaston Bridge Road, Gaston Bridge Road, Upper Halliford Road, Upper Halliford Station, Windmill Road, Staines Road West, Sunbury Clock Tower (later Sunbury Cross), Staines Road East, Sunbury Harfield Road, Upper Sunbury Road, Percy Road, Hampton Station, Station Road, Thames Street, Hampton Court Road, Hampton Court Vrow Walk, Hampton Court Road, Kingston Bridge, Clarence Street, Wood Street, KINGSTON STATION (exit via Clarence Street; 15 Jul 63, terminus changed to KINGSTON Bus Station)
1961 bus map © London Transport
Garage workings from FW: Wellington Road, High Street Hampton Hill, High Street Hampton to line of route
Crew changeover and meal breaks were at Kingston Garage; from 1966, crews travelled from/to Fulwell via 281.
Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1951 19-20 mins 19-20 mins 19-20 mins
1953 30 mins * 20-30 mins -
1959 30 mins * 20-30 mins -
1964 30-40 mins † 30 mins -
1969 30 mins † 24 mins -
1971 30 mins 30 mins -
1976 30 mins 25 mins -
* more frequent Hersham - Walton Manor Road (peaks)
† more frequent Hersham - Walton Bear (peaks)
The route took about 55 minutes from Kingston to Hersham.  The July 1967 timetable is here.
RF allocation
PVR 1959 (Jun): Mon-Fri 6, Sat 6 (all NB)
PVR 1962 (May): Mon-Fri 6 (K), Sat 4 (K), 3 (NB)
PVR 1962 (Oct): Mon-Fri 6 (K), Sat 3 (K), 3 (NB)
PVR 1963 (May): Mon-Fri 6, Sat 4 (plus 1 ex 201) (all NB)
PVR 1964 (Nov): Mon-Fri 6, Sat 5 (all NB)
PVR 1966 (Jan, OMO): Mon-Fri 7, Sat 6 (all FW)
PVR 1966 (Dec): Mon-Fri 7, Sat 5
PVR 1976 (Apr): Mon-Fri 4, Sat 4
Stan Attewell started work driving the 264 when it was crew-operated.  Read his memories here.
More 264 photos here


The 264 was RF-operated at our Kingston RF Event 2009.


Crew-operated RF395 passes under the bridge at Hersham Station in March 2009.

Photo © Dave Simmons