Routes 406 and 418 - period gallery

Page last updated 9 November 2014


A reminder of the 1960s and 1970s, when RTs provided the most reliable service until recent times.


Not a 406 or a 418, but RT1700 at Chelsham garage when a LH bus, about to make

the 2¼ hour journey to Guildford.  RT1700 was in service on the 406 on 26 October.

Photo © John Herting

(right) RT2722 is obviously a Reigate bus,

as it shows a Reigate local short-working via-blind, despite running from Kingston to

Tadworth.  It is February 1972, just before the bus was palmed off on Hertford

Garage, and is seen passing the BP Garage in Penrhyn Road, Kingston.

Photo © Richard Cripps


In 1956, Kingston Road in West Ewell was single-carriageway.  RT3607 was at

Leatherhead until 1960.

Photo © Vic Youel


RT3720 pauses at Farm Lane, Ashtead, on a gloomy day in the mid-1960s.  It was

only much later that I found out the significance of 'via Preston Cross', which related

to the direction of the terminal loop at Bookham Station.

Photo © Peter Osborn


In the early London Country days, after the Country Area was divested by London

Transport to the National Bus Company in January 1970.  RT4742 is reasonably

smart, apart from the use of an under-canopy blind in the route number box.  The

bus passes Kingston Bus Station, where RF492 loads for a 218 short-working to


Photo © Eamonn Kentell


For many years the traditional stand in Kingston, RT4722 waits beside Kingston

railway station  The bus is rather unusual in that the canopy blind has been altered to

406A - usually this remained set at 406 all day.

Photo © Richard Cripps


One of those workings that doesn't really fit any route number, RT2777 sits at the

(single-deck) 419 terminus at Brettgrave, displaying destination Epsom Wells Estate

(served by single-deck route 481 and a late evening journey on the 418), the 481 'lazy' blind in the via box and route number 418A

This school journey for LH10 (otherwise a peak hours only working on the 406A

Express) was introduced in 1968, running from LH to Brettgrave as a 418A, then to

Wells Estate as a 481, then from there to Tattenham Corner as a 406, to take up the

Express working.  At each point, only three minutes was given to change seven

blinds on the RT - no wonder they aren't right.

The 418A otherwise existed only as an early morning positioning journey that

omitted Ashtead Pond, presumably for scheduling reasons as the 'main road' route

through Ashtead was amply served by 406 garage journeys, 408 and 470.  But it still

had its own blinds and faretable.

Photo Peter Osborn collection


A nice pair at Kingston Station in the early 1970s.  Sutton's RT370 on the 213A is

rather better presented than Leatherhead's RT3256.

Photo © John Parkin


RT4735 operates the peak hours Express service on the 406A in 1968.  Thanks to

Graham Burnell for identifying the northbound Ewell Green Man stop and for more

detail on some of the other photos.  The bus will now stop only at Stoneleigh Park

Road, Ruxley Lane, Toby Jug and Red Lion, Tolworth and Surbiton Telephone

Exchange before reaching Kingston in 21 minutes.

Photo © Gerry Mead



A feast of blinds at Kingston Station.  The 418 to Bookham will

run via Preston Cross clockwise round the loop to terminate

outside the station, departing direct towards Great Bookham. 

The 406A carries the wrong rear blind in the via box; 'via

Epsom Road' was used for assorted short workings.  The

ultimate 'via Merland Rise' saved the earlier practice of

providing different via blinds for the two routes.  The canopy

blind is (of course) set to 406.  A queue awaits the next 216,

while a 4SUB in Southern green livery sits in the station.

Photo © Geoff Rixon


Derby Day 1971.  Guildford's RT4755 has been equipped with

the bare minimum of blinds and the conductor helps the driver

find what he's looking for.  There were no through 406

workings, the bus will actually be on 406E or 406F heading

back to Epsom.  But within a fortnight the bus will go for

overhaul and will return to Reigate and operate the 406.

Photo © Richard Cripps


Reigate's RT3900 carries the wrong via blind on a peak hour

short-working from the Reigate direction to Tattenham Corner.

Photo © Peter Esposito


Loading in surroundings that have now totally changed, Brook

Street in Kingston, RT3309 was at Leatherhead from 1964 until

withdrawal in 1972.

Photo Jeff Lloyd collection


Reigate's RT4501 works along Epsom Lane, Tattenham (the so-

called ups-and-downs), scene of Colin Curtis's story of the

Reliance brake test.  It is 1966, and the RT is displaying 406A

despite this being the section not covered by that route.

Photo © Peter Esposito


Another Leatherhead stalwart, RT1008 stands at Kingston

Station, probably when newly overhauled in 1960.

Photo Peter Osborn collection







The 418 was the first route in the southern Country Area to receive RTs, and these

were delivered with restricted blind displays and cream upper-deck window surrounds. 

RT1078 is in Fairfield West by Kingston Cattle Market.

Photo © Alan Lambert


Very early 1960s, and RT1035 loads under the trolleybus wires at the Tolworth Red

Lion stop on the 406A

Photo Jeff Lloyd collection


One of the brand new RTs received in 1950 for the 408 and 470, Leatherhead's

RT3169 has not yet received its adverts.  Alongside on the 216 is Kingston's T738.

Photo © JH Aston


Joyfully driven, perhaps in an attempt to beat the Austin Seven off the lights at

Kingston Station, RT4494 works a 406A in 1968 or 1969. 

Photo © Eric Simpson


RT3251 (which unfortunately missed the fun on route 11 on 2 November 2014 due to

faulty brakes) weaves its way through race day traffic past a line up of Southdown

coaches and open-top Queen Marys.  The young policeman looks worried.

Photo © John Parkin


Another view of the Kingston Station stand.  RT3256 displays the large-number rear

blinds that was introduced on RTs in the late 1960 (thus increasing the number of

different blinds on an RT from 6 to 7).

Photo © John Parkin


In this 1975 photo, RT4755 crosses Epsom Downs (the Grandstand is behind the

photographer).  Now with a yellow band, but still in Lincoln green, the bus

nonetheless looks a little tired. 

Photo © John Parkin


In June 1970, the 418, already single-deck operated on Sundays, lost its RTs in

favour of new SMs.  Here SM112 and SM107 stand at Leatherhead garage between

RTs on the 406 and 408.

Photo © Peter Esposito