Route 470/408 re-creation

Sunday 30 September 2018

 

Page last updated 7 September 2018

 

Readers are invited to board RT4779 for a run over the former Country routes 470 and 408, from Dorking to Chelsham and Chelsham to Guildford, on Sunday 30 September 2018.  The run recreates two of the trunk routes operated by the bus when it was based at Leatherhead Garage between 1963 and 1969, and follows the run in 2013 chronicled here.
 
RT1563 in Leatherhead Crescent in about 1965awaiting a new crew to take the bus on to Dorking.
Photo © Peter Osborn 
 

RT4779 run

Passengers will be carried at the discretion of the crew; all stops along the route (except West Croydon Bus Station) will be served on request. 
 

470

Dorking LT Bus Station (=Townfield Court)

1102

 

Leatherhead Crescent

1119

 

Epsom Clock Tower

1135

 

Cheam Broadway

1154

 

Wallington Green

1210

 

West Croydon Tamworth Road stop CR

1231

 

Chelsham Garage (= Warlingham Sainsburys)

1305

 

 

 

408

Chelsham Garage

1351

 

West Croydon Tamworth Road stop

1422

 

Wallington Green

1446

 

Cheam Broadway

1502

 

Epsom Ashley Road

1522

 

Leatherhead LT Garage (= Leisure Centre)

1540

 

Effingham Woodlands Road

1550

 

Guildford Bus Station stop 17

1613

 

 

 

408 

Guildford Bus Station stop 17

1622

 

Effingham Woodlands Road

1645

 

Leatherhead LT Garage (= Leisure Centre)

1654

 

Epsom Clock Tower

1713

  

 

 

470 

Epsom Clock Tower

1719

 

Leatherhead Crescent

1735

 

Dorking LT Bus Station (=Townfield Court) 1752
 
Certain parts of the duties may be duplicated.
 
Read all about it!
A new book will be published in September by LHRG, the London Historical Research Group of the Omnibus Society, containing an expanded version of Rod Lucas's story of working for London Country at Leatherhead in the 1970s and a pictorial history of the garage from its origins in 1921 to closure in 1999.  Entitled Shades of Green, the book will be available via the LHRG website.
 
A brief history of the 408
The 406 and 408 (the '6 road' and the '8 road') were Leatherhead Garage's senior routes.  The 406 started operation (unnumbered) between Redhill and Epsom in June 1920, operated by the East Surrey Traction Co under an agreement with the London General Omnibus Co.  In November 1921 (92 years ago now), the route was numbered S6 and an offshoot, numbered S6B, started operating from Epsom to Guildford.  In 1922 that route was extended to run from Sutton to Guildford and then renumbered S8; the S6 was extended to Kingston.  The following year the S6B was extended to run from Guildford to West Croydon.
 
In 1924, the Bassom numbering system was introduced for routes within the Metropolitan Police area, requiring a renumbering into the 400-series for the southern 'country area'.  The S6 became 406 and the S8 became 408.
 
The 408 ran hourly and needed eight K-type buses, which were supplied by the General and had replaced B-types in 1923.  They were stabled at the yard of the Swan Inn in Leatherhead, one being swapped each day for another from Reigate Garage, running via the S6.  Early in 1925, the new Leatherhead Garage opened, providing greatly increased capacity for the rapid increase in bus services in the Leatherhead and Epsom area.  Chelsham Garage (south-east of Croydon) opened in the same year, looking after the 403 route that operated from Croydon to Westerham, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, the two routes meeting at West Croydon.
 
 
The K-types were replaced by NSs in 1925, replaced by STs in 1930 with these in turn being replaced by STLs in 1936.  Meanwhile, the East Surrey company had been wholly acquired by the LGOC in 1929 and was renamed London General Country Services in 1932.  The whole group was absorbed into the LPTB in 1933 and LGCS became the Country Area of London Transport.
 
Green STL2600 working LH21 has paused by the Yew Tree Restaurant at Epsom Clock Tower, en route from Guildford to Warlingham on 14 Jan 50.  The driver has left his cab, so perhaps crews changed there in 1950 rather than at Leatherhead Garage which they did later on.
Photo © Alan Cross
 
The Guildford to Croydon 408 was extended to Warlingham, also served by the 403, and the 403 was extended over varying parts of the 408, from March 1937.  But the 408 routing in 1937 differed from the 403 by using South Park Hill Road instead of serving the Swan & Sugar Loaf in South Croydon.  With the introduction of the 470 (from Dorking to Leatherhead, then via 408 to Croydon and Warlingham) in October 1938, the 408 was shortened again to run only to West Croydon; in March 1939, the 470 was re-routed south of Croydon to follow the 403.  In May 1940, the 408 was re-extended to Warlingham (along the 470) and the familiar post-war pattern of 408 and 470 from Warlingham to Guildford and Dorking respectively was established.
 
Early in the war, the original front-entrance STLs were replaced by newer roofbox buses from the Central Area; these fine buses were repainted green over the following eight years and continued to operate the 408 and 470 until new RTs 3152 to 3183 were delivered to Leatherhead, Guildford and Chelsham in May-June 1950.
 
From the start of the winter timetables in 1963, just before RT4779 arrived at Leatherhead, the 408 and 470 became jointly scheduled, up to that point having had separate bus and crew duties.  RTs continued to operate the 408 and 470 until replaced by modern buses in June 1972.