Route 213 and 200 RF anniversary

2 December 2012

Photo gallery

Page last updated 15 February 2013


It is 60 years since the first RFs ran from Sutton Garage on route 213, on 12 December 1952.  Meanwhile, Merton had started operation of RFs on route 200 on 1 December 1952.  To mark the 60th anniversary, route 213 had eight RFs in operation again on 2 December 2012, and they were very well used - most buses ran full, if late due to Christmas shopping traffic.  It was clear that the TfL service was unable to meet this peak demand; most of the almost 2,000 passengers carried were local shoppers.
Thanks to the photographers for providing images for this gallery. 
The original event page is here.

The eight RFs (in numerical order)


RF319 amid familiar scenery at Malden Fountain, where the trolleybuses on the 604 and 605 crossed the 213.
Photos © Peter Larkham (2012), Andrew Hicks (1961)
RF326 emerges from the side entrance of Sutton Garage to take up service to Kingston.
Photo © Michael Perschky
RF354 pauses at West Wimbledon on its way to Wimbledon Station.
Photo © Daniel Sullivan
RF366 on familiar territory.  Buses for the old Kingston bus station on Clarence Street came round into Cromwell Road to enter the rear entrance to the garage; the physical bus that is now RF366 spent its whole life working the Kingston routes.
Photo © Daniel Sullivan
RF368 approaches journey's end in Kingston.
Photo ©  Peter Larkham
RF395 from London Bus Museum heads up Sutton High Street bound for Kingston.
Photo © Matthew Mabey
With thanks to London General, buses on the 213 were able to use the facilities of
Sutton Garage to lay over.  Here, RF486 has just arrived, RF518 waits patiently and
a third RF heads off.  Numerically, RF486 was the newest RF in service and RF518
(having been re-numbered from RF299 in 1956) was the oldest.
Photo © Keith Valla

Evening loads...


Homeward bound shoppers fill RF486's final departure from Kingston.

Photo © Graham Smith


RF354 was a little ahead, and again full to the gunwales as it passes Kingston Hospital.

Photo © Graham Smith


Route 213


RF354 impersonates Harry Worth in Eden Street, Kingston.

Photo © Steve Guess


A former Norbiton driver takes RF395 out of Sutton Garage bound for Kingston.

Photo © Peter Larkham


Inevitably, the planned 15-minute headway was not maintained in the Christmas traffic, although two RFs running together were often both heavily loaded, such was demand.  London General drivers reported that the Sunday timetable is difficult at the best of times, and they were clearly struggling too.

Photo © Nigel Henty


RF354 heads off into the Kingston sunset.

Photo © Peter Larkham


RF319 leads RF486 down Kingston Hill, as seen from RF368.  Several commentators have referred to 'authentic old-style London Transport bunching', which was definitely not planned.  Both buses in view are, however, full.

Photo © Peter Larkham


A static addition to the day was RT3775, blinded for the 154 and parked at Sutton Garage.

Photo © Daniel Sullivan


Route 200


Early morning layover.  Thanks to the kindness of the bus station supervisor, RF368 was offered a slot to lay over prior to departing Kingston for Wimbledon.  Two round trips were run on the 200 from Coombe Lane to Wimbledon before the buses took up service on the 213.  Here, Epsom Coaches' Enviro 400 DD09 is on what is properly a Country Area route, and Abellio Surrey's Dart 8002 is on the Sunday Kingston to Guildford service 515A, which incorporates elements of the 215, Country Area 415, 715 and 206, running direct between Kingston and Hampton Court.

Photo © Daniel Sullivan


Such was the interest in the 200 (which last saw RFs, and a Q, in 2008), that fully-loaded RF368 had no passengers who wished to alight at the Wimbledon Station stop.

Photo © Robert Dunnell


The second journey on the 200 was run by RF354, seen here picking up at the start of its journey in Wimbledon.

Photo © Steve Guess


A tale of two termini?  The junction marked by the finger post is the old Copse Hill terminus of the 200.  Buses turned in the road.

Photos © Geoff Ragg (2012), Andrew Hicks (1962)


.. and finally


Well-used RF368 in Cheam.

Photo © John Parkin


A late entry - this fine shot of RF366 in Malden Road.

Photo © Bob Lear


A comparison over 60 years.  London General's DOE51 contrasts with RF366 outside Sutton Garage.

Photo © Richard Kirwin


Two buses that were both well-loaded by the time they ran into Kingston, RF518 and RF486, heading on from New Malden.  The road below this bridge was lowered before the one at Worcester Park.

Photo © Richard Kirwin