London Country RT3175 passes Carshalton PondCarshalton 2007

Routes 403, 408 and 470

Page updated 28 February 2013

403: TONBRIDGE, Sevenoaks, Westerham, Chelsham, WEST CROYDON, Waddon, Beddington, WALLINGTON STATION
408: WARLINGHAM, Sanderstead, WEST CROYDON, Waddon, Beddington, Wallington Green, Carshalton Pond, Carshalton Windsor Castle, SUTTON, Cheam, Ewell, EPSOM, Leatherhead, GUILDFORD
470: WARLINGHAM, Sanderstead, WEST CROYDON, Waddon, Beddington, Wallington Green, Carshalton Pond, Carshalton Windsor Castle, SUTTON, Cheam, Ewell, EPSOM, Leatherhead, DORKING
In the early 1970s, the Country Area has become London Country and the livery
is subtly different - but the RTs continue to ply the 408 for a little while longer.
20 year old RT3175 passes Carshalton Pond.              Photo © John Parkin
On 15 April 2007, the free service will operate mainly between Croydon or Waddon and Wallington (403) and Sutton/Epsom (408/470).  See the timetable
The service will include operation of Country Bus Rallies' RT3148 between Chelsham and Epsom or Wallington, plus a feeder service from and to Tonbridge.  The feeder service will be available by pre-booking only, due to demand, and the remaining workings by this bus are likely to be busy.
Main boarding points
West Croydon (Tamworth Road), Wallington Green, Wallington Station (403), Carshalton High Street (408/470), Sutton (408/470)
Lunar landscapeRoute history
East Surrey route S3 ran from Croydon to Sevenoaks, starting in 1921.  Renumbered 403 under the new system in 1924, Chelsham (CM) garage took over operation when it opened in 1925.  Services passed to the Country Area of LPTB in 1933.  The service was extended at both ends - to Tonbridge in 1935 and to Wallington in 1936.  In 1938, the 403A (formerly running from Croydon) and 403B (new route) started working from Wallington to Warlingham Park Hospital and Farleigh, respectively.
RT1018 carries a rear or side blind and a canopy route number blind along an almost deserted Wellesley Road in Croydon, just prior to turning left into West Croydon bus station.   No trams then!      
Photo © John Parkin
The 408 was another old East Surrey route, starting in 1921 as S6B, renumbered S8 in 1922 and 408 in 1924.  It was one of the main southern trunk routes, linking Croydon, Epsom and Guildford.  Between 1936 and 1938, a series of changes saw the 403 extended to Leatherhead, then the 408 extended to Warlingham; finally the new 470 replaced the 403 west of Wallington.  The 403, 408 and 470 were STL-operated from the late 1930s until RTs arrived in the early 1950s.  These continued to work the route for 20 years until replaced by Atlanteans in 1972.  In London Transport days, the route was operated by Leatherhead (LH), Guildford (GF) and CM.
The 408 continued unchanged, apart from changes at the Chelsham end, under London Country and subsequent privatisation, up until about 2000 when it was finally drastically altered, becoming an Epsom local route operating between Epsom and Cobham, with a school journey to Chipstead Valley.
Meanwhile, the 403 was the last London Country route to operate RTs.  So severe were vehicle shortages in the 1970s that, in 1977, four RTs were recertified for the 403 and the final bus, RT604, soldiered on alone through 1978 until September. The route also saw Swifts from CM and hired Atlanteans and RCLs running out of Godstone (GD), and was famous for its RMCs before one-man operation took over with ANs. 
In 1971, the Tonbridge section switched to the 403A in exchange for its terminus at Warlingham Park Hospital.  Between 1955 and 1982, an express service also operated between CM and West Croydon.
1989 route tendering saw the 403 move to ex-Central Area Croydon garage with an extension to Cheam, which lasted only two years before the route shrank back to Croydon.  The route is now operated by Arriva between West Croydon and Warlingham Sainsburys (the site of CM).