Carshalton 2007

RT2079 approaches Morden StationRoutes 59 and 118

These (partly) Streatham-based RT routes ran as follows:
59: WEST HAMPSTEAD West End Green, Oxford Circus, Charing Cross, Brixton, Streatham Common, Thornton Heath, West Croydon, Purley, CHIPSTEAD VALLEY
118: CLAPHAM COMMON Old Town, Streatham, Streatham Common, Mitcham Common, MORDEN STATION, (until March 1969) RAYNES PARK Junction Tavern
On 15 April 2007, we plan a limited service on the 118 between Mitcham and Streatham Common and on the 59 between Streatham Common and Purley, using a former Streatham-based RT.  See the timetable.
RT2079 on the 118 turns out of Aberconway Road opposite Morden Station, arriving from Clapham Common, in this 1974 shot.  Brixton's weekend working has led to the use of an intermediate blind from the 109.                 Photo © Eamonn Kentell
Main boarding points
118: Mitcham Cricketers (connects with 77B, 88, 115A, 711)
59:   West Croydon Station (connects with 157, 403, 408, 725)
       Purley (connects with 234A)
Route histories
The 59 was an unusual left-over from the original renumbering of bus routes in 1924 (the 'Bassom scheme') in that it represented the longer variant of a route much better known as the 159.  In post war years, the 59 ran on Sundays only, whereas the 159 was a trunk route and (of course) the last full-service Routemaster route. 
Jointly operated by Croydon (TC) and Streatham (AK) garages, TC introduced RTs to replace STLs in 1949, whilst AK's STLs ran until 1951.  Converted to Routemaster operation in 1964, RTs made a brief reappearance running from AK in 1969-70.  The route was replaced by the 159 in 1978.
The 118 was shared by AK and Merton (AL) garages, with AK's STLs being matched by AL's utility Daimlers.  AK again converted the route to RT operation in 1951, but the Ds remained until replaced by RTs in 1953.
Merton's allocation ceased after the route was shortened in 1969 by the conversion of the Raynes Park section to flat fare route M1.  AK was shortly joined by Brixton (BN) and over a four year period from 1972 the RTs were gradually replaced by Routemasters.  One-person operation came in 1985, with the northern destination switching to Brixton in 1990.  The route continues to run from Morden to Brixton, now back at Merton with London General.