Colindale Running Day

Route 18

One of London's long-standing trunk routes, still operating between central London and Sudbury (with bendy-buses, for now).
RTW103 runs through the northwest suburbs to Paddington Green in the early 1960s.
Photo © Paul Redmond
COLINDALE RAF Museum via Colindale Station, Burnt Oak, Edgware Station Road, Edgware Way, ALDENHAM LT Works.  One journey will operate through from London Bridge in the morning, together with other services from Harlesden and Wembley listed here.


The Colindale to Edgware section will operate hourly, with alternate buses extended to Aldenham LT Works.  Journeys over the original route are listed under Feeder and Special Services.


Main boarding points

Colindale RAF Museum forecourt

Colindale Annesley Avenue bus stop CN and Station bus stop CA (towards Edgware), Annesley Avenue bus stop CS and Station bus stop CB (towards RAF Museum)

Burnt Oak Broadway bus stops G and C (towards Edgware), bus stops D and H (towards Colindale)

Edgware Station Road bus stop B (towards Aldenham), bus stop J (towards Colindale and Wembley)


Note that buses will not serve Edgware Bus Station.


Route history

In its early years, route 18 linked central London and Wembley along the Harrow Road.  In 1934, the main 18 ran from London Bridge to Harrow Weald, via Euston, Paddington, Harlesden, Wembley and Sudbury.  Variants also served Park Royal, Brent and Hanwell (the 18C, later renumbered as the 92).


With the need to save diesel, the main service (18 and 18A) was replaced at the beginning of the war by new trolleybus route 662 (electricity was generated from home-grown coal, so electric traction was preferred).  The main 18 was diverted at Wealdstone and served Edgware instead of Harrow Weald; its southern weekday terminus became Wembley Empire Pool.  Through Sunday operation continued, however.


On the opening of LT's Aldenham Works after the war, route 18 was extended there at peak times, to augment the Works' only other bus service, the 141 (later morphing into the lengthy 107).


'Other' route 141 served Aldenham LT Works en route from Edgware to Borehamwood up until 1954, when route 107 was extended to cover this section.  RT3339 stands alongside a TD at Edgware Station.

Photo Ian Armstrong collection


By 1950, the 18 was worked by STLs from Willesden (AC) and utility Guys, later STLs, from Alperton (ON).  The RT family took over in 1950, with RTs from AC and RTLs from ON; with the approval of central London RTW working, in 1954 AC's RTs were replaced on Sundays by RTWs and ON's RTLs by RTs.  Operation from Middle Row (X) was added in 1958, using RTWs and then RTLs.


The transformation of the route back to a trunk route occured with the penultimate stage of the trolleybus converion in January 1962, when the 662 was replaced in turn by the 18.  Stonebridge Park then joined the operation, meaning the route was shared by 4 garages over the week, with a peak requirement of 55 buses.  SE and X now provided Routemasters, brand new buses in the RM10xx series.  ON's allocation converted to RM in 1964, but AC retained RTLs and RTWs until losing its Saturday share of the route in 1968.


Arriving after a short working, Middle Row's brand new RM1030 turns at Sudbury Swan under under the trolleybus wires, soon to be but a memory.  But the roundabout is still used to turn by the bendy buses.  And this bus, in its final guise as RM1033, will be in service on the 18 on 29 August.

Photo © Mike Beamish


On trolleybus replacement, the 18 also absorbed the remining variant, the 18B, whose Brent section was withdrawn in 1958 (although the 18A, Paddington Green to Acton, was reintroduced in 1967).  The route now ran daily from London Bridge to Edgware, with the peak hour extension to Aldenham, although the Paddington to London Bridge section was unsurprisingly withdrawn on Sundays in 1967.


In 1970, in keeping the developing trend to shorten routes, the outer section beyond Sudbury was replaced by OMO MB-operated route 182, but the 18 retained its Routemasters, mainly RMLs from SE from 1975, until 1979.  This was not an OMO conversion, however, with crew DMs and Metrobuses being operated until 1986.


Over the next 10 years, the London end was gradually cut back from London Bridge to Farringdon Street, Kings Cross and finally Euston, from where todays First bendy buses still operate to Sudbury.