Flying polo to the foreKingston RF 2009

Routes 715 and 715A

Modernised but demoted to bus status, RF219 waits for something to happen - presumably at Guildford Leas Road garage?
Photo © Paul Redmond
Green Line route 715 was one of the first two routes introduced on the recommencement of Green Line express coach services after the war, made famous by its association with the RMC Routemaster coach. 
Original RF routes
715: GUILDFORD via Ripley, Esher, Tolworth (Kingston from 1977), Shepherds Bush, Oxford Circus, Enfield and Ware to HERTFORD
715A (1956 - 1969): HERTFORD via Hertford Heath, Tottenham to LONDON Marble Arch
715A (1971 - 1977): GUILDFORD via Ripley, Esher, Kingston, Shepherds Bush, Oxford Circus, Enfield and Ware to HERTFORD


The 215/A and 715A will together provide a service between Kingston and Cobham, with 715A journeys running via Hampton Court and extended to Ripley.  Timetable.
A feeder service from and to London will run on the 715 (but not over Hammersmith Bridge, which is now weight-restricted).
Restricted blind RF
Main boarding points
Kingston Cromwell Road Bus Station stop A3
Hampton Court Station stops G and G1
Esher Sandown Park
Esher High Street
Note that northbound buses from Ripley will serve Cobham Police Station in Portsmouth Road, not Church Cobham.
Another modernised RF reduced to bus status.  Hertford's RF102 shows the restricted blind display needed by London Country RFs due to the length of blinds required at many garages.  It is leaving Guildford in August 1973 for the long return run on the 715.
Photo © John Parkin
Route history
The origins of the Guildford to London Oxford Circus coach route go back before the formation of Green Line in 1930, to Mr Charles Dobbs' Skylark Motor Services, which started operating in December 1928 with this as its first route.  The new Kingston by-pass was used, and it and its Green Line successors did not serve Kingston until 1971.  Nine months later, Skylark commenced operation between Oxford Circus and Hertford, then in December 1929 joined the two routes together.  In doing so, they pioneered the cross-London service that became the hallmrk of the Green Line.
Guildford to London Oxford Circus was also the first route introduced by the newly registered Green Line Coaches Ltd in July 1930, in direct competiton with Skylark.  Skylark was taken over by Green Line in 1932, prior to the formation of the LPTB which saw the absorbtion and rationalisation of almost all London area coach services.
Green Line services were given letters in 1931, with the Guildford service (briefly not cross-London) as service G, later M (Guildford to Hertford) then M1.  The M1 and sister routes hosted the new 6Q6-class coaches on their introduction in 1936.  Green Line services were suspended just before the outbreak of war in September 1939; on the temporary reintroduction in 1940, the M1 became route 18.
From 6 Feb 46, Green Line services were gradually reintroduced after the war.  One of the first two routes was the 715, over the former M1 route between Hertford and Guildford.  RFs arrived for the 715 at both Guildford and Hertford garages in December 1951 and January 1952.  New route 715A was introduced on 11 Jul 56, running between Hertford and Marble Arch via Hertford Heath rather than Ware and Tottenham rather than Enfield.
Following the testing of the prototype Routemaster Coach, including on the 715, LT ordered 68 RMCs and the first twenty entered service on the 715 and 715A in August 1962, replacing RFs and featuring extensively in LT's publicity.  The longer Routemaster coaches, the RCL class, arrived in 1965 and a few went to Hertford for the 715A.  This route was withdrawn in February 1969, having seen its traffic reduce in competiton with the railway and the new Victoria Line.
After the transfer of the Country Bus & Coach department to London Country in 1970, one-man operation became imperative  and in 1972 the RMCs and RCLs gave way to the new RP class of Reliance coaches.  Before this, alternate Saturday journeys on the 715 were diverted via Kingston and numbered 715A from May 1971; the whole route was diverted this way in April 1977 and renumbered 715.  As is well known, London Country suffered severe vehicle problems in the 1970s, and elderly RFs were not uncommon replacements for modern coaches.