One of the original Morden Station feeder routes introduced in
1926, the 156 initially ran to Cheam via North Cheam. In 1928
it was extended to form a circle, running to Sutton and then direct
back to Morden via St Helier.
And now for something completely different. No, not an
ex-Tillings bus, but ex-independent operator Sphere. This is
petrol-engined Dennis Lance DL31 with Dodson body (hence the
Tilling look), at Morden in 1937. This whole class was
transferred to Sutton at the end of 1936 to replace ancient NSs,
but were themselves withdrawn in late 1937 as standardisation on
Photo JF Higham collection, © Alan
February 1934 saw the route diverting to take its
characteristic 'back route' from Sutton Green via Colllingwood Road
to Rose Hill, a routing swapped with the 157. This routing
was retained right through until the route ceased on 10 Oct
The 156 was interesting however for its short workings.
The intensely busy section between North Cheam and St Helier meant
that substantial augmentation was needed in the peaks.
Achieving this under union limitations on spreadover duties meant
that 'joint compilation' with the 164 and 164A were
required. In addition, certain journeys ran off-route up
Morden Road to South Wimbledon.
The basic circular route may have stayed the same for 27
years, but the buses working it were anything but as
constant. From the early days of Ks and Ss, soon replaced by
NSs, the routed worked from Sutton Garage, but from 1934 to the
end, Merton also provided a small minority allocation, usually
buses shared with a major route.
Merton replaced its NSs with STLs in 1935, but Sutton
continued running NSs during the week until late 1936, when its NSs
were replaced by the transfer of all 33 of the DL class from
Potters Bar. These were a stopgap, however, and were replaced
by STLs before the end of 1937.
'Leaning-back' STL504 has just turned left
into Sutton High Street at The Cock. The date is 7 Jun
52, before the route was formally allocated a few of the
class alongside Daimlers.
Photo © Alan Cross
Daimlers were officially allocated, from Merton in 1945 and
Sutton from 1946, until Sutton reallocated STLs briefly at the end
of 1952 before the RTLs and RTs arrived. However, during the
post-war period, all sorts of buses worked the route,
including hired coaches. Sutton's RTLs arrived in early 1953,
replaced by RTs before the end of the year, and the route
was then RT-operated until the end.