The (not-so-) late lamented Epsom OdeonWorcester Park 2008

Route 164

MORDEN STATION to EPSOM via St Helier Ave, Sutton and Banstead.
Buses will run an infrequent service over the full route, with additional short workings.  The revised timetable is attached


Main boarding points

Morden Station stop H, St Helier Avenue Middleton Road, Sutton Green stops A and B, Sutton Library stop V, Post Office stop R and Police Station stop K, Epsom Clock Tower.




Morden Station feeder service 164 ran from Morden to Epsom via Sutton from 1930, when it ceased serving North Cheam, until 1982.  The route was operated by Sutton RTs for many years, such as newly-overhauled RT2338 seen in front of the Epsom Odeon.    Photo © John Parkin
Route history
Introduced in 1926 as one of the feeders to the new Underground station at Morden the early 164 ran to Burgh Heath via North Cheam and Ewell, then two years later was double-decked and diverted at Drift Bridge to run in a circle back to Morden via Sutton.
May 1930 saw a further change, with the adoption of the route that remained unchanged for over 50 years, apart from small diversions for one-way systems.  This ran from Morden direct to Sutton, then in a large loop via Banstead and Drift Bridge to Epsom.


Morden in 1930

The initial single-deck Ks were replaced by S-types, then in 1931 by NSs.  These were replaced by STLs in 1935-6, remaining until the arrival of Sutton's Daimlers in 1946. 


The 164A, Morden to Tattenham Corner, deserves a mention, as it started life in 1927 as the well-known race-day service to Epsom Downs from Morden.  These services were renumbered 131 from 1930, but the 164A reappeared in its Tattenham Corner guise in 1935.  It lasted virtually unchanged until withdrawal in 1979.


Route 165 and its diminutives became the 164A in 1934.  As well as the rare glimpse of the expanse of Morden's forecourt in 1930 behind S569, the picture is of interest because the route then ran via Banstead to Walton-on-the-Hill, better known as the destination of the 80A.

Photo from W Noel Jackson collection, © Alan Cross


From 1950, the 164 schedules (already joint with the 164A) were compiled jointly with the 156, as the strong demand for extra workings between St Helier and Sutton Common Road on the latter route meant that union limits on the number of spread-over workings would have been breached had that route continued to stand alone.


Conversion from D to RT was completed in December 1953,  In 1961, Sutton Garage was joined on Mondays to Fridays by a small allocation from Merton, and it was this allocation that first converted to RM in 1973.  Weekend conversion followed in 1976 and the route was entirely RM by January 1977.


OMO conversion to DMS coincided with withdrawal of the 164A in 1979.  Changes to the route started in 1982 and the route first reached Wimbledon in 1984.  The present day routing between Wimbledon and Sutton commenced in 1991, with the route converting to single-deck in 1996.



I'm sure connoisseurs will appreciate the following item from The Omnibus Magazine, December 1961 (© The Omnibus Society):


The route that never was ...

'A London Transport service that has yet to earn its place in our Around the Traffic Areas feature is the 164B.  This should have been introduced on October 11th [1961].  In the spring of this year, people in the Nork area of Banstead, which lies to the south of Fir Tree Road, held a referendum to see if they wanted a bus service through their area.  Nork North EstateThe LTE had already twice rejected an application from Banstead Coaches Ltd to extend their service from Woodmansterne to cover part of Nork Way.  A majority favoured the provision of such a service and the result was sent to the LTE, to Banstead Coaches, to Banstead Urban District Council and to the local police, without any comment.  In the middle of September, London Transport announced that as from October 11th, service 164 was to be diverted at Drift Bridge (Reigate Road, Fir Tree Road) via Reigate Road and Nork Way and so back to Fir Tree Road near Banstead Station.  A new service, the 164B, would run direct via Fir Tree Road (as the present 164) during rush hours only.  The terminal points of this route seem to be obscure.  The residents of Nork Way then protested that their referendum had not been a mandate for the LTE to operate a regular 20-minute service of red double-deckers along their quiet, residential road.  This was a totally different thing from the “candyfloss” service of Banstead Coaches that they had voted for.  London Transport have agreed to postpone the new services until a new referendum has been held to see if the residents want the 164 or not.  In these politically troubled days, it all sounds too much like democracy to be true.'


John Parkin happened to find RT2875 at Tattenham Corner in 1976, carrying a side blind for the route that never was and for the diversion that never operated.


Needless to say, the 164B never did materialise, but I don't know whether the residents ever got their Banstead Coaches service.  Does anyone know?  Incidentally, whilst we are unable to offer a Banstead Coaches service, former Surrey Motors and Epsom Coaches coaches will be providing tours from North Cheam.