ST941 at Worcester ParkWorcester Park 2008

Route 32

Once a cross-London route, the 32 became a local operation after the outbreak of the second world war, running from 1942 between St Helier and Worcester Park.  After operating Merton's last Daimler, it was withdrawn entirely in 1956 and replaced by the 127.
Elderly and in poor shape, ex-Tilling ST941 at Worcester Park Station on 30 Sep 48, when the route was nominally operated by Daimlers.  The bus was withdrawn within weeks and scrapped.  It was one of those loaned outside London during the war, going to Midland Red in December 1941 just after the Manchester Crosssleys from the 127 had themselves gone back.
Photo © Alan Cross
1955 bus map, (c) LTRoute
WORCESTER PARK via New Malden, Raynes Park, South Wimbledon and Morden to ST HELIER.


The 32 will operate between Worcester Park and Raynes Park about every 20 minutes, with journeys about every hour extended to St Helier.  Timetable attached.
Main boarding points
Worcester Park Station forecourt and stop C, Malden Fountain stops J and K, Raynes Park Station stops P and S (note that these are shown as F and G on the TfL spider diagram), Morden Station stops B and H, St Helier Avenue Middleton Road.
Click on the map to enlarge
Route history
Route 32, like the 93, is a route that migrated south in the years before the second world war.  It started life in April 1917, with B-types from Merton (AL) and Turnham Green (V) garages running between the two places via Oxford Circus and Clapham, with a summer Sunday extension to Kew Green. 
Green ST91 in St HelierIn 1918, the summer extension took the south end to Wimbledon Common, whilst in 1919 it was Hampton Court and Hampton, but with no service beyond central London.  Summer Sunday extensions continued to 1922, but the Sunday service ceased completely in May 1923.
Another ST working from Merton, this time ST91, nine days later on 9 Oct 48.  Originally a Central Area bus and converted to run on gas during the war, ST91 was repainted Country Area green in 1945 (by which time it had regained its petrol engine), the livery it wears here.  It looks in much better shape, and was repainted red the following month, only to be scrapped less than a year later.
Photo © Alan Cross
By now the route was operated by S-types.  For four years between 1926 and 1930, it was extended from Turnham Green to Lampton, then on being cut back was extended in the south from Wimbledon to Raynes Park.  The S-types were replaced by NSs in 1931, these in turn in 1935 by STLs (AL) and STs (V).
STL1731 at Raynes ParkFor many years, the road paralleled the 88 between Stamford Brook and Tooting, which was presumably why the route was cut back to Tooting in November 1939, taking it from a trunk route needing 34 buses to a local route requiring only 4.  The northern end was shortened again in April 1942 to Merton Garage, the route now having no roads in common with the route introduced in 1917, but was extended southwards to Worcester Park in peak hours.  The route changed again seven months later at the northern end to run to South Wimbledon, and on to St Helier in the peaks, rather than to Merton Garage.
STL1731 with 'St Helier Ave and Raynes Park' lazy blind at Raynes Park on 31 Aug 51.  This bus was delivered new to Merton in 1936, and in 1940 received a replacement body after bomb damage.  It was to survive another four years.  The usual buses on the 32 at the time were Ds, photo here.
Photo © Alan Cross
RT4351 working the 32Merton continued to operate the route up to the end, and nominally its STLs were replaced by Ds in October 1945.  However, as so often occured in the years after the war, a variety of buses ran the service in practice.  November 1947 saw the St Helier service running all day, although a Sunday service never resumed; the Saturday service was next to go, finishing in April 1949, replaced briefly between South Wimbledon and Worcester Park by SRT-operated route 5.
Merton's Daimlers started being replaced in September 1952, initially by second-hand RTLs but the following month by new RTs.  Route 49 was converted first, along with the 127 where RLHs repalced the low-bridge Ds, then 88 and 77/77A , followed in turn by the 118, 157 and 152.  By the end of 1953, Merton retained a handful of Daimlers for the 32 alone.  The last was D73, which ran on the 32 on the last day of London service by utility buses, 7 Jan 54, along with two at Sutton on the 151 and 262.
On the first day of full RT-operation, 8 Jan 54, RT4351 is smart but carries no offside route number.
The canopy blind-box, initially permanently lit on the RTs, is in darkness.   RTs ran the 32 for only three years.
Photo © Alan Cross
RTs replaced the Ds, but the 32 itself was not to last much longer.  It last ran on 16 Oct 56, being replaced the next day by a diverted and extended 127.