Worcester Park 2008
It is well-known that RTs
never worked the 725, so here's a photo of one. Staines' RT2512
passes RF149 at Worcester Park Station in July 1963, shortly after
the northbound part of the bridge had been lowered, permitting
RT operation of the 213. No more need for RLHs on the
Photo © Andrew Hicks
Green Line route 725 was the first orbital route, introduced
in 1953 with RFs. In the early years, before the rebuilding
of Worcester Park bridge, the route operated RLHs as summer
reliefs, making Worcester Park the only bridge with scheduled RLH
operation by both Central and Country Areas.
The original route ran from WINDSOR, via Staines,
Kingston, North Cheam, Sutton, Croydon, Bromley, Dartford to
KINGSTON, Malden, Worcester Park, North Cheam, Cheam,
Sutton, SUTTON GARAGE
The 213 and 725 will together provide a service every
10-20 minutes between Sutton Garage and Malden, with about two
journeys per hour extended to Kingston. Timetable
. Feeder services
will cover the
entire original route.
Main boarding points
A post-war addition to the network, the 725 was the first
orbital Green Line route, providing a service around the south of
London. Introduced in July 1953 with RFs between Windsor and
Gravesend, the route was immediately successful and was soon
doubled in frequency as far as Dartford. In fact, so
successful that in 1955 approval was given for the operation
as summer reliefs of lowbridge RLH double-deckers between
Windsor and West Croydon, passing under the restricted Worcester
Park bridge (alongside red RLHs on the 127
and RFs on the 213
The route was worked from Northfleet (NF), Dartford (DT, from
1954), Staines (ST) and Windsor (WR) garages, the RLHs running
out of ST on loan from Addlestone (WY).
Seen at New Malden
Fountain in about 1954, RF276 works the long route from
Windsor as far as Dartford. Although bearing
Staines garage plates, the bus was at the time based at Dartford
but would have overnighted at the other end of the route.
Note the trolleybus on the 604/605 in the background.
Photo © Jim Andress
Little changed through the rest of the LT years, although the
route saw operation by the unreliable RCs in 1968 as back-up for
the RFs. London Country upgraded the service with the
purchase in 1972 of 21 Willowbrook-bodied SMA class, although these
lasted only 6 years before being scrapped.
During the 1970s, the route was joined by the 726, also
SMA-operated and running a similar route from the east as far as
Ashford, then heading north to serve Heathrow. While the 725
suffered a number of reroutings and shortenings in the 1980s before
vanishing altogether, the 726 prospered and its ghost lives on in
the (hopelessly inadequate) X26 Heathrow to Croydon
North Cheam showing the
futuristic architecture that replaced the Queen Vic.
Windsor-based RF157 flies the polo on 1 July 1972, by which time
this 'modernised' RF had theoretically been demoted to bus
duties. Note the early Tesco.