RF433 - Majestic, innitRed RF routes

Route 210

Page last updated 23 January 2016
 
This historic route from Golders Green to Finsbury Park has been virtually unchanged (apart from renumbering from 110 to 210 in 1934) since 1922, although it was extended to Brent Cross in the 1970s.  It was the first Central Area route to operate RFs. 
 
Sometime between 1963 and 1968, when Leyton garage worked the 210 through to Leyton High Road on Sundays in place of the 236, RF433 is seen in Stroud Green Road.  The bus has just made the transition from the weekday 210 route, having passed under the low bridge at Finsbury Park Station.  Having been a venue for (amongst others) The Beatles, in 1963, the Majestic Ballroom is no more.
Photo: John Hinson collection
 
Dates of RF operation
11 Sep 52 to 17 Sep 71
Conversion to OMO: 24 Jan 70
(total 19 years, of which 17 years 4 months crew operation)
 
Destinations
GOLDERS GREEN and FINSBURY PARK
 
Sunday extensions:
GOLDERS GREEN and LEYTON Hainault Road (27 Jan 63 to 1 Sep 68)
GOLDERS GREEN and LEYTONSTONE STATION (8 Sep 68 to 18 Jan 70)
 
RF garages
MH   Muswell Hill (throughout)
AR   Tottenham (Sundays, 27 Jan 63 to 18 Jan 70)
T      Leyton (Sundays, 27 Jan 63 to 18 Jan 70)
HT    Highgate (from OMO conversion 24 Jan 70)
 
Reason for single-deck operation
With no low bridges, the 210 is said to have been always single-deck because of a steep camber and roadside trees along the stretch of road west of The Spaniards, although an application in 1963 by London Transport to the Conservators of Hampstead Heath for double-decking is reported to have been denied, suggesting that residents were not keen on passengers looking over their fences.  Contrary to some reports, the railway bridge over Wells Terrace to the coal sidings at Finsbury Park (now removed) was not an impediment to double-deck working.  The route remained single-deck operated until February 2008.
 
Leyland vs AEC at Golders Green on the 210; TD9 and T734 bear the same style of Weymann bodywork.  This is April 1947, during the period when the 14T12s were being replaced on the 212 by the first batch of TDs; the majority allocation on the 210 was still elderly Scooters.
Photo Peter Osborn collection
 
Route history
The Golders Green to Finsbury Park route started as the 110 on 12 Apr 22, initially using three 20-seat B-types working from Holloway Garage (J) and covering new roads in Hornsey and across Hampstead Heath.  The Traffic Circulars suggest that there was an original intention to use double-deckers, but this was not to be for over 85 years.  In 1924, the weekday allocation was doubled and the Sunday service increased to 12 buses.  In September 1925, the new Muswell Hill Garage (MH) joined J for the Sunday operation.
 
Initially, the terminus at Finsbury Park was in Station Place, along with route 111, meaning that the routes passed under the low bridge in Stroud Green Road.  On 8 Mar 26, the Wells Terrace terminus opened, initially with an anti-clockwise working and changing to clockwise on 17 Dec 30.
 
Scooters were the mainstay of the 210 from new until withdrawal in 1952.  Here the crew of LT1010 have been joined on the Finsbury Park Wells Terrace stand by the conductor of the bus behind.
Photo © Alan Cross
 
Both J and MH replaced their Bs with K-types during 1927, with April of that year seeing MH taking sole charge of Sunday operation for the summer but losing all involvement that October.  The next two summers saw MH and J sharing operation on Sundays, with MH providing 8 buses to supplement J's daily allocation of 9.  MH continued through the winter to 1930, when April saw Cricklewood (W) take over the extra Sunday duties, just for that summer (W was not to be involved again until 2009).  New AEC Regal Ts replaced most of the K class on the 110 at J at the end of 1929 (ten buses in the range T32-46).
 
Larger LT 'Scooters' were delivered new in 1931, with J receiving the second allocation after MH's for the 111 (later renumbered 212 and MH's only single-deck route at the time).  The 24 Scooters delivered to J replaced the smaller 1T1s on the 110 and 41A (later 232), although two Ks were retained for Saturday use on the 110.   MH had restarted for the summer Sundays on 1 April and Scooters appeared that month, spare from the 111 as that route provided a less frequent service on Sunday.  The pattern of extra summer Sunday buses from MH continued until 1934, when on 16 May the allocation moved across wholesale and J's role was reduced to minor weekend support.  This allowed J to increase its work on route 19.
 
The route was renumbered as 210 in the single-deck sequence on 3 Oct 34, with an MH allocation of 7/9/14 buses (M-F/Sa/Su).  Apart from the 1934/35 winter, when MH operated the route unaided, J continued to operate some workings alongside MH, initially at weekends when the route was busiest and daily (except winter Sundays) at an increased level from 1936, until the end of 1939.
 
The Scooter allocation at Muswell Hill peaked at 50 buses in September 1945, as detailed in David Ruddom's article in LHRG Bulletin 77 [see foot of page].  During the war, he records that the interior livery was 'battleship grey' paint to the top of the windows, replaced after the war by chocolate brown and an apple-green rail above the windows.  Two LTLs however had STL-style green seat moquette and green and cream window surrounds.  Two Scooters at MH during the war were repainted Indian Red (a sort of red-brown), but none had perimeter-seating fitted; buses with this arrangement (which permitted increased standing capacity) were occasionally borrowed from D, AR or T, usually for Bank Holiday augmentation on the 210 for the Hampstead Fair (see also Memories page 1).
 
By the end of 1946, sister route 212 was already replacing its Ts with new TDs.  A lower requirement at the weekends meant that spare buses (Ts on Saturdays, TDs on Sundays) could be scheduled on the 210 and the total requirement for Scooters could be reduced.  The TDs then shared the route with the LTs until March 1952, when a batch of ex-Green Line 6Q6s replaced the remaining Scooters at MH on the 210 and 244.  See the 212 for more detail on this period.
 
Ex-Green Line 6Q6sEx-Green Line Q218, looking rather battered, stands outside Golders Green underground station.
Photo Ian Armstrong collection
 
The 6Q6s, themselves replaced on the Green Line by RFs, were of course a stopgap.  With Green Line deliveries complete, the first red RFs rolled off the production line in September 1952 and RFs 289, 291 and 293 were licensed on the 10th and entered service to start the new era on the 11th.  Ken Glazier records that the drivers were trained on 5Q5s (presumably scrounged temporarily from somewhere) for the set-back wheel arrangement and RTs for basic controls; there was no allocation of training RFs to MH.  [See Stuart Perry's notes on type-training on RFs here].  Stuart also reports Phil Wilsher as remembering driving the TD and Q types alongside the RF in the transitional period, when it was pot luck whether your duty would be on the brand new RF or perhaps half and half.  But RF allocation was complete by 10 October and the 6Q6s were history. 
 
However, the initial allocation was only 14 buses, just enough for Monday to Friday, but TDs were still needed to help out at the weekends.  Indeed, the official weekend allocation of 15 RFs could not be met at first, but only a week later (after the conversion of the 208A), a second batch of 15 new buses started arriving.  These were all licensed by 1 November; as they arrived, the first 14 were released for redistribution around other garages as training buses.  TDs continued to be required until the arrival of more RFs for the 212 in the new year, when the higher requirement on Monday to Friday balanced the 210's higher weekend allocation.
 
Take me to Leyton
The 210 worked quietly away for many years, its initial allocation reducing within the first year (possibly due to the faster running times of the RFs) then stabilising.  In 1969, most of Muswell Hill's RFs were replaced by a batch of green RFs from the Country area, which ran on the 210 (by then the last RF route at MH) for several months before being painted red.  These buses became available by a combination of reduced services and the introduction of MB class Merlins in the Country Area.

 

RF403 is seen in Stroud Green on a Sunday, working through to Leyton Hainault Road, described on the blinds as Leyton High Road Hainault Road.
Photo © Gerald Mead

 

In the early 1960s, a special RF-operated express service was introduced on summer Saturday evenings between Golders Green and Archway Station, stopping only at Kenwood.  This served the audience of the open air concerts at Kenwood House.  Little is known about these workings, but the available details are set out here.
 

To the east of the 210, RF route 236 ran from Finsbury Park to Leyton through back roads.  From 27 Jan 63, the two routes were combined on Sundays to form a single through route numbered 210, with one in every two or three journeys from Golders Green running through to Leyton.  Muswell Hill's buses were joined by some of Leyton (T) and Tottenham (AR)'s allocation from the 236.  Cut back to Leytonstone in September 1968, along with the weekday 236, the Sunday through journeys continued to 1971, but were renumbered 236 (and still crew operated) when the 210 was converted to OMO on 24 Jan 70.

 

Sunday through workingDuring the late 1960s, the routing at Archway was altered several times to permit the building of the one-way system, and the Sunday routing in Hackney also changed several times as for the 236. 

 
With the conductor's Gibson catching the light, Leyton's RF433 (again) sets off from Golders Green on a Sunday through working to Leytonstone.
Photo © Colin Stannard
 
The route continued with crew-operated RFs until 24 Jan 70, when these were replaced by one-man operated RFs (with doors).  With the replacement of the Sunday through journeys by the 236, which still used conductors, the whole of the OMO 210 route was also covered on that day by crew-operated RFs on the 236.  Leyton and Tottenham ran the 236, whilst MH was joined on the 210 by Highgate (HT, since renamed Holloway) with 3 buses all week.  When the 236 lost its RFs (16 Apr 71), the Sunday through journeys ceased and the 210 converted to AEC Swifts on that day, keeping its RFs on weekdays until 17 September when they too gave way to Swifts. 
 
In January 1976, the route received a northward extension to the soon-to-open Brent Cross Shopping Centre, to which it still runs.  In June 1978, the SMSs were replaced by Leyland Nationals.  The route continued to be operated by both MH and HT until 1982, when MH took sole control until the route was tendered and won by Grey Green in 1990.  Grey Green were replaced in 1998 by Thorpes, who were purchased by Metroline in 2004. 
 
AEC Swift SMS814 at Golders Green.
Photo © Jeff Lloyd via London Bus Scene
 
The route was converted to double-deck operation on 16 Feb 2008, using Tridents made spare from route 182.  The allocation was moved from Perivale West to Cricklewood in 2009 and the Tridents replaced by Enviro400s on tender renewal in 2010.
 
RF route in detail, with timing points
GOLDERS GREEN STATION, North End Road, Hampstead Heath Jack Straws Castle, Spaniards Road, Hampstead Lane, Highgate Village South Grove, Highgate High Street, Highgate Hill, Highgate Archway Station, St Johns Way, Hazellville Road, Hornsey Rise, Hanley Road, Stroud Green Stapleton, Stroud Green Road, FINSBURY PARK Wells Terrace  (return via Wells Terrace, Fonthill Road, Lennox Road to Stroud Green Road, but see below for reversal from 1961)  (Daily 11 Sep 52 to 26 Jan 63, Mon-Sat 27 Jan 63 to 18 Jan 70, daily 19 Jan 70 to 16 Apr 71).
 
GOLDERS GREEN STATION, North End Road, Hampstead Heath Jack Straws Castle, Spaniards Road, Hampstead Lane, Highgate Village South Grove, Highgate High Street, Highgate Hill, Highgate Archway Station, St Johns Way, Hazellville Road, Hornsey Rise, Hanley Road, Stroud Green Stapleton, Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park Rock Street, Blackstock Road, Highbury Park, Highbury Barn Tavern, Highbury Grove, Highbury New Park, Grosvenor Avenue, Mildmay Grove North, King Henry’s Walk, Crossway, Stoke Newington Road, Shacklewell Lane, St Mark’s Rise, Ridley Road, Dalston Lane, Queensbridge Road, Albion Drive, Dalston Garage, Lansdowne Drive, Westgate Street, Hackney Mare Street, King Edwards Road, Lauriston Road, Cassland Road, (return via Victoria Park Road, Fremont Street), Wick Road, Hackney Wick Eastway, Eastway, Ruckholt Road, Leyton Town Hall, Grove Green Road, Leytonstone Station, Fairlop Road, Hainault Road, LEYTON Hainault Road  (Sundays, 27 Jan 63 to 1 Sep 68).
 
GOLDERS GREEN STATION, North End Road, Hampstead Heath Jack Straws Castle, Spaniards Road, Hampstead Lane, Highgate Village South Grove, Highgate High Street, Highgate Hill, Highgate Archway Station, St Johns Way, Hazellville Road, Hornsey Rise, Hanley Road, Stroud Green Stapleton, Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park Rock Street, Blackstock Road, Highbury Park, Highbury Barn Tavern, Highbury Grove, Highbury New Park, Grosvenor Avenue, Mildmay Grove North, King Henry’s Walk, Crossway, Stoke Newington Road, Shacklewell Lane, St Mark’s Rise, Ridley Road, Dalston Lane, Queensbridge Road, Albion Drive, Dalston Garage, Lansdowne Drive, Westgate Street, Hackney Mare Street, via King Edwards Road, Ainsworth Road, Well Street, Cassland Road (return via Victoria Park Road, Fremont Street), Wick Road, Hackney Wick Eastway, Eastway, Ruckholt Road, Leyton Town Hall, Grove Green Road, LEYTONSTONE STATION (Sundays, 8 Sep 68 to 18 Jan 70).
 
GOLDERS GREEN STATION, North End Road, Hampstead Heath Jack Straws Castle, Spaniards Road, Hampstead Lane, Highgate Village South Grove, Highgate High Street, Highgate Hill, Highgate Archway Station, St Johns Way, Sunnyside Road, Beaumont Rise, Hornsey Rise, Hanley Road, Stroud Green Stapleton, Stroud Green Road, Lennox Road, FINSBURY PARK Clifton Terrace (return via Wells Terrace to Stroud Green Road)  (Daily 17 Apr 71 to 17 Sep 71)
 
Terminal working at FINSBURY PARK changed 12 Jun 61 to arrive from Stroud Green Road via Lennox Road, Clifton Terrace (stand) and depart via Wells Terrace to Stroud Green Road.  Various diversions around Archway from 1965-1969.  The routing through Hackney on Sundays changed as for the 236.
 
Map © London Transport 1955
 
Garage journeys
MH: to Archway Station, via Highgate Station (journeys to Finsbury Park) or via Crouch End Broadway and Hornsey Rise (journeys to Golders Green).
AR: to join line of route at Shacklewell Road, via Stamford Hill and Kingsland High Road.
T: via Leyton High Road to Leyton Hainault Road (to 1 Sep 68), via Leyton High Road, Hainault Road, Fairlop Road to Leytonstone Station (from 8 Sep 68)
HT: direct at Archway.
 
Frequency
Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1936 10 mins 5 mins 4 mins
1941 10 mins 8-10 mins 4-6 mins
1946 8 mins

6-10 mins

3½-6 mins
1951 5-7 mins 4½-6 mins 3½-6½ mins
1959 6-11 mins 5-10 mins 3-5 mins
1964 6-11 mins 5-10 mins 4-8 mins*
1971 6-9 mins 7½-12 mins 18 mins
* To Finsbury Park; through journeys to Leyton every 12-15 mins
 
The route took approximately 30 minutes between Finsbury Park and Golders Green.  The November 1959 timetable is here, the July 1967 timetable here.
 
Faretable
In the 1960s, the swapping of Sunday workings between 210 and 236 meant that faretables covered both routes.  That for 1965 is here and that for 1969 is here.  Both include the (Sunday/236) Leyton and Tottenham garage workings, but not those for Muswell Hill.
 
RF allocation
New RFs delivered Sep-Oct 52: 289-302 (14), these transferred elsewhere as trainers, replaced Oct-Nov 52 by 315-323, 325-329, 332 (15).
 
PVR 1952: Mon-Fri 14, Sat 15 + 2 TD, Sun 15 + 5 TD
PVR 1963: Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 30 (12 MH, 10 AR, 8 T)
PVR 1970 (OMO): Mon-Fri 12 (9 MH, 3 HT) , Sat 10 (7 MH, 3 HT), Sun 6 (3 MH, 3 HT)
PVR 1971: Mon-Fri 12 (9 MH, 3 HT) , Sat 10 (7 MH, 3 HT), Sun (SMS)
See below for detailed changes over the years.
 
More early RF pictures here and here.
 
Memories
Stuart Perry writes about driving the 210 and other Muswell Hill routes here.    
 
Mark Carrara writes to supplement Stuart's stories, here.
 
 
Re-creation
The Spaniards on Hampstead HeathRFs operated on the 60th anniversary, 11 Sep 2012.  In addition, RF486 worked the 210 at the HT open days in 2007 and 2011

 

Virtually unchanged, The Spaniards on Hampstead Heath has watched the 210 squeeze past for over 90 years.  This is 2007.

Photo © Peter Osborn

 

RF allocation - detailed changes

PVR 1952 (Oct): Mon-Fri 14, Sat 15 + 2 TD, Sun 15 + 5 TD

PVR 1953 (May): Mon-Fri 14, Sat 17, Sun 26

PVR 1953 (July): Mon-Fri 13, Sat 16, Sun 26

PVR 1953 (Oct): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 13, Sun 17

PVR 1954 (May): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 13, Sun 23

PVR 1954 (July): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 13, Sun 22

PVR 1954 (Oct): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 13, Sun 16

PVR 1955 (May): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 22

PVR 1955 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 15

PVR 1956 (May): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 22

PVR 1956 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 16

PVR 1957 (May): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 23

PVR 1957 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 16

PVR 1958 (Apr): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 23

PVR 1958 (Nov): Mon-Fri 10, Sat 12, Sun 16

PVR 1959 (May): Mon-Fri 10, Sat 12, Sun 23

PVR 1959 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 16

PVR 1960 (May): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 23

PVR 1960 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 16

PVR 1961 (May): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 23

PVR 1961 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 19

PVR 1962 (May): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 23

PVR 1962 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 19

PVR 1963 (Mar): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 30 (12 MH, 10 AR, 8 T)

PVR 1963 (May): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 33 (12 MH, 10 AR, 11 T)

PVR 1963 (Oct): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 26 (10 MH, 8 AR, 8 T)

PVR 1964 (Jul): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 30 (12 MH, 8 AR, 12 T)

PVR 1964 (Nov): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 24 (8 MH, 9 AR, 7 T)

PVR 1965 (Apr): Mon-Fri 11, Sat 12, Sun 27 (8 MH, 9 AR, 10 T)

PVR 1965 (Aug): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 12, Sun 27 (8 MH, 9 AR, 10 T)

PVR 1965 (Oct): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 12, Sun 24 (8 MH, 9 AR, 7 T)

PVR 1966 (Jul): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 11, Sun 24 (8 MH, 9 AR, 7 T)

PVR 1968 (Sep): Mon-Fri 12, Sat 11, Sun 23 (8 MH, 9 AR, 6 T)

PVR 1970 (Jan, OMO): Mon-Fri 12 (9 MH, 3 HT) , Sat 10 (7 MH, 3 HT), Sun 6 (3 MH, 3 HT)

PVR 1971 (Apr): Mon-Fri 12 (9 MH, 3 HT) , Sat 10 (7 MH, 3 HT), (Sun SMS)
 

Early fleet details

Thanks to David Ruddom in LHRG Bulletin 77, we can record that the first 25 Scooters at MH were LT1001-12/4/6/7/21/23/4/8-33/5/6; LT1001 had first been used on route 104, but the others were new in April 1931.