Uxbridge before rebuildingRed RF routes

Route 224

Page last updated 1 January 2017
 
One of the Uxbridge routes serving West Drayton, the 224 featured RFs twice in its history, for two different reasons - first the low bridges around West Drayton, then later when converted to OMO (for the third time - read on).
 
RF407 seen in OMO configuration, sitting in Uxbridge Bus Station (before the garage was built over this area) awaiting departure for Laleham.
Photo Peter Gomm collection
 
Dates of RF operation

26 Nov 58 (weekends), 10 Jun 59 (daily) to 7 May 63

and

16 Jan 71 to 11 Dec 76

(total 10 years 4 months, of which 4 years 5 months crew operation).
 
Destinations (see maps below)

UXBRIDGE STATION and LALEHAM Broadway (daily 26 Nov 58 to 7 May 63, Mon-Fri peaks and Sat shop hours 16 Jan 71 to 14 May 76)

UXBRIDGE STATION and STAINES Moor Lane (Mon-Fri off peak and Sat outside shopping hours 16 Jan 71 to 14 May 76)

UXBRIDGE STATION and COLNBROOK Coleridge Crescent (Mon-Sat 15 May to 11 Dec 76)

UXBRIDGE STATION and POYLE GAF Factory (journeys Mon-Fri peaks 15 May to 11 Dec 76)

 
RF Garages
UX    Uxbridge
 

OMO RF350 in the 1970s.

Photo © Eamonn Kentell

 

Reason for single-deck operation

The low bridges at Yiewsley and West Drayton Station restricted routes through Cowley to single-deck.  In 1961, the road at West Drayton was lowered (allowing the double-deck 223 to be extended southward, replacing the 222.  Soon afterwards, the layout at Yiewsley was changed (we don't know how, but the railway didn't close until 1964).  The 224 was not double-decked until 1963, although 224A and 224B and 224C were converted a year earlier.  224 and 224B reverted to single-deck in 1971 for OMO conversion.
 
Route history

Dating from July 1929 as the General's route 506, Uxbridge to Staines, the route was worked by Uxbridge (UX) garage using crew-operated K and S-type single-deckers.  In order to improve the economics of its peripheral routes, the General introduced one-man operation with new DA-class Dennis Darts in 1930.  The first converted the 505 and 506 on 26 Jun 30.  In March 1932, the 506 (since October 1930 running weekdays only) was extended from Staines to Stanwell.

 

On renumbering as 224 on 3 Oct 34, an additional working from Hounslow garage (AV) was added, also an OMO Dart, running Saturdays and Sundays only between Staines and Stanwell - the beginning of the unsettled Staines to Stanwell Sunday workings that became RF operated as the 203 in 1965.  These comprised the only Sunday workings on the 224.  The Darts continued until the outbreak of war, when they were replaced by diesel-engined CRs (UX) and a Cub (AV).

 

The war saw a number of route withdrawals at less busy times.  On the 224, this comprised withdrawal south of Harmondsworth in the evening, for various periods.  This left unchanged the busy section from Uxbridge to the 'Peggy Bedford' on the Bath Road, by what is now Heathrow Airport North but was then Fairey's Great Western Aerodrome and no doubt involved in war work.  In March 1942, the southern section was transferred to the 223, including the weekend Hounslow Cub working, and the remaining Uxbridge to Harmondsworth section was upgraded to crew-operated Ts (mainly 1T1s with some ex-Tilling 3T3s).  These were amongst the first Ts converted to perimeter seating, permitting up to 50 passengers including 25 standing.

 

Uxbridge's RT701 runs to Staines during the sixties.

Photo © Paul Redmond

 

On 28 Oct 42, things start getting complicated.  The 223 Stanwell workings were transferred back to the 224, which retained crew-operation on the Uxbridge to Harmondsworth section.  Harmondsworth to Stanwell (Mon-Fri between peaks) and through workings at other times were covered by OMO Cubs (the CRs by now having gone into store).  This was thus the second OMO conversion.  Three weeks later, the AV weekend Staines to Stanwell workings were taken over by UX.

 

On 3 Oct 45, between peaks through journeys were reintroduced and the whole route converted to crew-operated Ts, but the Stanwell to Staines weekend journeys were returned to AV-operation, also with a crew T.  In May 1946, Sunday operation was introduced on the northern section from Uxbridge to Harmondsworth, meaning the route ran in two separate sections on that day.  One wonders why the Hounslow-based journeys hadn't been given a separate route number.

 

On 4 May 47, Sunday working was reintroduced over the whole route for the first time since 1930 and the separate Stanwell to Staines service was withdrawn on that day - but still operated on Saturday for a further six months, even though the route was also covered by through buses.  On 24 Mar 48, the Stanwell to Staines section was withdrawn entirely and replaced by new ST-operated route 162 running between those points only.  In place of Stanwell, the 224 was rerouted to Laleham.  The Uxbridge to Laleham route then continued until the end of the RF era, except that the route was temporarily withdrawn between Uxbridge and West Drayton while the railway bridge was rebuilt, November 1959 to September 1960. 

 

After the war, the variety of Ts increased with a number of repainted 11T11 former Green Line coaches from 1946, followed in December 1949 by eight green 9T9s transferred from the Country Area, following which most of the 11T11s moved to Loughton.  The 9T9s were in turn replaced by red 10T10s in October 1951, made available indirectly by the introduction of the Green Line RFs.  Uxbridge was the first recipient in 1946 of post-war 14T12s, nominally for the 223 but also occasionally on the 224.  By 1953, all the prewar Ts had been replaced by 14T12s.  These lasted until 26 Nov 58 and with Southall's 211 allocation were the last of the class in service.  They were replaced at weekends by a mix of TDs and RFs (spare from the 222, initially on Saturday and Sunday, but on Saturday only from 13 May 59) and by TDs during the week, until the TDs were were in turn replaced by further RFs from 10 Jun 59.

 

The 225 was a new route introduced between West Drayton and Staines Moor Lane in 1965, to serve Poyle Trading Estate upon closure of the West Drayton to Staines West railway line.  It ran Mon-Fri peak hours and followed the 224 except that it used Poyle Road to cut off the Horton loop.  RT1256 is seen crossing the Colnbrook level crossing in 1965.  The route was replaced in 1971 by journeys on the 224.

Photo © Bob Turner, Ian Armstrong collection

 

Meanwhile, in 1955 and 1957 respectively, two variants in the form of 224A and 224B were introduced, both also initially T operated.  From November 1959 to September 1960, the first barrier to double-deck operation, the road under the bridge at West Drayton, was rebuilt.  While the road was closed, RFs on the 222 provided the service through Cowley, with the 224 group operating the southern sections only.  In March 1961, the bridge now open, the 222 was discontinued and the 223 extended from West Drayton to Hounslow in replacement and a third 224 offshoot, 224C, appeared to provide a service along Cowley Road to Heathrow in rush hours.  This road, restricted by a further low bridge at Yiewsley, was now served only by the 224 group.

 

The low bridge at Yiewsley was dealt with shortly after, allowing the 224A/B/C to be converted to RT on 9 May 62, although the 224 itself held on to its RFs for another year (possibly because there was thought of OMO conversion, if union agreement could be reached?) until 7 May 63.  From that date, RTs took over and for six weeks only, one Monday to Friday pm journey was extended from Uxbridge to Ruislip Station over the 204.  

 

To a large extent, the 224 followed a pair of the Great Western's branch lines, the West Drayton to Uxbridge already mentioned and the West Drayton to Staines West.  The former served Uxbridge Vine Street, Cowley and West Drayton, the latter West Drayton, Colnbrook, Poyle and Staines West.  The main deviation from the railway was at Poyle, where the 224 ran instead down Horton Road to the west.  The level crossing at Colnbrook appears to have been the only one crossed by a red RF route.  The forecourt of Staines West station provided the Staines terminus of most bus routes terminating in Staines, including the 203, 216, 218; the well-known station building (see photo at foot of page) was a Georgian mill owner's house altered to serve as a station.  The West Drayton to Uxbridge line closed to passengers in 1962, the West Drayton to Staines West in 1965.  RT-operated route 225 was provided Mon-Fri peak hours as rail replacement to serve Poyle Trading Estate.

 

Quick and dirty

RF533 looks very uncared for on 30 Oct 76, with just 6 weeks left to run before its final move to Kingston.  It stands at West Drayton, having worked in on a short working.  This RF was one of the green batch repainted red whilst at Sidcup in 1956 and worked at Uxbridge before an early OMO conversion in 1959 and again in the early 1960s.

Photo © John Parkin

 

There followed a period of stability for the rest of the sixties, only slightly disturbed by the shortening of the 224 on Sundays from Laleham to Harmondsworth in October 1969. 

 

The next substantial change came on 16 Jan 71, when the route was converted from RT to OMO RF.  The 224 was withdrawn on Sundays and its journeys beyond Staines to Laleham were now restricted to Mon-Fri peaks and Saturday shopping hours.  Some Mon-Fri peak journeys were diverted to run via Poyle, rather than Horton, replacing the 225 which was withdrawn.

 

From December 1974, Monday to Friday peak hour journeys via Poyle were re-routed at the Industrial Estate along Blackthorne Road to serve the GAF factory.  In May 1976, the southern section from Colnbrook to Staines, which (perhaps surprisingly) are in Buckinghamshire, was withdrawn due to a lack of support from Bucks Council.  The peak hour journeys to the GAF factory were retained.

 

The end came for the Uxbridge RFs in December 1976, when the 224 converted to SMS and the 223 and 224B went to DMS.  Saturday operation ceased in September 1977 and the route was withdrawn entirely on 21 Apr 78.

 

RF route in detail, with timing points

UXBRIDGE STATION, Belmont Road, High Street Uxbridge, Vine Street (return via Windsor Street), Cowley Road, High Street Cowley, Cowley Station Road, High Street Cowley, High Road Cowley, High Street Yiewsley, Station Approach, West Drayton Station, Station Approach, Station Road, Harmondsworth Road, Holloway Lane, Harmondsworth High Street, Hatch Lane, Hatch Lane Bath Road, Bath Road, Bath Road Colnbrook, Park Street, Bridge Street, High Street Colnbrook, Colnbrook Horton Road, Horton Road, Horton Crown, Stanwell Road, Coppermill Road, Wraysbury Station, Station Road, High Street Wraysbury, Staines Road, Wraysbury Road, Church Street, Staines Clarence Street, High Street Staines, London Road, Kingston Road, Worple Road Withygate Avenue, Worple Road, Staines Road, Broadway, LALEHAM Broadway  (daily 26 Nov 58 to 7 May 63).
 
UXBRIDGE STATION, Belmont Road, High Street Uxbridge, Harefield Road, Oxford Road, Trumpers Way (northbound), Cross Street (southbound) (rerouted from 1963 routing on 19 Aug 73), Cowley Road, High Street Cowley, Cowley Station Road, High Street Cowley, High Road Cowley, High Street Yiewsley, Station Approach, West Drayton Station, Station Approach, Station Road, Harmondsworth Road, Holloway Lane, Harmondsworth High Street, Hatch Lane, Hatch Lane Bath Road, Bath Road, Bath Road Colnbrook, Park Street, Bridge Street, High Street Colnbrook, Colnbrook Old George, Horton Road, Horton Crown, Stanwell Road, Coppermill Road, Wraysbury Station, Station Road, High Street Wraysbury, Staines Road, Wraysbury Road, Bridge Street, Clarence Street, STAINES High Street (return via South Street, Thames Street, rerouted from 1963 route on 6 Jan 74), extended Mon-Fri peaks and Sat shop hours via High Street Staines, London Road, Kingston Road, Worple Road, Worple Road Staines Road, Staines Road (formerly Laleham Road), Broadway (formerly Ashford Road), LALEHAM Church  (Mon-Sat 16 Jan 71 to 14 May 76).
 

Mon-Fri peak journeys diverted from Bath Road, Colnbrook via Poyle Trading Estate as follows: (16 Jan 71 to 1 Dec 74) Poyle Road, Poyle Golden Cross, Stanwell Road to Coppermill Road; (2 Dec 74 to 14 May 76) Poyle Road, Blackthorne Road, Poyle Trading Estate GAF Works, Blackthorne Road, Poyle Road, Poyle Golden Cross, Stanwell Road to Coppermill Road.

 

UXBRIDGE STATION, Belmont Road, High Street Uxbridge, Harefield Road, Oxford Road, Trumpers Way (northbound), Cross Street (southbound), Cowley Road, High Street Cowley, Cowley Station Road, High Street Cowley, High Road Cowley, High Street Yiewsley, Station Approach, West Drayton Station, Station Approach, Station Road, Harmondsworth Road, Holloway Lane, Harmondsworth High Street, Hatch Lane, Hatch Lane Bath Road, Bath Road, Bath Road Colnbrook, COLNBROOK Coleridge Crescent; extended Mon-Fri peak journeys via Poyle Road, Blackthorne Road, POYLE GAF Works  (Mon-Sat from 15 May 76).
 Extract from 1949 bus map (c) LT
 
This version of the 224 is shown on the 1949 bus map (© London Transport), also showing the 222 and 223, and the 162 which replaced the 224 Stanwell section the previous year.

Here, the 1972 map shows the alternative routes serving Horton and Poyle; the later run to Poyle GAF Factory is indicated.  Map © London Transport

 

Terminal working at LALEHAM: from Laleham Road into Ashford Road, set down at The Turk's Head, continue along Ashford Road to turn via the forecourt of The Feathers and return to pick up at The Turk's Head.

 

Frequency

Year  Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1936 60 mins 60 mins ‡ 40 mins †
1938 60 mins ‡ 60 mins ‡ 40 mins †
1941 60 mins 60 mins ~‡ 40 mins †
1946 20 mins ~‡ 20-30 mins ~‡ 40 mins †
1951 60 mins ~◊ 30 mins ~ 40 mins ~
1953 60 mins ~◊ 30 mins ~ 40 mins ~
1959 60 mins ~◊ 30 mins ~ 40 mins ~
1964 60 mins ~◊ 60 mins ~◊ 60 mins ~
1969 60 mins ~◊ 60 mins ~◊ 60 mins ~
1971 60 mins 60 mins *
1976 60 mins 60 mins *

* more frequent Uxbridge - West Drayton

~ more frequent Uxbridge-Harmondsworth

‡ more frequent Staines-Stanwell

† Staines-Stanwell only

◊ more frequent Staines - Laleham

 

The route took about 66 minutes from Uxbridge to Laleham.  About 30 minutes of this was taken up by the less frequent section between Harmondsworth and Staines.

 

Faretable

A faretable for the final version of the route is here.

 
RF allocation
PVR 1958 (Nov): Mon-Fri 6 TD, Sat 2 RF + 5 TD, Sun 3 RF + 3 TD
PVR 1959 (May): Mon-Fri 6 TD, Sat 2 + 5 TD, Sun 6 TD

PVR 1959 (Jun): Mon-Fri 6, Sat 7, Sun 6

PVR 1959 (Nov): Mon-Fri 4, Sat 5, Sun 4 (northern section covered by 222)

PVR 1960 (Sep): Mon-Fri 6, Sat 7, Sun 6

PVR 1961 (Mar): Mon-Fri 6, Sat 7, Sun 7

 

PVR 1971 (Jan): Mon-Fri 5, Sat 5, Sun -

PVR 1976 (May): Mon-Fri 3, Sat 4, Sun -

 

Re-creation

RF486 worked the 224 between Laleham and Uxbridge at the Uxbridge Running Day in 2006.

 

RF486, heading for Laleham at the end of the day, pauses by the old Staines West Station terminus.  The famous forecourt has now been grassed over.

Photo © Peter Osborn