Heathrow nostalgiaRed RF routes

Route 224C

Page last updated 27 December 2014
 
A short-lived replacement for the 222 between Uxbridge and West Drayton, extended to Heathrow Airport Central at peak hours.
 
RF538 is seen laying over at the undeveloped central area of Heathrow, when it was still known as London Airport; the picture was taken before 23 Jan 62 when the RF went for overhaul.   A Vickers Viscount, apparently not BEA, graces the background and the cargo sheds then located on the north side are also visible.  The Duple Vega-bodied KLM coach was probably one of those built with full-height rear luggage accommodation for the Knightsbridge to London Airport service and operated for KLM by the United Service group.
Photo Peter Gomm collection
 
Dates of RF operation
15 Mar 61 to 8 May 62
(total 1 year 2 months, all crew operation).

 

Destinations
UXBRIDGE STATION and WEST DRAYTON STATION (Mon-Fri)
UXBRIDGE STATION and LONDON AIRPORT CENTRAL (Mon-Fri peak hours)
 
RF Garages
UX    Uxbridge
 
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, but 224A 224B and 224C were converted a year earlier. 
 
Route history

London Airport North was served from Uxbridge for many years by the 222 (en route to Hounslow), with additional peak hour journeys introduced in 1952.

 

Before 1961, one barrier to double-deck operation of the Uxbridge route southwards from West Drayton was the bridge at West Drayton.  This was rebuilt from 1959 to 1960, and while the road was closed, RFs on the 222 provided the service through Cowley as well as a separate service over the southern section.  In March 1961, the bridge now open, the 222 was discontinued and the double-deck operated 223 extended from West Drayton to Hounslow serving London Airport North.  The route through Cowley was connected to London Airport at peak hours by new route 224C, which continued to Heathrow Airport Central (as it is now called).  Off-peak journeys ran on Monday to Friday only to West Drayton, supporting the main 224/A/B services.  These off-peak journeys ran only during the day plus (curiously) one evening journey.

 

The road under the low bridge at Yiewsley was altered shortly after, following which the 224C was double-decked with RTs on 9 May 62.  A year later on 8 May 63, the route was replaced by a horseshoe-shaped extension of the Hayes to Uxbridge RT route 204

 

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, extended peak hours via Station Approach, Station Road, Sipson Road, London Airport North Sipson Road,  East Ramp, Tunnel, HEATHROW AIRPORT CENTRAL (Mon-Fri)
 
Frequency
Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1961 30 mins * - -
* more frequent Uxbridge - West Drayton
 
From Uxbridge, the route took 15 minutes to West Drayton, 30 minutes to Heathrow Airport.
 
RF allocation
PVR 1961: Mon-Fri 5, Sat -, Sun -