Red RF routes

Route 233 (Croydon)

Page last updated 27 July 2019

FRM1, sadly a non-event

FRM1, you were the future once. 
Roundshaw route 233 was pioneered by one-man operated RFs, but became the first double-deck one-man operated route in London. 
The FRM later took over another RF-pioneered single-bus route, the 284 Potters Bar circular.
Photo © Peter Newman 1971, from the AEC Southall site, used with permission 

Dates of RF operation

31 May 69 to 21 Nov 69

(total 6 months, all OMO)




RF Garages

TC   Croydon


Reason for single-deck operation
At the time of introduction, only single-deckers were available for one-man operation.  This changed within six months (read on...).

The Roundshaw Estate develops around the new terminus as RF515's driver takes a rest in warm weather on 12 Jul 69, six weeks into the new route's operation.

Photo Peter Osborn collection


Route history

A new route in 1969 to serve the developing Roundshaw estate to the west of Croydon, the (new) 233 started with a single RF.  This ran over the new Croydon flyover when opened, although during the first few weeks a temporary routeing via the Flyover slip road, South End and Southbridge Road had to be used as the new facility was not quite ready for traffic.


The 233 used a purpose-built turning circle at Roundshaw, adjacent to the Neighbourhood Centre. This turning circle was on the north side of Mollison Drive, just east of Lindbergh Road. The turning circle was lost during the building of the new Phoenix community centre.


Within 6 months, however, the route shot to stardom as the first double-deck one-man operated route in London.  The experimental Atlanteans, the XA class, had completed their (crew-operated) trials on trunk routes 67 and 76, and other uses had to be found for them.  They were converted to use fare boxes and XA22 started work on 22 November, replacing the RF.


The FRM had also worked with the XAs and, after a short spell at Chiswick, went to Croydon in December 1969 and settled into regular work on the 233 while the XAs spread OMO operation to other routes in the area.  A little more than a year later, in March 1971, the 233's frequency was increased, but it was converted back to single-deck, now Swifts.  The FRM moved on to the 234 alongside XAs again, before taking on another former RF route, the 284, at Potters Bar.


In December 1971, the route was joined by the 233A, serving Roundshaw from Wallington in the other direction, on Saturday shopping hours with one Swift.  The Swifts on the 233  and 233A were replaced in their turn by double-deckers, in the form of DMSs this time, in January 1973, capacity increasing at each step.  The 233 was extended along the 233A routing on Mondays to Fridays outside the peaks, in 1976, and absorbed the route completely in 1978.  The route was withdrawn in 1981, when trunk route 154 was diverted to serve Roundshaw, which it still does today.  Thus the tentative start with a single RF grew to being a substantial service. 


Thanks to Paul Richards for providing additional details from Graham Donaldson's book 'The Routemaster Years in Croydon & District'.


RF route in detail, with timing points

WEST CROYDON Bus Station, Wellesley Road, Park Lane, Croydon Fairfield Halls, non-stop via Croydon flyover and Duppas Hill Road, Stafford Road, Purley Way Stafford Road, Stafford Road, Mollison Drive, ROUNDSHAW Neighbourhood Centre
Terminal working at Roundshaw: turning circle just west of Meteor Way.
  Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1970 [FRM] 46 mins 24-48 mins -
The route took 20 minutes from end to end.


RF allocation

PVR 1969: Mon-Fri 1, Sat 1, Sun -


Croydon's RF routes in 1969 - 233, 234A and 234B.

1970 bus map © London Transport


Doug Ely drove the 233 in the 70s, and adds: 'at some time, probably when the 'plain' and 'A' were linked, the route was altered to use the down and up slip roads on the Flyover to service a stop which I think was on the lower part of Duppas Hill Road - which nobody ever used due to service (in)frequency but added several minutes to the journey time at peak periods!'