Red RF routes

Route 290

Page last updated 27 December 2014


The OMO conversion of the RT-operated 90C, except for the Sunday Staines extension which returned to the 90.

RF538 appears to have just set down an elderly gentleman who is going to cross the six lanes of the Lower Richmond Road, fortunately less busy that it is now.  The date is 24 Feb 73, and the bus was overhauled at Aldenham four months earlier, presumably gaining the non-underlined fleetnames there.

Photo © Paul Redmond
Dates of RF operation
7 Sep 68 - 8 May 76

(total 7 years 8 months, all OMO)



RICHMOND Wakefield Road and HAMMERSMITH Met Station


AB    Twickenham (to closure on 18 Apr 70)
R      Hammersmith Riverside (from 19 Apr 70)
Reason for single-deck operation

At the time of introduction, only single-deckers were available for one-man operation.


This rather grainy picture is the only one I have showing a Twickenham-based RF working the 290.  RF455 is loading at Butterwick for departure to Richmond; the bus was repainted at Aldenham in December 1969, so the picture dates from the last few months of operation at Twickenham.

Photo Ian Armstrong collection


Route history

Service along the main road between Richmond and Hammersmith was provided by the 111 until 1951, when the fairly new 71 was extended to take over.  In turn, the roads were covered by the 90C from 1958 (Sundays, when it continued from Richmond to Staines) and 1967 (daily).


The Sunday Staines workings were transferred to the 90 in September 1968, the main section being converted to OMO daily using RFs and renumbered 290.  A new RT-operated Sunday 90A between Richmond Dee Road and Yeading was extended to Hammersmith on Sunday afternoons to help with sports ground and cemetery traffic, but only lasted until July 1969.


The 90 group had seen Twickenham garage (AB) involvement since 1934 and virtually exclusive operation since 1939.  The 290 therefore also operated from Twickenham, their only single-deck operation (apart from a brief involvement on the 105 in 1933-34 before it was renumbered 201), the garage having otherwise operated solely RTs since the SRTs were replaced on the 90 group in 1953/4.  However, the garage closed on 18 Apr 70 and, unlike the 90 group which went to Fulwell, the 290 became the only single-deck route operated by Hammersmith Riverside (R).


RF412 demonstrates the restricted space at Richmond Bus Station.  This RF was also overhauled in 1972, but has the underlined fleetname; note also the later 'open roundel' on the RM behind.

Photo © JA Gascoine, Peter Gomm collection


RFs continued in use until 8 May 76, the period when the RF was being replaced wholesale.  It is possible that they lasted this long because Swifts were too long for the difficult layout at R; be that as it may, they were replaced by BLs which had the same dimensions.  Three of the RFs withdrawn at R were transferred onto the Reigate to Chiswick staff bus operation, replacing three others that were recertified for use at Kingston.


The BLs lasted until September 1982, when the route was extended to Staines, replacing the 90 and in effect recreating the Sunday version of the 90C, except that it took a more useful route through Ashford town centre.  This much longer route was double-decked with Metrobuses, and the whole route moved to the 90's home garage of Fulwell.


In the all-over red livery received in late 1979, BL20 loads at the same point as RF455 ten years earlier.

Photo © Paul Redmond


The Hammersmith to Richmond section was lost in 1991 (except for Sundays, which were lost in 1995) to new route 190, which is today's successor to the 111.  The 290 still runs to Staines, but lost the Richmond to Twickenham section in 2001.  It is now operated by Abellio using Enviro200s.



RF route in detail, with timing points

RICHMOND Bus Station, Red Lion Street, George Street (return via Eton Street, Paradise Road), The Quadrant, Kew Road, Lower Mortlake Road, Lower Richmond Road, Clifford Avenue, Chiswick Bridge, Great Chertsey Road, Alexandra Avenue, Burlington Lane, Great West Road, Chiswick Lane, Chiswick High Road, Youngs Corner, King Street, Studland Street, Glenthorne Road, Beadon Road (return direct via King Street), HAMMERSMITH Met Station


Map based on 1970 bus map © London Transport



Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1969 16-23 mins 22-23 mins 20-32 mins
1971 18-22 mins 22-23 mins 20-30 mins
1976 18-22 mins 22-23 mins 20-30 mins


The route took 26 minutes from end to end.



For the 1969 faretable, see here.


Vehicle allocation
PVR throughout: Mon-Fri 4, Sat 4, Sun 4