A well travelled RF

Red RF routes

Route 291

Page last updated 27 December 2014
 
The early OMO conversion of a section of RT route 129.

 

RF506, later one of the group re-certified for Kingston, in Ilford turning right from High Road into Green Lane, heading for Barking Oban Road.
Photo Ian Armstrong collection
 
Dates of RF operation
4 Oct 65 to 9 Mar 73
(total 7 years 5 months, all OMO)
 
Destinations
ILFORD STATION and BARKING Blakes Corner (4 Oct 65 to 18 Jul 69)
ILFORD STATION and BARKING Oban Rd  (19 Jul 69 to 9 Mar 73)
 

RF Garages

BK    Barking
 
1960s contrast
RF495 is seen on the stand outside the Brewery Tap PH in Linton Road, Barking, the massive 1960s block of flats known as The Lintons contrasting with the terraced houses. Both of the horror movies on show at the East Ham Granada date from 1958 - was east London a bit behind, or just partial to horror? Yes, both, says David Armstrong, who remembers the 291 from the 60s, adding that the Linton Road stand was shared with shorts on the 23C and 87. Thanks also to him for details of the terminal workings.
Photo © Alan Cross, Peter Gomm collection
                 
35 years later ...
We occasionally indulge in a 'Then and Now'.  RF486 took the opportunity of the 2007 Loughton Running Day to revisit the former terminus in Linton Road, Barking.  The terraced houses have gone but the hall and the flats are still there, somewhat spruced up, and the roadway is now a bus lane.
Photo © Steve Whitelegg

 

Reason for single-deck operation

At the time of conversion, only RFs were available for OMO operation.
RF441 looking smart

Fresh from overhaul in 1972, RF441 on the stand in Thorold Road, Ilford (which David Armstrong advises was shared with shorts on the 25 and in earlier years the old trolleybus routes).

Photo Ian Armstrong collection

 
Route history
Nearly a year after the introduction of the first four big-bus OMO routes in London in 1964, sections of two routes were split off to become new RF routes on 3 Oct 65 (although the 291 didn't run on Sundays, so was introduced a day later), the other being the 20B
 
The 129 was a long-standing Seven Kings-operated RT (and earlier RTL and RTW) route from Claybury Broadway to Ilford.  It was extended Monday to Saturday over new roads to Barking in January 1965 (when the Sunday workings became 129A), only to have the new section split off 9 months later as the 291.  The Ilford to Barking section used newly available OMO RFs, bringing single-deckers to Barking for the first time.  The buses were collected from a variety of locations around the fleet. 

 

The route initially ran Monday to Saturday except evenings, requiring three buses.  Saturday services were withdrawn after Christmas Eve 1966, but reinstated during shopping hours three months later, on 11 Mar 67.  On 16 Aug 69, the route was extended Monday to Friday in a loop south of Barking to terminate in Oban Road; Saturdays followed on 6 Sep 69.
 

After a further 3½ years, the route was cut back to Barking London Road and converted to double-deck OMO with DMSs.  The route lasted another 5 years before being absorbed into Barking's 199, which in turn lasted 4 years before being withdrawn in 1982.

 

1968 bus map © London Transport

 

RF route in detail, with timing points

ILFORD STATION Thorold Road, Myrtle Road (return via Balfour Approach to Thorold Road), Ley Street, Cranbrook Road, High Road Ilford (return via Cleveland Road, Scrafton Road, Ilford Lane), Ilford High Road Green Lane, Green Lane, South Park Drive, Barking Garage, Longbridge Road, East Street, North Street, George Street, Linton Road (return direct to East Street), BARKING Blakes Corner. (Mon-Fri except evenings 4 Oct 65 to 15 Aug 69, Sat except evenings 9 Oct 65 to 24 Dec 66, Sat shopping hours 11 Mar 67 to 30 Aug 69)

 

ILFORD STATION Thorold Road, Myrtle Road (return via Balfour Approach to Thorold Road), Ley Street, Cranbrook Road, High Road Ilford (return via Cleveland Road, Scrafton Road, Ilford Lane), Ilford High Road Green Lane, Green Lane, South Park Drive, Barking Garage, Longbridge Road, East Street, Barking Blakes Corner, Broadway, Gascoigne Road, BARKING Oban Road (return via Newham Way, King Edwards Road, Ripple Road, East Street, North Street, London Road to East Street) (Mon-Fri except evenings 18 Aug 69 to 9 Mar 73, Sat shopping hours 6 Sep 69 to 3 Mar 73)  

 

Barking

 

Frequency

Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1965 17-18 mins 16-18 mins -
1969 16-19 mins 20-30 mins -
1971 15-16 mins 32 mins -

 

From Ilford, the route took 16-20 minutes to Barking Blakes Corner and a further 4 minutes to Barking  Oban Road. The July 1967 timetable (before the extension to Oban Road) is here.
 
Faretable
The 1968 faretable is here.
 
RF allocation
PVR 1965 (Oct): Mon-Fri 3, Sat 3, Sun -
PVR 1966 (Dec): Mon-Fri 3, Sat -, Sun -
PVR 1967 (Mar): Mon-Fri 3, Sat 3, Sun -
PVR 1969 (Aug): Mon-Fri 4, Sat 3, Sun -

 

John Parkin's shot of RF530 was taken on 3 Mar 73 in King Edwards Road, Barking, where it has just departed the Oban Road stand to return to Barking Town Centre and Ilford.

Photo © John Parkin

Re-creation

As noted above, RF486 worked over the 291 in 2007.