Red RF routes

Route 202 (AV)

Page last updated 2 August 2013

 

Not the well-known Bermondsey route, but a 1970 replacement for part of Hounslow's 203, initially with RTs but converted to OMO RF within a year.

 

5 Feb 77 and only ten weeks left on the 202, tired-looking RF492 was one of those refurbished for the 218/219, so survived a little longer.
Photo © John Parkin
 

Dates of RF operation

18 Sep 71 to 16 Apr 77

(total 5 years 7 months, all OMO)

 

Destinations

HOUNSLOW Bus Station and RICHMOND Dee Road

 
RF Garages
AV    Hounslow

 

Reason for single-deck operation

When introduced, one-man double-deck operation was slowly spreading across London with the introduction of the DMS class, but concentrated at the time on conversion of major routes.  The choice was therefore between SMS and RF, both of which were operated by Hounslow.  The 202 was, with the 212, one of the last two routes on which RFs were introduced.

 
RF356 is unusual in carrying the non-underlined fleet name used on Routemasters and some RTs, suggesting it may have received  a garage repaint.  It is sitting at the entrance to Hounslow Garage and Bus Station.
Photo © Paul Redmond
 
Route history
Long-standing Staines-Hounslow-Twickenham route 203 was shortened on 28 Sep 70, on Mondays to Fridays only, by the transfer of the Hounslow to Twickenham section to new route 202, which was continued to Richmond Dee Road.  At the same time, Saturday operation of the 203 was extended to Richmond Dee Road (the stunted Sunday operation had ceased in 1969).  Richmond has long used locations beyond the town centre as termini, presumably due to limited space in the centre.  The new 202 was RT-operated by Hounslow (AV), just as the 203.
 
Just under a year later, on 17 Sep 71, the inevitable conversion to one-man operation occurred, requiring an extra 5 RFs at Hounslow.  The OMO route was still only Monday to Friday, with the Saturday 203 remaining RT-operated; as with the 211, this was due to an inability to structure sufficient Saturday OMO duties at AV.  But on 11 Mar 72, Saturday operation was added to the 202, replacing the 203 over that section, with the Monday to Saturday 203 (now only Staines to Hounslow) converting to OMO SMSs on the same day.
 
RF operation lasted on the 202, with the 237, until Saturday 16 Apr 77; these were the last two RF routes other than Kingston's 218/219.  The RFs were replaced on both Hounslow routes by BLs, although within 9 months the 237 became Routemaster-operated.  Perhaps for this reason, operation of the 202 moved to Fulwell in October 1978.
 
The period from 1982 to 1990 was a time of much change for the route.  It was double-decked with Metrobuses in March 1982 and then extended to Heathrow Airport that September via the cargo tunnel.  At that time it returned to AV; the Heathrow to Hounslow section operated on Sunday.  Various local changes followed, with the return of single-deck Nationals on weekdays in 1986.  The Twickenham to Richmond section was lost off-peak in 1987, as was Sunday operation (that section, having replaced the 82 was in turn replaced by the 223).
 
September 1989 saw the closure of the Heathrow Cargo Tunnel for security reasons and the route was cut short to Terminal 4; it was also re-introduced on Sundays, again only to Hounslow, replacing the U5, successor to the 223.  April 1990 saw the route renumbered H22 (except between T4 and Hatton Cross, which was covered by the new H23).
 
RF421, now resident in Dorset, loads outside Hounslow Bus Station for another trip to Richmond.
Photo © Paul Redmond
 
RF route in detail, with timing points
HOUNSLOW Bus Station, London Road, Bridge Road, Worton Road, Hall Road, Nelson Road, Percy Road, Hospital Bridge Road, Staines Road, The Green, Heath Road, King Street, York Street, Richmond Road, Richmond Bridge, Hill Street, George Street (return via Eton Street, Paradise Road, Red Lion Street), The Quadrant, Lower Mortlake Road, Victoria Villas (return via Sheendale Road), RICHMOND Dee Road
(Mon-Fri 18 Sep 71 to 10 Mar 72, Mon-Sat from 11 Mar 72 to 16 Apr 77)
 
Extract from 1972 bus map © London Transport
 
RF allocation
PVR 1971 (Sep): Mon-Fri 5, Sat -, Sun -

PVR 1972 (Mar): Mon-Fri 5, Sat 4, Sun -

PVR 1975 (Jul): Mon-Fri 5, Sat 6, Sun -