RF314 opposite Leatherhead garage

Red RF routes

Route 71

Page last updated 14 November 2016

 

A Sundays-only OMO conversion of an RT route, the 71 lost its RFs (to BLs) before losing its RTs (to RMs).

 

RF314 displays the wrong blind to Kingston, having terminated at Leatherhead Garage.

Note the second foglight - a legacy of staff bus operation, as for RF486.

Photo © DC Wilkinson, Peter Gomm collection

 

Dates of RF operation

3 Jan 71 to 19 Sep 76

(total 5 years 9 months, all OMO)

 

Destinations

KINGSTON STATION and LEATHERHEAD LT Garage (Sun 3 Jan 71 to 5 Mar 72)

RICHMOND Dee Road and LEATHERHEAD LT Garage (Sun 12 Mar 72 to 19 Sep 76)

Route operated Monday to Saturday by RTs

 
RF Garages
K      Kingston
 
Reason for single-deck operation
Only RFs were available at Kingston for OMO operation.
 
The traditional 71 - RT3232 (later to become famous) in Kingston's one-way system passes Norbiton's BL54 on the 264.  For those who wish an earlier RT shot (during the period when the 71 replaced the Saturday TD shorts to Sunbury on the 216), the famous trolleybus RT1611 appears in Michael Dryhurst's picture here.
Photo © Andrew Colebourne 
 
Route history
Introduced as the first new route in 1950, the 71 was up to 1990 a double-deck route covering the back roads between Kingston and Richmond, with a range of extensions either end at different times.  For most of that period, the 65 covered the main road, extending on southwards to the Country Area garage at Leatherhead.  Both were (in the main) RT routes.
 
On 30 Nov 68, the southern section of the 65 from Kingston to Leatherhead was switched to the 71, which gained a Sunday service (over that section only) for the first time since 1958.  Just over two years later, on 3 Jan 71, one-man operation was introduced on Sundays, using Kingston's RFs.
 
A nostalgic shot of the Leatherhead Garage forecourt in September 1976.  Kingston's RF404 was withdrawn that month.  Behind is a London Country SM and an RT apparently still available for work on the 406.  There is another fine photo by John of RF404, climbing Bridge Street, Leatherhead, here.  Note the blind always showed Richmond Lower Mortlake Road, whereas the timetable refers to Richmond Dee Road.
Photo © John Parkin 
 
The Sunday service was extended on 12 Mar 72 over the full length of the route, providing Sunday buses to the Ham Estate and the Tudor Estate for the first time.  However, the Sunday route through the Ham Estate differed from the weekday route, with two different versions in 1972.  Initially, the northern part of the Ham Estate was unserved, with the Sunday route running via Ham Common North.  This changed on 29 Oct 72, when Riverside Drive to the north of the wekday route received a Sunday-only service. 
 
RFs ran down to the Leatherhead London Country garage until 26 Sep 76, when Kingston's first BLs had arrived to run the 216 and replaced RFs on the 71. It was found that BLs could make the turn into Ham Street, so the Sunday route was changed to follow the weekday routing from May 1977.
 
As a postscript to RF operation, the last appearance of an RF on the 71 was the Sunday before the end of RF operation at Kingston, 24 Mar 79, when driver John Boylett managed to convinced the garage engineers to swap a BL for an RF, which did a round trip Kingston - Leatherhead - Richmond and back to Kingston.  That day was also the last of Sunday operation for a while, when the Sunday service and part of the weekday service was replaced by BL-operated 265.  BLs reappeared on Sunday in 1980 when the 265 was withdrawn.
 
The weekday RTs lasted until March 1978, just over a year before their final run on the 62, with Routemasters operating a truncated route (Leatherhead was no longer served after March 1979) until 1985.  The route still operates with double-deckers, now only from Kingston to Chessington Zoo (sorry, 'World of Adventures'), and via Copt Gilders Estate, with the Leatherhead section (and the Leatherhead to Dorking southern leg of the old 470) now covered by the 465 and most of the Ham section by the 371.
 
RF route in detail, with timing points
KINGSTON STATION, (southbound) Clarence Street, Fairfield West, Fairfield South, (northbound) Hawks Road, Albert Road, London Road, Clarence Street, Wood Street; Villiers Road, Lingfield Avenue, Beaufort Road, Claremont Road, Surbiton Station, Victoria Road, Upper Brighton Road, Hook Road, Hook Ace of Spades, Hook Road Chessington, Leatherhead Road, Chessington Zoo, Leatherhead Road, Malden Rushett, Leatherhead Road, Kingston Road Oxshott Road, Bull Hill, North Street; (southbound only) High Street, The Crescent, Church Street; Bridge Street, Guildford Road, LEATHERHEAD LT Garage (Suns, 3 Jan 71 to 5 Mar 72)
 
RICHMOND Dee Road, Sheendale Road (return via Victoria Villas), Lower Mortlake Road, Kew Road, Richmond Station, The Quadrant; (southbound) Eton Street, Paradise Road, Red Lion Street, (northbound) George Street; Hill Street, Petersham Road,  Petersham Dysart Arms, Ham Common North Side; Ham Estate: Lock Road, Broughton Ave, Dukes Ave; Ham Hawker Siddeley Works, Tudor Estate: Tudor Drive, Park Road, Kings Road Park Road, Kings Road; Richmond Road, Kingston Granada (southbound) Clarence Street, Fairfield West, Fairfield South, Kingston Station (northbound) Hawks Road, Albert Road, London Road, Clarence Street, Wood Street; Villiers Road, Lingfield Avenue, Beaufort Road, Claremont Road, Surbiton Station, Victoria Road, Upper Brighton Road, Hook Road, Hook Ace of Spades, Hook Road Chessington, Leatherhead Road, Chessington Zoo, Leatherhead Road, Malden Rushett, Leatherhead Road, Kingston Road Oxshott Road, Bull Hill, North Street; (southbound only) High Street, The Crescent, Church Street; Bridge Street, Guildford Road, LEATHERHEAD LT Garage (Suns, 12 Mar 72 to 22 Oct 72)
 
RICHMOND Dee Road, Sheendale Road (return via Victoria Villas), Lower Mortlake Road, Kew Road, Richmond Station, The Quadrant; (southbound) Eton Street, Paradise Road, Red Lion Street, (northbound) George St; Hill Street, Petersham Road,  Petersham Dysart Arms, Sandy Lane, Ham Estate: Ham Street, Riverside Drive (N section), Ashburnham Road (W section), Broughton Ave, Dukes Ave; Ham Hawker Siddeley Works, Tudor Estate: Tudor Drive, Park Road, Kings Road Park Road, Kings Road; Richmond Road, Kingston Granada (southbound) Clarence Street, Fairfield West, Fairfield South, Kingston Station (northbound) Hawks Road, Albert Road, London Road, Clarence Street, Wood Street; Villiers Road, Lingfield Avenue, Beaufort Road, Claremont Road, Surbiton Station, Victoria Road, Upper Brighton Road, Hook Road, Hook Ace of Spades, Hook Road Chessington, Leatherhead Road, Chessington Zoo, Leatherhead Road, Malden Rushett, Leatherhead Road, Kingston Road Oxshott Road, Bull Hill, North Street; (southbound only) High Street, The Crescent, Church Street; Bridge Street, Guildford Road, LEATHERHEAD LT Garage (Suns, 29 Oct 72 to 19 Sep 76)
 
1972 bus map © London Transport
 
Frequency
Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1971 [RT] [RT] 60 mins *
1976 [RT] [RT] 60 mins
* Kingston - Chessington, 30 mins (Sunday afternoons)
 
Kingston to Leatherhead took about 40 minutes, Richmond to Leatherhead about 72 minutes.
 
RF allocation
PVR 1971 (Jan): Mon-Fri [15 RT], Sat [10 RT], Sun 4

PVR 1972 (Mar): Mon-Fri [14 RT], Sat [8 RT], Sun 3

 

Memories

Ian Hogben's stories of driving the 71 and other Kingston routes are on the 216 page.

 

 

Re-creation

RF486 operated the 71 between Leatherhead and Kingston at the Leatherhead Running Day in 2010.

 

Chessington Zoo (as was) in 2010.  RF486 and Transdev's Polish Scania SP66 await departure for Kingston.

Photo © Peter Osborn