LT RLHs 50 Years Later - Sunday 18th April 2021

To mark 50 years since the last bus service in London was operated by lowbridge designs (on 16th April 1971 - click here for memories and photos of that day), which happened to be London Transport's RLH class of AEC Regents, we are coordinating a spectator running event in east London. As many RLHs as possible will run over old route 178.

RLHs 48 and 23 beside Clapton Pond

The Bus Stars

This should be the largest number of RLHs working together anywhere in the 50 years. There could potentially be as many as eight appearing.

The RLHs planned to attend, in fleet number order, are:

All of these buses have been confirmed. They are all from the second batch, built in 1952. Half of them (53, 61, 69 and 71) were in service on route 178 back in 1971 and period photos of each can be seen further down this page.

The only other RLH surviving in the UK, RLH 29 (also owned by Timebus), won't be able to attend as it has been stripped down to a skeleton for many years - but it promises to send a postcard!

RLH 53

Format

As covid-19 related social restrictions will still be in place, the event is for spectators and photographers (as was planned from the outset); the buses won't pick up passengers but they will try to keep to the timetable to be seen, heard and remembered.

We ask everyone who visits, or local residents alike, to follow social distancing (in particular, photographers please stand apart) and all other covid laws, regulations and official guidelines in place. The RLHs will spend most of their time spread out driving over the route. Shops, takeaways and pubs with outdoor spaces should be open and (from 12th April) there should no longer be 'stay local' advice which means UK day trips are possible.

If you see an RLH approaching, why not wave from the pavement... if the driver spots you they will try to remain at a gentle pace as they pass. In any case the traffic conditions in this area are usually slow.

If you take some snaps, please post them on the web or social media, we suggest using the tag #rlh50yearsLater

Of course the event may be subject to change depending particularly on covid-19, but we don't expect any changes to be necessary.

RLH 61

Route

The RLHs will run over old route 178 for a few hours.

The majority of the route is still possible today, including the terminal point at Clapton Pond.

However, the original bus stand at the other end of the route in Well Street, near Maryland station, sadly ceased to be possible due to a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) zone implemented in late 2020.

Also, Carpenters Road is closed for several years (for the Stratford Waterfront development), which means a diversion northbound via Stratford International station (on High Speed 1) and Stratford City is omitted in that direction only. The diversion in the other direction will take the RLHs via Straford City and then the Westfield shopping centre. Even if Carpenters Road was open throughout, the RLHs could no longer go under the former low railway bridge, as the height restriction has been lowered.

The hugely changed scenery along Waterden Road gives great views of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Dalston bus garage, home to the LT RLHs on route 178, closed 40 years ago (in 1981) and housing now exists on its site, so there definitely won't be any photo opportunities there!

The Lower Clapton/Hackney/Stratford area is well served by rail stations and the TfL bus network.

Route descriptions (showing the roads used in both directions):

RLH 69

Timetable

RLH buses depart from both ends (Clapton Pond and Maryland) every 10 minutes between 11:55 and 14:30, which matches the daytime frequency that was run by LT. This means if you are located anywhere west of White Post Lane, you can expect to see copious RLHs, one every 5 minutes (counting both directions).

CLAPTON POND 12:00 12:10 12:20 12:30 12:40 12:50 13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20 14:30
Homerton High St stop H 12:05 12:15 12:25 12:35 12:45 12:55 13:05 13:15 13:25 13:35 13:45 13:55 14:05 14:15 14:25 14:35
Hackney Wick White Post Lane stop D 12:17 12:27 12:37 12:47 12:57 13:07 13:17 13:27 13:37 13:47 13:57 14:07 14:17 14:27 14:37 14:47
Stratford International Stn stop E 12:21 12:31 12:41 12:51 13:01 13:11 13:21 13:31 13:41 13:51 14:01 14:11 14:21 14:31 14:41 14:51
MARYLAND Water Lane stop MM 12:25 12:35 12:45 12:55 13:05 13:15 13:25 13:35 13:45 13:55 14:05 14:15 14:25 14:35 14:45 14:55
MARYLAND The Grove stop MH 11:55 12:05 12:15 12:28 12:38 12:48 12:58 13:08 13:18 13:28 13:38 13:48 13:58 14:08 14:18 14:28 14:38
Stratford Broadway stop K 11:59 12:09 12:19 12:32 12:42 12:52 13:02 13:12 13:22 13:32 13:42 13:52 14:02 14:12 14:22 14:32 14:42
Hackney Wick White Post Lane stop F 12:07 12:17 12:27 12:40 12:50 13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20 14:30 14:40 14:50
Homerton High St stop B 12:18 12:28 12:38 12:51 13:01 13:11 13:21 13:31 13:41 13:51 14:01 14:11 14:21 14:31 14:41 14:51 15:01
CLAPTON POND 12:23 12:33 12:43 12:56 13:06 13:16 13:26 13:36 13:46 13:56 14:06 14:16 14:26 14:36 14:46 14:56 15:06
RLH 71

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Date this page last updated: 2021-04-16 (Google Maps eastbound route corrected in Maryland to reflect route change made on 11th April)
Previous updates: 2020-10-14, 2020-11-08, 2020-11-21, 2020-11-23, 2021-02-03 (route changed in Maryland due to Low Traffic Neighbourhood closure to Well Street), 2021-04-05 (everything planned going ahead, shops etc will be open, UK day trips possible.), 2021-04-07 (route and bus stop change in Maryland due to removal of roundabout by station), 2021-04-11 (eastbound route changed in Maryland area again, due to Manbey Grove being closed for roadworks. All 8 RLHs confirmed)