LT RLHs 50 Years Later - Sunday 18th April 2021

To mark the golden anniversary 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, Timebus coordinated a spectator running event in east London. As many RLHs as possible (8) ran over old route 178.

RLHs 48 and 23 beside Clapton Pond

The Bus Stars

The eight RLHs was the largest number that have worked together anywhere in those 50 years.

The RLHs which attended, in fleet number order, were:

All of these buses are 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. RLH 23 (in red) and RLH 48 (in green) were both used on route 178 in earlier times too. RLH 32 never worked on route 178 but was no stranger to the area, having run staff buses for Lesney, Hackney Wick for several years in the early seventies. RLH 44 was the only one without a direct historical association.

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

RLH 53


As covid-19 related social restrictions were in place, the event was for spectators and photographers (as was planned from the outset); the buses didn't pick up passengers but they tried to keep to the timetable to be seen, heard and remembered. There were delays due to the volume of traffic and roadworks.

We asked everyone who visited, and local residents alike, to follow social distancing (in particular, photographers were asked to stand apart) and all other covid laws, regulations and official guidelines in place. The RLHs spent most of their time spread out driving over the route. Shops, takeaways and pubs with outdoor spaces were allowed to open and (from 12th April) 'stay local' covid related advice had been rescinded, which meant UK day trips were OK.

We suggested to spectators that if they saw 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 took some snaps, please post them on the web or social media, we suggest using the tag #rlh50yearsLater

RLH 61


The RLHs ran over old route 178 for a few hours.

Before commencing the advertised timetable, all eight RLHs gathered for a quick photograph against the backdrop of the Orbit and Aquatics Centre.

The majority of the route was still possible, luckily 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. There were a few changes made to the planned route in the run up to the day, details of which can be found in the revision notes at the bottom of this page.

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

The hugely changed scenery along Waterden Road gave 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 were't 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


RLH buses departed from both ends (Clapton Pond and Maryland) every 10 minutes between 11:55 and 14:30, which matched the daytime frequency that was run by LT. This meant if a spectator were located anywhere west of White Post Lane, they could 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: 2021-04-27 (Updated to historical record in past tense, mentioned photoshoot before starting the advertised timetable)
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), 2021-04-16 (Google Maps eastbound route corrected in Maryland to reflect route change made on 11th April)