Harrow Weald (code HD) was a Central area garage which operated RLHs on the following routes:
|Dates of Operation||Peak
Rayners Lane - North Harrow - Kenton - Northwick Park
Summer 1962 Timetable
Headstone Drive (still exists),
Christchurch Ave (demolished)
|Dec 1952 - 14 Jun 1969||14|
Harrow Weald - Belmont - Kenton - Northwick Park
|?? m||High||16 Oct 1962 - 21 Jan 1966||2 x RT buses|
Harrow Weald garage opened in 1930, replacing South Harrow garage, and was extended in 1932. It is still used today, by operator Metroline.
Prior to 1936, the old route 230 was operated by ex-LGOC (London General Omnibus Co.) S type single deckers.
It was worked by new single decker Q types from May/June 1936 until the middle of the war.
To provide more capacity, it was then (January 1943) taken over by double-deck low bridge STLs (with nearly new austerity Chiswick bodies, built on former highbridge roofbox STL chassis which dated from 1937).
In January 1949, four new TD type single deckers went to Harrow Weald for route 221. These sometimes appeared on route 230 however, when a suitable double decker was not available.
Fourteen new second batch central area RLHs were delivered to Harrow Weald garage in November and December 1952 (RLH 53 to RLH 67 except for RLH 59). The RLHs took over route 230 from the STLs and a couple of STs. However, the allocation of RLHs to the garage was gradually reduced over the years to only eight vehicles by 1967 (see graph of the allocation).
There was a low bridge crossing the route on Christchurch Avenue (just west of its junction with Christchurch Gardens) which carried a British Railways branch from Harrow and Wealdstone north to Belmont then Stanmore. This branch closed to passengers in 1952, and completely in July 1964. The bridge was believed to be rebuilt in early 1959. The road may also have been lowered under the bridge (exact date unknown), but only a couple of years later the bridge removed. If any readers have photographs of this bridge, please post to the RLH Forum (see home page link).
The other low railway bridge crossing the route still exists, carrying the mainline from London Euston over Headstone Drive just north of Harrow and Wealdstone station.
The road under both bridges was prone to flooding when there was heavy rain.
Colin Rutter reminiscences: "I worked at HD garage in the late 1960s first as a conductor and then a driver. The 230 was known as the wall of death because of the tight timings. Things I learnt about bus work....when to run early...when to run late are still with me today. The 230 served 5 stations and Kodak works and was prone to delays. By 1968 seven buses were used in peak hours and on a good day one could get a batch of 4 buses going one way and a batch of 3 going the other. Crews tempers flared at times... would accuse each other of swinging or scratching then buses would disappear into Byron Road for an unofficial turn. Word would get back to the inspector on the gate at HD GAR and he would travel down by bus to try and sort us out. In my day RLH 63 was the worst to drive never pulled well. RLHs, 57, 59 and 74 were good runners."
From June 1969, route 230 was renumbered H1 and converted to one person operated single decker MBS type buses. The final RLH operated journey was in the hands of RLH 27, the sole green RLH at Harrow Weald at the time, which had been on loan since July the previous year and was known as the staff favourite.
Route 230A did not require low bridge vehicles, and was officially allocated to two RT buses (although often one RLH was used). The Monday-Friday off-peak and Saturday service lasted only until August 1963. This route was withdrawn in January 1966, replaced by a peak hour extension on route 209 from Harrow Weald to Northwick Park.
David Pring writes "I have distinct memories of ... an RLH deputising for an RT in Wealdstone with a handwritten paper blind, bound for Heathrow (London Airport then?) in thick snow, due to frozen RTs, must have been the famous 1963 winter."
Colin Rutter adds "Before the RFs arrived for the 136 RLHs were used for early and late staff buses and I had a few white knuckle rides around the harrow area at 1am in the morning."
RLHs ran commemorative trips over the old route 230 in October 2002 as part of the RLH 50 Event.
RLH 23 ran over the old routes on 7th October 2007 as part of the Timebus 20 event.
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