Rail tickets on buses

Page last updated 11 February 2024

Our page on route 240A, which as the 240 effectively replaced the rail link from Mill Hill East to Edgware that never reopened, mentioned the use of Underground tickets on the route.  This has led to other examples coming to light, so the details that we have are set out here.


As always, further contributions are welcome - please e-mail us.


In the spring of 1949, ex-Tilling 3T3 T314 was one of the buses based at Edgware for routes 240 and 240A, seen here in Bunns Lane, terminus of the 240A before it was extended to Mill Hill East Station replacing the single-deck service to Edgware on the 240.

Photo Peter Osborn collection


Routes 240 and 240A, Mill Hill East to Edgware

Being effectively a rail replacement service, Underground tickets were available for travel on this service. At the time, most Underground tickets were of the "station of origin" type, which showed only the issuing station and the fare paid (for example "Edgware to any LT station at a single fare of 6d").  Underground tickets that could be used on the 240/240A bus had the name of the issuing station underlined, to identify them to the conductors as tickets valid for travel on the bus (whilst remaining obscure to passengers!).  Tickets were available to and from all Northern Line stations on the Barnet branch north of Highgate.   So for example an Underground ticket could be purchased at East Finchley, for a journey to Edgware which would be valid by Northern Line to Mill Hill East and then by bus.


This arrangement continued long after the proposed extension from Mill Hill East to Edgware had been abandoned, and tickets could also be bought at Mill Hill Broadway Station (as The Hale had closed) for use on the buses.  Acceptance of Underground tickets was not withdrawn until the late 1960s; a ticket was displayed at an Exhibition 'The First Railway to Edgware' in Hendon in 1967, and they were still available then - Rev Andrew Kleissner recalls buying one as a souvenir at the new Mill Hill Broadway ticket office under the M1.  After acceptance of single rail tickets ceased, the facility remained for existing season ticket holders and died out a few years later when the last regular season ticket holder ceased travelling.  [Thanks to David Carpenter, Keith Williams and Rev Andrew Kleissner for these details]. 


81B Hounslow West to London Airport

Keith Williams has provided the following:

‘I clearly remember that you could go to some underground stations around 1960 and get a return ticket to "London Airport".   As kids, we regularly bought them at Northfields (I think other school chums had a similar facility at Boston Manor) and you purchased a rail ticket that was dark green with a wide central vertical white stripe, just like the old paper high value bus tickets.  Full instructions were printed on the tickets, in very small print as it was a standard size ticket.   The tickets were stated only to be valid "to Hounslow West and thence by bus route 81B to London Airport Central" (so you couldn't use them on route 81 just to get to LAP North), and you saved 1d over buying separate rail and bus tickets.


‘Like many tickets then, there were no separate tickets for outward and inward, you tore the ticket in two pieces, with the smaller part at the foot of the ticket to be handed to the conductor on the 81B.  At the Hounslow West barrier, the green and white ticket stood out, and you were waved through.   The conductors on the 81B were shown them and were meant to collect part of the ticket on the outward journeys to the airport, but they very rarely did.  Coming back, you showed the return part to the conductor on the 81B, got off at Hounslow West, went through the barrier and on to the Piccadilly or District Line, then you gave up the return half at Northfields which was always collected at the barrier.  We would have last used this facility in around 1962/3 and l don't know for how long it continued after that.’ [perhaps even until the Piccadilly Line was extended to Heathrow in 1977?? - Ed]


Thanks to a local Facebook group, Keith has found the uncredited photo below, showing an advertisement at Latimer Road Station (on the Metropolitan Line) for a through ticket to Heathrow Airport.  The picture dates to well before the Piccadilly Line reached Heathrow, so expands our knowledge of the availability of transfers via the 81B.


Christmas Day 1959West London Line

After the wartime closure of the West London Line, rail tickets were accepted on trolleybus routes 626/628/630 between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction.  Again, the facility was reduced to season-ticket holders and later died out. 


 Only tangentially relevant, but worth another look - Alan Cross's Christmas Day picture from 1959 of Carshalton Depot and RT543 about to set out as an 'Extra' on route 630.  The late decision to delete the route number from the blinds can be seen;  Carshalton only worked the 630 on Christmas Day shorts between Mitcham and West Croydon; for this year only, these had to be covered by RTs.



Country Area route 457/A

In the context of falling receipts on Sundays, in the mid-1950s, one of several initiatives from 26 June 1955 was the issue of road/rail return tickets on summer Sundays from certain stations on the Underground to Windsor via Uxbridge and buses 457/A.  The tickets were issued at all stations between Willesden Green and Hillingdon on the Metropolitan and Bakerloo lines and also between North Ealing and South Harrow on the Piccadilly Line.  The following year, tickets were accepted on the new 457 Express and they continued after the introduction of Green Rovers that summer. [Reference: Laurie Akehurst’s Country Buses vol.2]