Opposite Worcester Park Station in 1949Worcester Park 2008

Route 213

Route 213 between Kingston and Sutton originates from General route 113 introduced in 1921.  Well known for the operation of a wide range of single-deck buses after the war, the route was double-decked in 1963 when the roadway was lowered beneath the Worcester Park railway bridge.
1929 ex-General T31 was one of the 1T1s that continued in use at Kingston due to the weak bridge at Walton-on-Thames, but also ventured onto other routes.  Now preserved by Cobham Bus Museum, T31 will again run in service on the 213 on 10 August 2008.
Photo © Alan Cross
KINGSTON, Norbiton, Malden, Worcester Park, North Cheam, Cheam, Sutton, SUTTON GARAGE


The 213 (in conjunction with the 725) will operate every 10-20 minutes between Sutton Garage and Malden, with about two journeys per hour extended to Norbiton and Kingston, plus additional short workings.  Timetable attached.
Main boarding points
Norbiton ChurchMalden Fountain stops J and K, Worcester Park stops B and C, North Cheam stops B and G, Sutton Library stop V, Police Station stop K and Post Office stop S, Sutton Garage.
Detailed route history

... is available here.


Another very early shotRFs with Semaphore Trafficators

Jim Andress


RF395, one of the original Sutton batch fitted with semaphores, the slot for which can be seen behind the doorway (no door of course).  This is a very early photo, as the RF does not have the extra rail fitted across the passenger windscreen. The body of RF395 (but not the chassis, this is one of the minority where the bodies were swapped on overhaul) ended on RF627, rather confusingly a green RF that was repainted red (but is now green again).  Got that?

Photo © Geoff Rixon, Jim Andress collection


In late 1952 and early 1953, 24 new RFs were delivered experimentally fitted with semaphore trafficators. All were delivered to Sutton (A) and Norbiton (NB) garages for route 213.


Having identified those RFs that were allocated when new to A & NB for the 213 route, they totalled 29, so presumably 5 of them did not have semaphores. I studied all the photos I could find of these RFs on the 213, and managed to identify some that had semaphores and some that did not. I then checked the Vehicle History book by Alan Bond et al, and realised that some of the RFs which were initially allocated to the 213 at A only stayed for a short period, some only three weeks. Since it is understood that only RFs on the 213 used semaphores it seems rational to assume that those that moved on were not so fitted.


As a result of following that assumption I was delighted to find that I was left with 24 RFs that I either had seen photos of with semaphores or that could be assumed to have had them. I them checked the body numbers carried by the RFs allocated to the 213 when new and identified the final RF numbers they carried. I was surprised to discover that of the 29 delivered, 7 still exist, including some well known ones.


Those which remain are 351, 355, 366, 504, 512, 518 and 627. Of these 504 and 518, which were originally 415 and 399, did not have semaphores. The others, which were originally 372, 386, 390, 403 and 395 respectively, did have semaphores.


The full list of RFs initially delivered to A and NB is as follows:-


A: 372, 374, 381, 386, 388, 393 to 407, 415, and 499, of which 374, 399, 415 and 499 did not have semaphores and were all transferred out in a short time.


NB: 375, 379, 383, 389 to 392, of which only 375 did not have semaphores, but remained until first overhaul.


The experiment with the semaphore trafficators was clearly not considered satisfactory [see here, Ed], and they were removed from the RFs.  I have however not been able to find any reference to when they were removed. It may have been at first overhaul in 1957, and I would be interested to know if anyone can confirm this.


This article is based on a piece by Jim Andress in the RT/RF Register Newsletter in 2002. We are grateful to Jim and to the Register for permission to publish it here.  Jim's closing question still stands - can anyone help?


Until now, we had not been able to track down a photo of an RF with the semaphore in use.  However, thanks to Alan Cross, we can now illustrate both the semaphore and the unusual 'left-arrow' display adopted by LT but soon changed.  The whole photo can be seen here.
 Cyclists beware