RFs at Clapton PondRed RF routes

Route 208A

Page last updated 27 July 2019
A new route introduced in 1941, serving Carpenters Road, Stratford, for the first time.  The route was replaced by the RLH-operated 178 in 1959.  Carpenters Road has now disappeared under the preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games.
A fine early 1950s scene at Clapton Pond (compare with the Hackney gallery photos 50 years later), with RF315 on the 208A leading RF359 and another on the 208.
Photo © Fred Ivey, Peter Gomm collection

Dates of RF operation

9 Oct 52 to 12 May 59
(total 6 years 7 months, all crew operation)
CLAPTON POND and STRATFORD Maryland Station (Mon-Sat except evenings)

RF Garages

D     Dalston

Reasons for single-deck operation

Low bridges in Kenworthy Road and Carpenters Road.  The latter was navigable by low-bridge double-deckers, but on conversion to double-deck RLH, the route had to be revised between Hackney Wick and Homerton.


Two years after the route was introduced, it is 11 Jun 43 and Q119 in wartime garb sits on the stand in Wells Road, Maryland.

Photo © Alan Cross


Route history

Introduced on 30 Apr 41 as the first route serving the factories along Carpenters Road, the 208A was operated from Dalston Garage by LT 'Scooters' for the first year and again from October 1946 to October 1952, with 5Q5s between 1942 and 1946 (and a couple helping out in the winter of 1948).  A busy route, in 1957 there were up to 22 buses per hour between Hackney Wick (where about half of them turned in the peaks) and Stratford.


RF303 passes LT1093

The proud crew of RF448, the conductor complete with Bell Punch, stand at the Maryland terminus.  RF448 was delivered in early 1953 as part of Dalston's second batch for the conversion of the 208.

Photo © Geoff Rixon, Peter Gomm collection
The heavy loadings and the worn-out LTs meant this was the second route (after the 210) to become RF operated, converting from 9 October 1952.  This was some months earlier than its compatriot, the 208, on which the last Scooters were to run three months later, although spare RFs from the 208A helped on the 208 at weekends.  The first 13 RFs were in service by 17 October, spare bus RF324 not being licensed until 1 November.
The route required single-deckers due to low bridges in Kenworthy Road and Carpenters Road.  The latter was navigable by RLHs (although subject to a speed limit of 5 mph), but on conversion to double-deck on 13 May 59, the route had to be revised between Hackney Wick and Homerton, first running via Ponsford Street and Morning Lane, then after six months via Marsh Hill and Lee Conservancy Road, the present route of the 276.  In consequence, the double-deck route took a new number, 178.
RF route in detail, with timing points
CLAPTON POND,  Lower Clapton Road,  Urswick Road,  Homerton High Street,  Kenworthy Road,  Cassland Road/Kenworthy Road, Wick Road, Eastway, Berkshire Road, Wallis Road,  Hepscott Road, Rothbury Road, White Post Lane, Carpenters Road, Lett Road (towards Stratford), High Street Stratford, Stratford Broadway, The Grove, MARYLAND STATION
Terminal workings:
Clapton Pond, anti-clockwise round the pond.
Maryland Station: from The Grove, Windmill Lane, Waddington Road, Waddington Street, Well Street (stand), direct to The Grove.
Garage journeys from D: to/from Lower Clapton Rd Urswick Rd via Hackney Central Station, Mare Street, Westgate Street
Note to route details: the Red Books never mentioned Eastway, and some of the bus maps (inconsistently) show the route avoiding Eastway, but other evidence suggests that the Eastway and Berkshire Road route was that actually followed.  There is no record in Traffic Circulars of any route change. We have therefore concluded that the Eastway routing is correct.
208 and 208A on the 1955 bus map © London Transport
Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1941 8-15 mins 10-15 mins -
1946 8½ mins * 15 mins * -
1951 8 mins * 15 mins * -
1953 8 mins * 15 mins * -
* frequency halved between Hackney Wick and Maryland Station (peaks)
The route took about 22 minutes between Clapton Pond and Maryland Station.
RF allocation
New RFs delivered Oct-Nov 52: 303-314, 324, 330 (13 + 1 spare)
PVR 1952 (Oct): Mon-Fri 13, Sat 6
PVR 1957 (May): Mon-Fri 14, Sat 6




Route 208A was recreated at our Hackney Marshes running day in 2006.  RF486 ran over the route during the planning of the event, seen here.