Red RF routes

Route 222

Page last updated 30 July 2016
One of the early Uxbridge RFs, RF536 pauses at Hounslow West Station on its way to Hounslow Central on 5 Mar 61, a few weeks before the route was withdrawn.
Photo © Gerald Mead
Uxbridge's first RF route, one of the 'next wave' of conversions in 1958 that used RFs made available by the double-decking of Sidcup's RF routes; the 222 was itself double-decked two years later.
Dates of RF operation
26 Nov 58 to 14 Mar 61
(total 2 years 4 months, all crew operation).
RF Garages
UX    Uxbridge
Reason for single-deck operation
Low rail bridges at Yiewsley and West Drayton restricted the 222 and 224 to single-deck.  In 1961, the road under the West Drayton bridge was lowered, allowing the double-deck 223 to be extended south in replacement for the 222.
Post-war 14T12 T750 lays over at the Queens Road stand at Hounslow Central.  Thanks to Keith Williams and his researchers (especially Colin Harris of the Southall Message Board "Knowhere Guide") for discovering the location.
Photo © PM Photography
Route history

As the General spread its wings after the First World War, it first reached Uxbridge with the introduction of route 93 from Hounslow Garage in July 1921.  This was one of the development routes which used the 26-seat type-7 Bs that had proved too heavy for the 111, and ran through rural west Middlesex at a frequency of every 65 minutes.


In keeping with the General's policy of using partners to develop services on its periphery, Thames Valley took over the Uxbridge area routes on the opening of Uxbridge garage in June 1922.  The route was renumbered W20 in the western country-area series area, running between Hounslow Bulstrode Hotel and Uxbridge New Inn (the New Inn was by St Margaret's Church, at the centre of town).  As it entered the Metropolitan Police area, the route required to be renumbered (again) on introduction of the Bassom system, and became the 501 in December 1924.  Unlike the National and East Surrey partnerships, the Thames Valley one was not a success, and the General terminated it from January 1929, taking back operation of Uxbridge garage and the 501, on which it placed S-class single-deckers.


The B-type parked in Queens Road, Hounslow, outside the Bulstrode Hotel in 1913 is opposite the location of, and facing in the opposite direction to, the TD.  It is working route 82, in the version that operated only in 1913-14 from here to Staines, a route that emerged from the first world war as the 117 and still runs to Staines.  In 1913, the terminus was known by the then name of the station, Heston-Hounslow.  The station (now Hounslow Central) and the hotel are still there.

Photo thanks to


New 1T1s were allocated temporarily in 1932 and permanently in 1934, at the end of which year the route was renumbered for a final time, to 222.  At that time, the other Uxbridge single-deck routes (220, 223 and 224) were all one-man operated.  On the 222, Uxbridge garage's allocation was augmented on Saturdays (when it was half-hourly rather than hourly) by Hounslow garage up to 1936.  The Uxbridge terminus changed to Market House in 1936 and the Underground Station (the turning circle in the High Street outside the new station) in 1940.


The 222 was upgraded to the post-war 14T12s in 1946 using buses replaced by TDs at Muswell Hill, augmented by prewar 11T11s.  The 14T12s, together with those on the 224 group at Uxbridge and those on the 211 at Southall, were to be the last in service in London.  On conversion of the 222 to RF, the 224 group changed over to TD and the last batch of 14T12s was sold to Ceylon.


Reflecting the development of the area, the Monday to Friday allocation increased from 2 Ts in 1940 to 5 by 1946, to 6 in 1952 on the introduction of additional peak hour shorts between Uxbridge and London Airport (i.e. Heathrow North) and to 9 by 1958.  Larger capacity buses were needed.


Much later, the 222 after privatisation in 1994.  Former Red Arrow National 2 LS484 of Uxbridge Buses is about to depart Uxbridge Bus Station for Hounslow.

Photo © Paul Redmond


Single-deck allocations in the Central Area remained remarkably stable in the mid-50s, with the RFs fully occupied at the garages to which they were allocated in 1952-3.  Finally, the double-decking of the Sidcup routes in 1958 released a batch of RFs which were used to replace Ts on the 222 and 211, as well as TDs on the 236 (the TDs from the 236 in turn replaced Ts on the 224 group).


Between November 1959 and September 1960, the road was lowered under the bridge at West Drayton.  While the road was closed, the 222 operated in two parts, with the northern section providing the whole service through Cowley (where the road was usually shared with the 224); the southern operations terminated at West Drayton Warwick Road.  In March 1961, six months after the bridge opened, the 222 was withdrawn.  In replacement, the 223 was extended from West Drayton to Hounslow, and the buses lost between Uxbridge and West Drayton through Cowley were replaced by new route 224C, extended to Heathrow Airport North at peak hours. 


Usually we cease a route history when the route is withdrawn.  However, ten years later, in January 1971, the 222 was reintroduced (with RTs) along its original route, except for a diversion in Hounslow to the Bus Station, replacing the 223 and the 204 to Heathrow North (which had itself replaced the 224C).  The 222 went OMO with SMSs that December, although double-decked again with OMO DMSs in January 1973 and Ms in 1981.  In 1994 it went single-deck again, and still operates between Hounslow and Uxbridge, but now by Transdev Darts out of Hounslow Garage.


Extract from 1949 bus map (c) LT
RF route in detail, with timing points
UXBRIDGE LT STATION, High Street, Vine Street (return via Windsor Street), Cowley Road, Cowley High Street, Cowley Station Road, Cowley High Road, Yiewsley High Street, West Drayton Station, Station Road, Sipson Road, London Airport North, Sipson Road, Bath Road, Harlington Corner, Bath Road, Hounslow West LT Station, Bath Road, Lampton Road, HOUNSLOW CENTRAL LT STATION
Terminal working at Hounslow: arrive via Balfour Road, Montague Road, to stand in Queens Road, depart direct to Lampton Road.  The terminus was originally known as Hounslow Bulstrode Hotel.
The 1949 bus map (© London Transport) is useful to show the three main Uxbridge single-deck routes, especially the 224 which disappears off the western edge of later maps.
Year Mon-Fri Sat Sun
1936 60 mins 30 mins 30-60 mins
1938 60 mins 30 mins 30-60 mins
1941 60 mins 60 mins 30-60 mins
1946 20 mins 20 mins 20 mins
1951 20 mins 15-20 mins 17 mins
1953 20 mins * 12-20 mins 14-17 mins
1959 20 mins * 12-20 mins 20 mins

* additional journeys Uxbridge-Heathrow (peaks)


The route took 45 minutes from Uxbridge to Hounslow.


RF allocation
PVR 1958: Mon-Fri 9, Sat 8, Sun 6
PVR 1960: Mon-Fri 9, Sat 8, Sun 5

RF486 at Uxbridge Station


RF486 worked over the 222 in 2006.



A recreation of the 222 - RF486 turns at Uxbridge Station.  The modern U5 is a bit like a combination of the 204 and 224B, operated by First Uxbridge's Marshall-bodied Darts.
Photo © Steve Whitelegg