Red RF routes

Route 211 (Hounslow)

Page last updated 8 February 2018
An unusual example of a route divided up in 1969 - possibly due to the use of long Merlins - and since reassembled.  The short-lived Hounslow 211 worked a part of the 111, with OMO RFs Monday to Friday and RTs on Saturday.

RF392 gleams following an Aldenham repaint in August 1969 (pity about the water filler cover).  It has just left Hounslow Bus Station on its way to Hampton.

Photo Ian Armstrong collection

Dates of RF operation

23 Aug 69 to 29 Jan 71

(total 1 years 5 months, all OMO)





RF Garages
AV    Hounslow
Reason for single-deck operation
At the time of conversion, only single-deckers were available for OMO operation (it was another few months before XA22 ushered in double-deck OMO operation in London, on the 233).


MBS555 waits at Hounslow Bus Station for departure on the shortened 111 to Hanworth.

Photo © Paul Redmond


Route history

Up to 1964, longstanding route 111 ran from Hounslow (or Cranford or Heathrow, depending on period) to Hanworth, then onward to Twickenham, Richmond or destinations beyond (see 290).  In mid-1964, it was diverted at Hanworth to run to Hampton (weekdays except evenings) and Kingston (Saturday shopping hours).  After 20 years of RT operation, 23 Aug 69 saw it converted (with sister route 110) to 36-foot long OMO Merlin standee single-deckers and cut short at Hanworth.  These were the first examples of split-entrance buses with afc machines capable of selling coarsened graduated fares (of 6d, 1/- and 1/6).


Perhaps it was because of the special fare collection system (the shortened route had only 9 fare stages; see also foot of page), or because the buses were too long for some of the tight turns, that the 111 was split, with the section beyond Hanworth became new route 211, starting from Hounslow and overlapping the 111 on that section. 


The weekday 211 service was provided by OMO RFs, but Saturdays retained RTs.  The use of RTs on Saturdays on a Monday to Friday RF route at Hounslow was a strange anomaly that also occurred on the 202 in 1971 and was caused by the inability to schedule enough Saturdays into the OMO rotas at Hounslow during that period.


A Saturday RT working through to Kingston - RT3991 at Hounslow Bus Station is followed by MBS557 on the shortened 111.

Photo © Paul Redmond


The faretable for route 211 states “a minimum fare of 1/- Adult (6d. Child) applies from HOUNSLOW Bus Station on Mondays to Fridays between 1600 and 1830 hours. (Normal fares apply from HANWORTH ROAD Earl Russell); the slipboard is just visible on the side of the RF in the photo above.  As with the use of minimum fares elsewhere, the idea was to discourage short riders from filling the bus and leaving passengers for Hampton behind.


However, comparing the farecharts for the 111 (here) and 211, it is apparent that some journeys were cheaper on an RF on the 211 (5d instead of 6d. and 9d. instead of 1/-) than on an MBS on the 111, but these fares were then not available from Hounslow in the afternoon peak because of the minimum fare. Other fares were more expensive on the RF.  Although this section of the route was exactly the same, the fare stages did not correspond, so it is difficult to see some of the discrepancies unless you have local knowledge.


The MBSs on the 111 lasted until 29 Jan 71, when they were replaced by SMSs and the weekday 211 journeys were reabsorbed into the 111, bringing RF operation to an end.  For a further 10 weeks, the Saturday RTs to Kingston continued, then the 211 was withdrawn entirely on 10 Apr 71.


Confusingly for Kingston passengers, the number 211 reappeared within six months as an SMS route to Walton-on-Thames, but that is another story.  Meanwhile, the 111 still runs from Heathrow via Cranford, Hounslow, Hanworth and Hampton to Kingston, a meandering Z-shape of a route. 


RF route in detail, with timing points

HOUNSLOW Bus Station, High Street Hounslow, Hanworth Road, Hounslow Road, Bear Road, Swan Road, Hampton Lane, Hanworth Road, Nightingale Road, Broad Lane, Percy Road, Station Road, HAMPTON STATION


Terminal working at Hampton: from stand on Station Road, Oldfield Road, Percy Road.



Year M-F Sat Sun
1970 35 mins [RT] -


The route took 28 minutes from Hounslow to Hampton.



The faretable for the 211 is here.


RF allocation
PVR 1969-71: Mon-Fri 3, Sat [4RT], Sun -


Thanks to Paul Wheeler for extra detail.


Ian Smith gives the detail of the fare collection arrangement as follows:

Hounslow took some modified MBS buses for the 110 and 111. Instead of twin turnstiles with afc equipment they had only a nearside turnstile with the left-hand queue buying tickets from the driver. The driver could tell the machinery which fare stage it was at, and an illuminated display showed passengers the fare for up to fifteen fare stages ahead! With long routes, and the need to find out the fare, it was inevitable that most users would choose the driver option, but LT had to learn this lesson the hard way.




See details of Hounslow road run, 11 February 2018.