So what have you done with the passengers, then?Red RF routes

Route 151

Page last updated 15 December 2014


One of the shortest-running RF routes on record, introduced to run between the peaks only Monday to Saturday, but lasting only 6 months before withdrawal.


The first 151 service on 10 October 1970, operated by RF525, arrives empty at Belmont.  No doubt the inspectors are wondering whether anyone used the service.

Photo © John Parkin


Dates of RF operation

10 Oct 70 to 16 Apr 71

(total 6 months, all OMO)



BELMONT STATION and SUTTON GARAGE (Mon-Sat between peaks)

RF Garages
A    Sutton


Reason for single-deck operation

The route used a spare OMO RF off the 80 route, the only OMO buses available at Sutton.
Route history
The section of route from Sutton via Carshalton Windsor Castle and Carshalton Beeches Station to Belmont had been an integral part of the 213 since before the war.  In January 1962, this section of the service was replaced on weekdays by an extended 151, whilst the 213 continued to Belmont on Sundays.  The 213 was still RF-operated at the time, converting to RTs a year later.
RF525, empty as usual, pauses at Carshalton Beeches Station on 2 Jan 71.
Photo © JGS Smith, Peter Gomm collection
The 151 had been a post-war addition to the Morden Station feeder routes, RT-operated once RTs replaced Ds at Sutton in 1954, and up to October 1961 had run only from Hackbridge Reynolds Close to Morden and (in peak hours) onwards in a dog-leg to North Cheam.  At that time, it was extended to Sutton on weekdays, in partial replacement of another Morden feeder route, the circular 156.  Two months later, the route was extended again on weekdays to Belmont, picking up the withdrawn section of the 213.
The route was obviously relatively unremunerative even then, as during the overtime ban in January 1966 which caused the suspension of a number of routes, the 151 was one of those suspended.  Operation over the two sections not otherwise served was provided by Carshalton Belle between Hackbridge and St Helier Avenue Middleton Road and by Paynes between Carshalton Windsor Castle and Belmont.
With the replacement of the Hackbridge to Morden section by flat fare route M1 in March 1969, the 151 became a weekday-only Morden to Belmont route, but this lasted only a year and the route was withdrawn in April 1970.
Meanwhile, the Sunday service to Belmont had been variously with the 213, a spell with the 213A and then the 213B in 1963-4, then 213 again until it reverted to the 213A in March 1969, only to be withdrawn in April 1970.
From April 1970, the 213 again ran to Belmont, to cover the withdrawn 151, but only Monday to Friday peak hours, leaving other times without a service.  This led to complaints to the London Transport Passengers' Committee, and it was with the objective of covering this lack that the 'new' 151 as introduced in October - no longer with RTs but with a single-RF OMO route (this was at the time of the decision that no more Swifts would be purchased and future new OMO buses would be double-deck). 
The re-introduced 151 might have been designed to fail - it ran only every hour on weekdays, using a spare bus from the 80, and the afternoon service finished before 4 pm.  Not surprisingly, it was usually empty and was withdrawn the next spring.  It was not replaced.
The route number was reused in the Lewisham area the next year, but in 1984 reappeared in the Sutton area (on a completely different route) which still operates today.
RF route in detail, with timing points
BELMONT STATION, Downs Road, Banstead Road South, Staplehurst Road, Beeches Avenue, Carshalton Beeches Station, Park Hill, Carshalton Windsor Castle, Carshalton Road,Sutton Cock, High Street Sutton, Bushey Road, SUTTON GARAGE
1970 bus map (dated before the previous 151 was withdrawn) © London Transport
Mon-Fri - 6 journeys, every hour with a gap at lunchtime.  Sat - 7 journeys, as Mon-Fri plus one later journey.  The route took about 23 minutes end to end.
RF allocation
PVR 1970 (Oct): Mon-Fri 1 ex-80, Sat 1 ex-80, Sun -
An RF operated the morning timetable of this version of the 151 at our Carshalton Running Day in 2007.