The OMO conversion of the RT-operated 90C,
except for the Sunday Staines extension which returned to the
RF538 appears to have just
set down an elderly gentleman who is going to cross the six lanes
of the Lower Richmond Road, fortunately less busy that it is
now. The date is 24 Feb 73, and the bus was overhauled at
Aldenham four months earlier, presumably gaining the non-underlined
Photo © Paul Redmond
Dates of RF operation
7 Sep 68 - 8 May 76
(total 7 years 8 months, all OMO)
At the time of introduction, only single-deckers were available
for one-man operation.
This rather grainy picture is the only one I
have showing a Twickenham-based RF working the 290. RF455 is
loading at Butterwick for departure to Richmond; the bus was
repainted at Aldenham in December 1969, so the picture dates from
the last few months of operation at Twickenham.
Photo Ian Armstrong collection
Service along the main road between Richmond and Hammersmith was
provided by the 111 until 1951, when the fairly new 71 was extended to take over. In turn, the
roads were covered by the 90C from 1958 (Sundays, when
it continued from Richmond to Staines) and 1967 (daily).
The Sunday Staines workings were transferred to the 90 in
September 1968, the main section being converted to OMO daily using
RFs and renumbered 290. A new RT-operated Sunday
90A between Richmond Dee Road and Yeading was
extended to Hammersmith on Sunday afternoons to help with sports
ground and cemetery traffic, but only lasted until July 1969.
The 90 group had seen Twickenham garage (AV) involvement
since 1928 and virtually exclusive operation since 1939. The
290 therefore also operated from Twickenham, their first and only
(at least since the war) single-deck operation, the garage
having otherwise operated solely RTs since the SRTs were
replaced on the 90 group in 1953/4. However, the garage
closed on 18 Apr 70 and, unlike the 90 group which went to Fulwell,
the 290 became the only single-deck route operated by Hammersmith
RF412 demonstrates the
restricted space at Richmond Bus Station. This RF was also
overhauled in 1972, but has the underlined fleetname; note
also the later 'open roundel' on the RM behind.
Photo © JA Gascoine, Peter
RFs continued in use until 8 May 76, the period when the RF was
being replaced wholesale. It is possible that they lasted
this long because Swifts were too long for the difficult layout at
R; be that as it may, they were replaced by BLs which had the same
dimensions. Three of the RFs withdrawn at R were transferred
onto the Reigate to Chiswick staff
bus operation, replacing three others that were recertified for use at Kingston.
The BLs lasted until September 1982, when the route was extended
to Staines, replacing the 90 and in effect recreating the Sunday
version of the 90C, except that it took a more useful
route through Ashford town centre. This much longer route was
double-decked with Metrobuses, and the whole route moved to the
90's home garage of Fulwell.
In the all-over red livery received in late 1979, BL20 loads at
the same point as RF455 ten years earlier.
Photo © Paul Redmond
The Hammersmith to Richmond section was lost in 1991 (except for
Sundays, which were lost in 1995) to new route 190, which is
today's successor to the 111. The 290 still runs to Staines,
but lost the Richmond to Twickenham section in 2001.
RICHMOND Bus Station, Red Lion Street, George Street
(return via Eton Street, Paradise Road), The Quadrant, Kew Road,
Lower Mortlake Road, Lower Richmond Road, Clifford Avenue, Chiswick
Bridge, Great Chertsey Road, Alexandra Avenue, Burlington Lane,
Great West Road, Chiswick Lane, Chiswick High Road, Youngs Corner,
King Street, Studland Street, Glenthorne Road, Beadon Road (return
direct via King Street), HAMMERSMITH Met Station
For the 1969 farechart, see here.
Map based on 1970 bus
map © London Transport