Route 2 – Baker Street to West Norwood (Rosendale)
This is an occasional new series, featuring scans from the many photobooks I patiently compiled on London’s Routemaster routes in the eighties as they were converted to One Person Operation (OPO.) I start with Route 2, which ended Routemaster operation thirty one years ago (although RML’s returned to it for a few brief months in 1993.) The 2 had been the very first London bus route to use Routemasters back in 1956.
Route 2, and its siblings, 2A and 2B, were substantial bus routes extending from North Finchley/Golders Green to Crystal Palace.
The 2/A/B routes were similar except the section Brixton to Tulse Hill station where the 2 went via Railton Road, the 2A via Dulwich Road and the 2B via Tulse Hill Road.
Rosendale was the only other southern destination besides the nominal destinations of Norwood Garage/Crystal Palace and was used as a terminus by all three number 2 routes at different times. The bus stand was in Myton Road, just south of Rosendale. Some of the RMs carried a destination blind that wrongly said Rosedale.
Astute readers will realise the changes to the routes in June 1986 also saw the introduction of Route 82, which was intended to replace the old routes north of Baker Street. March 2017 saw the ultimate demise of that route when the 13 took over (some will claim the 13 is in fact the 82 with a new number….)
These days the number two runs between West Norwood (aka Norwood bus garage) and Marylebone – which was for many years the terminus for the number 1 bus to Greenwich. The 2’s bus stands are just off Lisson Grove opposite the Sea Shell Fish & Chips restaurant and a Tesco, both handy for the drivers, and a radical departure from the traditional bus stands at Marylebone due to capacity problems. The only bugbear with regards to the stand in Hayes Place is cars are parked where they shouldn’t.
Initially buses were allowed to travel directly down Harewood Row which eased the out of service journeys however residential complaints soon put an end to that and drivers must take a more circuitous route in order to begin their southbound trips from Marylebone.
Apart from RM1, RM942 and RM2165 all the others pictures are dated 20 August 1986, the last day Routemasters worked route 2.
Routemasters had operated on the 2 since 1956, so its sad that somebody had it in mind that the route should end that association on the 30th year of RM operations!
The bus stand is actually in Myton Road, West Norwood. This still exists for short workings on the 332.
Route 2 was converted to one man operation. Route 2A’s Routemasters lasted until October 1993. The northern section was replaced by the now vanished route 82. Interesting how they claim the 2 was cut back to avoid ‘Central London traffic delays.’ Both the former 82 and the present 2 seem to manage Central London delays quite well.