School & Mobility Routes Spectacular!

School Routes, numbered 601-699 (bar the express route 607) and Mobility Routes (901-999) are generally notoriously hard to capture as they run at difficult times, and not on every day of the week (mobility routes only run once or twice a week).

Anyways, Jacob, LondonBusBreh and myself have managed to gather a few pictures of both School Routes and Mobility Routes, which follow:

Metroline TP403 / LK03 CEJ on route 603 at Swiss Cottage.
©London Bus Breh.

Route 603: This route runs between Swiss Cottage and Muswell Hill Broadway, and was successfully recently retained by Metroline Travel from Holloway (HT). Before 2012, route 603 was run with the first ever low floor buses in the Metroline fleet, the elderly T-reg Plaxton Presidents that were on a Euro 2 Trident Chassis with a Voith Gearbox. After Metroline lost route C2 last year, these elderly buses were deemed no longer fit for passenger service in London, and now still remain at Ensignbus, in Purfleet, Essex. These are currently been sold although some buses have found a new home.

So what does the 603 run with now? Spare TP's, which are slightly younger, are often used and the occasional TE is seen. For a short amount of time, VWs could be sighted serving the route. Both observations here are provided by LondonBusBreh.

Metroline TE928 / LK58 KGJ on route 603 at Swiss Cottage.
©London Bus Breh.

Route 609: One of the shorter school routes and is rather unique in the TfL network which runs between Hammersmith and Mortlake/ Harrodian School, located in Barnes. The route crosses Barnes Bridge, just south of Hammersmith to get to the other side of River Thames where the route goes onto a "Hail & Ride" section located on Kilmington Road, Verdun Road and Lonsdale Road where it ends at the school. These journeys to Harrodian School only happen in the afternoons whereas in the mornings, buses continue from Harrodian school to Mortlake, Bus Station.

Metroline DE1002 / LK09EOD on route 609 at Hammersmith
(C) LondonBuses72
It is operated by Metroline from Brentford (AH) using 4 Enviro 200's in the morning and 2 Enviro 200's (?) in the afternoon.

Route 631:
YJ06 YRP/ 2468 at Golders Green Station whilst serving route 631.
(C) LondonBuses72
The newest school route in London, having started Mid-May this year, replaced school route H1. 631 runs between Golders Green Station and Henrietta Barnett School (Note the incorrect spelling on the blinds) using one Optare Solo that makes 8 journeys in the morning and 8 journeys in the afternoon. A total of 16 journeys! There is a bus every 15 minutes using the sole Solo as one journey only takes 5 minutes to complete, the bus goes around Hoop Lane and Bigwood Road via Finchley Road.

The route is operated by Arriva Shires & Essex from Garston (GR) using one 7.8m Optare Solo. The last H3 bus service turns into a 631 when it arrives at Golders Green at 14:45 each day. 

Route 632: Another school route, that supports a regular day service, route 32, that runs between Edgware & Kilburn Park. Route 632 has a PVR of 3 and runs between Kilburn Park to Colindale, Grahame Park. In the afternoons, the first journey runs to Kilburn Park whilst the 2nd and 3rd journey run as far as Cricklewood Broadway, The Crown only. The route is actually allocated ex-266 TA's, but with a couple of spare hybrids in fleet, TEH's are used instead. The route is run from Cricklewood (W) and is operated by Metroline Travel Limited.

Metroline TEH1238 / LK61 BLN in Kilburn serving route 632.
©London Bus Breh.

Route 635: Slightly longer than 609, the 635 runs between Brentford, County Court and St Paul's School. The route was designated to help out the St Paul's School loadings off 235, which is a single decker route whereas 635 is double deck. The route passed on to London United which Metroline had respectively lost. 

The route is operated by 3 buses, which are 3 TA's (9.9m Trident ALX400) although TLA's/ SP's based at Hounslow Heath (HH) where 635 is run from may also appear on the route. One 635 working is also interlinked with route H91 (Hammersmith - Hounslow West) so after the bus on HH #492 is finished on 635 in the afternoon, immediately it runs light to Hammersmith to start it's duties on H91. 

2 photos are provided below of route 635, both owned by LondonBuses72. 
London United TA217 / SN51SYW on route 635 at Brentford, County Court
(C) LondonBuses72

Our next route school route is route 698, which is operated by London United RATP Group, and runs between West Drayton station and Ickenham. The route uses spare TA's/ TLA's and SP's and is run from Hounslow Heath (HH) garage.
London United SP191 / YR10FFW on route 698 at Hillingdon Hill 
(C) LondonBuses72

Route 640: Like 635 and 609, the bus route 640 supports a regular day route, well in LondonBuses72's opinion, it supports the best route ever, the 140. 640 only supports 140 on the Harrow section where it starts at South Harrow station and follows day route 140 all the way to Harrow Weald, Bus Garage where the 140 terminates leaving the 640 to make the short climb up to Bentleywood High School, situated on Clamp Hill, in Harrow Weald (technically Stanmore, for some reason).

The route was lost from the hands of Metroline from the Harrow Weald (HD) garage, in 2009 when Arriva Shires & Essex took the contract from the Garston (GR) base which to a number of people thought was a stupid idea for TfL to allow a bid that far, the buses have to drive (In the mornings) about 9-10 miles to get to South Harrow station from their base OUTSIDE of London. Arriva won the contract with 2 new buses in the form of 6100 and 6101, which are the integral Wright Gemini 2's. These buses mostly appear on route 258, but do make appearances on the 640 fairly often.

Here are a selection of photos of 6101, one of the two buses for 640, all by myself:
Arriva Shires 6101 / KX59AEF on route 640 at Whitmore Road (LJN)
Arriva Shires 6101 / KX59AEF on route 640 at Shaftesbury Circle (LJN)
With the different vehicle types up at GR, other double decker buses always make appearances:
Arriva Shires 6041 / LJ05GLY on route 640 at Clamp Hill (LJN)
Arriva Shires 6036 / YJ55WOU on route 640 at Whitmore Road (LJN)

Arriva Shires 6016 / KL52CXH on route 640 at Whitmore Road (LJN)
And for those who are wondering, I know that Arriva Shires like putting single decker buses on the double decker routes when they have run out of buses, but this will never happen on the 640 as it is actually the biggest priority when the buses are allocated. The single deckers aren't even blinded correctly, anyway.

Route 183: Yes, most of us are aware 183 ISN'T a school route, however it does have a special school journey in the afternoon from Jewish Free School to Golders Green Station. The bus leaves JFS at around 15:55 and runs non-stop to Kingsbury Station where it then follows line of route to Golders Green. 

The bus can be any double-decker at Edgware (BT), a VLE to a VLP. Usually though, it isn't an SP that 183 is allocated.

LondonBuses72 catches up with the school working on 183:

YN55 NKJ/ SLE40 at JFS on 183 (LB72)

Route 628, 653, 683 and 688: We now move onto the next school routes of the segment, routes 628, 653, 683 and 688. It is 4 of the 7 TfL school routes that serve Jewish Free School (JFS) on The Mall, located in Kingsbury. 628 only operates in the afternoons and runs between Kingsbury, JFS and Southgate underground station and uses 3 buses. 

You're probably thinking why does 628 only operate in the afternoons? How do the school children get to school in the mornings?

The answer is the students use bus route 688, as the 628 follows route 688 for most of the journey, just that 628 doesn't serve Queensbury Station like 688 does and 628 doesn't serve Edgware, and instead serves Mill Hill Broadway.

Arriva lost the 628, 653, 683 and 688 last September to Sullivan Buses from their South Mimms (SM) depot where Sullivan used slightly newer buses. They had bought existing buses from a a variety of companies which were refurbished and reblinded for the new contract. Also note that "new" ELV's for route 626 are now in service - And can be seen on these routes.

The fleetlist for these routes are shown here:

PJ02 PZZ - PDL26 - Usually seen 688 mornings, 628 afternoons - Former GAL PDL26
EY03 FNK - TPL926 - Usually seen on route 688 - Former GAL vehicle
EY03 FNL - TPL927 - Usually seen on route 653 - Former GAL vehicle
LY02 OAX - ALX6 - Usually seen 688 mornings, 628 afternoons - Former Stagecoach 17548
FJ57 CYZ - WVL2 - Usually seen on route 683 - Former Commercial Services vehicle
FJ57 CZD - WVL3 - Usually seen on route 653 - Former Commerical Services vehicle
FJ57 CZE - WVL4 - Usually seen on route 688  - Former Commercial Services vehicle
PN02 XBR - Former GAL Vehicle - Usually seen on route 628/ 688
PL51 LGG - ELV3 - Former GAL vehicle - Spare
PN02 XBY - ELV4 - Former GAL vehicle - Usually seen on route 683
PL51 LGD - ELV6 - Former GAL vehicle - Spare

LondonBuses72 managed to catch up with most of the buses in service one day on the 628, 653, 683 and 688:
Sullivan Buses PDL26 / PJ02PZZ on route 628 at JFS (LB72)
Sullivan Buses ALX6 / LY02OAX on route 628 at JFS (LB72)

Sullivan Buses WVL3 / FJ57CZD on route 653 at JFS (LB72)

Sullivan Buses WVL2 / FJ57CYZ on route 683 at JFS (LB72)
Sullivan Buses ELV4 / PN02XBY on route 683 at JFS (LB72)
Sullivan Buses TPL927 / EY03FNL on route 683 at JFS (LB72)

Sullivan Buses TPL926 / EY03FNK on route 688 at JFS (LB72)
Sullivan Buses WVL4 / FJ57CZE on route 688 at JFS (LB72)

Routes B76 and B77 (Commercial, non TfL)

The existing TfL routes that serve Jewish Free School can't get all the students home conveniently, so Sullivan Buses provides 2 services, B76 and B77. The route B76 takes you to Carpenders Park and South Oxhey, whilst B77 takes you to Borehamwood and even as far as Radlett! These routes don't accept Oyster Cards, and are not run with the vehicles that are used on TfL contracts either. 

Sullivan Buses TN3 / PO51UMR on route B76 (non-TfL) at JFS (LB72)
Sullivan Buses WVL1 / GD52SYC on route B77 (non-TfL) at JFS (LB72)

Finally - Mobility Routes
London United DPK614 / SN51SXH on route 965 at Kingston Sainsbury's (LJN)
The 965 route runs between Riverhill and Kingston, Sainsbury's. It runs on a Tuesday and Friday using a 8.9m Enviro 200 as of 28th June and after this date, (This observation was made ALOT earlier this year, sometime in Spring). TfL would, as of 14th September 2013, now like to withdraw this route next month (October 2013) as use of this route is not popular and on average, 10-12 people only regularly use this service. Have your say on the consultation if you would like to save the route! 

Yes I know this route is non-existent now.
VN37782 blinded for route 972 at Ealing Hospital (LJN)
Former mobility route 972 used to run between Colindale, ASDA and Blackbird Cross, Birchen Grove. Due to a small number of passengers using this route, it was decided to withdraw it in 2010.
Thanks for reading!


  1. I am very amazed by the information of this blog and i am glad i had a look over the blog. thank you so much for sharing such great information.San Ramon school bus , Employee shuttle bay area , Employee shuttle in san francisco

    1. Thank you for your warming comments, Paul. Much appreciated! We will do more posts like this in the future. :)

      Stay safe!