Largest range of route numbers (late NBC / early privatisation)

nickw1

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Another historical question...

Was wondering what operators (either NBC or early privatisation, so I'm talking about an approximate date range of 1978-93 or thereabouts, essentially the National and VR-dominated era) had the largest range of route numbers. Just picking that era as it was my 'formative years' for buses; I can't remember buses from as far back as 1978 but picking then as a lot of Nationals and VRs had been introduced by then...

Were there any, for instance, that began with route 1 and went right up to the 900s? Would obviously have to be quite a large company. I am wondering about Midland Red here in particular, as I distinctly remember route numbers in the 8xx range out of Stafford in the 1980s, I think there was an 872 but I may have got this completely wrong.

I am not talking about 'discontinuous' schemes so much, or council-numbered schemes, so I'm discounting cases where most numbers were say 100-499 but there were a few town services in the range 1-10. Similarly, Alder Valley circa 1986 which used numbers up to about 60 for the Guildford and Aldershot areas, and 200+ for everything else would be discounted, and council schemes such as the Avon 500-899 are also discounted.

Likewise schemas (Southdown, say) which used 7xx for expresses would also be discounted unless they also covered 1-699 with regular services. I never knew Southdown's exact range TBH, other than 2xx was used for everything west of Brighton but 7xx for expresses and a lot of routes out of Portsmouth (perhaps because they went via the M275 and were thus part-expresses).

I'm talking specifically about continuous numbering without any large gaps, though small gaps (due to services being withdrawn or introduced from time to time) such as the sequence: 260-268-269-271-273-274-279-280-281-282-283-284-285-286-289 are acceptable. (Bonus points if you can name the operator of this sequence and approximate era!)

Candidates I can think of:

Midland Red (see above), though not sure what their lowest numbers were.

Bristol Omnibus, which I am almost certain went all the way from 1-499 (1-99 Bristol City; 100-199 Weston and Wells; 200-299 Bath; 300-399 Bristol regional; and 400-499 Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon, though this was I think separated out into Cheltenham and Gloucester, and Swindon and District fairly early, certainly well within the NBC era - I distinctly recall a red 'Swindon and District' NBC bus sometime in the early 80s).

If one thinks of London Buses and London Country as one entity, then you have 1-499 again.

Any others?

What about restricting it to the early-privatisation era specifically? Due to break-ups of large NBC companies, there were not really any companies with wide geographical area left, and also in the late-80s low numbers tended to become more fashionable. Biggest continuous ranges I can think of for a private company are Wilts and Dorset in the 90s, which went from 1-199 (<100 Salisbury, >100 Poole), and Badgerline using 100-399 for inter-town services (inherited from the Bristol days) and low numbers for town services, primarily Bath, with a gap from around 20-99.
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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Another historical question...

Was wondering what operators (either NBC or early privatisation, so I'm talking about an approximate date range of 1978-93 or thereabouts, essentially the National and VR-dominated era) had the largest range of route numbers. Just picking that era as it was my 'formative years' for buses; I can't remember buses from as far back as 1978 but picking then as a lot of Nationals and VRs had been introduced by then...

Were there any, for instance, that began with route 1 and went right up to the 900s? Would obviously have to be quite a large company. I am wondering about Midland Red here in particular, as I distinctly remember route numbers in the 8xx range out of Stafford in the 1980s, I think there was an 872 but I may have got this completely wrong.

I am not talking about 'discontinuous' schemes so much, or council-numbered schemes, so I'm discounting cases where most numbers were say 100-499 but there were a few town services in the range 1-10. Similarly, Alder Valley circa 1986 which used numbers up to about 60 for the Guildford and Aldershot areas, and 200+ for everything else would be discounted, and council schemes such as the Avon 500-899 are also discounted.

Likewise schemas (Southdown, say) which used 7xx for expresses would also be discounted unless they also covered 1-699 with regular services. I never knew Southdown's exact range TBH, other than 2xx was used for everything west of Brighton but 7xx for expresses and a lot of routes out of Portsmouth (perhaps because they went via the M275 and were thus part-expresses).

I'm talking specifically about continuous numbering without any large gaps, though small gaps (due to services being withdrawn or introduced from time to time) such as the sequence: 260-268-269-271-273-274-279-280-281-282-283-284-285-286-289 are acceptable. (Bonus points if you can name the operator of this sequence and approximate era!)

Candidates I can think of:

Midland Red (see above), though not sure what their lowest numbers were.

Bristol Omnibus, which I am almost certain went all the way from 1-499 (1-99 Bristol City; 100-199 Weston and Wells; 200-299 Bath; 300-399 Bristol regional; and 400-499 Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon, though this was I think separated out into Cheltenham and Gloucester, and Swindon and District fairly early, certainly well within the NBC era - I distinctly recall a red 'Swindon and District' NBC bus sometime in the early 80s).

If one thinks of London Buses and London Country as one entity, then you have 1-499 again.

Any others?

What about restricting it to the early-privatisation era specifically? Due to break-ups of large NBC companies, there were not really any companies with wide geographical area left, and also in the late-80s low numbers tended to become more fashionable. Biggest continuous ranges I can think of for a private company are Wilts and Dorset in the 90s, which went from 1-199 (<100 Salisbury, >100 Poole), and Badgerline using 100-399 for inter-town services (inherited from the Bristol days) and low numbers for town services, primarily Bath, with a gap from around 20-99.
Northern General had (before Metro changes) a jointly worked service 8 with the PTE and a raft of works services in the 900s to DHSS Longbenton and Team Valley which topped out at 965

United Auto went from 1 to 832 before dereg before they extended their 8** series post-deregulation for schools services; it may have got to 856 (Coxhoe to Durham) but might have been higher with some Redcar/Guisborough schools in the late 1980s. Think I mentioned it before but the United numbering scheme (inspired by new fangled computerisation) was....

1-20 - Bishop Auckland
21-37 - Richmond
42-69 - Central Durham (incl Durham City)
70-77 - Hambleton & Teesdale
90-99 - Whitby
100-125 - Scarborough (120+ later reused in Darlington)
126-161 - Ripon & Leyburn
211-220 - Sunderland
221-250 - Hartlepool & Peterlee
251-299 - Teesside
340+ - South Northumberland & North Tyneside
400+ - Northumberland
500+ - Great North Road express routes in Northumberland
600 - Tyne Valley and Western Gateshead
700 - Joint services with Northern via Chester le Street
800 - Schools services

There were numerous exceptions to these broad rules (e.g. 164 Wheatley Hill to Stockton) and you could get off your United 724 in Bishop Auckland market place and onto the United 1 to Darlington. A number of the gaps would be where Durham CC specified numbers to other operators (80-99 were mainly OK and Eden around Bishop) and there weren't many 500 over 515 (wasn't used) whilst many of the 600 and 700 were used by Northern.

Bristol Omnibus had services in the 5** for Gloucester and had limited stops in the 8** series.
 
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nickw1

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Northern General had (before Metro changes) a jointly worked service 8 with the PTE and a raft of works services in the 900s to DHSS Longbenton and Team Valley which topped out at 965

United Auto went from 1 to 832 before dereg before they extended their 8** series post-deregulation for schools services; it may have got to 856 (Coxhoe to Durham) but might have been higher with some Redcar/Guisborough schools in the late 1980s. Think I mentioned it before but the United numbering scheme (inspired by new fangled computerisation) was....

1-20 - Bishop Auckland
21-37 - Richmond
42-69 - Central Durham (incl Durham City)
70-77 - Hambleton & Teesdale
90-99 - Whitby
100-125 - Scarborough (120+ later reused in Darlington)
126-161 - Ripon & Leyburn
211-220 - Sunderland
221-250 - Hartlepool & Peterlee
251-299 - Teesside
340+ - South Northumberland & North Tyneside
400+ - Northumberland
500+ - Great North Road express routes in Northumberland
600 - Tyne Valley and Western Gateshead
700 - Joint services with Northern via Chester le Street
800 - Schools services

There were numerous exceptions to these broad rules (e.g. 164 Wheatley Hill to Stockton) and you could get off your United 724 in Bishop Auckland market place and onto the United 1 to Darlington. A number of the gaps would be where Durham CC specified numbers to other operators (80-99 were mainly OK and Eden around Bishop) and there weren't many 500 over 515 (wasn't used) whilst many of the 600 and 700 were used by Northern.

Bristol Omnibus had services in the 5** for Gloucester and had limited stops in the 8** series.

Interesting, I know you (or someone else) mentioned that United started at < 100 but interesting they got that high.

The only time I would have seen United buses would have been at Richmond (1991) and Durham (1988), and I do seem to recall them using low numbers which would fit with your scheme above. I may even have travelled on one from Catterick Bridge to Richmond, was that a route? I know doing that journey (summer 1991) but for the life of me can't remember whether it was a bus or a car pick-up.

The "giving numbers to other operators" point is an interesting one, I do get the impression in the late NBC era that there was little or no overlap between different operators in route numbering within a given area, and there was planning to produce unique numbers irrespective of the operator of a given service. So if a town had a Route 1 by Operator A, then Operator B would not also have a route 1. (Contrast that to both ends of the Bluestar 1, in which the local operators also have their own Route 1s).

Examples I can think of, Tillingbourne for a while appeared to use unallocated (to London Country) 4xx routes around Guildford (so 4xx routes were either London Country or Tillingbourne) and, according to a website which existed in 2012 but now seems to have gone, Hants and Dorset started numbering at 30, presumably to avoid clashes with Southampton Citybus.

Again in Guildford, Blue Saloon used 1 and 2 for its local services... but there were no other routes 1 or 2 close by so no chance of a clash!
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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Interesting, I know you (or someone else) mentioned that United started at < 100 but interesting they got that high.

The only time I would have seen United buses would have been at Richmond (1991) and Durham (1988), and I do seem to recall them using low numbers which would fit with your scheme above. I may even have travelled on one from Catterick Bridge to Richmond, was that a route? I know doing that journey (summer 1991) but for the life of me can't remember whether it was a bus or a car pick-up.

The "giving numbers to other operators" point is an interesting one, I do get the impression in the late NBC era that there was little or no overlap between different operators in route numbering within a given area, and there was planning to produce unique numbers irrespective of the operator of a given service.
The United scheme still has some remnants hidden in various corners. The lower numbers have remained in vogue so Arriva still has the 1 Darlington to Tow Law is still there as is the 49 Durham to Brandon or the 43 Durham to Esh Winning, whilst the 27 Darlington to Catterick Garrison and 75 Darlington to Barnard Castle are now X26/X27 and X75/X76 (amongst others). Some live on with independents such as 29 Darlington to Richmond and 73 Northallerton to Bedale. Other examples further north that escaped the big Arriva renumbering and rejigging of services c.2007 (?) that swept many three digit service numbers away are the 434/442 (Go North East) and the 685 to Carlisle. There are also a few other GNE operated Tyne Valley routes in the 68* series, some of the 3** North Tyneside routes operated by both Arriva and GNE, GNE still have a few 9** services, and the 239 Easington to Sedgefield (evenings). There are a few 2** that GNE services around Peterlee that didn't have those numbers of old but gained them latterly.

In terms of the 80-99, these were services that traditionally didn't have numbers. Can only guess they were voided and given to Durham CC to be able to show them in timetables (?). However, in Darlington, the Corporation most definitely did duplicate United numbers so that you had two Service 1s in the town. United 1 went along the A68 Woodland Road to Bishop Auckland whilst the Corpy did Harrowgate Hill via the A167 to Red Hall (via the A67) so they only actually crossed in the centre.
 

Class45

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Western National/Devon General got up into the 500s with numbers grouped by area, roughly as follows-

under 100 Plymouth joint services, east Cornwall and south Devon
100 up Torbay area
200 up Somerset
300 up North and east Devon
400 up Dorset
500 up Cornwall
 

gg1

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WMPTE/West Midlands Travel/Travel West Midlands had a huge range until they changed their route numbering system 10-15 years ago. IIRC it was:

1-199 - Birmingham services
200s - Dudley
300s - Walsall
400s - Sandwell
500s - Wolverhampton
600s - minibuses, regardless of area
700s - specials, schools, football etc
900s - limited stop

afaik 800s weren't used
 

RT4038

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Western National/Devon General got up into the 500s with numbers grouped by area, roughly as follows-

under 100 Plymouth joint services, east Cornwall and south Devon
100 up Torbay area
200 up Somerset
300 up North and east Devon
400 up Dorset
500 up Cornwall
Western National got into the 600s at one time, the highest being 626 (Padstow-Truro)
 

MotCO

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I'm talking specifically about continuous numbering without any large gaps, though small gaps (due to services being withdrawn or introduced from time to time) such as the sequence: 260-268-269-271-273-274-279-280-281-282-283-284-285-286-289 are acceptable. (Bonus points if you can name the operator of this sequence and approximate era!)

I'm thinking Southdown with Tunbridge Wells routes? 70's / 80's?
 

RT4038

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Another historical question...

Was wondering what operators (either NBC or early privatisation, so I'm talking about an approximate date range of 1978-93 or thereabouts, essentially the National and VR-dominated era) had the largest range of route numbers. Just picking that era as it was my 'formative years' for buses; I can't remember buses from as far back as 1978 but picking then as a lot of Nationals and VRs had been introduced by then...

Were there any, for instance, that began with route 1 and went right up to the 900s? Would obviously have to be quite a large company. I am wondering about Midland Red here in particular, as I distinctly remember route numbers in the 8xx range out of Stafford in the 1980s, I think there was an 872 but I may have got this completely wrong.

I am not talking about 'discontinuous' schemes so much, or council-numbered schemes, so I'm discounting cases where most numbers were say 100-499 but there were a few town services in the range 1-10. Similarly, Alder Valley circa 1986 which used numbers up to about 60 for the Guildford and Aldershot areas, and 200+ for everything else would be discounted, and council schemes such as the Avon 500-899 are also discounted.

Likewise schemas (Southdown, say) which used 7xx for expresses would also be discounted unless they also covered 1-699 with regular services. I never knew Southdown's exact range TBH, other than 2xx was used for everything west of Brighton but 7xx for expresses and a lot of routes out of Portsmouth (perhaps because they went via the M275 and were thus part-expresses).

I'm talking specifically about continuous numbering without any large gaps, though small gaps (due to services being withdrawn or introduced from time to time) such as the sequence: 260-268-269-271-273-274-279-280-281-282-283-284-285-286-289 are acceptable. (Bonus points if you can name the operator of this sequence and approximate era!)

Candidates I can think of:

Midland Red (see above), though not sure what their lowest numbers were.

Bristol Omnibus, which I am almost certain went all the way from 1-499 (1-99 Bristol City; 100-199 Weston and Wells; 200-299 Bath; 300-399 Bristol regional; and 400-499 Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon, though this was I think separated out into Cheltenham and Gloucester, and Swindon and District fairly early, certainly well within the NBC era - I distinctly recall a red 'Swindon and District' NBC bus sometime in the early 80s).

If one thinks of London Buses and London Country as one entity, then you have 1-499 again.

Any others?

What about restricting it to the early-privatisation era specifically? Due to break-ups of large NBC companies, there were not really any companies with wide geographical area left, and also in the late-80s low numbers tended to become more fashionable. Biggest continuous ranges I can think of for a private company are Wilts and Dorset in the 90s, which went from 1-199 (<100 Salisbury, >100 Poole), and Badgerline using 100-399 for inter-town services (inherited from the Bristol days) and low numbers for town services, primarily Bath, with a gap from around 20-99.
Midland Red 9xx numbers were in the Shrewsbury Area up to 991-3 Ludlow-Tenbury Wells & 994 Ludlow-Worcester.
Eastern Counties expanded their numbering system is the 70s and the Bury St. Edmunds town services were numbered in 95x series.
 

nickw1

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Western National/Devon General got up into the 500s with numbers grouped by area, roughly as follows-

under 100 Plymouth joint services, east Cornwall and south Devon
100 up Torbay area
200 up Somerset
300 up North and east Devon
400 up Dorset
500 up Cornwall

Interesting - by the time I visited their area, they had already split into smaller companies. I do remember Devon General having fairly large numbers in early 1987 (Exmouth area) but cannot remember the exact route numbers. I frequently visited the Dorchester/Weymouth area in the early-mid nineties but by this time (and some years before, I gather) it was Southern National and you had lower numbers such as the 1 Weymouth-Portland, 10 Weymouth-Dorchester and 31 Weymouth-Taunton (?)
(I would hazard a guess that they were formerly 401, 410 and 431 respectively)

Didn't visit Cornwall until 1995 and the local company at that time was still branded Western National, albeit owned by the Badgerline group. At that time most if not all numbers seemed to be < 100 (with the 1 being the Penzance-Lands End IIRC) - again would hazard a guess that these were the original numbers minus 500.


I'm thinking Southdown with Tunbridge Wells routes? 70's / 80's?

Maybe.. but not the one I was thinking of ;)
(Was Tunbridge Wells really Southdown? I'd have guessed Maidstone and District.)
 
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MotCO

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Maybe.. but not the one I was thinking of ;)
(Was Tunbridge Wells really Southdown? I'd have guessed Maidstone and District.)
Maybe it was M&D. I think London Country had a garage in Tun Wells, or was it shared with M&D?
 

Class45

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Didn't visit Cornwall until 1995 and the local company at that time was still branded Western National, albeit owned by the Badgerline group. At that time most if not all numbers seemed to be < 100 (with the 1 being the Penzance-Lands End IIRC) - again would hazard a guess that these were the original numbers minus 500.
And when they introduced the numbering scheme I mentioned above, in the West Cornwall area they took the existing numbers and added 500 to them, so the Penzance-Lands End service was No.1, then 501, then 1 again
 

etr221

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Going a bit further back, my 1967 'British Bus Fleets 15 - Midland Red' (when it was sill BMMO, so pre NBC/PTEs) had routes listed 101-994 without any terribly large gaps (more than 10 or 20), following on from X1-X99; and than had A, B, C, D, E, H, K, L, M, N, R, S and W prefixes to 1 or 2 digit numbers for works, town and local services (a couple of prefixes seem to have used most from 1-99); also most letters A-Y for long distance (coach) services.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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I frequently visited the Dorchester/Weymouth area in the early-mid nineties but by this time (and some years before, I gather) it was Southern National and you had lower numbers such as the 1 Weymouth-Portland, 10 Weymouth-Dorchester and 31 Weymouth-Taunton (?)
(I would hazard a guess that they were formerly 401, 410 and 431 respectively)
The guess would be wrong

The 1 was covered by a myriad of different variations 422/423/425/426/427
The 31 was the 432 Weymouth to Axminster before it got amalgamated in the late 1970s to become the 495?

As for the 10, that is a relatively new phenomenon with journeys on that route having been covered by through services from elsewhere namely the 432, the 434 (predecessor of the 184 from Salisbury) and the 411 (the predecessor of the 187-9 from Poole). I remembered some of that but other info came from the excellent Timetable World website
 

jp4712

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SELNEC PTE became the second biggest operator in the country after London Transport with a dizzyingly complex network. It didn't get around to renumbering the services it had inherited from its constituents till around 1973 and then created this series (and as always, there's an exception to every rule).

1 - 299 Manchester, Salford, Urmston, Altrincham
300 - 399 Stockport, Ashton, Stalybridge, Glossop
400 - 499 Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Ramsbottom
500 - 599 Bolton, Leigh (including some Lancashire United and Ribble services)
600 - 699 Wigan and remaining LUT services
700 - 999 works, schools and other special services

The great majority of the numbers below 700 were used and quite a lot of those above were, too - although in many cases the crews didn't show the service number on the bus for a works/school/special - partly as the workers knew which bus to get and partly to discourage 'casual' passengers from getting on the bus and creating more work for the crew!

SELNEC (and successor Greater Manchester PTE) were not inclined to use suffixes such as A, B etc; but it did use the suffix X, which usually denoted a short working stopping short of the usual terminus.

Relatively minor route deviations would result in a separate service number, e.g. 601 Wigan - Ashton-in Makerfield via Old Road; 602 Wigan - Ashton-in Makerfield via Wigan Road (in reality, a deviation of very little consequence).

Therefore a vehicle travelling along the 96 route would show 96 if going all the way to Whitefield; if staying on the route but terminating short it would show 96X; but the minor alternative route into the city centre was given a separate number, 95.
 

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Crosville were one, although it was the alpha system but went from A1 to V9, & X1 to X91, also had some routes with straight numbers that appeared now & again which went 4 to 702
 

bb21

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Hants and Dorset started numbering at 30, presumably to avoid clashes with Southampton Citybus.
Hants & Dorset did have lower numbered routes, in the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation.

A fare table from 1976 shows numbering starting from 1 (Bournemouth to Poole via Penn Hill), and the lowest number in the Southampton area being the X17 (Bournemouth to Southampton via Ringwood and Lyndhurst). Southampton local area services started at 35 to Millbrook, although later lower numbers were used to Cadnam.
 

nickw1

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Maybe it was M&D. I think London Country had a garage in Tun Wells, or was it shared with M&D?

I'd say Southdown is also unlikely because some of the numbers I mentioned (e.g. 260) were already used in the Chichester area.

I know M+D was the dominant operator in Tonbridge, as I recall one day on Tonbridge station (1987) where I noticed M+D buses going past in the background.

Hants & Dorset did have lower numbered routes, in the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation.

A fare table from 1976 shows numbering starting from 1 (Bournemouth to Poole via Penn Hill), and the lowest number in the Southampton area being the X17 (Bournemouth to Southampton via Ringwood and Lyndhurst). Southampton local area services started at 35 to Millbrook, although later lower numbers were used to Cadnam.

Ah ok, the website I saw these numbers was the service pattern around 1980 or 1981 IIRC, so it may well have changed by then. The 1 you mention sounds like the forerunner of the 101 that I remember from Wilts and Dorset days.

Unfortunately I'm struggling to find the website but the 30/32 (West Totton and Calmore) of Solent Blue Line days had their roots in early 80s Hants and Dorset by the looks of things. The cross-city 18, still in existence, came a little bit later if I remember from the same website, perhaps 1983?

By 1989 Hampshire Bus was running routes in Winchester lower than 30 (like the 2 to Highcliffe, 4 to Winnall, 25 to Badger Farm, 26 to Springvale, 28 to Teg Down and 29 to Harestock) but this numbering pattern was introduced in the eighties sometime, possibly post-privatisation.

ISTR (from the website) the Hants and Dorset pattern (of the early eighties) was something like:
<100 South Hampshire
100-199 Bournemouth and Poole (the same numbering as 1980s/1990s Wilts and Dorset)
200-299 Salisbury/Wiltshire (the later Wilts and Dorset numbers + 200)
300-399 Basingstoke area (3xx numbers were still in existence as late as December 1989 under Hampshire Bus)

Can't remember what range the Andover area had. In addition, the 400-499 of Dorset Western National would integrate nicely with this and prevent duplicates.

Also in Kent, incidentally - how did the East Kent routes of Canterbury area come to be 6xx? I distinctly remember catching, I think, the 601 to the University of Kent in the late eighties. This wasn't a dedicated university bus, but rather a 'regular' bus which extended to somewhere like Whitstable or Herne Bay. Given East Kent covered a fairly small geographical area, why did they need to extend into the 600s? Maybe a contiguous numbering scheme with adjacent operators?

SELNEC PTE became the second biggest operator in the country after London Transport with a dizzyingly complex network. It didn't get around to renumbering the services it had inherited from its constituents till around 1973 and then created this series (and as always, there's an exception to every rule).

1 - 299 Manchester, Salford, Urmston, Altrincham
300 - 399 Stockport, Ashton, Stalybridge, Glossop
400 - 499 Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Ramsbottom
500 - 599 Bolton, Leigh (including some Lancashire United and Ribble services)
600 - 699 Wigan and remaining LUT services
700 - 999 works, schools and other special services

I remember the 2xx on the Altrincham-Manchester corridor and 3xx of the Stockport area later on, in the mid nineties: I was staying at Altrincham on one occasion and remember getting a 'Peak Wayfarer' to reach various parts of the Peak District via Stockport. If I remember right there was the 370/371 to Stockport.

By then many of the buses were run by independent operators, but they kept the 3xx numbering scheme. The nice thing was that the Peak Wayfarer was valid on just about all operators as well as the train. Can't remember the operator name, but I do recall a 361 Stockport to Glossop run by a small local company with a green and yellow livery rather reminiscent of Alder Valley post-privatisation. There was the 358 to Hayfield too, possibly the same company, and very useful as a way to get to and from Kinder Scout.

Going a bit further back, my 1967 'British Bus Fleets 15 - Midland Red' (when it was sill BMMO, so pre NBC/PTEs) had routes listed 101-994 without any terribly large gaps (more than 10 or 20), following on from X1-X99; and than had A, B, C, D, E, H, K, L, M, N, R, S and W prefixes to 1 or 2 digit numbers for works, town and local services (a couple of prefixes seem to have used most from 1-99); also most letters A-Y for long distance (coach) services.

The S prefix was still in existence in Stafford in the 1980s, even post privatisation, under the 'Chaserider' local branding. In fact for a time, there were three schemas in Stafford: the 8xx for out of town services, the Sxx for 'regular' town services, and minibuses which used a completely separate scheme starting from 1.
 
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Busaholic

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The elephant in the room, and it's a massive one, is London Transport, specifically the pre-1970 version when it was divided into Central Area and Country area and extended quite substantially into surrounding counties. By 1969 virtually every number between 1 and 499 was being used, many with suffix numbers too, with a few in the early 500s, Green Line numbers 701 to 727 with some Country Area 'reserve' numbers in the 800s. As there were no specific school routes, the 600+ series was not used, until brief use of a couple of those numbers in the early 1970s. By 1970 there were many prefix routes too e.g. A1, E3, W21.

Perhaps someone will start a bus company and have two routes, numbered 1 and 999. If no local authority support was sought, and assuming Traffic Commissioners didn't scupper the plans.....
 

geoffk

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After its renumbering scheme in 1966, Bristol Omnibus and subsidiaries' route numbers ran from 1 to 599. There were some limited stop services in the 700s but I don't remember any 600s.
1 to 99 were Bristol City services
100 to 199 Weston-super-Mare and Wells areas
200 to 299 Bath and Chippenham, also Trowbridge following the Western National takeover in 1970.
300 to 399 Bristol Country area
400 to 459 Stroud area
460 to 499 Swindon area
500 to 599 Gloucester and Cheltenham areas
 

Man of Kent

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Also in Kent, incidentally - how did the East Kent routes of Canterbury area come to be 6xx? I distinctly remember catching, I think, the 601 to the University of Kent in the late eighties. This wasn't a dedicated university bus, but rather a 'regular' bus which extended to somewhere like Whitstable or Herne Bay. Given East Kent covered a fairly small geographical area, why did they need to extend into the 600s? Maybe a contiguous numbering scheme with adjacent operators?
A single series across Maidstone & District and East Kent, which were jointly managed at the time.

<100 Maidstone, including the municipal operator; and Thanet.
1xx Medway
2xx Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells
3xx Gravesham (low numbers) Sittingbourne & Sheppey (higher numbers)
4xx Hastings and East Sussex (deliberately chosen to avoid clashing with London Country's 4xx routes in Kent)
5xx Deal, Dover and Folkestone
6xx Canterbury and Faversham
7xx Limited Stop
8xx Special services on Romney Marsh

When Hastings & District became a separate company, it introduced its own number series, even on joint services, so Dover-Hastings was 550 when run by East Kent, but 50 if it was H&D.

Arriva has largely stuck to the system, but most of the East Kent network has reverted to two figure numbers, in many cases those introduced in 1937.

The university route was probably a 604/605, but you would have returned on a 606/607. The dedicated service was 650.
 

Busaholic

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Busaholic LTE did use 500 and 600 series up to 1962 when they still ran trolleybuses!
I considered whether to mention that, but (a) not too many numbers of the 200 possible were used, especially in the 500s and {b) there were sufficient spare numbers available then in the 1-299 series to cater for trolleybus replacement routes, especially once night routes using the late 200 numbers assumed N prefixes dropping the first 2. Similarly, I didn't want to include tram routes (e.g. 46) which duplicated unrelated bus route numbers.
 

Roger1973

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Maybe it was M&D. I think London Country had a garage in Tun Wells, or was it shared with M&D?

I know M+D was the dominant operator in Tonbridge, as I recall one day on Tonbridge station (1987) where I noticed M+D buses going past in the background.

Tunbridge wells was definitely M&D

Yes, M and D was the principal operator in Tunbridge Wells. The garage on St John's Road, Tunbridge Wells, was Maidstone and District (believe the original parts were built by Autocar) - this closed in 2017 and has now been demolished.

M and D did operate a number of services jointly with Southdown (including the Brighton - Gravesend 122) - it's possible that some buses stayed overnight at the other operator's depot, but I've no evidence of this.

M and D had a depot in Quarry Hill Road, Tonbridge, which opened in 1961. I think it closed fairly soon after deregulation.

London Transport (Country Bus and Coach) also had a Tunbridge Wells Garage, in Whitefield Road (photo on LT Museum website) - this (apart from temporary wartime arrangements) just ran Green Line coaches, as LT country buses did not get south of Tonbridge. It closed in 1967 and its allocation on route 705 was moved to Dunton Green.

There was also a Green Line 'coach station' on Lime Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells (photo - not mine - on Flickr) which is also no longer there.
 

GusB

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Please remember the requirement to clarify any acronyms you use in your posts. Thanks :)
 

nickw1

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A single series across Maidstone & District and East Kent, which were jointly managed at the time.

<100 Maidstone, including the municipal operator; and Thanet.
1xx Medway
2xx Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells
3xx Gravesham (low numbers) Sittingbourne & Sheppey (higher numbers)
4xx Hastings and East Sussex (deliberately chosen to avoid clashing with London Country's 4xx routes in Kent)
5xx Deal, Dover and Folkestone
6xx Canterbury and Faversham
7xx Limited Stop
8xx Special services on Romney Marsh

When Hastings & District became a separate company, it introduced its own number series, even on joint services, so Dover-Hastings was 550 when run by East Kent, but 50 if it was H&D.

Arriva has largely stuck to the system, but most of the East Kent network has reverted to two figure numbers, in many cases those introduced in 1937.

The university route was probably a 604/605, but you would have returned on a 606/607. The dedicated service was 650.

Ah ok, thanks. Later on I recall a Maidstone and District 5 at Hawkhurst, which might fit with the scheme above, though that was the mid-nineties so it may have been using a different scheme by then.

Yes, I wasn't completely sure it was a 601, so looks like I got that wrong. I do remember there were a range of routes though, all in the low 600s, providing a 15-minute interval service to the university. Seemed to be all VRs and all extended (at that time - 1989) to the coastal towns.

The elephant in the room, and it's a massive one, is London Transport, specifically the pre-1970 version when it was divided into Central Area and Country area and extended quite substantially into surrounding counties. By 1969 virtually every number between 1 and 499 was being used, many with suffix numbers too, with a few in the early 500s, Green Line numbers 701 to 727 with some Country Area 'reserve' numbers in the 800s. As there were no specific school routes, the 600+ series was not used, until brief use of a couple of those numbers in the early 1970s. By 1970 there were many prefix routes too e.g. A1, E3, W21.

Perhaps someone will start a bus company and have two routes, numbered 1 and 999. If no local authority support was sought, and assuming Traffic Commissioners didn't scupper the plans.....

Feasible I guess. The 1 could be their main route, while the 999 could be numbered that way as it goes past the police station... ;)
 
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Statto

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Northern General had (before Metro changes) a jointly worked service 8 with the PTE and a raft of works services in the 900s to DHSS Longbenton and Team Valley which topped out at 965

United Auto went from 1 to 832 before dereg before they extended their 8** series post-deregulation for schools services; it may have got to 856 (Coxhoe to Durham) but might have been higher with some Redcar/Guisborough schools in the late 1980s. Think I mentioned it before but the United numbering scheme (inspired by new fangled computerisation) was....

1-20 - Bishop Auckland
21-37 - Richmond
42-69 - Central Durham (incl Durham City)
70-77 - Hambleton & Teesdale
90-99 - Whitby
100-125 - Scarborough (120+ later reused in Darlington)
126-161 - Ripon & Leyburn
211-220 - Sunderland
221-250 - Hartlepool & Peterlee
251-299 - Teesside
340+ - South Northumberland & North Tyneside
400+ - Northumberland
500+ - Great North Road express routes in Northumberland
600 - Tyne Valley and Western Gateshead
700 - Joint services with Northern via Chester le Street
800 - Schools services

There were numerous exceptions to these broad rules (e.g. 164 Wheatley Hill to Stockton) and you could get off your United 724 in Bishop Auckland market place and onto the United 1 to Darlington. A number of the gaps would be where Durham CC specified numbers to other operators (80-99 were mainly OK and Eden around Bishop) and there weren't many 500 over 515 (wasn't used) whilst many of the 600 and 700 were used by Northern.

Bristol Omnibus had services in the 5** for Gloucester and had limited stops in the 8** series.

Ironically 685 Newcastle-Carlisle worked well into both systems, as North Cumbria numbers were 600+ too, Ribble had a wide range of numbers too
Some services, mostly joint services 1 to 99
100+ Central Lancashire
200+ East Lancashire, 200+ was also used for some West Lancashire & Merseyside routes
300+ West Lancashire & Merseyside
Not sure if Ribble had any 400+ numbers but;
500+ South Cumbria
600+ North Cumbria, a lot of North Cumbria services were branded as Cumberland,
700+ Timesaver, express routes, introduced in the early 80s replacing the X series numbers

Ribble also had some prefix letter series, don't know all of them but ones i know are
C, Crosby, Chorley, think Carlisle had some C prefix numbers too
L, Liverpool
P, Preston
 

nickw1

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Ironically 685 Newcastle-Carlisle worked well into both systems, as North Cumbria numbers were 600+ too, Ribble had a wide range of numbers too
Some services, mostly joint services 1 to 99
100+ Central Lancashire
200+ East Lancashire, 200+ was also used for some West Lancashire & Merseyside routes
300+ West Lancashire & Merseyside
Not sure if Ribble had any 400+ numbers but;
500+ South Cumbria
600+ North Cumbria, a lot of North Cumbria services were branded as Cumberland,
700+ Timesaver, express routes, introduced in the early 80s replacing the X series numbers

Ribble also had some prefix letter series, don't know all of them but ones i know are
C, Crosby, Chorley, think Carlisle had some C prefix numbers too
L, Liverpool
P, Preston

Didn't realise Cumberland were part of Ribble - though I don't remember the pre-Stagecoach days, if I remember correctly Cumberland were already a Stagecoach subsidiary in the early 90s, though still used the Cumberland name.

To this day, the services in the South Lakes still use 5xx numbering (can think of the 505, 516, 555 and 599, not sure if there are others), so this part of the scheme has been at least partly preserved.

I know by the early 90s the West Cumbria area had low numbers <100, but maybe they were originally in the 6xx series.
 
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