Monday, 26 November 2012

The Numbers 441/2/3 Routes (Not)

These numbers essentially belonged to buses that ran, with a range of short diversions, in the areas between Staines and High Wycombe, Windsor and Ascot, sometimes re-numbering themselves: for details see here.
As we have learnt TFL ‘take on’ vacated numbers from lowest to highest so it seems unlikely they will ever need these ones (unless they abandon all the letter routes?).

On one of our more recent trips we had overheard a conversation about the rise and fall of Croydon Athletic Football Club which led me to think about buses and football stadia – though in the case of the National Stadium we seem to call it an Arena.

In any case we have to thank the Romans for the excellent basic design of these structures, which has altered little in some three thousand years. An oval shape with tiered seats accessed by steep stairs linked by complicated arrangements of access passages/tunnels and with food, drinks and any other entertainment located in the shadowy spaces under the seating.  Nobs, nobles and sponsors have seats closer to the action or where the sightlines are best. Home supporters and visitors are separated.

So where do buses fit in? Not very much as far as the major London clubs are concerned. Often routes are diverted on match days, or even roads closed, so fans are more often required to the trains and Underground system where of course it is much easier to manage effective and safe crowd control.

While some of the Premiership venues are on major and multiple bus routes – Upton Park (West Ham) and White Hart Lane (Tottenham Hotspurs) notably – others are serviced by rather low key and certainly smaller vehicles and less frequent services – we think here of Craven Cottage (Fulham) and even Emirates (Arsenal), though several routes pass nearby on the Holloway Road. Stamford Bridge (Chelsea) and Queens Park Rangers have reasonable access to bus routes. However while one sees the odd football shirt on a bus it is not so usual to see them pouring onto buses, and one suspects it is thought slightly uncool to use buses rather than the Underground. After all if your club has a station named after it what could be better?  And we know Transport for London will lay on extra train services on match days. 

Arriving by car is not an option – or only for the very rich and disabled – my informant says.

So the relationship between football clubs and buses is not very strong – you get a good idea of the building’s structures and nearby amenities if you pass by on a bus and that is about it.

BUT there is one exception, as littlegooner has pointed out, and that is the Open Topped Bus Victory Parade, beloved not just of football cup winners but also Olympic Medal winners who also get to be transported along key routes and cheered along the way. While London football clubs remain nominally ‘local’ to their area many spectators come from much further away. An open bus parade does allow the locals (who will suffer some disruptions/litter/noise etc each home match day) and those unable to afford tickets to see their ‘local heroes’.

PS If you fancy organising your own parade, there seem to be innumerable companies that hire out buses for private functions. 


  1. (Trolley)Buses and football did used to mix in London. The LT Museum Online has a photo entitled 'Well-behaved football fans queue for trolleybuses after a Spurs home game at White Hart Lane, Tottenham in 1948. It can be found here:

  2. Thanks - while I just about remember trolley buses - along the Finchley Road as it happens - this makes the links (between buses and football fans) very historic.

  3. PS You may also enjoy the link to films on the Number 348 Route (Not)