London Buses route 20
|Garage||Northumberland Park (NP)|
|Vehicle||Volvo B9TL 10.4m / Wright Eclipse Gemini 2|
|Peak vehicle requirement||10|
|Night-time||No night service|
|Start||Walthamstow Central station|
|Length||10 miles (16 km)|
|Journey time||34-53 minutes|
|Operates||05:30 until 01:00|
Route 20 commenced operating on 7 September 1968 as a replacement for route 38A from Loughton to Leyton with an extension to the newly opened Walthamstow Central station on the Victoria line. At the time of its introduction, there were already two other routes in the Loughton area with 20 numbers, the 20A and 20B. As the new route ran parallel with the 20A for many miles, the new route was numbered 20. Operation was from Loughton (L) Garage.
Operation was initially by RTs, but as with other services that crossed the London border it was quick to convert to One Person Operation (OPO). This was implemented from 14 June 1969 using single-deck MB class AEC Merlins. Conversion to double-deck operation with Daimler Fleetlines (DMS class) took place on 24 April 1976.
In January 1982, Loughton became the latest garage to see the replacement of the DMS class with Leyland Titans which took over Routes 20, 20A and 167. Loughton Garage had a reputation for keeping their vehicles in exemplary condition and the Titan was no exception, making their routes flagship examples for the class. However, this was sadly short-lived as under the service cuts of 4 September 1982 the Leyland Titans at Loughton were replaced by single-deck Leyland Nationals.
On 24 May 1986, Loughton became the first London Garage to be closed directly as a result of Route Tendering with all their services, including Route 20, transferred from this date to Eastern National who operated from their CityBus subsidiary base in Walthamstow. Upon being re-tendered on 7 March 1992, Route 20 passed to Grey-Green's Barking garage. Between 1 June 1998 and 9 March 2002, Capital Citybus (later First London) operated the school journeys from Northumberland Park and later Hackney garages.
The route first started using AEC Regent III RT. These were replaced with Daimler Fleetlines until about the early 1980s, when the route started using Leyland Nationals and Leyland Titans. When Eastern National took over after the closure of Loughton garage in 1985, they used Leyland Nationals and Bristol VRs. Cowie Group then took over using new Alexander ALX200s and Volvo Olympians.
In 2003, new Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TLs were introduced to the route. These were replaced with older Alexander ALX400 bodied DAF DB250LFs in March 2007. On 24 March 2012, new Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TLs were introduced.
Route 20 operates via these primary locations:
- Walthamstow Central station
- Whipps Cross
- Woodford Green
- Loughton station
- Burton Road for Debden station