London Buses route 3

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3 CP.jpg
Operator Abellio London
Garage Battersea (QB)
Vehicle Alexander Dennis Enviro400H 10.2m
Peak vehicle requirement 22
Night-time Night Bus N3
Start Crystal Palace
Via West Dulwich
Herne Hill
Kennington Oval
Lambeth Bridge
Parliament Square
Trafalgar Squarel
Piccadilly Circus
End Oxford Circus station
Length 9 miles (14 km)
Level Daily
Frequency 8-12 minutes
Journey time 39-68 minutes
Operates 05:30 until 01:00

London Buses route 3 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Crystal Palace and Oxford Circus station, it is operated by Abellio London.


AEC Routemaster at Crystal Palace in August 1986

Route 3 started operation 1 November 1908, when a daily unnumbered route operating between Brixton station and South Croydon was allocated the route number 3. On 19 November 1908, the route was altered at both ends to run between Oxford Circus and South Croydon (Swan & Sugar Loaf). From April 1909 it was extended on Sundays to Purley, then to Whyteleafe in August. A month later the 3 was extended northwards to Camden Town, and was withdrawn between Streatham Common and Whyteleafe.

In 1910, the route extended to Hampstead Heath over the Easter period. However, on 3 March 1910, the 3 was withdrawn between Brixton (Lambeth Town Hall) and Streatham Common and re-routed via Effra Road to Brixton (George Canning), thus not serving any of the original route. From 16 June 1912, the 3 became a Monday to Saturday route only, being replaced by the recently introduced 59 on Sundays.

On 11 May 1913, a new daily route 3A was introduced between Camden Town and Crystal Palace via the 3 to Brixton, then via Water Lane, Herne Hill, Croxted Road and South Croxted Road. The 3 and 3A only ran as such until 17 July 1913, when both routes became daily and exchanged numbers. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the 3A was withdrawn as an economy measure, but was re-instated in October. The 3 was extended from Crystal Palace to Upper Norwood a month later. By the end of hostilities the 3A had been withdrawn and the 3 ran between Camden Town to Crystal Palace.

On 1 December 1924, a new system of route numbering on London buses came into force under The London Traffic Act of 1924. As a result the short workings of the 3 from Camden Town to Brixton were renumbered 3A. This situation continued until 3 October 1934 when all 3A journeys were renumbered 3.

Just before the outbreak World War II, route 3 was replaced on Sundays by a new 3A route, running from Crystal Palace to Oxford Circus and on to Baker Street, Swiss Cottage, Hendon, Mill Hill and Edgware station. This was withdrawn after from 15 October 1939 as a wartime economy. Route 3 returned to 7-day operation and remained virtually unchanged for the next 40 years.

In the early 1980s, the inhabitants of Parliament Hill successfully campaigned for a bus service from that area to the West End. From 26 April 1981, route 3 was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Camden Town to Parliament Hill Fields. This extension was withdrawn on 27 October 1984, being replaced by an extension of route 53. On 21 June 1986 the service between Oxford Circus and Camden Town was reduced to Saturdays and Sundays only, as the section was now covered by recently introduced route C2. It was completely withdrawn on 4 April 1987.

On 2 January 1993 it became one man operated with the AEC Routemasters replaced by 24 Optare Spectra bodied DAF DB250s until 1999, when upon being tendered, the contract to operate the route passed from London Central to Connex, who introduced Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident 2 low-floor vehicles.[1][2]

Route 3 was included in the sale of Connex to Travel London in February 2004[3] which in turn was sold to Abellio London in May 2009.[4][5]

Current route[edit]


  1. ^ Aldridge, John (August 1999). "New kid on the block". Buses (Ian Allan Publishing) (533): 12. 
  2. ^ Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7. 
  3. ^ National Express buys 200 London buses The Telegraph 27 February 2004
  4. ^ National Express Group plc agreement to sell Travel London National Express Group 21 May 2009
  5. ^ NedRailways acquisition reinforces long term commitment to UK transport market NedRailways 9 June 2009

External links[edit]