London Buses route 36
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|Garage||New Cross (NX)
|Vehicle||Alexander Dennis Enviro400 10.2m
Volvo B9TL 10.4m / Wright Eclipse Gemini 2
|Peak vehicle requirement||33|
|Start||New Cross Gate|
Hyde Park Corner
|Length||9 miles (14 km)|
|Journey time||49-91 minutes|
Route 36 dates back to 6 April 1911 when the daily service on the previously un-numbered "Great Eastern" route between West Kilburn, the traditional name for this terminus in Queens Park and Victoria, was taken over by the London General Omnibus Company. At the same time, it was extended from Victoria to Liverpool Street station via Vauxhall Bridge, Harleyford Road, Oval, Kennington Park Road, Borough, London Bridge and Bank and given the route number 36. The extension to Liverpool Street was short-lived being withdrawn after service on 14 March 1912, when the route was cut back to run West Kilburn to Victoria. Quite soon after on 20 June 1912, the 36 was extended to Catford via Vauxhall Bridge, Harleyford Road, Oval, Camberwell New Road, Camberwell Green, Peckham Road, New Cross, Lewisham and Rushey Green.
On 22 June 1914, route 36 was further extended from Catford to Hither Green station, after which the route became very stable. On 4 December 1916, it was supplemented by two new routes, mainly to serve war-workers; the 36A West Kilburn to Grove Park via Burnt Ash Hill and Baring Road; and the 36B West Kilburn to Woolwich via Lee High Road, Academy Road and Woolwich Common, with some journeys being extended to Plumstead. The 36B was withdrawn in March 1917, but the 36A lasted through the war and was withdrawn on 7 April 1919 being replaced by a new route 39. The withdrawal of the 36A was not popular and the route was re-instated on 3 September 1919. Also at this time the 36 was extended from West Kilburn to Willesden (Pound Lane) on Sundays only. On 22 Febtuary 1920 his extension was withdrawn. On 23 March 1921, the 36A was re-routed at Oxford Street to run via Baker Street and Park Road to Camden Town.
On 1 December 1924, a new system of route numbering on London Buses came into force under The London Traffic Act of 1924. This made the Metropolitan Police responsible for bus operation and route numbering in London. The new system was designed to make route numbering easier to understand for the travelling public. In fact, the reverse was the result, as can seen by the following list of the routes that replaced the 36 and 36A, which by this time was again working from West Kilburn.
36 group routes: 36 remained 36, 36A renumbered 136. This was further complicated in that these routes had short working suffixed routes. The plain route number being only used for journeys for the whole length of the route. As from 1 December 1924, it was reorganised as: 36 West Kilburn - Hither Green; 36A Victoria - Hither Green and 136 West Kilburn - Grove Park. From 8 April 1925 short-working routes were added:
- 36B Victoria - Catford
- 36C Harrow Road - Lewisham
- 36D Camberwell Green - Hither Green
- 36E West Kilburn - Catford
- 36F West Kilburn - Peckham.
Route 136 was also revised at the same time as:
- 136A West Kilburn - Grove Park renumbered 136A
- 136B West Kilburn - Lewisham
- 136D Lewisham - Bromley Common
136 Wembley Exhibition - Bromley Common and 136C Wembley Exhibition - Grove Park were both registered but were not operating.
From 1925 the 36/136 group of routes also was covered by the "Independent operator" "City" 536 group of routes: 536 Highgate (Underground Station) to West Wickham, 536A Highgate to Southend Village and 536C Highgate to Elmers End. These services were later taken over by London Transport.
This situation remained until 3 October 1934, when the newly constituted London Passenger Transport Board instituted its own numbering system, which generally re-instated the situation previous to December 1924, apart for routes 136 and 536, which by then had developed into self-contained routes, thereby keeping their identities. The 36 West Kilburn - Hither Green Station daily and 136 West Kilburn - Southborough daily. The 536 was also re-numbered, becoming what is today's route 137.
Up to the Second World War everything stayed the same, apart from 17 April 1936, when route 136 was withdrawn between Grove Park and Southborough, being replaced by a new route 94. On 21 November 1939, route 136 was withdrawn between Victoria and Grove Park, being re-routed to terminate at Victoria Coach Station, the evening service on this route also being withdrawn at this time. As from 20 March 1940, route 136 was withdrawn completely. Due to wartime restrictions on the railways, a supplementary "express service" on the 36 between Hither Green and Victoria, running non-stop between Lewisham and Victoria, was introduced on 24 October 1940. This supplementary service was withdrawn on 18 March 1941. Between 1943 and 1945, route 36 was withdrawn in the evenings, between Lewisham and West Kilburn.
After World War II
London Transport's post-war Tram replacement programme caught up with the 36 in 1951. At Stage five of the programme, from 7 October 1951, a new 36A was introduced between West Kilburn and Brockley Rise. This replaced withdrawn tram route 66 Victoria to Forest Hill. The new route also re-instated the link between Brockley and Marble Arch, which was lost in 1937 when the 137 (a derivative of the 36) was withdrawn between Hyde Park Corner and Bromley.
Stage six of the Tram replacement programme occurred on 5 January 1952, tram route 54 Victoria to Grove Park, which complemented the 36 for much of its route, was replaced by a new bus route 69 which also ran Victoria to Grove Park. Six years later, in the aftermath of the busman's strike of 1958, London Transport was looking for economies in its operations. On 26 November 1958, route 69 was re-numbered 36B and extended on Sundays to run West Kilburn to Grove Park. This allowed more flexibility in the 36 schedules.
On 24 August 1961, a gun and five boxes of ammunition were found under the rear seat of a 36A bus in Peckham garage. The gun was identified as that used to kill Michael Gregsten and wound Valerie Storie in the 'A6 murder case', for which James Hanratty was hanged.
Route 36 used London's first bus lane, southbound on Vauxhall Bridge, which came into use as from 26 February 1968. Originally using the centre lane of the bridge, this first bus lane was removed to the kerbside in 1974 but was re-established in the centre of the road southbound in 2004 with the redevelopment of Vauxhall Cross.
Although the 36A and 36B lost their northern ends, the 36 survived unaltered until 27 April 1991, when the section between Hither Green and Lewisham was transferred to route 180. The 36B was cut back to Peckham and renumbered route 136 in March 1994.
In preparation for the introduction of the London congestion charge, on 8 March 2003 route 36 was further shortened to start from New Cross, the section from Lewisham being taken over by new route 436 which paralleled route 36 as far as Paddington. On 29 January 2005, route 36 was converted to one man operation with the AEC Routemasters replaced by Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs.
Despite the route reductions of the last decade, route 36 is still a comparatively long route through some very congested areas of London, with an end to end running time of over one and a half hours. It is also one of very few routes still to cross central London, carrying people in to the centre from both ends of the route, and requires the use of over 40 buses.
- New Cross Gate
- Queens Road Peckenham station
- Peckham High Street
- Camberwell Green
- Kennington for Oval station
- Kennington Oval
- Vauxhall bus station
- Bessborough Gardens for Pimlico station
- Victoria station
- Hyde Park Corner station
- Marble Arch station
- Paddington station
- Royal Oak station
- Maida Hill
- Queen's Park station
- "Gun Found On Bus Was Murder Weapon" The Times 26 August 1961 p 6
- Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 116, 166, 172. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7.
- 36 All Out London Bus Page 28 January 2005
- Aldridge, John (January 2000). "Connex gains second route while Routemasters go on... and on, but what's going to happen to Red Arrow?". Buses (Ian Allan Publishing) (538): 11.
- "Route 36 - award announced 24 May 2012". Transport for London. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2014.