London Buses route 4

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Metroline route 4.jpg
Operator Metroline
Garage Holloway (HT)
Vehicle Alexander Dennis Enviro400 10.1m
Volvo B7TL 10.6m / Plaxton President
Peak vehicle requirement 18
Start Archway station
Via Holloway
Finsbury Park
St Paul's Cathedral
End Waterloo station
Length 8 miles (13 km)
Level Daily
Frequency 10-20 minutes
Journey time 43-79 minutes
Operates 05:10 until 01:24

London Buses route 4 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Archway and Waterloo stations, it is operated by Metroline.


The history of the current route 4 dates back to 26 August 1912, when a route 4 was introduced between Finsbury Park station and Elephant & Castle via Highbury, St Paul's Cathedral and Blackfriars Bridge.[1] This was the fourth time the route number 4 had been carried by a motorbus route.

At the end of World War I, the route had settled down to operate between Finsbury Park and Bermondsey (Queen Charlotte), to where it had been extended on 27 January 1913. During the 1920s, route 4 was further extended from Bermondsey to Greenwich (Church Street), but this did not last and the southern terminus of the route had reverted to Bermondsey by the early 1930s. Between 1924 and 1934, route numbers 4A and 4B were used for short workings of the full route. On 29 October 1941 a Monday to Saturday route 4A was introduced between Finsbury Park and Camberwell Green.

East and south east London had seen severe bombing during 1940 and 1941. This had led to decline in demand for buses in that area. London Transport responded by withdrawing the 4 after service on 27 October 1942. The 4A suffixed route worked on its own until 11 October 1950, when a route 4 was re-introduced between Finsbury Park and Bermondsey, from which point it was extended to Surrey Docks in 1951.

The "Busman's Strike of 1958" caused the loss of very large numbers of passengers on London's buses. London Transport reacted to the resulting financial losses by withdrawing many routes. The 4A was one, being withdrawn on 19 August 1958.[2]

The replacement of London trolleybuses began in 1959. On 8 November 1961 a new route 4A was introduced on Monday to Friday between Finsbury Park and Waterloo station. It covered sections of two other withdrawn routes, the 48 and 179. By the mid-1960s, the 4 and 4A together provided a more frequent service than was needed on most sections. The 4 was gradually reduced, being totally withdrawn on 31 December 1966.[1]

On 4 September 1971, the 4 was re-instated, replacing the 4A as well as being further extended to Tufnell Park. On 31 January 1981, it was further extended from Tufnell Park to Archway.[3]

On 25 September 1993, the contract for route 4 was won by London Suburban Bus, who operated the route with Leyland Titans.[4]

On 27 April 1995, route 4 was included in the sale of London Suburban Bus to Metroline[4] and in March 2000 to DelGro Corporation.[5]

New Plaxton President bodied Dennis Tridents were introduced in 2001.[6]

On 29 September 2012, route 4 was retained by Metroline.

Current route[edit]

Route 4 operates via these primary locations:[7]

Previous route 4s in London[edit]

The route number 4 had been used three times prior to its current use.

There were also in London :


  1. ^ a b London Transport Central Area Routes 4-6
  2. ^ Route 4A 1950-1958 Buses at Work
  3. ^ Route 4 Buses at Work
  4. ^ a b McLachlan, Tom (1995). London Buses 1985-1995: Managing The Change. Venture Publications. p. 100. ISBN 1-898432-74-0. 
  5. ^ History Metroline
  6. ^ Transport for London
  7. ^ Route 4 Map Transport for London

External links[edit]