London Buses route 68
|Vehicle||Volvo B7TL 10.1m / Wright Eclipse Gemini|
|Peak vehicle requirement||21|
|Night-time||Night Bus N68|
|Start||West Norwood station|
Elephant & Castle
|End||Euston bus station|
|Length||8 miles (13 km)|
|Journey time||38-67 minutes|
|Operates||05:21 until 23:53|
In the early period of motor omnibus travel, before World War I, number 68 was not in use as a route for the London General Omnibus Company, even though higher numbers up to 93 were active in 1912, for example.
The route was active at the start of World War II. During this war, its usual peacetime lighting of a pale blue colour was removed because of the risk of aerial bombing and the buses were blacked-out.
By 1952, following the removal of the last trams, the route ran from the Earl of Eldon public house in South Croydon to Chalk Farm station in Camden. This was a long 15 mile journey via places such as Thornton Heath, Norwood, Herne Hill, Camberwell, Elephant & Castle, Waterloo and Euston station which nowadays would require two changes of bus. The route started operating AEC Routemaster buses on Sundays in 1963 and switched to full Routemaster operation in 1970. The buses at this time were based in garages in Chalk Farm, Norwood and Croydon.
The journalist Peter Watts reviewed his experiences of the current service for Time Out. He travels regularly from Herne Hill to Great Russell Street, near the Time Out offices in Tottenham Court Road. The journey takes between 40 and 90 minutes depending upon the congestion in traffic bottlenecks like Camberwell Green. Often, when the service is running poorly, it will terminate short of the final destination, unloading at a stop like Aldwych, or it will pass by Herne Hill without stopping, forcing passengers to take the shorter route 468 instead. Such incidents commonly occur three times a week and so cause him much frustration.
Route 68 has a parallel peak-hour express service, X68, which runs along the same route from West Croydon station as far as Russell Square. This is one of only three express bus services provided by Transport for London.
Travelling on this bus route has been suggested as a cure for agoraphobia. Travelling for 2-5 stops during the day was considered a medium level exercise while travelling from Camberwell Green to the Elephant & Castle alone during the rush hour, was considered the most challenging exercise - more terrifying than walking down the high street or shopping in a supermarket.
- The spies Harry Houghton and Ethel Gee were trailed by a Special Branch agent when they travelled on the 68 between Waterloo Road and Walworth Road.
- Simon Jenkins - journalist and author.
- West Norwood station Knights Hill
- Tulse Hill station
- Herne Hill station
- Denmark Hill station
- Camberwell Green
- Elephant & Castle station
- Waterloo station
- Holborn station
- Russell Square station
- Euston bus station
- D.A.Ruddom (2007), Motor Omnibus Routes in London 2
- David Kynaston (2007), Austerity Britain, p. 17, ISBN 9780747579854
- Mike Harris, The 1952 Greater London Bus Map
- Geoff Rixon (2008), "Route 68", Routemaster Omnibus, ISBN 978-0-7110-3314-6
- Bus tender results Route 68/N68 Transport for London 12 August 2005
- Bus tender results Route X68 Transport for London 12 August 2005
- Peter Watts (Jan 14, 2010), "I hate my X: the extraordinary life of the No 68 bus", The Big Smoke, Time Out
- Simon Jenkins (1981), The companion guide to outer London, Collins, p. 45, ISBN 978-0-00-216186-2
- Rosalind Ramsay (2001-08-01), Mental illness, p. 55, ISBN 9781853029349
- Ronald Seth (1974), Encyclopedia of espionage, p. 456, ISBN 9780385016094
- Media related to London Buses route 68 at Wikimedia Commons
- London Bus Routes gallery 68
- London Bus Routes gallery X68