London Central

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London Central
London Central logo.png
229 WVL456.jpg
Parent Go-Ahead Group
Founded 1 April 1989
Headquarters Merton
Service area South London
Service type Bus services
Hubs Bexleyheath
New Cross
Fleet Alexander Dennis Enviro200Dart
Alexander Dennis Enviro400
Dennis Dart SLF
Volvo B5LH
Volvo B7TL
Volvo B9TL
Volvo Olympian

London Central is a bus company operating in South London. It is a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group and operates services under contract to Transport for London.


AEC Routemaster on route 12 on Whitehall in July 1997
Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL on route 36 in October 2007

London Central[1] commenced operating on 1 April 1989 when London Buses was divided into 11 separate business units. In September 1994 it was sold to the Go-Ahead Group. In August 2008, Go-Ahead's London bus operations all took up the new trading name of Go-Ahead London.


London Central operates four bus garages.

Bexleyheath (BX)[edit]

Bexleyheath garage operates London bus routes 89, 132, 229, 401, 422, 486, 625, 658, 661, 669, B11, B16 and night routes N21 and N89.


Built as a trolleybus depot by the London Passenger Transport Board, Bexleyheath is the only new garage built for trolleybuses. The depot is a large and imposing building, slightly set back from the main road to enable parking on the forecourt, which was used as a terminus for route 122. Bexleyheath closed in 1986, with work transferred to Catford, Plumstead and Sidcup garages.

In 1988 it re-opened under the guise of Bexleybus, a unit set up by London Buses under de-regulation, and had a large and varied allocation from Iveco/Robin Hoods and MCW Metroriders to Leyland Olympians and Daimler Fleetlines. The move to set up the new company to tender for routes backfired, and in the next round of tendering only route B16 was awarded to Bexleybus, whilst London Central won nine.

London Central took control of Bexleyheath garage and routes in 1990. Lately the garage has had a good utilisation figure, up to 139 in 2001 which necessitated parking in the rear yard and the forecourt. In January 2007, the garage received its first Alexander Dennis Enviro400s for use on route 486.

On 7 November 2009, route 132 was transferred to this garage.

On 1 May 2010, routes 321 (part of its allocation), 661 and 669 were transferred to this garage.

On 31 December 2011, London Central commenced operating routes 625 and 658.[2][3]

Bus types in use[edit]

New Cross (NX)[edit]

New Cross garage operates London bus routes 21, 129, 171, 225, 286, 436, 24-hour route 36, 108 and 321, and night routes N21 and N171.


Said to be the largest of London's bus garages with space for over 300 buses New Cross garage was originally a tram depot and opened in 1906. In 1952 with the trams withdrawn, the depot was converted into a bus garage. The garage has never been even close to its capacity due to the close proximity of other garages, but has at various times been used to store surplus vehicles.

The garage allocation has fluctuated over the years, from 191 in 1966 to 132 in 2001. The garage also houses some of the private hire fleet which is painted in the style of the former London General company. New Cross was also the garage for two special services, first in 1972 when it operated en ex Tilling ST on route 100 and LPG East Lancs Myllennium bodied DAF SB220s for Millennium Dome services M1 and M2. In 2003 the garage also began operating Mercedes-Benz Citaro articulated buses on route 436. In January 2005 route 36 ceased to be operated by Routemasters with one man operated double deckers taking over.

On 29 September 2012, the Bexleyheath allocation for route 321 was transferred to garage.

On 13 October 2012, route 621 passed to Stagecoach London.[6][7]

On 12 July 2014, London Central commenced operating route 286.[8][9]

Bus types in use[edit]

Camberwell (Q)[edit]

Camberwell garage operates London bus routes 45, 68, 185, 355, 360, 468, P5, school routes 624 and 658, 24-hour routes 12 and 345, express route X68, and night route N68.


Although built in 1914, Camberwell garage was not used as a bus garage until 1919 as it had been requisitioned for the war effort. Once it came into use it was one of London's largest garages and also carried out body overhauls in 1940/41. The garage was bombed during World War II in 1940 with four buses being destroyed and 13 seriously damaged.

During the early 1950s the garage underwent modernisation with the welfare and operational block reconstructed and the parking area extended. The new building also incorporated a new pit and workshop layout in a separate self-contained block which also undertook heavy maintenance for the adjacent Walworth garage, 350 buses in all.

The allocation at Camberwell decreased slightly over the years from 165 in 1952 until the closure of Walworth in 1985 increased the allocation to 142. Camberwell was also the home of three Leyland Titans fitted with electronic blinds which were used on night bus standby duties.

On 1 April 2006 London Central commenced operating routes 68, 468, N68 and X68.[12][13][14]

In November 2004 route 12 ceased to be operated by Routemasters with Mercedes-Benz Citaro articulated buses taking over.

On 1 May 2010, routes 42 and 185 were transferred to this garage.

On 31 March 2012, routes 345 and 355 were transferred from fellow Go-Ahead subsidiary London General's Stockwell and Merton garages.

On 1 September 2014, route 624 and the Mandela Way allocation of route 658 were transferred to this garage.[15]

Route 42 will be transferred to this garage from 20 September 2014.[8]

Bus types in use[edit]

Peckham (PM)[edit]

Peckham garage operates London bus routes 36, 63, 363, P12, 24-hour route 37, express route X68 and night route N63.


Peckham garage was converted from a local authority maintenance depot and opened in 1994 with a capacity for 75 buses. In 2000 the garage put London's first Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL low-floor vehicles into service on route 63. Peckham won bus garage of the year in 2004, although this turned out to be a poisoned chalice for the garage, losing almost half of its work in the next year's tender awards.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2328565 London Central Bus Company Limited
  2. ^ Bus tender results Route 625 Transport for London 18 March 2011
  3. ^ Bus tender results Route 658 Transport for London 18 March 2011
  4. ^ Forthcoming planned services changes 28 May 2014
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bus tender results Route 621 Transport for London 15 December 2006
  7. ^ Bus tender results Route 621 Transport for London 28 September 2011
  8. ^ a b c Forthcoming planned services changes 24 March 2014
  9. ^ Bus tender results Route 286 Transport for London 21 November 2013
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Bus tender results Route 68/N68 Transport for London 12 August 2005
  13. ^ Bus tender results Route 468 Transport for London 12 August 2005
  14. ^ Bus tender results Route X68 Transport for London 12 August 2005
  15. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Media related to London Central (bus company) at Wikimedia Commons