London Buses route 15

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London Bus Route 15.jpg
A New Routemaster double-decker bus operated by Blue Triangle on route 15, May 2018
OperatorDocklands Buses
GarageHenley Road
VehicleNew Routemaster
Peak vehicle requirement23
Night-timeNight Bus N15
StartBlackwall station
Cannon Street
EndTrafalgar Square
Length6.14 miles (9.88 km)
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London Buses route 15 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Blackwall station and Trafalgar Square, it is operated by Docklands Buses. Short workings of route 15 were provided by heritage route 15 with traditional AEC Routemaster buses between 2005 and 2019.


A Dennis Trident 2 double-decker operated by East London on route 15 at Mansion House station, April 2007

Route 15 was introduced in November 1908 between Shepherd's Bush and East Ham. On 16 December 1909, LGOC X-type buses were introduced to the route, running between Putney and Plaistow.[1] In 1914 it was extended to Putney Common, with a Sunday extension eastwards to Plaistow. By 1921 route 15 had been cut back to Ladbroke Grove, extending in the east to Barking and North Woolwich on weekdays. A Sunday extension from Ladbroke Grove to Acton Vale was launched, and the North Woolwich journeys were diverted to Becontree Heath.[citation needed]

In May 1949, Leyland Titan RTWs were introduced on route 15.[2] By November 1949, the route ran on from Ladbroke Grove to Poplar (Blackwall Tunnel), extending to East Ham during Monday to Friday peak hours and evenings, and all day on Saturdays and Sundays, with a further Sunday extension to Kew. From January 1967 journeys to Kensal Rise were introduced, and in October 1969 the route was suspended between Acton and Kew, being reinstated in 1970. In May 1975 the Sunday service was rerouted to Richmond bus station.[citation needed] In May 1985, the route was diverted between to serve Cannon Street and the Tower of London. In June 1987 the Sunday service was converted to one-man operation.[citation needed]

On 15 March 1989 an express commuter service named The Beckton Express and numbered X15 began operating between Beckton and Aldwych using former London Country AEC Routemasters. This ceased on 22 November 1991.[3]

On 18 July 1992, the Monday to Saturday service was withdrawn between Ladbroke Grove and Paddington, being replaced by new route 23. In May 1993 this section was withdrawn on Sundays, and in September 1999 route 15 was withdrawn between Poplar and Canning Town, with buses diverted to serve Blackwall station. In August 2003 the route was withdrawn between Blackwall and East Ham.[3]

Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident 2 double deckers were introduced on 30 August 2003 to replace the AEC Routemasters when the route was converted to one person operation.[3][4]

On 26 February 2006, it was announced that route 15 would be extended from Paddington to Paddington Basin over the reconstructed Bishop's Bridge; the previous bridge was not considered strong enough to take buses. Although the reconstructed bridge opened in June 2006, this extension was continuously deferred, with the extension eventually taking place on 13 October 2007, in order to free up stand space at Paddington for the newly introduced route 332.[citation needed]

Route 15 was transferred to West Ham garage on 27 June 2009. The route was withdrawn between Paddington Basin and Regent Street on 28 August 2010 as part of Transport for London's policy of reducing the number of buses using Oxford Street in order to ease congestion and pollution. Route 159 was extended along the withdrawn section of the route between Marble Arch and Paddington Basin.[5][6][7] It was also further shortened to Trafalgar Square in May 2013.[8]

Alexander Dennis Enviro400H double deckers were introduced in January 2012. New Routemasters were introduced on 28 February 2015.[9] When next tendered, the route was awarded to Blue Triangle who commenced operations on 26 August 2017.[10][11][12]

Heritage route[edit]

In November 2005, route 15 was selected as one of two routes to operate short workings of their normal route using AEC Routemasters with heritage route 15 initially operating daily between Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill before being scaled back in March 2019 to run on Summer weekends and public holidays only.[13]

The service operated between November 2005 and September 2019. It did not run in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was permanently withdrawn at the end of its contract in November of that year.[14]

Current route[edit]

Route 15 operates via these primary locations:[15]


  1. ^ Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 12. ISBN 0853290830.
  2. ^ Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 93. ISBN 0853290830.
  3. ^ a b c Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005. Vol. 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 73, 116, 118, 166. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7.
  4. ^ And So it Begins...Route 15 Loses it Routemasters London Bus Page 29 August 2003
  5. ^ Press Release Transport For London
  6. ^ "Streets ahead: Relieving congestion on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street" (PDF). London Assembly Transport Committee. 4 February 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. Appendix 1 sets out TfL's plans to reduce the number of buses in Oxford Street by 10% in each of 2009 and 2010
  7. ^ "All change for two bus routes". Westminster Chronicle. 25 August 2010.
  8. ^ Route 6, 15 and N15 TfL consultation
  9. ^ Route 55 & 15 to be served by New Routemaster buses Transport For London January 2015
  10. ^ Tender News Go-Ahead London 28 March 2017
  11. ^ "Stagecoach lose out in bus tendering" Coach & Bus Week issue 1285 5 April 2017
  12. ^ "Tender News" Bus Talk issue 46 June 2017 page 10
  13. ^ Touring Routemasters hit the road BBC News 14 November 2005
  14. ^ "Transport for London retires last heritage service of Routemaster buses". The Guardian. 13 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  15. ^ Route Map Transport for London

External links[edit]