London Buses route 7

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Metroline route 7 to Oxford Circus (cropped).jpg
Operator Metroline
Garage Perivale West (PA)
Vehicle Volvo B5LH 10.5m / Wright Eclipse Gemini 3
Peak vehicle requirement 22
Night-time Night Bus N7
Start East Acton
Via Ladbroke Grove
End Oxford Circus
Length 7 miles (11 km)
Level Daily
Frequency 7-12 minutes
Journey time 41-74 minutes
Operates 05:25 until 00:56

London Buses route 7 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between East Acton and Oxford Circus, it is operated by Metroline.


Route 7's history can be traced back to 1 November 1908, when an un-numbered daily route operating between Wormwood Scrubs and Liverpool Street station, was allocated route number 7.[1]

Between 1910 and 1920, route 7 was operated entirely by X-type vehicles.[2] It was the only route in London to use these vehicles regularly.[3]

On 14 August 1916, a supplementary Monday - Saturday route 7A was introduced between Wormwood Scrubs and London Bridge station. This route disappeared later in 1916 owing to Wartime shortages, but reappeared on 30 April 1917. During the 1920s, route 7 was extended to Acton and a 7B was introduced as a Waterloo station to London Bridge, Monday to Friday peak hours only service via Holborn.

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. Route 7 remained unchanged; the 7A was renumbered 107, and the 7B to 166. Short workings from Wormwood Scrubs were renumbered 7A. This situation remained until 3 October 1934, when the newly constituted London Transport Passenger Board instituted its own numbering system. Route 7 continued, with an extension to Kew Green until 22 August 1946, when the 7A was revived, running Acton - London Bridge on Mondays to Fridays (a Saturday service was included later).

The "Busmans Strike" of 1958 was responsible for the loss of very large numbers of passengers on London's buses. London Transport reacted to this situation by withdrawing many routes during 1958 and 1959. Route 7 was one of many long-standing routes withdrawn on 19 August 1958. From 14 October 1959, the old route 7A had its suffix removed, becoming plain 7. The service ran between Acton Old Tram Depot and London Bridge station (Oxford Circus on Mon-Sat evenings), via East Acton, Ladbroke Grove, Paddington station, Edgware Road, Marble Arch, Oxford Street, Holborn station and Bank station.

On 9 October 1963, the Saturday service of route 7 was extended from Acton to Kew Green to replace the withdrawn route 265. On 31 December 1966 the Saturday section of route 7 between Acton and Kew was replaced by route 27A.

The rerouting of Red Arrow route route 501 from Aldgate to London Bridge in 1970, resulted in route 7 being cut back to Bloomsbury, near to Tottenham Court Road, on 24 January 1970.[4]

On 25 April 1981, the route enjoyed a Sundays-only westward extension to reach Richmond station, via Acton Town station, Gunnersbury and Kew, while the Monday to Saturday terminus moved from the Old Tram Depot in Acton, firstly to Wormwood Scrubs, near to the infamous prison, then to East Acton station.

In 1992, the decision was taken to extend the service to terminate at Russell Square, which took the route past the gates of the British Museum, while the (Sundays only) western end of the route was cut back to Kew Green. A further cut back in 1996 saw the Sunday service revert to the Old Tram Depot in Acton and, with the introduction of midibus route 70 four years later, the Sunday service was cut back to where the Monday to Saturday service terminated, at East Acton station.

In 2003, the service was extended slightly to the Brunel Road stand, which meant that no bus passed outside the station building at East Acton; passengers now had a 5-minute walk before they could continue their journey by bus.

The route was run with crew-operated AEC Routemasters for many years. These were replaced on 3 July 2004 by low-floor double-deckers released from route 25.[4][5][6]

Due to the partial closure of Oxford Street for Crossrail works, on 16 June 2014 the route temporarily had its eastern terminus relocated from Russell Square to Oxford Circus. It resumed operating to Russell Square in August 2014.[7] It has since had its eastern terminus temporarily relocated from Russell Square to Oxford Circus with route 98 being extended to serve Russell Square.

Tender History[edit]

Upon being re-tendered in 2006, the route was awarded to Metroline from 23 June 2007.[8][9]

Upon being re-tendered in 2013, the route was retained by Metroline from 21 June 2014.[10]


A serious incident occurred in June 1957, when a RTL-type bus on route 7A ran into a queue of waiting passengers on Oxford Street, killing eight people.[11]

On 30 July 1966, a Routemaster bus, which had been in service on route 7 but was running empty back to the depot, caught fire at Marble Arch and was totally burnt out. This led to headlines in the London evening newspapers "The day a no 7 caught fire" and "End of the road for a no 7 bus".

Current route[edit]


  1. ^ London's Oldest Bus Routes The London Magazine
  2. ^ Reed, John (2000). London Buses: A Brief History. Capital Transport Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 9781854142337. 
  3. ^ Klapper, Charels (1984) The Golden Age of Buses. p.72.
  4. ^ a b Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 8, 169. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7. 
  5. ^ The future of the Routemaster Icons of England
  6. ^ The Last Day of Route 7’s Routemasters London Bus Page 2 July 2004
  7. ^ Oxford Street closed eastbound London Buses
  8. ^ Bus tender results Route 7/N7 Transport for London 2 November 2006
  9. ^ Aldridge, John (April 2007). "Route 7 change reveals increased tendering competition". Buses (Ian Allan Publishing) (625): 20. 
  10. ^ "Service changes". Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  11. ^ Bus Accident, Oxford Street (Hansard, 10 July 1957)

External links[edit]