|35px London Buses|
|Operated by||London General|
|Vehicle||Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer|
|Length||5 miles (9 km)|
|Frequency||About every 7-8 minutes|
|Journey time||23-52 minutes|
|Day||5:00am until 1:45am|
|Night||No night service|
|Adult single fares|
| † peak vehicle requirement|
Transport for London •
The 39 has had a very varied history and was at one time a major South West - North East London trunk bus route. It became a victim of the Victoria Line, declining very much after the opening of that line in the late 1960s. Today, the 39 is a mere local midibus service within the London Borough of Wandsworth. Interestingly, Route 39 was used on the first section of Road in London to have "fixed Bus stops". The Stops were erected between Camden Town and Seven Sisters Corner in 1937. Previously, Buses could stop almost anywhere on a fixed route. The Bus Stop experiment was used to prove that savings could be made in fuel and rubber costs. The Bus Stops were successful and became the norm all over London.
Today's 39 commenced operation on 16 November 1921 running as a Monday - Saturday route between East Sheen and Moorgate running via Putney, Wandsworth, Vauxhall, Southwark Bridge and Bank. This was the third time that the Route number 39 had been used. The Routing wasn't very lucrative and by 1924 had settled down as a daily Edmonton to Southfields route via Finsbury Park, Camden Town, Victoria, Clapham Junction. The purpose of the route was to provide a link from the Tottenham and Edmonton areas that penetrated into the West End. All of the frequent trams from these areas terminated at the periphery of the central area. In the days before the Piccadilly line Cockfosters extension, the 39 also served to bolster the 29 between Manor House and Victoria. For a few years in the late 1920s and early 1930s the 39 was replaced by a Sunday only Route 130 on that day, which also ran from Southfields to Edmonton and then on to Chingford (Epping Forest). After the disappearance of the Sunday 130, the 39 was extended on Sundays from Southfields to Raynes Park via Wimbledon.
Towards the end of the 1930s, the coming of the trolleybuses to North London as replacements for the Trams, heralded changes for the 39. On 16 October 1938, with the withdrawal of the bulk of the Trams by Trolleybuses on the Waltham Cross Routes via Tottenham, the opportunity was taken to eradicate duplicate mileage between Electric and Diesel services, by re-routing the 39 at Manor House to teminate at the newly opened Turnpike Lane Bus station.
The continuing Second World War saw changes to the 39, mainly by reducing duplication, but also to cover other services that were withdrawn as a Savings measure. For a time, the 39 was even extended to Hackbridge to cover the withdrawn, long standing Route 77. Though by the end of the war, the 39 had retreated and had been cut back to its main section between Camden Town and Southfields.
From the 1950s there was a short lived Monday to Friday peak and weekend extension to Parliament Hill and a Sunday afternoon variant running to Waterloo via Horseferry Road. In February 1961 the wheel seemed to have come full circle, when the 39 was used as part of a trolleybus replacement package, when it was extended again to Parliament Hill Fields. This was not very long-lived as in August 1963, the 39 was used to replace the 276, a very underused trolleybus replacement route. This change took the route away from Parliament Hill Fields, but extended it again to Tottenham Garage. The routing was also amended at this time, with buses running via Oxford Circus and Albany Street to Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park and Tottenham. The Sunday service was lost over the whole route and there was no Saturday service north of Victoria.
By the beginning of 1970, the opening of the Victoria Line, left its mark on the 39. The route was cut back to Oxford Circus, this now becoming the Northern Terminal of the Route. In a further retrenchment, in 1972 the 39 was converted to one person operation.
Indeed the service north of Victoria has now been abandoned without replacement, but, at the other end, has been extended to service more of Southfields and continue into Putney. The route has also been split in two at Clapham Junction, with the service between Clapham Junction and Victoria becoming the 239. The 39 and 239 were converted from 12 May 1990 to midibus operation, in the form of Alexander-bodied Mercedes 811Ds. Later, spare 8.5m Dennis Darts cascaded from the 156 effected an upgrade, subsequently joined by similar, but 9m, Darts from routes 295 and 211. But contract renewal prompted new 10.2m low-floor Darts to enter service during Autumn 2002, combined with a welcome frequency increase. These followed something of a lull in single deck orders for London General - most requirements for single deckers recently have been met by double decking busy routes.
Route 39 and 485 transferred from Putney Garage to London General's new garage at Waterside Way in January 2007.
Previous route 39s in LondonEdit
The route number 39 had been used twice prior to its current use.
- In 1912 - 1914 for a West Kensington <to> Sidcup via Victoria route. * Termini varied.
- In 1919 for a North Finchley <to> Grove Park and Farnborough via Victoria and Peckham route. * Termini varied.
There were also in London :-
- Between 1913 - 1914 a Newington Green <to> Aldersgate Tram route 39.
- In 1914 for a Finsbury Park <to> Moorgate via Canonbury Road Tram route 39.
- Between 1921 - 1928 a Tottenham(Bruce Grove) <to> Aldersgate via Wood Green Tram route 39.
- Between 1928 - 1933 a Charing Cross <to> Tottenham Night Bus route 39D.
- Between 1934 - 1938 a Tottenham (Bruce Grove) <to> Alexandra Park (Victoria) Tram route 39.
- Between 1934 - 1938 a Tottenham (Bruce Grove) <to> Winchmore Hill and Enfield Tram route 39A.
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