Chelsham Bus Garage

A tribute to all those who worked at the Bus Garage at Chelsham, Surrey, England. 1925 - 1990

Chelsham Bus Garage was opened 99 years ago on Tuesday 20th January 1925 by The East Surrey Traction Company and served the travelling public in the Chelsham and Warlingham area by operating local buses until 27th October 1989, One local route, the 403 had been worked from Chelsham Garage for the whole period. Chelsham had a reprieve and the following day began operating the London Transport Contract Route 196, which ran in The London Area from Norwood Junction to Brixton, with peak hour trips extended to Islington, this ran for six months and Chelsham supplied buses and crews for the last time on Friday 27th April 1990. Chelsham Garage continued for a further two months in an engineering capacity until the doors finally closed on Friday 29th June 1990.

I have always had a particular interest in the bus routes that operate south from Chelsham along the B269 road across Worms Heath and Botley Hill and since the route changes from 3rd September 2011 no public bus services run between these points. My own personal observations date from 1981 when my family moved close to Chelsham Garage. Prior to that all information has been forthcoming from Official Bus Company Timetables, Publicity and London Omnibus Traction Society publications (I have been a member of L.O.T.S. for many years)

Chelsham Bus Garage

From 1934 until closure in 1990 Chelsham Garage was allocated the garage code CM

Please press the bell or scroll down to see the full CONTENTS LIST



CONTENTS - Upgraded and updated page links below are highlighted in              New page links with     NEW    

Please click on the sections below for a nostalgic look back into Chelsham Garage

Chelsham Bus Garage Sports Club trophies, shields and prize winning Cups and a Retirement cross stitch souvenir

Winners Cup, Bowls, Darts, Snooker prize winning trophies and a retirement cross stitch souvenir for John Brialey (D.T.S)

Chelsham Bus Garage in the 1920's

Photo showing two PS type open top double deck buses inside Chelsham Garage. Chelsham at this time only had space inside for 8 vehicles.

1925 Summer timetable - Routes 403 and 404

Summer 1925 Timetable pages and Fare Charts for routes 403 and 404 from the East Surrey Official Timetable book

Bus Companies and routes operating from 1925 - 1990

Details of all of the bus companies and a chart of all the routes that operated throughout the 65 and a half year life of Chelsham Garage from The East Surrey Traction Company through to London & Country.

Start and finish dates of Chelsham routes

Summaries showing all routes operated by Chelsham Garage, listed by Start date, Finish Date and Length of operation, in fact "The long and the short of it all".

Maps showing routes and places served

A total of 31 diagrammatic maps showing the growth and decline of Bus and Coach routes operated by Chelsham Garage from 1925 through the WW2 years to 1990.

Bus and Coach allocations 1938 - 1990

Look back at the buses and coaches that were shedded at Chelsham Garage through selected years. Single and Double Deckers and the Coaches, also stored and withdrawn vehicles, they are all there.

Memories of those who worked at Chelsham Garage

A list of over 500 names of staff from Chelsham Garage (with pictures where these have been kindly made available). There may be someone you remember, please have a look.

Local Railway competition

The Southern Railway in the Warlingham area including details of the proposed Southern Heights Light Railway that would have served Chelsham and Warlingham.

Chelsham Garage Staff Canteen

A look at the Cutlery from London General, London Transport, National Bus Company and London Country, also have a cup of National 440 Tea while you are there.

Chelsham Garage Sports and Social Club

See the Chelsham Garage Sports Club Members Honours board, Cricket and Darts team photos, an old photo of the East Surrey Chelsham Depot Football team 1927/28 and Chelsham First Aid presentations and outings.

Old photos contents page

Family and Friends have been looking through their drawers and photo albums and have come up with some interesting pictures from the past.

Handshake for Conductor George "X"

Mystery photograph of Conductor George "X", why was this picture taken, has anyone got any ideas ?

Diversions to scheduled bus routes

What has happened when things went wrong along the route and how the buses got through.

Private Hire

A list of some of the exotic destinations that were visited by Coaches on Private Hire from Chelsham Garage.

Special Bus Services - Biggin Hill Air Show

Chelsham Garage supplied buses for the special services to and from Bromley, Croydon and the Biggin Hill Air display.

Off to the Races at Epsom Downs from Chelsham in1929

Chelsham Garage supplied open top buses to convey passengers to and from Epsom Downs for the Horse the 1920's and 1930's

Special Bus Services - School Contracts

Special school contract routes dedicated for the conveyance of school children only and not for use by the general public.

Visiting buses at Chelsham Garage

Maidstone Corporation Atlanteans, City of Portsmouth Leyland National 2's North Western Atlantean, .National coaches, Metrobus coach, Green Line routes from other garages and Preserved buses and coaches

Celebrity Buses at Chelsham Garage

Some buses and coaches that have at times been a part of Chelsham Garage and that I feel are worthy of special mention..

Open-Top visitors at Chelsham

Unusual visitors in the form of Open-Top Training buses at Chelsham Garage and in the Chelsham area after the closure of Chelsham Bus Garage.

Service stock at Chelsham Garage

An album of pictures of Lorries, Vans, Towing and Recovery vehicles seen at Chelsham Garage

Tree Loppers at Chelsham Garage

London Country and (would you believe it ?) Southdown Queen Mary tree loppers seen in and around Chelsham Garage and Warlingham Green

Uniform Issue buses at Chelsham Garage

The ex RLH and the ex LNB bus that replaced it along with a selection of uniform badges as worn at Chelsham Garage in days gone by.

Chelsham Garage Engineer's album

Views including some taken inside the garage of Buses undergoing servicing and repair, also accident damaged buses.

Chelsham Garage and Botley Hill snow scenes 1950s

Some fantastic old black and white photographs of the area around Botley Hill, Surrey including Leyland Cub Buses.

Snow scenes at Chelsham Garage in the 1980s

Photos of snowbound buses and coaches during the 1980's, when it snows at Chelsham it really snows.

The lighter side of buses at Chelsham Garage

Fun pictures of buses in Farleigh School playground, Buses ready for Croydon Carnival, Bus pull and more at Chelsham.

Chelsham Garage bus dump

An album of views of withdrawn and unservicable buses and coaches stored at Chelsham Garage during the 1980's.

The last day of route 403 from Chelsham - October 27th 1989

A look at the last day that route 403 was operated by Chelsham Bus Garage on Friday October 27th 1989. Including the very last journey.

The mass exodus from Chelsham - October 28th 1989

A summary of activities with photos and lists of where the buses went, also photographs of the buses that headed north from Chelsham Garage to Bee Line Buzz Co. and North Western Road Car Company.

Route 196 from Chelsham - October 28th 1989 to 27th April 1990

After the final 403 green bus ran at Chelsham Garage, there was a 6 month reprieve for Chelsham to operate red bus route 196 between Norwood Junction and Brixton with peak hour extension to and from Oval and early morning extension to Islington Green.

Chelsham Garage- April 28th to June 29th 1990 - The end for CM

After the final 196 green bus pulled into Chelsham Garage, the garage was used for engineering purposes, buses were sent from their home garages for attention. Sadly in early 1990 vandalism to AN's 302 and 354 and P1 occured. Then on 29/6/1990 the big blue doors finally closed.

 NEW After the last bus had left Chelsham Bus Garage

The main bus garage and all associated buildings, canteen, and offices etc' all remained derelict and unloved through August 1990. Then undesirables entered the site dumping hundreds of car tyres and were finally evicted.

 NEW Demolition of Chelsham Bus Garage

The very sad sight during August and September 1990 of the Staff Canteen, Offices and main Bus Garage building which were gradually brought down to just a pile of rubble and twisted metal.

 NEW After demolition of Chelsham Bus Garage - What's next?

Various plans were submitted between 1990 and 1991for housing which were rejected , then a lengthy period of planning during 1992 for a Sainsbury's Superstore which was finally agreed.

 NEW From Buses at Chelsham to Trolleys at Sainsbury's

During 1993 and 1994 the transformation of Chelsham Bus Garage into the J Sainsbury Warlingham Superstore, including an animation of it all taking place, before your very eyes.

 NEW The Grand Opening of Warlingham Sainsbury's

Tuesday 13th September 1994 was the grand opening of the Warlingham Sainsbury's Superstore built on the site of Chelsham Bus Garage and Norwood Aquarium Warehouse.

103 years of Bus Routes 1921 - 2024

A look back with full details of every route that has operated in the Chelsham and Warlingham area from 1921 before the opening of Chelsham garage in 1925 right through to the present day.

Seaside Specials - Chelsham buses at the seaside

A selection of photos of the popular route 980 and 981 seaside specials from Chelsham Garage to the delights of Eastbourne and Brighton

Bus stop E plates for Chelsham bus and coach routes

A selection of enamel bus stop E plates that were slid into slots on the flags of London Transport bus and coach stops along routes served from Chelsham Garage. these were all a part of my collection but all have since passed on to other enthusiastic collectors.

Driver Training vehicles at Chelsham Garage

A selection of photos of driver training vehicles visiting Chelsham Bus Garage in the 1980's

RT and RF buses at Chelsham Garage by Adrian Figgess

Adrian Figgess has kindly supplied some excellent black and white photos of RF and RT types at Chelsham Garage.

Direct bus routes from East Surrey to West Kent through the years

A look back at the direct bus routes from East Surrey to Kent, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells from 1921 to 1994 which sadly ceased on 24/9/94 when Arriva route 411 from Caterham to Tunbridge Wells ran for the last time.. A journey involving 3 different bus routes if attempted today.

What Bus is This, passing through Warlingham

An unidentified vintage bus with the name BOJANGLES, has me puzzled, perhaps you know what it is.

Link to The BUS-STOP an excellent website by Ian Smith, The BUS-STOP is an outsider's view of London Transport buses, mainly in the 1930-1980s Please click here to see >> Ian's BUS-STOP website <<

I proudly display below the following awards won by this website

UK Bus Site - Site of the Month October 1998

Southbus - Site of the Month

IRS Top Link Award

Institute of Railway Studies, University of York, TOP LINK AWARD 2001

All Text, Photographs, Graphics and Animations are by Alan Edwards unless otherwise stated

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