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East London
The flagship East London Ambassador, an Alexander Dennis Enviro400H MMC, at Barking bus garage in March 2024
ParentStagecoach London
Founded1 April 1989; 35 years ago (1989-04-01)
HeadquartersWest Ham
Service areaCentral London
East London
Service typeBus services
Routes63 (March 2024)
Canning Town
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

East London Bus & Coach Company Limited,[1] trading as Stagecoach London, is a bus company operating in East London. The East London brand is a subsidiary of Stagecoach London and operates services under contract to Transport for London from seven garages.


On 1 April 1989, London Buses was divided into 11 separate business units, one of which was East London. In 1994, East London was sold to Stagecoach Holdings at the same time as fellow subsidiary Selkent for £42 million (equivalent to £105,516,000 in 2023), with operations subsequently rebranded to Stagecoach East London.[2] In November 2000, in line with the rebranding of the wider Stagecoach Group, Stagecoach East London and Selkent were consolidated under the Stagecoach London brand.[3]

In August 2006, Stagecoach sold its London bus operations to Macquarie Bank for £264 million (equivalent to £482,478,000 in 2023).[4][5] The new owner restored the East London name and Thames sailing barge logo. In October 2010, Stagecoach reacquired its old London operations for a reduced sum of £53 million (equivalent to £85,834,000 in 2023), with East London once again rebranded as Stagecoach London.[6][7]


Dennis Dart SLF with Stagecoach East London branding at Beckton in 1999

When privatised, East London had a standard London Buses red livery with a grey skirt, though a fleet of dual-door Optare Deltas delivered to the company in 1992 wore a silver and red livery.[8] Following privatisation, Selkent adopted an all-red livery with white Stagecoach East London fleetnames. This was replaced by a new standard bus livery of a dark blue skirt and orange and light blue swirl at the rear, with Stagecoach's standard off-white replaced by red to conform with Transport for London contractual requirements for buses on TfL services to be 80% red.[3] While the company was owned by Macquarie Bank, an all-red livery was introduced, which was retained by Stagecoach to remain compliant with updated TfL livery regulations.


East London operates seven bus garages.

Ash Grove (HK)

As of February 2024, Ash Grove bus garage operates routes 26, 242, 309, 388, 394, D6, D7, W5, W13, N26, N242, N550 and N551.[citation needed]

Barking (BK)

Barking bus garage as viewed from Longbridge Road, March 2024

As of April 2023, Barking garage operates routes 62, 145, 167, 169, 173, 179, 238, 362, 462, 667 and 673.[9]: 113  On 27 August 2017, route 5 passed to Blue Triangle. On 30 March 2019, route 396 passed to Blue Triangle. On 29 April 2023, route 366 passed to Blue Triangle.

Barking garage was opened in 1924 by the London General Omnibus Company to cater for the increased demand from the new housing estates springing up in Becontree. Barking was the last London Transport garage to operate AEC Regent III RT buses in revenue-earning service, the type being withdrawn following a final running day on route 62 on 7 April 1979.[10][11]

In 1992, it was intended to close this garage, along with those at North Street (Romford) and Seven Kings, in favour of a new 6 acres (2.4 ha) garage and company headquarters for East London at Chadwell Heath.[12] However, the Chadwell Heath complex would not be built due to the land for it being contaminated, resulting in only Seven Kings garage closing.[13] Thus, by 1994, Barking found itself with a scheduled requirement for 109 buses, mainly Titans and Optare Deltas.

Bow (BW)

The front facade of Bow Garage, showing the two great arches which are used on an "in" and "out" basis for access
AEC Routemaster on route 15H on Whitehall in August 2007

As of July 2020, Bow garage operates routes 8, 25, 205, 425, N8, N25, N205 and N277.[9]: 114  On 27 August 2017, routes 15 and N15 passed to Blue Triangle.

Opened as a tram depot by the north Metropolitan Tramways Company in 1908 on land once occupied by an asylum, it was converted to operate trolley buses in 1939. It was converted to motor bus operation in 1959 including the installation of large overground fuel tanks. Shortly after its conversion, it took up the allocation of the nearby Clay Hall garage when that closed.

The garage has had a long association with the AEC Routemaster, receiving its first examples in the early 1960s, some of which remained right up until August 2004 when the type was withdrawn from route 8. In December 2007, Bow took over the running of route 15H from the closed Waterden Road garage until this moved to West Ham in June 2009.

Leyton (T)

The Stagecoach Group's first Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident 2 was delivered to Leyton garage in 1999

As of March 2019, Leyton garage operates routes 55, 56, 215, 257, 275 and N55.[9]: 119 

Leyton garage was built in 1912 by the London General Omnibus Company to replace an existing garage acquired from London Metropolitan, and was in an ideal position to benefit from developing areas. During the Second World War the garage suffered bomb damage but was not rebuilt until a major renovation in 1955.

The garage was the first to receive post-war AEC Regent III RTs, 78 of which were allocated by 1947, with a further 30 added for the trolleybus conversion program in 1959. RT operation at Leyton ended in 1972.

When the London buses subsidiaries were established, Leyton was taken up by the London Forest subsidiary. In 1991, plans to close the garage were a contributing factor in strike action by all of the company's staff, which ultimately resulted in the winding-up of London Forest, with Leyton garage passing to East London.[14]

Leyton was the first garage for another bus type in May 1999 when Stagecoach began taking delivery of an order of over 100 low-floor Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident 2s, 62 of which were allocated to the garage. These were the first of the type to enter service with the Stagecoach Group.[15][16]

Romford (NS)

Romford bus garage as viewed from North Street, April 2023

As of March 2024, Romford garage operates routes 86, 128, 193, 247, 256 (AM peak journey), 294, 296, 365 (night service only on this 24-hour route), 498 and N86.[9]: 117 

Romford garage is also called North Street (hence its NS code) as London Transport already had a 'country bus' garage: Romford (London Road). It was opened in 1953 to take the strain off nearby Hornchurch garage, and also to cope with the new Harold Hill estate. Built in the post-war style of a London Underground station, it was initially able to house 115 buses, although only 67 were allocated when opened. The allocation grew to 90 by 1958.

In 1992, along with Barking and Seven Kings (which did subsequently close although due to loss of routes by competitive tender), the garage was earmarked for closure in favour of the new garage and company headquarters at Chadwell Heath, which ultimately was never built.[12] By 1994, Romford was allocated 84 buses, mainly Leyland Titans. In 2004 the allocation had dropped slightly to 76, although with a good year of tender wins in 2005 the garage is up to full capacity. The garage was home to East London Coaches private hire operation from 1990 to 2005 when the section moved to the now closed Waterden Road garage. On 2 March 2013 Route 86 was partially transferred from this garage to West Ham (WH).

Walthamstow Avenue (AW)

As of March 2024, Walthamstow Avenue garage operates routes 20, 379, 385, 397, 616, W11, W12, W16 and W19.

West Ham (WH)

West Ham bus garage in July 2010

As of March 2024, West Ham garage operates routes 241, 277, 323, 330, 474 and 667.[9]: 120  On 27 August 2017, route 115 passed to Blue Triangle. On 30 March 2019, routes 262 and 473 passed to Tower Transit.

The present West Ham garage was opened in February 2008 as the replacement for Stratford garage. Whilst construction work was underway, all major engineering work on its buses was carried out at Rainham. The garage became fully operational in November 2009, taking over its own maintenance, and was formally opened in July 2010. The garage is capable of holding over 320 buses.[17] It is the biggest bus garage in England and is the new location for Stagecoach London's head office and training centre.[citation needed]

Former garages

Stratford (SD)

Stratford's Spirit of London Alexander Dennis Enviro400 at Brooklands Museum, commemorating the 7/7 London bombings

Stratford garage opened in 1992. It was a large yard on an old industrial estate by the River Lea, opposite the Hackney garage which was owned by First London. It was originally called Bow Midibus Base as it housed midibuses which had been previously based at Bow and West Ham. It also operated buses with rooftop flashing beacons for the London City Airport contract.

One vehicle from this garage was destroyed in the London bombings of 7 July 2005. Thirteen passengers were killed, but the driver of the route 30 bus, George Psaradakis, escaped serious injury and was able to return to work in September alongside Mark Maybanks, who was driving a route 26 bus that was involved in a thwarted bomb attempt in Haggerston on 21 July.[18] The route 30 bus was replaced in October 2005 by the first Alexander Dennis Enviro400 off the production line, which was named "Spirit of London".[19]

Stratford garage closed in February 2008, with operations transferred to West Ham, to allow the site to be redeveloped for the 2012 Olympic Games.[17]

Waterden Road (WA)

Waterden Road garage in January 2007

Waterden Road garage opened early in 2004 with space for approximately 100 buses, mainly articulated Mercedes-Benz Citaros for route 25.[20] By 2005, East London had relocated both its training centre and its private hire fleet here. The private hire fleet was disbanded in 2007. The garage was open for less than four years. In December 2007 the site was closed to allow redevelopment for the 2012 Olympic Games. The training centre moving to West Ham.

Upton Park (U)

Prior to West Ham being built Upton Park was the largest garage in the east end of London. It was opened by the LRCC in 1907 but was requisitioned for the war effort in 1915 and was not returned to use until 1919. In 1931, the site was revamped and enlarged; capacity was increased to just over 200 buses.[21] In 1988, the garage operated the X15 Beckton Express using ex-Green Line AEC Routemaster RMCs. The service was a trial, and sold newspapers to commuters on board.

On 16 September 2011, Upton Park garage closed, with drivers, buses and routes redeployed to West Ham, Barking and Bow garages. A small number of non-driving staff were made redundant as a result of the closure.[21] The garage was demolished in 2016 and redeveloped into a mixed-density social housing development named The Forge.[22]


As at May 2015, East London had a peak vehicle requirement of 607 buses.[9]: 113–120 


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2328402 East London Bus & Coach Company Limited
  2. ^ "Selkent and East London go to Souter". Coach & Bus Week. No. 133. Peterborough: Emap. 10 September 1994.
  3. ^ a b "New look for Stagecoach". Bus & Coach Professional. December 2000. Archived from the original on 12 January 2001. Retrieved 19 April 2024. Buses operated by Stagecoach London will remain red, but with blue and orange swoops at the rear.
  4. ^ Inman, Phillip (24 June 2006). "Stagecoach sells London buses to Australian bank". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  5. ^ Wright, Robert (24 June 2006). "Macquarie pays £264m for Stagecoach bus arm". Financial Times. London. Archived from the original on 7 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  6. ^ "Stagecoach re-enters London bus market". BBC News. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  7. ^ Kavanagh, Michael (15 October 2010). "Stagecoach buys back London bus company". Financial Times. London. Archived from the original on 18 October 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  8. ^ "Deltas in service". Coach & Bus Week. No. 10. Peterborough: Emap. 25 April 1992. p. 7. Retrieved 19 April 2024.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Carr, Ken (May 2015). The London Bus Guide (5 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-9931735-3-0.
  10. ^ "Antiques to go, but LT stays trad". Commercial Motor. Temple Press. 9 March 1979. p. 26. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  11. ^ Larkin, Nick (9 April 2019). "Thanks for RT event". Coach & Bus Week. No. 1388. Peterborough. pp. 46–47. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  12. ^ a b Simpson, Richard (10 October 1992). "Four more LBL garages close". Coach & Bus Week. No. 34. Peterborough: Emap. p. 14. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  13. ^ Wharmby, Matthew (13 May 2024). The London Titan. Shepperton: Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7110-3299-6. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  14. ^ "London Forest closure details". Bus & Coach Buyer. No. 124. Spalding. 27 September 1991. p. 4.
  15. ^ Williams, Mark (16 October 1997). "Stagecoach orders hundred Tridents". Coach & Bus Week. No. 291. Peterborough: Emap. p. 21. Retrieved 19 April 2024.
  16. ^ Lidstone, John G. (February 1999). "Fleet News England & Wales". Buses. No. 527. Shepperton: Ian Allan Publishing. p. 47. Retrieved 22 April 2024. The low-floor double-decker fleet of Alexander ALX400-bodied Dennis Tridents is to be numbered TA1-98 and is to be shared between Barking/Upton Park (35, for services 5 and 115) and Leyton (62).
  17. ^ a b Callaghan, David (12 November 2010). "How we did it: West Ham Bus Garage". Planning. Haymarket Media Group. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  18. ^ "Bomb bus driver pair back on road". BBC News. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  19. ^ "New bus shows Spirit of London" (Press release). Transport for London. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  20. ^ "New garage for London". On Stage. No. 56. Stagecoach Group. October 2004. p. 3.
  21. ^ a b York, Melissa (17 June 2011). "Job losses as Upton Park bus depot closes". Newham Recorder. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  22. ^ "The Forge, Upton Park". RM Architects. Retrieved 18 April 2024.