Thursday 2 May 2024

Take A Drive With A Weird P5

I'll Have A P, Please Bob!

We all remember (well, fbb does!) having a quiet internal snigger when a particular letter was chosen as part of the much loved TV quiz, where odd-matched teams of one versus two teenagers sought to complete a path across the board.

That's Blockbusters.

Prefix letters for London Transport appeared in force as an attempt was made to re-order the network with fast and frequent longer distance routes connecting with shorr, flat fare, local lettered services at selected hubs. 

The most  notable early set-up was the Ws of Wood Green introduced in 1968.
Ws also appeared at Walthmstow.

Today's (and recent) peas are much more of a mixed bag as seen in the full hstoric list on Ian Armstrong's excellent and incredibly useful web site of London bus routes.
There certinly is a decided lack of one common hub - or even two.


The Nine Elms P5 is the second to use that route designation and, as you see from the above list, it links Elephant & Castle with Patmore Estate. 

So let's start at the mega road junction that takes its name from a pub; in turn possibly a corruption of Infanta de la Castille although nobody really knows!
It was once a simple (terrifying ?) road junction ...
... with plenty of trams.
Then, slightly more recently a VERY terrifying roundabout (below, looking south) ...
... but it has now lost an arc of the circle and is a very busy two way terrifying road!
The P5 lurks at Newington Causeway ...
... passes the Bakerloo Line station as it joins the non roundabout ...
... before stopping at the Northern Line station.
In the good old days you used to walk through the shopping centre ...
... to get to the National Rail platforms (including Thameslink). It was almost convenient and certainly weather proof. But look at it now ...

The only way in to Thameslink is "round the back" on Elephant Road ...
... forming a truly wonderful advert for the delights and efficacy of modern rail travel.

The Bakerloo station is original but that for the Northern line once looked like this!
This all means that Elephant and Castle has, effectively, three separate stations despite an encouraging dotted line on the underground map.
fbb, who has bravely done it, offers advice to those contemplating interchange between lines at Elephant and Castle ...
...  don't!! 

The P5 bus sets off purposefully down Walworth Road, so maybe now is the time for an fbb toute map for the P5. (click on the map to enlarge).
Readers will no doubt remember that Walworth Road was, until last year, the HQ of the UK's Labour Party, ensconced in John Smith House.
Sir Keir and his gang could nip across the road and catch a P5 at stop A.
The gang has now moved all of 125 yards round the corner to base itself in a more trendy "green" set of offices.

Tomorrow we will get a bit further along the hyper wiggly P5, and may even reach Nine Elms!

  Next P5 blog - Friday 3rd May 


  1. I'm not sure what map fbb has looked at, but 160 Blackfriars Road is very nearly a mile away from John Smith House. The nearest underground station is now Southwark.

  2. The remodelling of the Elephant & Castle gyratory has actually worked remarkably well. No more having to use scary underpasses to cross the road for one thing.