London Buses route 120 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Northolt and Hounslow, it is operated by Metroline.


Route 120 commenced operation on 27 January 1926. The route initially ran from the Victory, The Green, Southall to the Hussar, Staines Road, Hounslow Heath, via King Street, Norwood Road, Heston Road, Lampton Road, Staines Road, Tivoli Road and Gloucester Road to a stand in Barrack Road, returning directly to Staines Road. On Saturday afternoons and evenings and all day on Sundays it was extended from Hounslow Heath to the Red Lion, Feltham via Staines Road, Hounslow Road, and High Street, Feltham. The route was operated by two single-deck K-type buses (three on Saturday pm) based at Hounslow garage. The practice until 1934 was to use suffixes to the route number for different termini: Southall to Feltham was 120, Southall to Hounslow Heath was 120A.

On 28 July 1926, the route was extended northward via the Green and South Road to Cambridge Road, Southall.

In March 1927, the single deckers were replaced by open top double deck NS-type buses.

In February 1928, buses also ran to Feltham on weekday afternoons.

Between 16 November 1928 and 6 February 1929, London Public Omnibus also provided buses for the route from a garage in Pluckington Place, Southall: two on weekdays and three on Saturdays.

On 15 February 1929, the route was extended from Southall to Clarendon Road, Hayes Station via the Broadway, Uxbridge Road, Coldharbour Lane, Station Road and Clayton Road (returning via Blyth Road). The longer route required six buses (nine on Saturdays).

On 3 April 1931, buses from Hanwell garage were used for the Sunday service.

In May 1931, Hanwell garage also supplied some Saturday buses . Both Hanwell and Hounslow garages were now using ST-type buses.

On 22 June 1932, the route was withdrawn between Hounslow Heath and Feltham.

On 4 March 1936, the route was withdrawn between the White Hart in King Street, Southall and Hounslow Heath, this section was replaced by new route 105. The shortened 120 was now operated by 2 STs from Hounslow garage (3 on Sat).

In April 1938, Hanwell garage took over weekday operation .

On 8 May 1938, the Sunday service was withdrawn .

On 12 October 1938, the route was reinstated between Southall and Hounslow Heath on Monday to Saturday.

On 15 October 1939, route 105 continued to provide the Sunday service to Hounslow Heath , after which it was replaced by route 120, running between Cambridge Road, Southall and Hounslow Heath.

On 6 December 1939, the evening service between Southall and Hayes was withdrawn.

On 15 May 1940, the route was reinstated.

On 29 June 1941, the route was extended to Hayes on Sundays.

On 1 November 1942, the route was withdrawn again over this section

On 26 October 1949, a new route 120A was introduced, running from Hounslow Heath to Southall, and thence via Lady Margaret Road and Ruislip Road to Greenford (Civil Engineer). Route 120 continued on weekdays but was withdrawn on Sundays.

On 11 October 1950, Hanwell Garage (by now renamed "Southall") replaced its STL-type buses with new RTLs.

On 17 October 1951, RT buses were introduced.

The heyday of the 120 and 120A was around 1953. There was a 6-minute headway in Mon-Friday peaks between Hounslow Heath and Southall, with 4 buses an hour going on to Hayes and 4 to Greenford, both with alternately 12 and 18 minute headways. Between the peaks buses ran every 7.5 minutes between Hounslow Heath and Southall, with projections to Hayes every 30 minutes and to Greenford every 15 minutes. The same pattern applied on Mon-Friday evenings until about 20:30 hours when it was stepped down to every 10 minutes south of Southall, every 30 miuntes to Hayes, and alternately 10 and 20 minute headways to Greenford. The combined service required 13 buses (8 on 120 and 5 on 120A).

On Saturday mornings the service was like midday Mon-Friday until around noon when it was increased to every five minutes to and from Hounslow Heath, every 30 minutes to Hayes, and every ten minutes to Greenford. On Saturday afternoons 18 buses (8 on 120 and 10 on 120A) provided 16 buses an hour between Hounslow Heath and Southall, with alternate journeys projected to Greenford and two an hour going to Hayes. On Sunday mornings buses ran every ten minutes between Hounslow Heath and Southall, with alternate journeys going on to Greenford. In the afternoon there was a 5-minute service from Hounslow Heath, and a 15-minute one to Greenford. In the evening there was a 6-minute headway on the trunk section, and 4 buses an hour to Greenford, at alternately 12 and 18 minute headways. The Sunday allocation was 12 buses, all on 120A. The running time between Hounslow Heath and Southall was 23 minutes, between Southall and Hayes it was 16 minutes, and between Southall and Greenford it was 9 minutes. Buses terminating at Southall ran via Hamilton Road to a stand in Avenue Road, and returned via Cambridge Road. Garage journeys—in service but not advertised—were via High Street, Southall and Uxbridge Road.

On 12 October 1955, brand new route 232 (Hounslow Garage to Greenford via what had been part of route 111 to Vicarage Farm Road, then Hyde Lane, and Thorncliffe Road and then the route 120A road) took over most of route 120A's service between Southall, Town Hall and Greenford. Buses on route 232 were evenly spaced between route 120 journeys, except in Mon-Friday peaks, when route 232 ran every 12 minutes. Route 120A was withdrawn on Mon-Friday and Sunday, but continued on Saturday, running between Hounslow Heath and Southall,Town Hall, and on to Greenford during the afternoon. The route was reinstated on Sundays, running between Hounslow Heath and Southall.

On 16 October 1957, route 120A was withdrawn on Saturdays.

On 26 November 1958, the route was withdrawn between Southall and Hayes on Saturdays.

On 9 November 1960, the Mon-Friday extension to Hayes was withdrawn, although some peak hour journeys were still run along the Broadway as far as the junction with Delamere Road. The main section to Hayes was replaced by new route 207A as part of the replacement for trolleybus route 607. By now 8 buses provided a service every 7.5 mins Mon-Friday peak hours (15 to Delamere Road), 13.5 mins off-peak Mon-Friday, and 20 mins Mon-Friday evenings.

On Saturdays, 8 buses provided a 12-minute service in the morning and evening, increased to every 7.5 minutes in the afternoon.

On Sundays, there were 5 buses and the headway was every 20 minutes until mid-morning, then every 15 minutes until noon, every 10.5 minutes in the afternoon and every 30 minutes in the evening.

On 8 May 1963. the Delamere Road journeys were withdrawn

On 4 October 1965, the route was extended on Monday to Friday & Saturday from Southall to Greenford Red Lion.

On Monday-Friday all day and Saturday shopping hours, the route was further extended to Greenford Station.

On 3 March 1975, the permanent closure of Gloucester Road at Hounslow Heath forced a diversion via Martindale Road and Corporation Avenue to Barrack Road.

On 14 August 1976, the weekday service was extended from Greenford station, via Oldfield Lane to the Lyons Maid Bridge Park factory.

On 1 July 1979, the Sunday afternoon service was extended to Greenford Broadway.

In September 1982, the Monday-Friday off-peak service was withdrawn between Greenford Red Lion and Bridge Park, and three months later the Monday-Friday peak hour and Saturday daytime service was also cut back to Greenford Station.

On 9 August 1986, Southall garage had operated the route since 1938 was closed and the operation was transferred to Hanwell garage.

On 21 November 1987, after a 49-year gap, the allocation was transferred back to Hounslow (AV) garage using MCW Metrobuses.

On 28 November 1987, the route was extended at the Hounslow Heath end Monday to Saturday daytime, replacing the Beavers Farm Estate route 257. From Martindale Road buses ran in a loop via Beavers Lane, Salisbury Road, Green Lane and Staines Road, whence they continued via Hounslow High Street to Hounslow Bus Station. On the section of Staines Road between the Bell and Martindale Road, buses ran both eastbound and westbound to both Southall or Greenford, and to Hounslow Bus Station. Moreover, alternate journeys ran direct between Lampton Road and the Bus Station, missing out Staimes Road and the Beavers Farm Estate loop. Buses serving the loop used black on yellow blinds.

On 24 January 1988, one-way street changes at the Bell in Hounslow forced a rerouting between Staines Road and Lampton Road via Chapel Lane and Bath Road.

On 25 November 1988, the section between Southall and Greenford was withdrawn and replaced by route 105.

On 28 April 1990, the route was withdrawn from Staines Road and the Beavers Farm Estate, cutting the link between Hounslow Heath and Southall which had existed since 1926. The service now ran from Lampton Road via High Street directly to the Bus Station.

On 24 March 1993, the route was extended from Southall to Northolt Station via Lady Margaret Road, Ruislip Road, Church Road and Mandeville Road in order to replace route 232.

On 29 January 1994, the route was converted to low floor operation using brand new Wright Pathfinder bodied Dennis Lance SLFs.

In 2000, the route was converted to double deck operation using brand new Alexander ALX400 and Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs.

In June 2005, the route was retained by London United.

On 23 June 2012, the route was retained by London United using brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s and Scania OmniCitys.

On 24 June 2017, the route passed to Metroline operating from their Perivale West (PA) garage using brand new Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5LHs.

Current route

Route 120 operates via these primary locations:

  • Northolt Station
  • Yeading White Hart
  • Southall Town Hall
  • Southall Station
  • Norwood Green
  • Heston
  • Lampton
  • Hounslow Central Station
  • Hounslow Bus Station

External links