The failure of the many proposals in the nineteenth and early twentieth century to bring the railway to Farnborough would have left the village at a disadvantage compared with neighbouring towns, particularly Orpington. Salvation came in the form of the Omnibus.

Thomas Tilling Ltd’s motor buses started operation on route 47 between Shoreditch and Bromley on 20 July 1912, replacing a horse bus route from ‘The City’ to Lewisham. Joint working with the London General Omnibus Company, London’s principal bus operator, began in 1908, and came to route 47, by then extended south to Farnborough in 1913.

This first timetable has the title "Country Breezes for City Workers". There were no less than 15 fares to choose from. From Farnborough a journey to Locksbottom cost one halfpenny, while the fare for the whole route was 11 pence. 

The service interval was about 8 minutes.  Unfortunately there is no indication how long the journey was expected to take.

Alternate buses coming from London continued to Farnborough, and for many years before and immediately after the Second World War the route was further extended on summer weekends to Knockholt Pound.

The 47 operated continuously with minor changes in route through to 1980s, from when the terminus was gradually cut back from Farnborough to Bellingham. It was replaced by new routes 208 and 261.  These photos were taken of buses on the 47 route in or near Farnborough at various times from introduction through to the 1970's.

photos: Bromley Borough Local History Society

photos: London Transport Museum

Farnborough was also the terminating location for Route 51 from its introduction in April 1949. The destination point was at various times, Sidcup, Blackfen, Charlton and Woolwich. In 1977 the terminus for route 51 was changed to Green Street Green, and is now Orpington Station. The former bus turning area in the centre of Farnborough was landscaped in 1985.

Since 1985 there has been a night bus route N47. Between 1989 and 2000 this came through, but never terminated at, Farnborough. It currently runs from Trafalgar Square via Bromley and Orpington to St. Mary Cray.

There was also a very longs standing Greenline 704 coach service through the village.

This was replaced eventually by the 402 Country bus service heading up from Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks, terminating at Bromley North station. 

This was cut back to Sevenoaks in 2018 so no longer runs through Farnborough.


The only route through the village today is the 358 from Orpington via Bromley and Beckenham to Crystal Palace, see photo above.  This started in 2002.

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