Express SL3 bus from Thamesmead to Elizabeth line confirmed as part of Superloop network

Transport for London have today confirmed that a new express bus will operate from spring 2024 between Thamesmead and Bromley via Abbey Wood Elizabeth line station.

The future SL3 route wasn’t part of the initial announcement earlier this year of a superloop express network of bus routes around London. It was later added with consultation held over the summer.

Superloop map SL3

TfL recieved 1,101 responses. Between Thamesmead and Bexleyheath the route mostly mirrors the 301 bus route which is set to remain as will the B11 which runs a different route between the two. Bus usage around Abbey Wood station has doubled since the introduction of Elizabeth line services.

SL3 will also offer faster links from Thamesmead and Abbey Wood direct to Queen Mary’s hospital in Sidcup and beyond to Bromley.

Superloop network in London


SL3 will greatly enhance bus links from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood station with Elizabeth line, Southeastern and Thameslink rail services. For many years now north Thamesmead has not been as cut off as some think, with more bus links ensuring stations can be reached in under 10 minutes.

South Thamesmead never was, given parts are a five minute walk and even more remote areas were a quick bus journey.

Large car parks and retail sheds. Short bus ride to major stations in Woolwich and Abbey Wood

However express buses and greater capacity now mean it’ll take little more than five minutes from north Thamesmead. Given that, plans for housing in Thamesmead around the big box retail sheds and giant car parks should be sped up.

While some areas such as Tripcock Ness are still unsuitable, others are for residential and mixed-use growth without the need to wait 20 years for a DLR.

With housing in Greenwich borough becoming ever more of a crises (see last week’s news that 1,880 households are now in temporary and emergency housing) it’s critical not to let parts of Thamesmead fester for decades on the dreams of a DLR that may never happen – and if it does will not link to the Elizbaeth line.

North Thamesmead’s wide road network

High capacity, express buses (and who knows, trams in future?) can play a key role in creating much-needed housing and adjacent services and employment.

That will probably mean getting tough with Peabody or securing other developers – and many politicians are close to Peabody which is a major hurdle – but the need for housing is chronic, and this route can play an essential role in doing so.

Express bus will link this area to Abbey Wood station. Half the units now empty


Since consultation begun changes have been made. The report states:

We will however be changing the southbound route between Bexleyheath and Sidcup. Following a route test, it is not possible to run the express service southbound via Penhill Road.

The new route will therefore be as follows. Southbound between Bexleyheath and Sidcup the route will operate:

• Townley Road, Arbuthnot Lane, B2210 Bridgen Road, B2210 Parkhill Road, A222 Hurst Road, Foots Cray Lane, Faraday Avenue, Hatherley Crescent, A222 Station Road. No stops would be served.

Northbound between Sidcup and Bexleyheath the route northbound will operate:

• A222 Station Road, Hatherley Crescent, Faraday Avenue, Foots Cray Lane, A221 Penhill Road, A221 Danson Upas, Lodge Lane, A2 East Rochester Way, Upton Road, Townley Road. No stops would be served.

TfL do still wish to use Penhill Road and state they will work to ensure this is possible in future.




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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

9 thoughts on “Express SL3 bus from Thamesmead to Elizabeth line confirmed as part of Superloop network

  • So upset you’ve neglected a large section of the north of the borough I.e. Belvedere and Upper Belvedere, it would have been fair to the residents of this area to route the new bus via Upper Belvedere to Bexleyheath. We’ve been left out again !

  • Still many locations around Essex and Kent, in Bromley doesn’t have an easier routes, if someone has to take a bus directly to Baker Street, specifically if someone wakes up at 4pm there is no underground or train station open, having to take a number of buses to actually reach work, having to wait for the 208 every morning and evening, changing to 453 to the west end or back, at list a project for future train stations around London should start, larger buses like coaches with bike spaces to alow passengers to store their bikes, still not alot making sense, lots more needed.
    Hopefully it will be planned so it gives flexibility to families to work and live in cheaper locations and travel to work, my husband wakes up at 4am a long journey to Baker street from Broomhill road bus 208, to start at 6am, spending time waiting in cold weather and works outside all day, health issues, to many things in need of attention, can’t drive to work, further development needed, thinking about humans that pay taxes, its so unfair that in the United Kingdom a great country the transport is still not available in so many places, so many people working getting up early morning, imagine whays like day in day out routine, to make a living and paying bills, no fair amount of time to rest, don’t tell me changing the job it will make life easier, it doesn’t, transport has to be available to everyone everyone.

  • This will be useful for sure. I’d be curious how this changes the options given by journey planner apps when travelling to places like Bromley or Sidcup from SE18.

    Last time I checked, the only shop left in that Twin Tumps shopping are is the Pets at Home. All the rest have closed down.

  • This is good news and will provide new links to Thames meadow Abbey Wood and Bromley and speed up journeys between Thamesmead and Bexleyheath.
    However. I would have liked to have seen an express 122 Plumstead Gsrage to Crystal Palace via the busy Wedthornre Avenue and the South Circular.
    Sadiq Khan continues to cut bus services elsewhere by reducing frequencies. Route 437 Lewisham to Battersea which used to operate evey 8 minutes then reduced to every 10 nineties is due to see its frequency reduced to every 12 minutes. This is just one of many routes a cross Greater London that is seeing frequencies cut. Is public transport safe in Sadiq Khan hands the answer has to be no

  • CDT my iPhone keeps changing Thamesmead to Thames Meadow. Perhaps a new name for new developments in Thanesmead?
    I totally agree bus services continue to be cut under Sadiq Khan witb bus roure frequencies being cut across Greater London on an almost monthly basis.
    Large areas of the London Boroughs of Bexley Bromley Greenwich and Lewisham are regularly neglected when it comes to bus service improvements by TFL.
    I agree with the idea of a X122 bus route between Plumstead and Crystal Palace via route 122 serving the South Circular.
    I would also like to see an X53 between Woolwich and Charing Cross Station now that trains to Charing Cross have been cut on the Woolwich and Greenwich line.
    I also agree with you that public transport is not safe in Sadiq Khan Mayor Of London hands. We can expect more cuts from him and TFL in the future. Not good for a capital city.

  • I feel there should have been a express route that parallels the 54, 122 & 202 routes, it could start at Thamesmead, then Plumstead, Woolwich, QE Hospital, Blackheath Sun in the Sands, then the A2 to Westhorne Avenue, Lee, Catford, Beckenham, Penge, Crystal Palace, Norwood and Croydon

    I also agree that links to the West End have to be enhanced, the Elizabeth line is prone to delays and because SE in all their wisdom decided to send all trains to pointless Cannon Street, we only have one link to the West End, so an X53 would be very useful.

  • Can’t believe it’s not stopping in Bexley Village. Still cut off from Elizabeth Line.

  • I agree Nathan Harvey that would be an excellent suggestion for a new express route covering parts of routes 54 122 and 202. We also definitely need enhanced bus services to the West End.

    Jimmy C I cannot believe either the SL3 is not stopping in Bexley Village. I think this stop would be very popular and well used by passengers. TFL say they listen to people. But to be honest like the current Mayor Of London they ignore peoplex comments and suggestions. We need a much bys service network in Greenwich Bexley Brimley and Lewisham as these Boroughs largely not served by the Underground witb Norh Greenwich and The Elizabeth Line li g bus rides away.


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