Tests underway on Superloop express bus SL3 from Thamesmead to Bromley

Image thanks to Adrian Atkins.

Buses are now testing for the forthcoming SL3 express bus route from Thamesmead to Bromley route via Abbey Wood Elizabeth line station.

New Routemasters will be used and mark the first time they’ll be seen in this neck of the woods.

The route is widely expected to commence soon on Saturday 24th February though this is not yet confirmed on Transport for London’s Bus Changes page.

Superloop route

SL3 offers a faster route from many in Thamesmead to Abbey Wood station for Elizabeth line, Thameslink and Southeastern. It’ll be more transformative for many existing residents than a proposed DLR extension to reach various areas of London.

The route also marks the third between Abbey Wood and Bexleyheath. Yours truly is old enough to remember when the two per hour B11 route was it.

301 and B11 head to Abbey Wood station from Bexleyheath

Then came the 301 and now the SL3. Route 301 remains and takes a different route. SL3 passes Bexleyheath station.

The new SL3 will operate every 12 minutes during the day and 15 minutes at night and Sundays.


A new express route does highlight that Peabody and partners really need to get moving with new housing in Thamesmead. That requires a masterplan covering the retail parks and plots in the north near the Thames.

Those areas have had many housing plans dating back 60 years including a major town centre and marina for Thamesmead.

North Thamesmead a mass of retail parks and car parking. Elizabeth line stations now five minutes away

While 10,000 homes will require a step change in services, a new express bus to Abbey Wood and a forthcoming £23 million express route to Woolwich does permit some new homes in Thamesmead.

Other benefits for residents includes a fast direct link to Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup as well as Bromley town centre.

Thamesmead retail parks. Soon to be five minutes bus from Elizabeth line

Since the advent of Elizabeth line services bus usage has grown 100 per cent in Abbey Wood showing the pull from afar.

While Southeastern have cut services connecting to Abbey Wood due to government cuts, buses have picked up some of the slack.

Since Elizabeth line commenced SE services to Kent saw long gaps and removal of Sidcup line rounders

We’ve also seen a big jump in congestion as people drive in either to park or drop off. Both Bexley and Greenwich council’s have been hapless at addressing that.

Greenwich approved a parking zone back in 2017, never introduced it and then saw endemic parking when the line opened. They finally consulted a second time (spending more £££ in a time of cuts) before introducing an expanded CPZ in late 2023.

However they still havn’t covered areas such as Eynsham Drive so parking there now hampers pedestrians and road users. They’ll need to act. See a post earlier today on plans for a hotel and housing development there.

New development on Eynsham Drive planned

Hopefully SL3 can pick up some slack and dissuade driving. Now for rail cuts to be reversed.

But before then SL3 begins and will offer a fair few routes that don’t exist – while speeding up those that do.

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J Smith

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.

    8 thoughts on “Tests underway on Superloop express bus SL3 from Thamesmead to Bromley

    • Given the limited stop bus will run direct from Bexleyheath station to Abbey Wood station isn’t it time to put the SouthEastern rounders on the loop line back to the Sidcup line? Those on the Bexleyheath line will mostly have much better bus access to reach Abbey Wood to reach the Elizabeth line compared to those on the Sidcup line at Crayford, Sidcup etc.

      • Not if you live in Welling which only has the 96 to attempt to access the Elizabeth line at Woolwich and that’s if you don’t get permanently jammed up somewhere in Plumstead!

        • You can also catch the 51 from Welling Corner to Woolwich Elizabeth Line Station.

    • Another bus to go up New Road in
      Abbey wood which has two bus routes
      Already and cars parked either side of
      The road is a recipe for trouble

    • Although we welcome the Superloop Bus Routes. These are not the answer for the ULEZ expansion introduced by Sadiq Khan the current Labour Mayor Of London.
      We need to see major investment in bus services across Greatet London. Which have been subject to cuts since 2015. We have seen frequencies cut, routes curtailed and bus routes withdrawn completely.
      We have already seen the proposed bus routes to serve the Silvertown Tunnel cut from five to two routes with one being an express bus service with no bus stops near either side of the Silvertown Tunnel entrances.
      This will do nothing to reduce traffic congestion around the Silvertown Tunnel with Greenwich and Newham Boroughs actuallu seeing an increase in traffic in these areas.

    • Other bus routes between Thamesmead and Abbey Wood Station are 229 and 472.

      • Yes so the SL3 won’t be the third as the 229 also goes to Bexleyheath

        • You are right Oshji the 229 does serve Bexleyheath.
          Also the B11 Bexleyheath to Thamesnead Town Centre should not have been cut back from Thamesmead Town Centre to South Thamesmead (Yarton Way) while having its frequency cut at the same tine.
          The B11 would have provided another service between Thanesmead -Abbey Wood – Bexleyheath.


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