Superloop bus SL2 between North Woolwich and Walthamstow to start this weekend

The next Superloop route between north Woolwich beside the ferry and Walthamstow will commence this Saturday 2 March.

The route is set to pass through Barking, Ilford, Gants Hill before swinging west to end at Walthamstow.

The route follows one week after SL3 commenced which doesn’t quite meet SL2. In fact it stops a couple of miles away at North Thamesmead.

In future a Bus Rapid Transit as a potential cost of £23 million will link north Thamesmead to Woolwich south of the Thames, but whether that’s branded as Superloop is another matter.

Barking station

A quick jaunt (traffic permitting) between North Woolwich and Barking’s plentiful transport options should appeal to those north and south of the river.

From Woolwich a walk through the foot tunnel or using the ferry will see somebody have a direct bus to c2c trains to Essex, tube lines and the London Overground.

Courtesy c2c. Revamped Barking station

Barking station is getting a spruce up right now in fact which will make it easier to use.

Timings are now available on TfL’s journey planner with an example here for this Saturday.

Example journey for this Saturday on TfL journey planner

It’s five stops to reach Barking station from North Woolwich and timetabled as quick as 16 minutes during the peak (e.g. at 8am) yet 19 minutes during off-peak hours.

At quiet times it’s running between North Woolwich and Barking in as little at 14 minutes.

Superloop SL2 route stops

Buses between Barking and Ilford are to generally take 10 minutes. After Ilford with its Elizabeth line station (which can take you to Shenfield for onward Greater Anglia services) it’s Gants Hill on the Central line.

Never been? Worth a trip for its stunning interior.

After that there’s a stop at South Woodford. An art-deco cinema dating from 1934 and opened by Winston Churchill still exists. It’s run by Odeon and all films at all times are a fiver.

Finally SL2 reaches Walthamstow where the William Morris Gallery resides. If you’re a fan his, the not-quite-linking SL3 route to the south also passes and stops close to other points of interest. One is a mermorial dedicated to William Morris near Abbey Wood station and Lesnes Abbey, while his Red House stands not too far from Bexleyheath station.

What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

Arriva are operating the route out of their Barking garage with a service frequency every 12 minutes during weekdays and Saturdays, and every 15 minutes in the evenings and all-day Sunday.

Superloop map

Hybrid vehicles will be in service. Between Ilford and Walthamstow the route also mirrors the 123 bus.

And so when it begins most of the orbital routes will be running. What will work? What will not (or at least initially)?

And when will we find out more about just what is to plug that gap between north Thamesmead and Woolwich?

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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.

    10 thoughts on “Superloop bus SL2 between North Woolwich and Walthamstow to start this weekend

    • When the Rapid Transit Bus Route North Thamesmead to Woolwich is introduced . It would be great to see this new rapid bus route extended to link witb the SL2 at North Woolwich via Blackwall or Silvertown Tunnel. We need more cross river bus routes linking East and South East London as not everyone able to travel by underground or train due to mobility issues or other reasons.
      If the Rapid Transit bus route is only going to be a short route between North Thamesmead to Woolwich. It may as well be a new stopping bus service operating at a slightly higher frequency for example every 8 minutes during the day and every 12 minutes in the evenings and Sunday’s using existing roads and bus stops.

      • Indeed. SL2 would be better served by crossing from North Greenwich and then making way to Walthamstow – something that would actually help the residents of Greenwich get across the river and access a very nice, vibrant part of the city.

        Likewise SL4: SitS makes sense from a logistics point-of-view given its proximity to the A102. In reality, the 132 (which is also supposed to use the A102 to get quickly from SitS to North Greenwich) often uses Westcombe Hill in rush hour to avoid contributing to the northbound gridlock. It would make better sense for SL4 to take Westcombe Hill and stop at Westcombe Park. This allows for those needing Thameslink or SE trains to make a connection, and allow more borough residents a chance to board the bus for Canary Wharf. Perhaps in time the routes may be modified, depending on how things play out

        • I totally agree Charles. Hopefully these routes will be kept under constant review by TFL. So they can make modifications to these routes in the future.

    • TfL should extend this route to Thamesmead via North Greenwich, Charlton and Woolwich through the new Silvertown tunnel when it opens next year.

    • A bit tongue in cheek, but whenever I see this bus route it just reminds me of the one hit wonder On a Ragga Tip by the band SL2.

      On a more serious note, I live on the SL1 route and whilst it has sped up some of my journey from Walthamstow to Edmonton it is hampered by the delight that is the North Circular. I hope the other SL routes have more luck and a better reliability on timings.

    • We need better Cross river bus services through both the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels.

    • I still think there is a need for an X122 bus route between Plumstead and Crystal Palace via Westhorne Avenue and the South Circular serving Woolwich Eltham Green Lee Green (Leegate Centre), Lewisham, Ladywell, Brockley, Forest Hill, Sydenham and Crystal Palace. Route X122 could also be extended to serve Belmarsh and Thamesmad. This route does not need to form of the Superloop bus network and could use existing buses from the chosen operators fleet with out the need for the expensive Superloop branding to be put on buses.

    • Absolutely Graham, I agree. I am surprised the 122 as not been a candidate for a night bus route (24 hour service).
      The superloop bus network would have been better If the routes did link together for example the SL2 linked with the SL3 for example. I do believe the SL3 links with the SL5 at Bromley North. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    • And how are we meant to cross the river, when the ferry doesn’t run?

      Free options for River crossings are only available in the Western half of the city. SE really is the step child

    • That is going to be one hell of a ride. I used to take the now withdrawn 48 bus from London Bridge to Walthamstow Central and the jourmey seemed interminable. Still these superloop routes are returning to the old says when buses went a long way. Plumstead Common to Parliament Hill Fields, anybody?


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