Tube replacement bus data?

Tube replacement bus’s are typically named after the line they replace, such as PL-1, PL-2, DL3, DL4.

They do appear on the Countdown display at the bus stops they serve, but I’ve never seen them on any bus arrivals app.

Anyone know if their data is included in any published TfL data stream?

I think the names such as PL-1 are the ones you see on the buses and on the routeing instructions that you see tied to lamp posts. The internal names are in the range UL1 to UL99 and it is these which feature in the information available.

Working timetables are available in PDF form via
These are posted after the event; the timetable may get reused but that can’t be guaranteed, as the hours of closure might be different.

Advance timetables are available (typically a week or two before) in XML form within one of the Journey Planner zip files updated weekly via
There are four zip files for normal buses, one fort tube/DLR etc. and one for replacement buses. Typically only a few of the XML files have a UL number - this week we have UL3, UL24 and UL62 for example. The other files are (I think we have been told) for services for which the operator is not yet finalised. The file name includes the line (e g PIC) and an identifier such as A or B, which (to come full circle) I think is what the buses used to display before the less ambiguous PL-1 etc replaced them!

If they are in a live feed, I would imagine that the UL series of numbers is the one to try.

They used to appear, when they were called things like UL16 or UL51 in the as I used to map them for the TfL Rail app I wrote for MTR.

Looking at my extra of the Tfl+national bus data I can see these files

tfl_41-UL1-_-y05-60307.xml bus
tfl_41-UL3-_-y05-61192.xml bus
tfl_41-UL3-_-y05-61193.xml bus
tfl_8-UL7-_-y05-60872.xml bus
tfl_8-UL8-_-y05-60873.xml bus
tfl_21-UL2-_-y05-60934.xml bus
tfl_21-UL2-_-y05-61157.xml bus

I’ve been told that “UL” stands for “Underground Line”.

I should have given the file names in the Journey Planner zip file

tfl_41-UL3--y05-61193.xml represents UL3
-y05-61369.xml represents UL7
tfl_8-UL8-_-y05-61370.xml represents UL8
tfl_21-L16-U-y05-60952.xml represents UL16

The convoluted file name for UL16 is a result of only three characters being allowed in the route field; all two digit UL routes (UL21, UL26, UL65, UL66 and UL94 are also present) will have file names of similar form. The other codes in the filename represent the operator (e g 41) and the Service Change Number (e g 61193). No real idea what “y05” represents - a software or schema version perhaps?

When I have time I’ll produce a list of the current(ish) UL routes and where they run.

List as promised. Some have not run for some years and the number may be recycled for a different service at some stage. Also, sometimes the replacement buses only run along part of the route shown; it all depends on how much of the line is closed.

Number Route

UL1 Shepherd’s Bush-Willesden Junction
UL2 Richmond-Camden Road
UL3 Clapham Junction-Canada Water
UL4 Barnet-King’s Cross (from 2016)
UL5 Rayners Lane-Gunnersbury
UL6 Wembley Park-Baker Street
UL7 Barking-Seven Sisters
UL8 Seven Sisters-Gospel Oak
UL9 Richmond-Turnham Green
UL10 Chingford-Liverpool Street
UL11 Earl’s Court-Olympia
UL12 Loughton-Stratford City
UL13 Watford Junction-Harrow & Wealdstone
UL14 Uxbridge-Wembley Park
UL15 Stanmore-Wembley Park-Stonebridge Park
UL16 Romford-Stratford City
UL17 West Ruislip-North Acton-Willesden Junction
UL18 Cheshunt-Bush Hill Park-Liverpool Street
UL19 Harrow & Wealdstone-Queens Park
UL20 Barking-Canning Town-Tower Gateway
UL21 Stratford City-Hampstead Heath
UL22 Stratford City-Hampstead Heath
UL23 Dalston Junction-Shadwell
UL24 Dagenham East-Plaistow-Canning Town
UL25 Upminster-Barking
UL26 Wimbledon-Putney Bridge-Hammersmith or Fulham Broadway
UL27 Mill Hill East-Finchley Central
UL28 Hampstead Heath-Crouch Hill-Finsbury Park
UL29 Osterley-Hammersmith
UL30 Wimbledon-Earl’s Court/Olympia
UL31 Poplar All Saints-Monument
UL32 Woodford-Hainault-Ilford
UL33 Finchley Road-Golders Green-Euston/Warren Street
UL34 Finchley Central-Arnos Grove
UL35 Walthamstow Central-Finsbury Park
UL36 Ealing Broadway-Shepherd’s Bush
UL37 Brixton-Victoria
UL38 Northfields-Gunnersbury
UL39 Hampstead Heath to Richmond
UL40 Chingford-Liverpool Street
UL41 Morden-Stockwell
UL42 Stratford City-Camden Road
UL44 Stratford City-Highbury & Islington
UL45 Epping-Loughton
UL46 Island Gardens-Limehouse
UL47 Redbridge-Stratford City
UL48 London City Airport-Canning Town
UL49 North Acton-Willesden Junction - Paddington
UL50 Enfield Town-Liverpool Street (operated by Sullivan unless otherwise stated)
UL51 Shenfield-Chadwell Heath-Newbury Park
UL52 Beckton-Canning Town
UL53 Dalston Junction-New Cross Gate
UL55 Canons Park-Edgware-Chalk Farm or Finchley Road
UL56 Colindale-Euston
UL57 Walthamstow Central-Hackney Downs
UL58 Barnet-Finchley Central
UL59 Theydon Bois-Loughton
UL60 Chingford-Hackney Downs
UL61 Canning Town-Canary Wharf-Stratford
UL62 Canning Town-Canary Wharf-Tower Gateway/Monument
UL63 Wimbledon-Fulham Broadway
UL64 South Wimbledon-Wimbledon - Fulham Broadway
UL65 Cheshunt-Hackney Downs
UL66 Enfield Town-Hackney Downs
UL67 Cockfosters-Wood Green
UL68 Barking-Plaistow-Canning Town
UL69 Chingford-Hackney Downs
UL70 Stratford City-Richmond
UL71 Earl’s Court-Heathrow Airport
UL72 Acton Town-Green Park
UL73 Richmond-Acton Central
UL74 Northolt-White City
UL75 Beckton-Canary Wharf
UL76 Acton Town-Hammersmith
UL77 Willesden Junction-Camden Road
UL78 Uxbridge-Harrow
UL79 Barking-Liverpool Street
UL80 Barking-Plaistow-Canning Town
UL81 Slough-Paddington
UL82 Hates & Harlington-Ealing Broadway
UL83 Slough-Hillingdon
UL84 Slough-Iver
UL85 Rayners Lane-Stonebridge Park
UL86 Rayners Lane-Wembley Park
UL87 Rayners Lane-Ealing Broadway
UL88 Richmond-Earl’s Court
UL89 Ilford-Stratford City
UL90 Maidenhead-Slough
UL91 Northfields-Hammersmith
UL92 Harrow on the Hill/Stonebridge Park-Baker Street
UL93 Epping-Stratford
UL94 Acton Town-Hammersmith
UL95 Lewisham-Canada Water
UL96 West Ruislip-North Acton-Willesden Junction

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TVVM for all that info, also to Brian.

Most enlightening. Starting to get a good picture of how it all hangs together.

I can see (in some travel apps) that bus stops which /ever/ see a replacement bus, list it’s UL number. However, I’m sure I’ve examined such stops when replacement busses are running, and never seen one listed in arrival predictions.
I have seen ‘PL-1’ appear on the Countdown outside Acton Town, even though it was the UL71, so there must be a identifier mapping used by Countdown.

Will have a dive into some relevant xmls and take a good look at live predictions on the 26/27th when there are next a good flock of replacement busses running.
The JP for that weekend can be forced to include a replacement bus, but seems reluctant to do so. As replacement busses are few and far between, perhaps they’re weighted to disuade the JP from suggesting them.

Thanks again.

Or… from 2018…

Looking on London Vehicle Finder, one of the apps that uses Countdown data, I can see reports for UL16 and UL51. If I type in a number that is not running today, such as UL71, I get a message that “PL-1” is a valid route but no vehicles have been recorded today.

So the data are there. The mapping to the number on the vehicle is only performed on that app when nothing is running! Other apps may do something different with live data of course. On Journey Planner I can see a reference to “replacement bus C”. Use of a third route identifier is hardly helpful but I guess it goes back to the days when C would have appeared on the vehicle, which (I imagine) it doesn’t now.

Looking more closely at JP, it is also offering me “TfL Rail” from Chadwell Heath to Shenfield but taking 53 minutes, which surely has to be a replacement bus - yet it is not described as such.

A final oddity is that although bus replacement services for TfL Rail are included in the Journey Planner zip files, as far as I can see the TfL Rail times themselves are not, though they clearly are available for use in requests to JP.

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Actually on the neon boards inside the station, it actually says that the platform is “bus” with the additional details of “use the Westfield Exit”, rather than the casual traveller knowing which end of the station is “Town” and which “City”.

Of course this 502 Bad Gateway doesn’t help once you’re at Statford City Bus Station…

Thanks for the mention of a new one on me, and a site on which to while away yet more time.

It knows about many, but certainly not all, ULxx routes. Is doing some imperfect mappings, in that a search for UL16 returns both UL16 and UL51.
And a search for UL70 returns only UL21.

Not going to try to guess/reverse engineer how that’s happening.

As you say, the data exists.
The coming weekend features DL-5 (Wimbledon to Earls Court), which may or may not be UL30.

In the current big zip is tfl_99-DIS-5-y05-22.xml which is the info for, explicitly, DL-5 (but no UL-number is mentioned in the xml).
TfL website Status page says DL5, not DL-5, but… close enough…

My starting point was as a service user wanting to know when the next replacement bus was due, failing to find that info and wondering if I needed to write something.
This coming weekend, I will look at many bus apps and see which one has what.

Doesn’t help that I’m the last Windows Phone user in the country, so a limited choice on that… (do have a iPad too).

A quick sashay through the routes suggests that the UL16/UL51 combo is brought up by UL1/2/16/18/40/50/51/55/65/66/79/77 while UL21 is brought up via UL21/22/42/70. Although quite a few other routes do bring up a mapping to a displayed route (e g UL30 to DL-5), rather more say “route not valid”, possibly because the routes have not run for some time.

I’ll look again at the ones which bring up UL21 or UL16/51 tomorrow, when there will be no actual data to report; at the moment the post-midnight Sunday/Monday journeys are being reported.

I would hazard a guess that Journey Planner considers replacement services to be LU/LO/DLR or whatever rather than bus so you have to include the mode it is replacing to get replacement buses included. Though in that case you ought to get them if you haven’t filtered out any modes at all.

Hi @SealingMark,

We do provide the Rail Replacement Bus Services (RRBS) transxchange files to the London Data Store and we do provide the routes as returned journeys in the Journey endpoint in the API.

There was a decision made several years ago not to include the routes themselves in the Unified API. I think this was mostly due to the changeable nature of them as well as the experience provided by the predictions not being complete.

Firstly, not all buses provided for RRBS have iBus installed. e.g. Ensign Bus (Essex), Uno Bus (Herts) operate some RRBS and don’t provide telemetry to iBus/Countdown.

Also, there are some RRBS that are operated by more than one bus company (usually one as a subcontractor of the other). In these cases, you would potentially have only one of the 2 company’s buses returning predictions.

As I said this decision was made a few years ago and it may need to be reviewed, but I don’t think there’s anything on the roadmaps to look at this currently.


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It seems that on LVF UL1/2/16/18/40/50/51/55/65/66/79/77 all map to service RAIL while UL21/22/42/70 map to LO-S. Type in one UL route and you’ll get the lot - at least the lot that are operating that day.

I haven’t noticed any UL working timetables for operators who would not use iBus capable vehicles. Notr have I seen any evidence in the working timetables of sub-contracted operation - but then why would I? The working timetables (and iBus for that matter) are there to help run the services effectively, not the other easy round and if half the buses on a particular schedule actually start form a different depot to that shown, so what?

@mjcarchive I suspect is not helpful when services are not running. Yes, as you say, several ULxx map to RAIL or LO-S. But UL30 still maps to DL5 and UL71 to PL-1

Possibly some IF… THEN… ELSE code is not working as expected on the site.

Enhanced line of UL lines, also showing the mapping (if any) on London Vehicle Finder, the date of the most recent working timetable for the route and whether the WTT is in the current TfL live set of WTTs.

In the process I found two additional routes - UL43 and UL54. Also that UL27 had changed to a quite different route without my having noticed.

On the multiple mappings, I have no idea whether it’s an if-then-else thing or an incomplete or out-of-date lookup table, and whether the issue is with LVF or in something supplied to all apps.

UL1 RAIL Shepherd’s Bush-Willesden Junction 26/12/2021 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL2 RAIL Richmond-Camden Road 05/03/2022 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL3 LO-M Clapham Junction-Canada Water 06/03/2022
UL4 Barnet-King’s Cross (from 2016) 21/08/2021
UL5 Rayners Lane-Gunnersbury 24/07/2021
UL6 Wembley Park-Baker Street 06/02/2022
UL7 LO-T Barking-Seven Sisters 19/03/2022
UL8 LO-J Seven Sisters-Gospel Oak 19/03/2022
UL9 Richmond-Turnham Green 08/10/2021
UL10 Chingford-Liverpool Street 08/09/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL11 DL-11 Earl’s Court-Olympia 03/02/2022
UL12 CL-B Loughton-Stratford City 05/03/2022
UL13 LO-H Watford Junction-Harrow & Wealdstone 27/03/2021
UL14 ML-1 Uxbridge-Wembley Park 10/04/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL15 Stanmore-Wembley Park-Stonebridge Park 11/09/2021
UL16 RAIL Romford-Stratford City 12/02/2022 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL17 West Ruislip-North Acton-Willesden Junction 25/09/2021
UL18 RAIL Cheshunt-Bush Hill Park-Liverpool Street 19/12/2021 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL19 BAK Harrow & Wealdstone-Queens Park 19/02/2022
UL20 Barking-Canning Town-Tower Gateway 23/10/2021
UL21 LO-S Stratford City-Hampstead Heath 06/03/2022 Multiple mappings to service LO-S
UL22 LO-S Stratford City-Hampstead Heath 01/01/2022 Multiple mappings to service LO-S
UL23 LO-X Dalston Junction-Shadwell 06/11/2021
UL24 Dagenham East-Plaistow-Canning Town 16/10/2021
UL25 Upminster-Barking 13/02/2016 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL26 DL-4 Wimbledon-Putney Bridge-Hammersmith or Fulham Broadway 26/02/2022
UL27 Stonebridge Park-Willesden Green 26/12/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL28 Hampstead Heath-Crouch Hill-Finsbury Park 23/03/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL29 Osterley-Hammersmith 24/07/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL30 DL-5 Wimbledon-Earl’s Court/Olympia 26/02/2022
UL31 Poplar All Saints-Monument 09/07/2016 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL32 CL-6 Woodford-Hainault-Ilford 05/03/2022
UL33 Finchley Road-Golders Green-Euston/Warren Street 30/03/2018 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL34 Finchley Central-Arnos Grove 30/07/2016 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL35 Walthamstow Central-Finsbury Park 23/05/2020
UL36 Ealing Broadway-Shepherd’s Bush 25/09/2021
UL37 Brixton-Victoria 16/04/2017 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL38 Northfields-Gunnersbury 24/12/2020
UL39 Hampstead Heath to Richmond 11/06/2017 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL40 RAIL Chingford-Liverpool Street 22/03/2021 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL41 Morden-Stockwell 23/05/2021
UL42 LO-S Stratford City-Camden Road 05/03/2022 Multiple mappings to service LO-S
UL43 Harrow-on-the-Hill-Kenton 26/06/2016 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL44 Stratford City-Highbury & Islington 28/05/2017 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL45 Epping-Loughton 13/02/2021
UL46 Island Gardens-Limehouse 28/08/2021
UL47 CL-4 Redbridge-Stratford City 05/03/2022
UL48 DLR London City Airport-Canning Town 05/03/2022
UL49 North Acton-Willesden Junction - Paddington 30/01/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL50 RAIL Enfield Town-Liverpool Street (operated by Sullivan unless otherwise stated) 19/12/2021 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL51 RAIL Shenfield-Chadwell Heath-Newbury Park 30/01/2021 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL52 Beckton-Canning Town 01/05/2021
UL53 LO-X Dalston Junction-New Cross Gate 15/01/2022
UL54 Putney Bridge-Earl’s Court 24/12/2017 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL55 Canons Park-Edgware-Chalk Farm or Finchley Road 21/08/2021
UL56 Colindale-Euston 21/08/2021
UL57 Walthamstow Central-Hackney Downs 18/03/2018 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL58 Barnet-Finchley Central 26/05/2018 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL59 Theydon Bois-Loughton 13/02/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL60 Chingford-Hackney Downs 18/04/2021
UL61 Canning Town-Canary Wharf-Stratford 06/07/2018 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL62 DLR Canning Town-Canary Wharf-Tower Gateway/Monument 27/11/2021
UL63 Wimbledon-Fulham Broadway 25/08/2018 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL64 South Wimbledon-Wimbledon - Fulham Broadway 25/08/2018 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL65 RAIL Cheshunt-Hackney Downs 08/03/2022 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL66 RAIL Enfield Town-Hackney Downs 08/03/2022 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL67 Cockfosters-Wood Green 02/04/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL68 Barking-Plaistow-Canning Town 30/11/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL69 RAIL Chingford-Hackney Downs 07/11/2021
UL70 LO-S Stratford City-Richmond 06/06/2021 Multiple mappings to service LO-S
UL71 PL-1 Earl’s Court-Heathrow Airport 24/12/2021
UL72 Acton Town-Green Park 23/02/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL73 Richmond-Acton Central 19/05/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL74 Northolt-White City 17/08/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL75 Beckton-Canary Wharf 21/08/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL76 Acton Town-Hammersmith 15/06/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL77 RAIL Willesden Junction-Camden Road 12/02/2022 Multiple mappings to service RAIL
UL78 Uxbridge-Harrow 07/09/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL79 Barking-Liverpool Street 08/08/2020
UL80 Barking-Plaistow-Canning Town 03/07/2021
UL81 Slough-Paddington 25/09/2021 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL82 Hates & Harlington-Ealing Broadway 24/12/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL83 Slough-Hillingdon 24/12/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL84 Slough-Iver 24/12/2019 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL85 Rayners Lane-Stonebridge Park 11/01/2020 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL86 ML-2 Rayners Lane-Wembley Park 16/10/2021
UL87 Rayners Lane-Ealing Broadway 01/02/2020
UL88 Richmond-Earl’s Court 01/02/2020 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL89 Ilford-Stratford City 02/02/2020
UL90 Maidenhead-Slough 18/10/2020 Not in live TfL WTT set
UL91 PL-1 Northfields-Hammersmith 29/01/2022
UL92 Harrow on the Hill/Stonebridge Park-Baker Street 11/09/2021
UL93 Epping-Stratford 16/04/2021
UL94 DL-1 Acton Town-Hammersmith 08/01/2022
UL95 Lewisham-Canada Water 28/08/2021
UL96 West Ruislip-North Acton-Willesden Junction 02/10/2021

Thanks for that.

‘LO-S’ maps nicely to this weekends LO RRBs

"LONDON OVERGROUND: Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March, no service between Camden Road and Stratford. Replacement buses operate.

Replacement buses operate Service S: Camden Road - Holloway Road (for Piccadilly line) - Highbury & Islington (for Caledonian Road & Barnsbury) - Canonbury (St Paul’s Road) - Dalston Junction (for Dalston Kingsland, eastbound buses serve Stop K in Dalston Lane for this closure only) - Hackney Central - Homerton - Hackney Wick - Stratford. Last westbound buses continue beyond Camden Road on request for stations to Richmond."

Slightly unusual weekend in that a bunch of (District Line) RRB services are only to 11:00 on Saturday and then different services from 11:00 for the rest of the weekend.

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