Updating London Country buses
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
• One of the many headaches which contributed to the National Bus Company's £8.1 million loss in 1970 (see page 23), was the transfer, under the Transport (London) Act 1969, of the country bus services and Green Line coach services of London Transport to NBC ownership on January 1 1970. The new company thus formed, London Country Bus Services Ltd, ran at a loss of £0,6m in 1970, after providing for known liabilities and adjusting depreciation provision to come into line with group practice.
The company inherited a fleet containing many aged AEC RT-type double-deckers and AEC Regal IV RF-type single-deckers, and a programme has been mounted to speed up the replacement of these buses, writes Derek Moses. Deliveries of a total of 138 SM-type AEC Swift single-deckers with MCW and Park Royal bodies to London Transport design has now been completed, and all future buses and coaches will be to designs approved by London Country.
As a short-term measure 90 AEC Reliances with Park Royal bodies seating 45 passengers on high standard seats (class RP) were ordered together with 90 Leyland Atlanteans with two-doorway Park Royal bodies (AN) for o-m-o double-deck services, shortly after LCBS became operational. Owing to extended delays in delivery schedules, the former buses, which were due to enter service on Green Line routes, are not expected to arrive until the end of the year, and the latter vehicles now seem unlikely to be delivered until next year. Consequently, London Country has obtained some modern buses from other NBC operators, while several orders placed by other NBC subsidiaries have been diverted to LCBS.
The first to arrive are 15 AEC Swifts which have seen service in the South Wales fleet, although they have J registrations. Three have Willowbrook dual-entrance bodies while the balance have Marshall bodies, with front entrance only, and seat 48 and 53 passengers respectively. These are to be followed by 21 AEC Swifts diverted from South Wales which are yet to be built. They will be fitted with Alexander bodies incorporating features to London Country requirements, including 45 seats similar to those for Green Line service already. ordered. All the above buses will be classified Slv1W, and will have the AEC All 505 engine, as employed on the existing SMs, although the new Swifts will all be 11 metres in length.
Two Metro-Scania single-deckers have also been ordered, at the request of the Stevenage Development Corporation, and will join five blue and yellow SM single-deckers as part of a joint SE/C /DoE experiment in Stevenage.
Turning to double-deckers, diverted vehicles not yet built will include 30 Leyland Atlanteans with MCW bodies originally intended for Midland Red, and 11 Daimler Fleetlines, with Northern Counties bodies, originally destined for Western Welsh. Some of the design features of the bodies have yet to be finalized, but the Daimlers will have Leyland 680 engines bringing them into line with the power unit of the Atlanteans already on order.
All the new and diverted vehicles will be designed for o-m-o.