In recent years there have been several new local routes introduced in Lower Edmonton as well as several changes to older established route numbers that I remember from my youth that now form useful services for Lower Edmonton. I haven't sampled the newer local ones that take lesser roads and have hail and ride sections but the major north south routes are substantially as I always remember them, though what happens at the ends of them has varied a bit over the years.
Fortunately bus maps fill the the gaps in my knowledge and experience and I particularly recommend Mike Harris' The Greater London Bus Map (htttp://www.busmap.org/) that he sells for charity. Although not an official map it seems Transport For London are supportive of his work and also being updated three times a year it can be more reliable than many official maps. For the finer details to support and add to my recollections I must give a lot of credit to Ian Armstrong's London Bus Routes (http://www.londonbuses.co.uk/). If you want to be absolutely bang up to date with current operations Robert Munster's London Bus Routes (http://www.londonbusroutes.net/) might be for you and the photo gallery section has some chatty comments on some of the local routes. I should also credit Matthew Wharmby (http://www.londonbuspage.com/) for allowing me to use some of his photos and providing me with a bus enthusiast's view on the W8 saga.
As I am now intending to make this page cover the period from c. 1970 onwards there may be withdrawn routes I have overlooked. Getting the information on these routes shouldn't be a problem once I know what I am looking for so if you think I've missed any please let me know.
BUS ROUTES(Source: The Greater London Bus Map — Nov. 2003)
102 EDMONTON GREEN — BRENT CROSS
Edmonton Green Station, Edmonton, Silver Street, Palmers Green, Bounds Green, Durnsford Road, Muswell Hill Broadway, Fortis Green, East Finchley, Falloden Way, Golders Green Station, The Vale, Pennine Drive, North Cricklewood, Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
144 EDMONTON GREEN — MUSWELL HILL BROADWAY
Edmonton Green Station, Edmonton, Silver Street, Lordship Lane, Wood Green, Turnpike Lane, Hornsey, Priory Road, Alexandra Park, Muswell Hill Broadway.
149 EDMONTON GREEN — LONDON BRIDGE
Edmonton Green Station, Edmonton, Tottenham, Seven Sisters, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Dalston, Shoreditch, Liverpool Street Station, Monument, London Bridge Station.
191 BRIMSDOWN — EDMONTON GREEN
Brimsdown Station, Bell Lane, Enfield Highway, Carterhatch, Forty Hill, Chase Side, Enfield Town, Ponders End, Alma Road Estate, Nightingale Road, Edmonton Green Station.
192 ENFIELD TOWN — TOTTENHAM HALE
Enfield Town, Lincoln Road, Bush Hill Park, Bury Street, Edmonton Green, Montagu Road, Lea Valley Tesco, Watermead Way, Tottenham Hale Station.
217 TURNPIKE LANE — WALTHAM CROSS
Turnpike Lane Station, Westbury Avenue, Edmonton (Cambridge), Great Cambridge Road, Carterhatch (Halfway House), Bullsmoor Lane, Waltham Cross.
231 TURNPIKE LANE — ENFIELD CHASE
Turnpike Lane Station, Westbury Avenue, Edmonton (Cambridge), Great Cambridge Road, Enfield Town, Enfield Chase Station.
259 KING'S CROSS — EDMONTON GREEN
King's Cross Station, Caledonian Road, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Seven Sisters, Tottenham, Edmonton Green Station
279 HOLLOWAY — WALTHAM CROSS
Manor House, Seven Sisters, Tottenham, Edmonton, Ponders End, Enfield Highway, Waltham Cross.
329 TURNPIKE LANE — ENFIELD TOWN
Turnpike Lane Station, Wood Green, Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill, Enfield Town.
349 PONDERS END — STOKE NEWINGTON
Ponders End Garage, Edmonton, Tottenham, Seven Sisters, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington.
491 WALTHAM CROSS — NORTH MIDDLESEX HOSPITAL
Waltham Cross, Mollison Avenue, Enfield Island Village, Enfield Lock, Brimsdown, Ponders End, Galliard Road, Bury Street, Edmonton, North Middlesex Hospital (Monday to Saturday only).
616 WINCHMORE HILL — EDMONTON GREEN (SCHOOL BUS)
Winchmore Hill (Old Park Ridings), Highlands Village, Southgate, Palmers Green, Edmonton (Cambridge), Great Cambridge Road, Church Street, Edmonton Green Station (Schoolday journeys).
617 TURNPIKE LANE — ST IGNATIUS (SCHOOL BUS)
Turnpike Lane Station, Westbury Avenue, Edmonton (Cambridge), Great Cambridge Road, Carterhatch (Halfway House), Turkey Street (St Ignatius College) (Schoolday journeys).
629 WOOD GREEN — ST IGNATIUS (SCHOOL BUS)
Wood Green Station, Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill, Enfield Town, Carterhatch (Halfway House), Turkey Street (St Ignatius College) (Schoolday journeys).
N29 TRAFALGAR SQUARE — PONDERS END (NIGHT BUS)
Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross Road, Tottenham Court Road, Mornington Crescent, Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Harringay, Turnpike Lane Station, Wood Green, Palmers Green,Winchmore Hill, Enfield Town, Ponders End Garage.
N279 VICTORIA — WALTHAM CROSS (NIGHT BUS)
Victoria Station, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross Road, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, King's Cross, Camden Town, Holloway, Finsbury Park, Manor House, Seven Sisters, Tottenham, Edmonton, Ponders End, Enfield Highway, Waltham Cross.
W6 SOUTHGATE — EDMONTON GREEN
Southgate Station, Palmers Green, Hedge Lane, Edmonton (Cambridge), Haselbury Road, Edmonton Green Station.
W8 LEE VALLEY LEISURE CENTRE — CHASE FARM HOSPITAL
Lee Valley Leisure Centre, Edmonton Green, Church Street, Enfield Town, Gordon Hill, Chase Farm Hospital.
The above list does not include the 'Mobility Buses'.
Perhaps the most significant bus routes to Lower Edmonton are the 149, 259 and 279 which run parallel to the railway down the high road to Seven Sisters. Extremely useful when you are on, or need, the Victoria Line and the trains aren't running. I should now add the new route 349 to that list.
Until April 2004, the 149 started at Enfield Garage (Ponders End) and ran down the A1010/A10 via Liverpool Street to London Bridge. This route is a little shorter than many may remember it as it used to run from Edmonton Tramway Avenue (long since closed) down to Liverpool Street and then south of the river via Waterloo to Victoria. This route seems to be have been regarded as one of the worst performing routes in London which slightly surprises me and from April 2004 was switched to the Citaro articulated buses and cut back to Edmonton Green with the 349 operating an overlapping service from Ponders End to Stoke Newington.
Aside from demonstrating my skill at getting even photos of stationary buses blurred with an autofocus camera, the photo above left shows a 149 standing on New Road having apparently been terminated at Park Road. I should imagine this a one-off rather than a timetabled movement. The photo in the centre shows a 149 passing the junction with Bury Street southbound. The 149 on the right was being towed south along the A10 by a breakdown truck.
The launch of the new services coincided with the closure of the main southbound stop at Edmonton Green Station and so all the buses, except those going via Church Street, now operate from the stop just before the New Road junction which previously was just a termination point. The terminating 149 services use Plevna Road and Monmouth Road and when I first saw them pulled up at the stop by the North Square. This stop seems to have had all mention of the service removed but it does have a ticket machine (the 149 is a pay before boarding service). However on a walk around in mid-May I came across a new bus stop and stand on Plevna Road outside the leisure centre and a bus was waiting there. I though this seemed unlikely to be sufficient and the next day I spotted that there were five other long bus stands marked out further down the road. The buses are no longer stopping by the North Square.
From 10th July 2004 the main bus station closes and the area north of The Green effectively replaces it and the 149 will be starting from there after all. So the ticket machine was indeed needed. Why they couldn't get that ready to start with is beyond me.
The buses are based at Edmonton Garage on the Angel Road so you can expect to see a few 'Not in service' units around that may sail past you. Limited observations suggest that rather than going round to Plevna Road, those units that are going to the garage are calling at the 'Police Station' stop, and quite possibly the one by the railway station, and then running around the roundabout and heading off straight down Fore Street to The Angel. Unfortunately because of their length they obstruct the pedestrian crossing when waiting to join the roundabout.
Some of the other bus stops have been relocated in order to handle the longer buses. Please see the Bus Stops pages for more information. However two of particular note are those on the boundary which have been labelled as 'Park Road' for a few years (this hasn't been changed with the relocation). The southbound stop has been relocated to outside the Methodist Church about five yards short of the road junction. This seems rather inappropriate as it must surely obstruct the view of oncoming traffic from drivers. As the photo above left shows, there is room enough for the longer buses at the old stop (the one shown actually missed the new stop and pulled up short of the old one). The southbound stop is now outside the former MK Electric offices. The two earlier photos showed the bus at a temporary stop but the one above (centre left) shows it pulled up at what will be the permanent stop and as can be seen it is slap bang opposite the junction. This seems a little odd too.
The 349 service seems a little odd. Was it really impossible to run the articulated buses to and from Ponders End and why Stoke Newington as the terminus?
The 279 runs from Waltham Cross to Manor House (it was Holloway until 16th October 2004), duplicating the 149 to Seven Sisters before disappearing off down the Seven Sisters Road. I remember it as Hammond Street to Smithfield. In the sixties and up until 1971 there was a 279A service from Flamstead End to Tottenham Hale and the number was later reused for a Sunday bus service for some time.
The photo on the right above is indeed the back of a 279 but it is on Pickett's Lock Lane on an interesting diversion! The A1055 Meridian Way was being used as a long diversion around Ponders End high street.
The 259 runs from Edmonton Green alongside the 149 and 279 to Seven Sisters then disappears down the Seven Sisters Road to end up at King's Cross. Some may remember how it used to creep a little further to Holborn Circus using Gray's Inn Road on the return leg only and how the northern terminus has been as far as Hammond Street over the years. I always thought of it as the poor relation in terms of service compared to the others but things have changed and from 16th October 2004 the 259 has had an improved frequency whereas the 279, whose route it already completely overlapped south of Edmonton Green, has been cut back and reduced in frequency.
The 259 runs into the bus station from the south and terminates and stands at the first stop (photo above left). For the return journey the buses have to run out of the station and back in from the north. Some drivers turn left out of the station and run all the way around the roundabout and then turn back in but another way of doing it is to run up to the double junction with New Road and use it to turn straight around (photos right). From 10th July 2004 the 259 will be terminating at a stop in New Road north of The Green, where there are also stands, and starting at the long established stop in the Hertford Road.
As trolleybus replacement routes, the 149, 259 and 279 would all have been initially allocated the classic Routemaster buses and all were still using them in 1970. The 259 was the first to change in 1973. I did read it went straight to one man operation but a recent check of a reliable source suggests it actually changed in 1978 (it is possible this was the same source I'd read before but with corrected information). The 149 changed to the same style of bus in 1974 retaining a conductor. In 1980 it was changed to the RCL type which was a coach variant of the longer bodied Routemaster, which means among other things that it had an enclosed platform rather than being open. It went back to the standard RM Routemaster in 1984 until in 1987 it joined the 279, which had kept its RM allocation since day one, in going to one man operation.
As of February 2003 the 149 and 279 were run by Arriva using a mix of type DLA and DLP buses and the odd Metrobus and I speculated that the older buses will disappear as the newer ones become available. As of August 2003 it seemed this speculation was valid. The 149 actually had DLA only and the 279 both types (the occasional Metrobus was probably just a fleet spare). The 259 was being run by First using the type TN but I read that at the end of March 2003 it would be switched to type VTL. I hadn't been paying too close attention but my feeling is that if this did happen then it was a gradual change. However come mid-June every 259 I saw was a VTL.
In April 2004 the 149 was switched to Arriva's type MA articulated buses. The 349 has a fleet of short DLA buses plus a couple of VLW types.
In November 2004 the occasional TN was seen on the 259 with the main fleet seemingly having been reclassified from VTL to VNL (the old lettering is visible).
There are three more buses that serve the high road but deviate from the north-south outside of town, the 191, the 144 and the 102.
I always thought of the 191 as the irritating bus that went around Nightingale Road (above left) and Bounces Road (centre left) instead of the Hertford Road, though of course residents of those roads would find it kind of handy. It went from Enfield one end to Chingford the other. The ends shifted in the early and mid 1980s and now it runs from Brimsdown via Carterhatch Lane to Enfield, before resuming its old ways and now terminating at Edmonton Green.
Up until April 2004 (but starting from I know not when), the bus generally terminated at the stop on The Broadway between the bus station and the New Road junction but started in the main bus station. I say generally because I sometimes saw them terminating in the station at the same place as the 259. They stood on the New Road (centre right) before turning onto the Hertford Road (right) and running round to the south of the station to start their journey.
The alighting stop temporarily became the main southbound stop in April 2004 and the 191 ran into the bus station from the north to terminate at the now disused stop (above left) before running on to New Road to stand. From 10th July 2004 the bus station closed for rebuilding and the present arrangement is that the bus terminates north of The Green outside the Old Circus pub, and then runs around the roundabout to stand more or less opposite Monmouth Road just before the bus stop where it starts it's journey.
As a longer established service than those mentioned previously, the 191 was using the old RT style bus in the early 1970s and then went to one man operation in 1974. In 1996 it switched to single deck operation though following a change of operator in 1998 there was also apparently one double deck bus allocated. Since May 2001 the service has been returned to full double deck operation and is operated by First using type TN buses (although in early 2003 I have seen the occasional type DM and DML single deck bus in use). Many of the buses seem to carry advertising on the back like those shown above. This seems to be something they have taken over from the 259 which, as an earlier photo shows, also often had advertising until the fleet was replaced.
I remember the 144 as a bus that ran along the North Circular and went to Ilford one way and Turnpike Lane and Muswell Hill Broadway the other. The 144A was introduced in 1982 and became a more popular service. It was renumbered to the 144 in 1994, the old route having become the 444 in 1991. It runs from Edmonton Green via the North Circular Road and Lordship Lane and enters Wood Green High Road by Wood Green station which is also on the Piccadilly Line. It then continues to Turnpike Lane and Muswell Hill Broadway as the original route did.
At the same time it was renumbered to the 144, the route became one of the first five to experiment with single deck low floor buses. However despite an increased frequency the switch from double deckers was apparently not a success on this busy route and it was switched back as soon as possible. Unfortunately as it was not deemed politic to switch back to a standard deck height it had to wait for the first low floor double deckers to come into service in 1998. As of February 2003 it is being operated by Arriva using type DLA buses.
The 102 bus was always one I remembered as going along the North Circular (in fact it was a Chingford to Golders Green service). It was diverted to start from Edmonton Green in 1988 and now goes beyond Golders Green to Brent Cross.
The 102 usually ran around the roundabout to terminate at the stop between the bus station and New Road (above left) and then used New Road for standing (another blurred above right) before running into the bus station from the north for the return leg (above right). Once or twice though I have seen them running around like a 144 and terminating in the north side of the station. The alighting stop became the main southbound stop in late April 2004 and the 102 now terminates at a new alighting point on the opposite side of the road before running round the roundabout to New Road.
As of February 2003 the service is operated by Arriva, this time using their type VLW.
From 10th July 2004 both the 102 and 144 will be terminating in Plevna Road next to the leisure centre and starting from the stop north of The Green.
Further west, the A10 Great Cambridge Road is served by the 217 and 231 which run from Turnpike Lane and take the A10 through Edmonton. Turnpike Lane is on the Piccadilly Line so this is also useful to know about (and also handy to get to Turnpike Lane/Wood Green from Edmonton of course).
The 231 turns west at the A110 Southbury Road to go to Enfield Chase via Enfield Town. It used to loop back round and trot off to Carterhatch or Brimsdown but that part of the route was cut back as it was duplicated by the 191 and it was considered to be over serviced. The service had been using single deck buses for a number of years except for one return trip on school days that ran to Southbury Road in the morning and from Southbury Road in the afternoon and which presumably helped handle the extra load for Kingsmead School. In June 2003 the route was taken over by a new allocation of type TP low floor double deckers and the school journey was dropped.
The 217 used to go to Upshire but has now settled on Waltham Cross and like the 231 was served by single deck buses from 1998 until switching back to double deckers (type TP) in June 2003 and getting some extra school journeys. The double deckers on both routes, which are both operated by Metroline, were long overdue in my book as the services were well used and around the ends of the school days were very overcrowded.
Since mid-2003 the fleet for the 125 has been transferred to Ponders End garage on Southbury Road. The route was to be extended there but that didn't happen after all. This has resulted in a number of buses running via the Cambridge Road to and from their terminus in Winchmore Hill with some using Bury Street West and, presumably, the others using Chuch Street. So now when you see a bus coming it will often be an out of service one.
As I include the area between Church Street and Bury Street West as Lower Edmonton on this site, I should include the 329 bus which runs from Enfield Town to Turnpike Lane and takes in Village Road and Ridge Avenue. This overlaps with and replaces the 29 which used to run from Enfield Town but now starts at Palmers Green and runs to Trafalgar Square. The 29 seemed to me like it had been running forever but in fact only started running through Winchmore Hill to Enfield Town in 1977. Prior to that the Enfield Town to Turnpike Lane service had been provided by the 123 route to Ilford since 1968.
The W8 (often called the 'Wally 8' locally for no immediately obvious reason) is a good bus to know as it will get you to Enfield Town (and beyond to Chase Farm Hospital) one way and Lee Valley Leisure Centre (Pickett's Lock) the other using Church Street and Bounces Road. The W8 was a direct replacement for the 128 bus in 1969 with the W meaning it was a flat fare route and initially only ran to The Green. It was extended to Pickett's Lock in 1974. This additional service was initiallly only outside the peaks but an evening peak service was in place by 1976. The morning peak service had to wait until 1992.
From 1992 the service was run from Potters Bar Garage and as the buses would often be running empty to the garage to change drivers anyway and there was no service on route 313 they decided to make Potters Bar the terminal on a Sunday. This was later extended to services during the rest of the week and this stayed the case until 1998 when another company took over the contract. As of February 2003 the service was operated by First using mostly type TN though there was at least one single deck DML in use. However in March it was noticeable that the fleet allocation had turned into a collection of allsorts as I saw at least one yellow painted bus and other buses with Dennis Arrow (above left) and Daimler (above right) chassis running the route. The local press suggested it could be because all the new buses were being poured into central London for the service increases associated with the congestion charge. If First have any routes in that area then that is quite possible though I wonder if it has more to do with their having lost the contract to run the route. First claimed the older buses were just the fleet engineering spares but it seems a remarkable coincidence that they should all appear at once on the one route.
The new contract, which took effect from 26th July 2003, is with Metroline based at Potters Bar and there is a new fleet of TP double deck buses and a much improved frequency of 8 minutes during the day and 12 minutes in the evenings and on Sundays. The Metroline TP is nominally the same bus as the First TN (i.e. same combination of Dennis Trident chassis and Plaxton President body) but has four years more development which includes a new engine to meet new emissions standards and a new coil suspension. This means that whereas the TN was regarded as noisy, a rough ride and generally a heap of junk, the TP has been well received. Unfortunately it also meant that when they did a test run the bus scraped the underside of the railway bridge on Church Street. It is believed by bus enthusiasts that the problem is caused by the different suspension. Although a local newspaper refers to a 'mistake' by the manufacturers in making the bus two inches too big I suspect it isn't quite so straight forward as they make it sound. Anyway the end result is that the service is being operated by type DLD and DML single deckers temporarily (pictures above) and Church Street is being closed for three weekends in August 2003 to drop the level of the road by five inches at a cost of some £100,000. The bill is apparently being picked up by Transport For London but it would be nice to think the operating company or the manufacturers were bearing part of the cost as at the end of the day they have to bear responsibility.
The work was complete on schedule and the TP buses were running in September 2003. I've had a look to see if I can see the differences in the road. It seems to me that about twenty yards or so west of the railway bridge the road drops down by something like three or four inches. You can see this by watching cars dip down as they cross this point and also by looking at the kerb as up until that point it is only about an inch high. This dip allows the road to approach the bridge on a shallower incline but by the time it gets to the pedestrian crossing under the bridge the surface is at the original level, if not slightly higher. If you look at the pavement you can see that it drops by about three courses of bricks over the width of the bridge so there was quite an incline. The camber of the road was never particularly great but it seems to me that this has been flattened out too and this could help with another couple of inches clearance.
Over the last few years there have been a number of routes introduced (with some already replaced) that are served by smaller single deck buses that dart around all over the place and bring bus services to lesser roads using 'hail and ride' sections rather than bus stops. There always seems to be swarms of them around but I've never used them and I'm told just like their bigger brethren there is never one when you want one.
The 192 was introduced in 1995 and runs from Enfield Town to Tottenham Hale (having been extended from Tesco to Tottenham Hale in 2001 to replace part of the old 363 route). The route takes in Wellington Road in Bush Hill Park and Bury Street (left two photos), Edmonton Green (centre right), Plevna Road (right) and Town Road in Edmonton.
It seems the service must have become pretty popular as it used to run four buses an hour during the day and two in the evenings and on Sundays. However when the new contract for the route started in November 2002 the frequency was increased by 50% during the day to six buses an hour, and by 100% to four buses an hour for the rest of the time. The contract also required low floor buses so there is now a new fleet of identical buses (Arriva's type PDL) instead of the allsorts that previously ran the service (such as DRN115 in the photo above left).
The 491 was introduced in 2001 taking over some otherwise unduplicated parts of the 363 and 517 routes (the 517 didn't actually enter Lower Edmonton). It runs from the North Middlesex Hospital and along Fore Street to Edmonton Green, and then via Hertford Road (right), Bury Street (centre) and notably Galliard Road (left) before going to Waltham Cross via the Brimsdown and Enfield Lock area.
As I used to live about a hundred yards or so away from where the photo on the above left was taken I can vouch for what a handy route this must be, especially going southbound. Having said that, it isn't a particularly frequent route with only a 30 minute service and it doesn't run on Sundays.
It seems there have been plans to reroute the 491 via Victoria Road rather than Fore Street though these may not be going ahead. I would have thought it would be more interesting to change the route from Galliard Road to The Green via WInchester Road or Latymer Road and Church Street.
The last bus to note is the W6 which goes from Edmonton Green to Southgate using Church Street,Victoria Road, Northern Avenue and Haselbury Road through Lower Edmonton. As of late 2003 it is operated by First using their type DM single decker.
Until late April 2004 the bus terminated at the alighting only stand between the bus station and the New Road junction but it now runs into the bus station from the north end and terminates at the now disused stop at the south end. It then runs around onto New Road to stand (left). It then turns into the Hertford Road (right) and runs into the station from the north and starts its journey at the same stop as the W8.
From 10th July 2004 it will terminate with the 259 on New Road north of The Green and it will start from a new stop just south of Monmouth Road which will also be used by the W8 and 192.
The list of bus routes above includes the 616, 617 and 629 which are 'school buses'. There was an extra double deck journey on the 231 when it was operated by single deckers and it wouldn't surprise me if the 191 did something similar when it had just one double decker allocated. These services run on school days only and typically run one way in the morrning and the other way in the evening and may only have a couple of runs timetabled. They are available for any passengers to use should they so wish.
The photo shows a 629 on the A10 approaching Church Street which suggests it is perhaps just making a dead journey from the garage to get in position. It does rather look like it has passengers though.
The 363 was a service from Tottenham Hale to Hammond Street going via Tesco at Angel Road, Montagu Road, Pickett's Lock Lane (and the Lee Valley Leisure Centre), Bounces Road, Bury Street and Galliard Road. It then took a route straight up the high road. It seemed to appear and disappear pretty quickly but in fact it and the 517 were introduced around 1995 and ran until 2001. The 491 has taken over the route to Waltham Cross but wanders off to Brimsdown and Enfield Lock as the 517 once did and an extended 192 takes most of the remainder.
The76 bus now runs from Waterloo to Tottenham Garage but during the 1970s (until 1978) the peak hours service was from Westminster (via Waterloo) to Brimsdown so it would have been seen along the high road.
One bus that came and went very quickly was the 34A. This was a Mon. – Fri. peak hours and Sat. shopping hours service from Park Road to Walthamstow Central. It lasted from just a year from November 1988 to November 1989.
Another route that might be familiar to some readers is the 359 which appeared and disappeared a good few years back without my really knowing much about it. At some stage I came up with the story that for a while the 279 was terminated at Enfield Garage and the route to Hammond Street was taken over by the 259. Then the Edmonton Green to Hammond Street part of the 259 route was taken over by the 359 before the 279 took it back again. However checking Ian Armstrong's site I can now only see the 279 being cut back to Waltham Cross and it never returned to Hammond Street so the story doesn't seem quite right.
Anyway it definitely would have started running around the end of 1986 and I didn't think it would have lasted too long though as the photo I have is dated 1990 it would seem I was wrong to think that.
In the text above, I have mentioned various bus types using their fleet number prefixes. This is largely as a nod to any passing bus enthusiasts but also to show that there are lots of different buses about these days. Buses are a marriage of a chassis and a body and the bus companies allocate different codes to each different bus they operate. Sometimes they choose the same code for the same type of bus and sometimes different. They may also choose the same code for different buses. There may be variations within a bus type too. For example I believe Arriva's type DLA has long and short wheelbase versions.
There are a number of chassis manufacturers but the three most common on local buses are DAF, Dennis and Volvo. The Dennis Dart chassis has a large market share for single deckers and their Trident double deck chassis is also very popular. Chassis come in various lengths but bus enthusiasts don't seem entirely in agreement about the actual measurements to quote so I am certainly not going to attempt it.
There are again a number of body manufacturers with four being particularly common locally. Plaxton (formerly Northern Counties) feature heavily with their Pointer single deck body and their President double decker, the Alexander ALX400 and Wright Eclipse Gemini double deckers are also common, and the Marshall Capital single deck is also seen. Plaxton, Alexander and Dennis became part of TransBus International and theTransBus branding was featuring more on later builds. However Transbus have now bitten the dust and I believe Alexander now own Dennis and Plaxton are pulling out of the bus market. Although bodies may be nominally the same, there are various internal layouts that can be ordered and on top of that final fitting out can be handled by third parties.
The body will also be affected by the chassis they are mounted on. For example the President body on the Trident chassis has a mountain to climb to get to the back seats including some rear facing ones. On the Volvo chassis the lower floor to the rear of the centre doors is all raised up to the same height and again there are rear facing seats but it feels safer (though still not ideal access for the infirm). On the DAF chassis there are no rear facing seats and there are rows of sideways seats and everything feels roomier and less precarious.
Just to show a few combinations, here is a list of the bus types typically seen around town in late April 2004 (you may see others but they tend to be spares used to cover maintenance).
|DLA||Arriva||144, 279, 349||DAF DB250LF||Alexander ALX400|
|DLP||Arriva||279||DAF DB250LF||Plaxton President|
|DM||First||W6||Dennis Dart||Marshall Capital|
|MA||Arriva||149||Mercedes Benz Citaro G|
|PDL||Arriva||192, 491||Dennis Dart||Plaxton Pointer|
|TN||First||191||Dennis Trident||Plaxton President|
|TP||Metroline||217, 231, W8||Dennis Trident||Plaxton President|
|VLW||Arriva||102, 349||Volvo B7TL||Wright Eclipse Gemini|
|VNL||First||259||Volvo B7TL||Plaxton President|
Most of the buses you will see around are fairly new, perhaps five years old at the very most. As the contract for each route is renewed there is a requirement to use low floor buses and all of the local routes now have these. The only older buses you might see would be on school runs.
One bus that isn't low floor but was occasionally seen locally as late as 2004 was the MCW Metrobus. This was largely phased out during 2003 but still appeared as a fleet spare. They were first built somewhere around 1978 I believe but continued in production for quite some time. The W8 had some older buses for a while in early 2003. The Dennis Arrow they used was built between 1996 and 1998 so isn't so ancient, but I also saw at least one Leyland Olympian, and as it had Daimler badges I should imagine it was quite an early one. The Olympian continued in production up to 2000 though since 1986 it had been a Volvo Olympian as they took over the company. Volvo buses are made in Sweden and DAF in Holland so that only leaves Dennis as a major British chassis manufacturer. However even Dennis buy in a lot of standard parts.
It is unlikely that any older buses will be seen in service now as in mid-2004 the rules were changed so that if a non-low floor bus appeared on a route contracted for low floor buses it would be treated as not having been run and the operating company would be penalised. The slight absurdity is that the operating companies can replace a double decker with a single decker as long as it has a low floor and that would be OK.