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There are many excellent books about London’s buses, but this one is unique. In one volume it lists every bus and coach, new and second-hand, bought by London Transport and London Buses from 1946 until privatisation in 1994.
At the start of the period LT was taking delivery of its last wartime buses. At the end, the first of a new generation of low-floor buses were being delivered. In between there were classic types such as the RT and the Routemaster and less successful models like the Merlin and the Fleetline. All are listed, along with unusual and short-lived vehicles including a Neoplan Skyliner, a Renault PR100 and the unusual Dartford Tunnel Thames Trader bicycle buses.
The vehicle lists are supported by informative text giving an overview of the various vehicle types – and there’s even an acknowledgement by LT in 1984 that responsibility for the problems it experienced with its Daimler Fleetlines could not all be laid at British Leyland’s door.
There are almost 150 photographs illustrating the unexpected variety of the London bus fleet over five decades. Separate sections list demonstrators which ran in London colours and show the allocation of LT’s registration blocks between 1939 and 1964.
While standardisation was one of LT’s laudable aims, as evidenced by such well-known types as the RF, RT, MB and DMS, over the postwar years to 1994 there was an incredible variety of types operated, from Leyland Titan PD1s to Dennis Lance SLFs, not forgetting the small buses of the late 1980s and early 1990s – Mercedes Benz, Metroriders from MCW and Optare, and a multiplicity of Dennis Darts.
Alongside its substantial bus fleet, LT and London Buses operated purpose-built coaches from the RFW-class AEC Regal IVs of 1952 to luxurious Leyland Tigers and DAFs in the 1990s.
While most LT buses were red, London’s bus purchases 1946-1994 identifies those delivered in green, both Country Area buses and assorted Green Line coach types including double-deck Daimler CWA6s, RT-class Regents and, finally, Routemasters.
London’s bus purchases 1946-1994 is produced by the same team to the same high quality standards as Fawndoon’s previous books, but in a slightly more compact format. If you’re interested in London’s postwar bus (and trolleybus) buying this is an invaluable reference book.