London Underground Central Line
North Acton to West Ruislip via Northolt
18th & 19th July 1998
25th & 26th July 1998
1st & 2nd August 1998
Three weekends of major engineering work on the Central Line brought a whole fleet of buses from all over London and elsewhere to my doorstep.
The rail replacement service was run as two overlapping sections.
Service A North Acton to Northolt stopping all stations &
Service B North Acton to Northolt non-stop then all stations to West Ruislip.
Most of the best photographic opportunities were at Northolt and most pictures where taken there on the first Saturday.
The turning circle allowed the buses to spread out, but was only used by those on Service A.
As they departed for North Acton both services were held outside Northolt Station while officials shepherded passengers onto the right bus.
The cluster of hi-visibility vests round the entrance made good nearside shots dificult
but allowed plenty of time to risk life and limb going to the central reservation for an offside view.
At North Acton the vehicles were tightly penned in an industrial estate, while
at West Ruislip they parked nose to tail along the kerb.
Here's a selection of buses seen at work, sorted by company, with apologies for the ones that got away.
To quote a well known phrase "I've got better things to do with my time than stand around waiting for bŁ@@#y buses".
Had been asked by Lodon Underground not to use RM, RT or RF as on previous occasions.
A strange numbering system for their MCW MetrobusIIs finds C952LWJ as MCW552 & C954LWJ as MCW1954.
Public information from its previous operator in South Yorkshire was still displayed on one example.
Another had a patch of the former green paintwork left uncovered to save re-applying the "engine stop" notice.
The driver must have gone to a lot of trouble to get MCW514 into the very awkward looking position in the entrance to the Three Valleys Water Co.
where it was serving as a general crew base on 18th July. RMS49, a former British Airways Routemaster, being used as crew bus on Sunday 19th, has had no modifications from its first life,
right down to retaining the towing eye and the spare number plate for the trailer in its holder behind the driver's seat.
Metroline often leave a DT-class Dart in the Northolt circle as a ferry bus to save taking DLs on 90 out of service for driver changes or breaks.
I didn't notice any buses performing similar functions at Northolt on the second weekend.
On Sunday August 2nd a Blue Triangle Leyland Titan acted as crew base at Northolt.
To begin there was no sign of the recent First Group take over on any of the
MCW Mark II, Leyland Olympian & Denis Dominator - Northern Counties.
By the third weekend graphics where appearing on front and rear panels.
One red liveried bus had its Citibus arrows either side of the destination screen spectacularly replaced with
Leyland National MKI with legal lettering for Central Car Parking Systems Heathrow.
London Traveller only shown on PSV licence.
Wearing Stagecoach stripes from "Hants & Surrey" Leyland National MKI had a legal lettering notice for "Kelly's Coaches" displayed in the windscreen
City of Oxford Motor Services
Buses of all ages in Wycombe red, white & blue from Leyland National MKIIs including GUW451W, ex-Uxbridge Buses LS451 - last seen on 607
& Leyland Lynxs to Dart SLF Plaxton Pointers.
On the final weekend some all Leyland and Alexander bodied Leyland Olympians were to be found on Service A.
Ariva the Shires
Fielded East Lancs. bodied Scanias from "Aylesbury & The Vale" plus Volvo B6s from "Chiltern Rover" based at Wycombe.
They sent an Olympian for the single deck Service B on Sunday 19th,
the driver very inventively used an alternative route between South Ruislip & Northolt to avoid the 12ft(3.7m) bridge at South Ruislip.
Even some high floor coaches which can have only just fitted under that bridge were used.
White Rose Group
Ran former London Central Leyland Titans including unrepainted OHV794Y over Service A on the August weekend.
Local buses not on Rail Replacement Service
Metroline's route 90 had a couple of interesting visitors on the first weekend,
DLS1 (P101OLX) claims to be the 1000th Dart-SLF,
while DL81 (R181VLX) shows the latest revision to the Plaxton Pointer front styling.
Route 398 is a "Shoppers' Special" lightly used mainly due to unprofessional operators in the past.
The route might well benefit from renumbering to associate it more closely with Sovereign's H(for Harrow) numbered routes.
||Original photographic images and electronic derivatives © Martin G. Layton 1998