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2008March 2008 saw Norwood start new route 415, nominally with VLAs but in practice with DLAs. Norwood received extra DLAs at this time.
TrainersWith new EnviroTridents popping up everywhere, and new regulations about performance and equipment for trainer buses, the opportunity was taken to start transferring older DLAs into the training fleet. These had the advantage, for trainer purposes, of a central staircase, allowing instructors and other participants to occupy seats behind the trainee. They were treated to a white uniform with grey skirt - the buses, that is, not the drivers. There was some urgency, as the incumbent Metrobus Ms in the training fleet would fall foul of the new LEZ regulations come July. Fifteen DLAs were converted before the July deadline, most still in red livery. A change in policy was then to keep them in red, with some all-red repaints.
The IBUS fitting programme came to an end in July 2008, and the itinerant float of DLA137-148 was dispersed.
But in May 2009, just a year after the establishment of the DLA training fleet there was a change of mind at Arriva. The two in schoolgirl uniform (DLA31,37) would remain as trainers, plus DLA1. But the rest, still in red, would have the training modifications removed and be returned to public service. Their place in the training fleet would be taken by single-deckers DDL1-14 and 16, plus the existing Cadet trainers DWL30-41. DLA26-30 were the first returned to service at Enfield, to increase provision on the 279 and to allow DLA320 to transfer to Garston. The other thirteen red buses were intended to form a substitution float to cope with refurbishment and accident needs.
At the end of 2009 there was a shuffle of buses: The route 38 bendi-buses were replaced by DWs and Ts, and went elsewhere. Route 242 was transferred back to Clapton from Stamford Hill, where it had been since April 2006. Eighteen DLAs and eleven VLWs moved with it to Clapton. But the DLAs were not there for long: new DWs were gathered at Stamford Hill and moved to Clapton in January, displacing eleven of the DLAs south to Norwood, again as a temporary measure pending the arrival there of new Ts. Four others from Clapton went to Brixton. Then the whole DLA377-388 cohort would move to Thornton Heath to replace older DLAs. Similarly newer DLAs would supplant old ones at Tottenham on the 243.
RedundancyWith new buses still arriving, some to replace artics and some for new awards, the DLAs were sorted out for disposal or retention, various batches being gathered together. DLA97 - 115 were gathered into store at Stamford Hill, with DLA106-115 earmarked for Arriva North-West, but plans changed, and many of these buses went for continued service at Enfield. Instead, the very oldest DLAs, 2-8 & 10 were transfered from store at Norwood to Arriva North-West in April 2010, being dispatched to Arriva Derby to have centre doorways removed and Arriva interurban livery of blue and dark blue applied, along with digital displays all round. They were followed in May by DLA9 and DLA96-105. August saw another eight go to Arriva North West & Wales, with another five in October. Disposals to Arriva North-West & Wales continued through 2011 and into 2012, taking many of the early centre-staircase buses for service in Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire, the Wirral and North Wales. Except for the earliest transfers they received interurban blue/blue livery. They lost their centre doorways and received digital displays. Whether they received new gear ratios for their work ouside London I do not know, but some were considered the slowest buses in their new fleets, so I suspect not.
Temporary replacements for bendibuses on 73September 2011 saw the demise of the MA articulated Mercedes from the 73 at Lea Valley. Unfortunately there had been a delay with the replacement DWs for Stamford Hill. So fourteen DLAs were shipped in from Norwood, where they were otherwise redundant (being replaced in turn by VLAs from Wandsworth). In practice, however, younger VLWs from the 253 filled in the gaps on the 73 and the DLAs appeared in their place on the 253. The longer N73, up until now operated by Tottenham with DLAs, was also moved to Stamford Hill. None of them stayed long, as the new DWs poured in to Stamford Hill. Some returned south, some went to Lea Valley and others went outwith London.
Twelve DLAs, including some very early examples, moved from Wood Green to Lea Valley in September, followed by four that had gone to Stamford Hill the month before, and seven more in October. These were for the November takeover of the W3.
Moves to run down Beddington Farm (CN) as an operational base have shifted the 403 to Croydon. Although DWs are supposed to operate it, in practice, as with other Croydon routes, any double-decker that runs will work on it, so DLAs started to appear
Blue trainersIn the autumn of 2011 the dedicated trainers, that had been in white/grey, all-red or original cow-horns livery were all repainted in overall aquamarine, like the provincial buses. One, DLA32, after being repainted into trainer blue, was then transferred to Arriva Midlands, where it lost its traing gear and was returned to bus status, minus the central doorway but with interurban blue/blue livery and a digital display!
DLA37 was still busy as a trainer in central London in December 2011.