Prepared on Wordpad by Ian Smith, This page created 27th November 2022. Best on 800*600.

Further disposals

Arriva Midlands was the recipient of DLA11-20 made redundant at the turn of the year 2011-12. They went to Derby to be converted to single doorway and receive digital displays and interurban blue/blue livery, despite their gearing for London making them unsuitable for the long interurban routes they would find elsewhere.

Eight went in March 2012 to Arriva Southern Counties. They went into store at Guildford and Southend. Once someone had worked out what to do with these gift-horses they were dispersed: 6248-9 (ex DLA117-8) were loaned to Arriva the Shires at Luton-Dunstable; 6251-52 (DLA120, 121) went to Guildford; the rest went into store at Southend.

March 2012 changes

Route 20 was lost in March, when Edmonton was closed as an operational garage. Its DLAs went into store at Edmonton. But Edmonton's allocation for route 34 was moved to Lea Valley The route was formally operated by Palmers Green, with a Lea Valley contribution, but eighteen DLAs were used on weekdays out of LV, along with two of AD's buses (not DLAS). The opposite allocation was used on Sundays.

Beddington Farm (CN) was also wound down as an operational base, but kept its training school and works functions. Its DWs from the 264 moved to Croydon, so DLAs, in Croydon fashion, started to appear on it regularly. Their appearances on the 403 also markedly increased.

A corollary of the changes was that route 109 was moved from Thornton Heath to Brixton, taking its twenty-six DLAs with it, in order for Thornton Heath to accommodate the single-deckers moved from CN.

GarageRoute noRoute
LV Lea Valley34 Barnet Church - Whetstone - Arnos Grove - Edmonton - Chingford - Walthamstow Central Stn
TC264 Croydon (Katherine Street)- Mitcham Common - Tooting (St George's Hospital)
BN Brixton109 Brixton - Streatham - Streatham Common - Thornton Heath Pond - Croydon (Park Street)

The Games at Stratford

did not much impinge on the remaining DLA fleet. Ten DLAs (300-307, 309 and 310) were kept at the Edomnton store, for use on staff and athlete's transport, especially once the games were over. They were repainted Arriva blue/blue (and lost centre doorways) ready for subsequent transfer to Arriva the Shires, which happened in August.

short high blue trainer DLA

More trainers: short and tall

In September five more trainers were converted at Beddington Farm, one long one and four shorter, taller examples (DLA175-178). They were repainted blue, and had blinds replaced by driver under instruction stickers. An extra nearside mirror too, for the instructor.. They went to work from Enfield.

Continued decline

Routes 41 and 243 at Tottenham had their DLAs replaced by DWs from December 2012 onwards into 2013. Also in December/January another nine DLAs headed north to Derby for preparation for provincial work. Ten more were converted to blue trainers by Beddington Farm. Spring 2013 saw DLAs displaced from Enfield and Tottenham. Routes that had used DLAs from the very beginning now lost them. Many of the DLAs had been used there since new. Fifteen of the Tottenham contingent were placed in reserve, to be available if new buses failed to arrive on time, or failed to live up to expectations. Another five went off to Newcastle/Northumberland, to lose their centre doorways and gain digital displays and interurban livery, followed by a further five in March/April. They would help with Tyneside Metro refurbishment. Another two went off to Wardle Transport in Hanley, recently taken over by Arriva, with another four in April. Four more went to Arriva the Shires for immediate use in red on Underground replacement work. These would soon receive the "country" treatment for use at High Wycombe and Aylesbury. Ten more went to join the bendi-buses in store at Edmonton. So DLAs were definitely an endangered species in North London.

South of the river they soldiered on, sharing duties with DWs and Ts at Croydon on almost all routes.

DLA222 and 217 in Croydon garage, March 2013 DLA223 passes on 60 Croydon garage, March 2013

March 2013 at Croydon: DLA222 and 217 take a Sunday rest in the garage. Outside, DLA223 heads for OLd Coulsdon on the 60

DLA235 leaves TC on 412 DLA235 at Selsdon on 412

DLA35 leaves Croydon garage for a turn on the 412 and is seen later at Selsdon.

The summer of 2013 saw further inroads into DLA allocations. Eight lingered on at Tottenham on the 243, awaiting replacements. Five remained at Enfield on the 317. Croydon lost almost all by the end of September. Norwood and Brixton were the only large allocations of the mid-range DLAs. The newer DLAs with cleaner Euro3 engines were clustered at Brixton, Thornton Heath and Lea Valley. Efforts by Arriva London to foist the redundant buses off into the provinces were floundering - the DLAs were fairly universally disliked, even when repainted, refurbished and smartened up with digital displays (not all of which worked). Nevertheless a few went to Arriva the Shires, to be used in London condition on railway replacement duties at Aylesbury, before their turn came for retreatment. Arriva Kent Thameside, having received a few at Northfleet back in November, only reluctantly put them into service in the summer.

Early 2014

The Lea Valley site was required by the National Grid for a new electricity sub-station, so preparations were made to shift its allocation including the DLAs for the 34 to be moved back to a re-opened Edmonton garage. That of course meant clearing Edmonton of the vast number of withdrawn buses stored there, including plenty of DLAs. Some of the DLAs from Lea Valley moved to Palmers Green for the 34, 102 and 329. Many DLAs were withdrawn from Lea Valley and Brixton, the latter replaced by new hybrid HVs.

In May 43 DLAS were gathered in from store, mainly at Edmonton and Barking, to a new storage site at Borehamwood. Another fourteen went in June. Some DLAS went to Arriva the Shires and Arriva Souithern Counties for spares. There was by now no appetite for taking on ex-London DLAs in the provinces, where they were also being withdrawn or sold. In Arriva London South Croydon lost its last two DLAs in June. Norwood still had twelve, Brixton had eight, Thornton Heath hung on to one.

In October a dozen of the buses at Borehamwood were sent for scrap. Brixton continued to lose DLAs, and Palmers Green shed all its allocation of them in November. The arrival of Borisbuses at Brixton on route 137 saw off the Brixton DLAs, which went quickly to Edmonton, then Borehamwood then Lancashire.

2915: the end cometh

The remaining DLAs withered away during 2015, in clumps or singly. The last few were sent to Barking (DX) for use on school route 678, where they performed with route numbers on sheets of paper. So it was with a whimper rather than a bang that this once central class passed on, in December 2015. I say passed on because during 2015 swarms of them were sold to Lister PVS in Bolton, whence many were sold to independent operators small and large, the latter including Bullocks of Manchester and Tyrers of Adlington (near Blackpool). Meanwhile other Arriva companies around England were busy shedding them too. In London there was still a sizeable number of trainers.

2016: Not resurrection: the Garston saga.

In 2016 Arriva went through one of its periodic reorganisations, rather like reallocating deck-chairs on the Titanic. Central office decreed that all TfL operations should be deemed as belonging to Arriva London, not the Shires or Southern Counties. This power grab would leave parts of the old Country Area unviable, so Arriva the Shires was divided up between Arriva Midlands and Arriva Southern Counties for management purposes. This shifted the red Dartford routes into London control, and meant that Garston garage was operating buses under two separate managements. The 'DLA's at Garston for TfL work became the property of Arriva London, who renumbered them as DLAs in the DLA6** series. Histories for these I have left with the Arriva the Shires histories.


Preservation of the early "cornflakes boxes" was not a popular option. Enthusiasm was more for the remaining Routemasters. But a few have gone into preservation, of both red and trainer blue varieties. These include DLA1, DLA23, DLA147, DLA177, DLA225 (Kent & Sussex 6250), DLA288.

Bus Stop 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. histories. photo refs.