Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, This page created 19th January 2023. Best on 800*600.
Arriva Southern Counties DAF DB250 ALX400
The Grays buses: 10.6m long, 4.2m highIn December 2005 Arriva Southern Counties won the tender for a new TfL route 498 from Romford to Brentford. Double-decker operation was intended, but the route had to be commenced with Dart SLF single-deckers from Grays. But four long low DLAs from Wood Green were sent to Grays in January 2006 to take over on the route. They continued to wear standard Arriva London red livery, but were renumbered as 6220-6223. They did not stay at Grays for long. In June 2006 the route reverted to single-decker operation, except for school journeys. 6220-6223 were sent to Arriva North-West, Liverpool.
The Dartford buses: 10.2m long, 4.39m highArriva Kent Thameside then in April 2006 tendered for a real substantial London route: the 160 (Catford Bridge Stn - Lee - Eltham - New Eltham - Chislehurst - Q.M.Hospital - Sidcup Station). For this thirteen of the shorter, taller DLAs were brought in from Croydon to Dartford, still in Arriva London red with cow-horns (6224-6236). Dartford was already using Wright-bodied DAFs on route 492, so inevitably the DLAs started to appear on that too.
6225 on a 160 to Catford in Chislehurst, January 2010. A rear view of 6234 in Mottingham, October 2008.Most of the Dartford DLAs stayed there until January 2012, when they were transferred across the Thames to Grays to take over the 370.
ConversionsBut at the end of 2012 the 370 was given to ex-London VLAs and the DLAs were sent for refurbishment and conversion to Arriva country configuration, with single doorways, digital displays and aquamarine/blue interurban livery. Five of the spruced-up buses were sent to Arriva Medway Towns at Maidstone, four to Arriva Kent and Surrey at Tunbridge Wells, three to Arriva Kent Thameside at Northfleet and one (6236), after a temporary loan to Garston in April 2012 was converted in December to country style and transferred to Arriva the Shires at Hemel Hempstead.
They found favour at Tunbridge Wells, which used them on a variety of its services alongside Wright-bodied DAFs. This included services to Maidstone and Sevenoaks and across the Weald of Kent, and also high capacity school routes.
6235 runs down the bank towards Ebbsfleet with a Dartford-bound 480, December 2013
Northfleet was unenthusiastic about these big buses, which were not well suited to the narrow country lanes up onto the North Downs. These, such as the 489 to New Ash Green were ideally suited to diminutive GS types or small Dart SLFs. The DLAs were more suited to the main road routes such as the 480/490.
More conversions: long onesMeanwhile further long low DLAs were coming from Arriva London for conversion to country configuration as 6241 to 6252, during 2011 and 2012. Most went initially to Arriva Medway Towns at Maidstone and Gillingham. Some later moved to Tunbridge Wells and to Arriva the Shires at Hemel Hempstead, Aylesbury and High Wycombe.
GuildfordTwo long ones went to Guildford still dual doored and in London red in 2012, and were used on the 802 Park & Ride for a few months, before going to Classic Coaches (part of T-GM) for Newcastle Metro replacement work.
New Enterprise6251 and 6252 were two short ones that underwent conversion before transfer to the New Enterprise depot at Tonbridge for private hire and contract work. That often seemed to be understudying for Arriva Medway's buses. During the Christmas shopping rush they could be seen on the 702 between the Medway towns and Bluewater. They took over the numbers vacated by the Guildford pair.
Preservation6250 went into active preservation in October 2016, and after a repaint into overall Arriva aquamarine has appeared at a variety of events.
6250 at Brooklands Spring Gathering, April 2017
Bus Stop text. histories. photo refs. London DLA. Shires DLA.