Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, This page created 20th January 2023. Best on 800*600.

Arriva The Shires low-floor DAF SB250/ALX400s

Part Two: The imports from Arriva London

Arriva the Shires started taking DLAs from Arriva London quite early, the first, DLA321 when it was less than five years old. It was renumbered as 6037. Like the indigenous DAF/ALX400s it was short (10.2m) and high (4.39m). It was put to work on the 142 and 340. There was a perennial shortage of buses, especially double-deckers, at Garston, where their own DAFs were overworked. It was June 2009 before the next one transferred, DLA320 becoming 6039 at Garston.

More red ones for TfL work did not arrive until 2014, 6206 (ex DLA206) and 6207 (ex DLA180) arriving in February and June respectively. These two were renumbered 6106 and 6107 in November 2014, and lasted at Garston until July 2015.

Country work: conversions

Meanwhile Arriva had started to take DLAs from London work for country work, converting them to single doorway, reseating them down to H45/20F or H43/22F according to length. Some were 10.6m x 4.0m, others 10.2m x 4.39m. They were fitted with Arriva's national standard digital displays at front, side and rear, and received the current standard double-decker "interurban" livery: turquoise with dark blue skirt, orange coachline and cream within white cow-horns. The first few long ones (6242-6244), in 2011, were converted and refurbished at Garston but were destined for Arriva Southern Counties at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Three long ones (6248-6250), that had gone from London into store at Southend, were pulled out of store for a stint on railway replacement work at Luton and Garston between April and July 2012. They then went off to Classic Coaches / T-GM at Gateshead for Newcastle Metro substitution.

The Stratford Games in the summer of 2012 took short DLA300-307 and 309-310 for Games work, mainly internal transport at Stratford. Not allowed to wear Arriva London livery, they were given the country-style refurbishment with single doorways, digital displays and turquoise/blue paintwork. Once the Games were over they were distributed to Arriva the Shires country work, at Aylesbury (6305-7, 6309-10), and High Wycombe (6300-4). There thay lasted well, several lasting until the accountants got rid of them in April 2019.

At the end of 2012 a short one (6236), that had previously worked at Croydon, Grays and Dartford - and Garston - before conversion, came for Hemel Hempstead, where it was cordially disliked. Nevertheless it persisted there intermittently until January 2017. It was followed to Hemel Hempstead by similar 6245 in 2013. 6274 followed in January 2014, but languished in store until being brought out in October. It pottered about until October 2016, when it was dispatched south to Gillingham as a source of spares.

In March 2013 Luton got 6228, 6280, 6283 and 6289 for railway work. They received the country conversion in July 2013. 6228 went to Aylesbury, joining the 60** series there. Apart from a quick trip to High Wycombe shortly before withdrawal in April 2016 it remained at Aylesbury. 6280 went to High Wycombe, and worked there and at Aylesbury until September 2017, when it went north to Darwen in Lancashire. 6283 served at High Wycombe until April 2019. 6289 went to Aylesbury until late 2015, when it transferred to High Wycombe.

6039, which had been a red transferee to Garston back in June 2009, now got the country treatment and went to Ware in July 2013.

The autumn of 2013 saw another two imports and conversions: 6286 and 6290. 6286 went to Aylesbury for two years, and 6290 to Hemel Hempstead, where it was actually put to work on the long trunk route 500 (Watford - Hemel - Aylesbury), where it performed as well as its Aylesbury companions.

The January 2016 management reorganistion put Hemel Hempstead into Southern Counties control, and 6290 went south to Maidstone and then Tunbridge Wells.

It seems that unlike Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe and Aylesbury got decent performance from their DLAs, and were happy to send them out on longer trips, to Oxford, Milton Keynes, Luton and Watford.

Transfers from Arriva Southern Counties

ATS long low DLA Whereas The Shires had taken short tall DLAs for conversion, Southern Counties preferred the longer (10.6m) squat versions. 6242, 6243, and 6244 were converted at Garston in the spring of 2011 and went for service with Arriva Medway Towns, at Maidstone. Converted ex-London DLAs worked extensively from Gillingham, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. They were less favoured at Northfleet, perhaps because they were a tight fit on the North Downs routes once the habitat of GSs. But in November 2014 6243 and 6244 were loaned the The Shires at Aylesbury, where the had a two-month sojourn before formal transfer to Hemel Hempstead. 6243 later transferred to High Wycombe. 6242 went to High Wycombe in 2014 and worked there until retirement in 2017.

6251 - a short one - had been converted at Derby in late 2013, but went to New Enterprise at Tonbridge for private hire, schools and contract work. It was in service on The Shires 500 route in August 2016, but whether this was just a loan during the school holidays I do not know.

Their end came in January 2017.

Bus Stop part 1. part 2. histories. photo refs.