Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, This page created 17th October 2010, updated 17th January 2012. Best on 800*600.

Arriva London PDL

PDL1-15: MPDs for Edmonton

PDL5 passes Leyton Garage, Arriva started yet another numbering system with this batch of Plaxton-bodied Darts. The DDLs had arrived for Brixton in August 1998, and the DPPs had arrived from County Bus in October 1998. But now in early 2000 two types of Dart SLFs were due, Alexanders and Plaxtons. Perhaps someone thought of them as the Alexander Dart Lows and the Plaxton Dart Lows and it stuck. Whatever, ADLs and PDLs they became.

PDL1-15 were for the W15. They were mini-Pointer Darts, or MPDs, 8.8m long and single doorway, finished in red with a cream horn and yellow coach line. They replaced minibuses on the W15 (Hackney Central Stn - Temple Mills - Leytonstone Stn - Whipps Cross - Leyton - Walthamstow Central Stn - Cogan Avenue Estate), part of the swing back to real buses. Operation was from the Edmonton garage recently acquired from County Bus. PDL3 and PDL15 were mixed up at birth, their true identities only being revealed upon later examination, when the mix-up was rectified to match registration and VIN as first stated.

PDL5 passes Leyton garage, passing an earlier generation of local single-decker in TD95, Easter 2006.

PDL 8.8m drawing Their sojourn on the W15 lasted until 2005, when larger, dual-doorway PDLs displaced them. They stayed at Edmonton on other duties until 2008, when PDL1-5 began a tour of other garages as spares while garages had their own buses fitted with i-Bus equipment. After that they were redundant at Arriva London. PDL1 and 2 found new homes with Arriva the Shires, PDL1 staying red but PDL2 donning turquoise. PDL3-11 went further north, to Arriva Midlands.

PDL16-18: Shuttle buses (MPDs) for Clapton for the DHSS

DHSS PDL 8.8m drawing Three MPDs were bought for the DHSS shuttle across Westminster Bridge, between Whitehall and the Elephant & Castle, replacing the dedicated MR midibuses. They were given a distinctive green and blue livery, and operated like their predecessors from Clapton garage. PDL16 was repainted red in October 2005 and moved to Enfield. Operation of the remaining duo was shifted to Tottenham in January 2006, and the contract finished in June 2006. PDL17 and 18 were repainted red, and joined the general pool at Tottenham.

PDL19-38: 10.7m buses for Beddington Farm and Barking

PDL 8.8m drawing Twenty SLFs delivered at the end of 2000 were not MPDs but the long 10.7m dual-doorway variety. Ten went to Arriva London South at Beddington Farm for the 289 (Purley - West Croydon - Addiscombe - Elmers End), the other ten to Arriva London North East at Barking for the 173 (Goodmayes - Little Heath - Chadwell Heath - Becontree Heath - Beckton Asda). The Barking contingent were also seen on the 66 on Sundays.

These longer PDLs, both at Barking and at Beddington Farm have tended to stay put, as their length restricts which routes they can work on.

PDL36 on 173, PDL50,

Long PDL36 on 173 in October 2003, Dagenham Heathway. MPD PDL50 blinded for 450 at Cobham Open Day 2002.

PDL39-94: Many more MPDs

January and February 2001 saw the arrival of a further eleven MPDs, PDL39-49, this time for Tottenham to work the W4 (Ferry Lane Estate - Oakthorpe Park).

Yet more MPDs, PDL50-59, came in September 2001 for Thornton Heath, for the 450 (Lower Sydenham - Sydenham - Crystal Palace - Upper Norwood - Thornton Heath - West Croydon).

They were followed in October 2001 by PDL60-70 for Edmonton and for Enfield, where they went to work on the 377 (Ponders End - Enfield Town - Oakwood Station) and the 491 (Waltham Cross - Enfield Lock - Brimsdown - Ponders End - Edmonton - North Middlesex Hospital) respectively.

August 2002 saw the arrival of PDL71-81 for Beddington Farm for the 455 (Wallington - Roundshaw - Beddington - West Croydon - South Croydon - Purley - Old Lodge Lane).

In October 2002 came PDL82-94 for Enfield's 192 (Enfield Town - Edmonton Green - Northumberland Park - Tottenham Hale Stn).

The MPDs were more mobile than the longer buses - and their routes seemed more susceptible to change and retendering swaps. So although the Tottenham MPDs stayed put, the others tended to wander as the need arose. Edmonton gained some more by transfer for the 382 in July 2003, and route 379, also at Edmonton, gained some in March 2007, (from Beddington Farm). A new garage at Lea Valley was home to some on the 192 for a while. Barking also had some for the 462, from March 2007.

Many have been refurbished, and repainted in red without the cow-horn, but with a white roof. Tip-up seats were also removed at TfL's insistence, reducing their seating capacity.

Edmonton Garage: PDL86 on 173,

Edmonton Garage: trainer Cadet DWL41, DLA300 off 20, PDL75 off 382, PDL86 off W16, 18th October 2009.
PDL 9.3m drawing

PDL95-116: 9.3m for Edmonton

Larger, two-doorway SLFs were called for on Edmonton's W15 in 2005, so twenty-two 9.3m buses were bought to replace the earliest MPDs there.

PDL101-109 moved to Ash Grove in January/February 2011 for the W6.

PDL75 off 382, Edmonton Garage PDL103 off W15, Edmonton Garage

The approach to Edmonton Garage is down a narrow lane beside the River Lea. PDL75 approaches the garage off the 382, PDL103 heads out for the W15, 18th October 2009.

PDL 10.1m drawing

PDL117-123: 10.1m for Croydon

Even longer buses were bought for the 312. This southern section of what was once route 12 was further subdivided, losing the section between Peckham and Norwood Junction, which was joined onto the 197. The truncated section, between Norwood Junction and South Croydon, no longer required double-deckers, and DLAs gave way to 10.1m SLFs, worked by Croydon Garage at the southern terminus of the route..
PDL118 on 166, West Croydon PDL118 on 312, Croydon
PDL118 in Croydon, on the 166 in September 2009, and on the 312 in April 2007.

PDL124-136: 9.3m for Thornton Heath

9.3m was deemed adequate for bigger buses on Thornton Heath's route 450 in September 2006. They pushed out MPDs, which went off to act as float buses while others were refurbished, before receiving the works themselves and going to Barking for the 462 in February 2007.

But Thornton Heath did not keep them for long: in March 2007 the 450 moved to Beddington Farm, and the 9.3m PDLs moved with it. Once at Beddington Farm they inevitably began to be seen on the other Dart routes, such as the 410, 407 and 166.

PDL127 on 410, East Croydon PDL132 on 450, Crystal Palace

More Croydon routes: PDL127 on the 410 in June 2010, PDL128 on the 450 at Crystal Palace in June 2007. (Former photo by Cynthia Smith)

PDL128 on 450, West Croydon PDL128 on 450, West Croydon

On a grey Sunday morning in April 2007 PDL128 sits in the gloom of West Croydon Bus Station off the 450, showing its white roof.

PDL137-145: MPDs from Dartford

In March 2011 the nine MPDs used by Arriva Kent Thameside on route 162 (Beckenham - Bromley - Chislehurst - Eltham) were made redundant by loss of the route to Metrobus. The nine were reallocated to Arriva London North in April, and were sent to Enfield. Two (138, 140) detoured via Beddington Farm to work a temporary short duty on route 455 for a few weeks. The "new" buses were then allocated to Lea Valley (137-139) or Enfield (140-145).

Bus Stop SLF index. PDL. histories. photo refs. ADL. DDL.