Blue Triangle DN, DP Dart SLFs
DN181-188Blue Triangle took over operation of route 368 (Barking - Chadwell Heath) in March 2001, from Stagecoach East London (who had used PD step-entrance Darts). Blue Triangle bought eight new Caetano-bodied Dart SLFs to work it, using their Rainham base.
The Darts were 11.0m dual-doored Darts, in red with cream trim-lines. Some were named. DN181 was given special treatment, with fleetname, bus number and triangle shading in gold rather than cream.
Occasionally at weekends they would be used for Railway Replacement work, their place on the 368 being taken by Tridents.
In May 2006 the batch was loaned by Armchair (Metroline) for their take-up of route 493 (Richmond -Wimbledon - Tooting). At the end of that loan, in October 2006, the whole batch was loaned by Transdev (London United) for the seasonal contract on the k50 Park & Ride (Chessington WoA - Kingston). That ended in January 2007, but some of the batch were retained by London United to act as a float at Hounslow while native Darts were refurbished.
DN181 and DN188 did go back at the end of January, to be used on new route 11 (old 389) (Basildon - Corringham - Orsett, Aveley - Purfleet)). These two were switched onto the 66 in March, releasing a pair of DPs for the new 362 (The 11 was covered by Ms or Ts).
DN182, 183 and 186 returned in June, leaving 184, 185 and 187 still on hire to London United during i-Bus fitting. DN183 and DN186 promptly went on hire to Eastbourne Buses.
At the sale of the company by Roger Wright to the Go-Ahead group in June 2007 the DNs were retained by him as a hire fleet, and remained on loan where they were: i.e. DN181, 182 and 188 were on loan to the new Blue Triangle, 183 and 186 were at Eastbourne, 184, 185 and 187 at London United. The Eastbourne pair returned in August. The last three were returned to The London Bus Company (as it was now known) in May 2009.
DP189-192In January 2003 route 372 (Hornchurch - Rainham - Aveley - Lakeside) acquired four new Dart SLFs. DP189-192 were 10.7m single-doorway Plaxtons (well actually Transbus), also in a red with cream livery.
DP192 was converted to dual-doorway in May 2006. All four were taken over by Go-Ahead London in June 2007. The single doorway trio were used on a long-term contract ferrying workers in the Olympic Park near Stratford, starting in April 2009. All three were sold in November.
DP192 held on, but became itinerant, as just another dual-doorway Dart in Go-Ahead's fleet.
It spent time at Camberwell on the P5 and 360, prior to the arrival of EnviroDarts,
then helped out at New Cross, which was having problems with inherited Cadets on the 108.
It was then included with DP193-205 in Go-Ahead's refurbishement for the 170 (see below).
DP193-205DP193-204 arrived late in September 2003 for route 66 (Romford Stn - Little Heath - Newbury Park - Gants Hill - Redbridge - Wanstead - Leytonstone). They were late arriving, and the other Darts, plus six hired Darts plus four loaned Excels from East Thames Buses had to stand in until they arrived. Double-deckers worked the 368 instead of the DN Darts.
The new Darts were double-doorway 10.7m Pointer2s, seating 36.
Another (205) was bought in March 2004 to provide cover on the 372 while 189-192 were converted to dual doorway.
They remained at Rainham until replaced by EnviroDarts, and were then
refurbished by Go-Ahead London for use on Stockwell's 170 for the start of 2011.
DP199 and DP200 were on Route 11 extras to Liverpool Street at Victoria on Tuesday 7th September 2010, when there was a Tube strike.
DP206-207206 and 207 arrived in April 2004. These were thirty-seven seater single doorway buses for railway replacement work. They remained in white until the autumn of 2005, when they were repainted red for Blue Triangle's take-up of route 347 (Romford Stn - Harold Wood - Upminster - Cranham - Ockendon Stn)
DP208A further Dart SLF, this one a much older "shoe-box" Pointer, was taken into operational use in early 2005, after a long career with a multiplicity of operators. 208 was a 10.6m single doorway bus, and was kept in white for railway work, although it did appear, like 206 and 207, on the 372 when needed. It also worked at times on Ensignbus' X80 to Gravesend.
It remained in white until sold in September 2006, when it went via Ensign Bus to Renown of Bexhill.
DP209 was glimpsed through a pub window at Victoria on the 170, January 2013.The DP208 number was reused immediately in September 2006 when two new Darts arrived. These were required as Blue Triangle had won another schools contract, TfL's 648. This had been started in September using existing stock. The new pair were in plain overall red.
Takeover by Go-Ahead Group.Roger Wright sold the company and its bus operations to the Go-Ahead group in June 2007, retaining the DNs as a hire fleet, and also retaining his fleet of historic buses and some of the Ms and Ts, together with the Northfleet base.
RefurbishmentAt the end of 2010 Go-Ahead London decided to redeploy the Blue Triangle DPs. Several had gone to Camberwell and/or New Cross for a short while, appearing on the troubled 108 (NX) and the 360(Q), and some had been used during a Tube strike in September on route 11 between Victoria and Liverpool Street. Then at the year's end DP192-205 were all sent to Plymouth Citybus for a makeover. The Blue Triangle livery disappeared, replaced by Go-Ahead London's brighter red with charcoal skirt and yellow trim line, topped off with white roofs. They acquired Go-Ahead London logos, but retained their fleetnumbers. They were aklso refurbished internally, with blue seat moquette, and seating reduced to 33.
They returned to London at Stockwell, where they replaced LDPs on the 170.
Refurbished DP196 is now a regular at Victoria Station, on the 170 to Roehampton: 27th January 2012.
DP202 and DP201 almost pass in Buckingham Palace Road, on the 170: 1st August 2015.