Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, This page created 30th June 2010. Best on 800*600.

Dennis Dart SLF

DL77, North Weald, June 1998 The low-floor version of the Dennis Dart is one of the all-time success stories of the British bus industry. It has not been plain sailing of course: the manufacturers of the chassis and the various body-builders have had their bad times as well as good, and some have gone to the wall. But this is nothing to do with the excellence of the product. The Dart SLF works. In the early days of low-floor bus design there really were problems. The stepless entrance had to be accomplished along with wheelchair access, and getting a standard wheelchair between the front wheelarches was a major problem. This was resolved in two ways: one, the buses got wider, going from 7ft 6in (2.33m) wide to 2.5m wide, and two, the wheels got smaller. This latter enabled a decent lock within a smaller wheelarch, and was a major factor in the success of the Dart compared with its larger-wheeled rivals.

The Dart SLF revolution: brand new DL77 at North Weald Rally in June 1998.

DML32, North Weald, June 1998 Various body-builders built on the Dennis chassis, and different bus companies and groups had different preferences, which often had more to do with industrial linkages than design merit. But perhaps the most successful (certainly in terms of numbers) was the Plaxton body, whose modular construction suited itself to the various chassis lengths available - from 8.8m to 11.3m in roughly 0.6m increments. They were not always stylish - the term shoebox was applied to the early Plaxton model - but later body designs showed a greater flair.

Almost every bus company in the old London Transport area has used the Dart SLF, with a total of buses in the thousands by the time that the design evolved to the new generation of EnviroDarts in 2008. So it is going to take a while to compile the pages.

Marshall-bodied DML32 (MTL London) at North Weald Rally in June 1998.

Index (not in any particular order): ..and more to come, I'm sure. As I said, these will take a while to assemble. Links will be added as the pages get done.

Ian's Bus Stop