Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, This page created 29th October 2011, updated 30th November 2017. Best on 800*600.

Docklands Buses SLFs

Nimbuses for 167

Docklands Nimbus Docklands Buses was the name given by Docklands Minibus in March 2002 when they took over the contract for the 167 (Debden - Loughton - Buckhurst Hill - Chigwell - Fullwell Cross - Barkingside - Gants Hill - Ilford High Road). They opened a base at Silvertown, and provided twelve dual doorway 10.5m Caetano Nimbus Dennis Dart SLFs. They were red, with white and blue fleetnames.

The Darts were not without problems, and a pair of new Optare Solos supplemented them from June 2003. In the summer of 2004 a Dart SLF (34295) was hired from Stagecoach for a couple of months to help out.

They were replaced by new EnviroDarts (with eVolution bodywork) in May 2007, when just five years old.

10.8m Docklands eVolution

Evolutions for 368

From March 2006 Docklands Buses won the contract for the 368 (Harts Lane Estate - Barking - Mayesbrook Park - Chadwell Heath). They took the route over from Blue Triangle, and ordered eight new 9.8m Dart SLF/MCV eVolutions for it. These were late arriving, so Docklands hired five Dart SLFs (34303-7) from Stagecoach to cover their new route until the new Darts were delivered.

They were renumbered ED1-8 in March 2007.


In November 2007 this batch, by now ED1-8, were transferred along with route 368 to Blue Triangle at Rainham (BE), in a swap of routes and vehicles. They began to appear on other routes, such as the 167 and 66, and traded Docklands Buses fleetnames for small Blue Triangle ones.

They stayed with the 368 under Blue Triangle auspices until March 2011, when the route was won by First London. ED1-4, 7, 8 then went into store, mostly at Belvedere, but ED7 and ED8 were promptly transferred to New Cross and Bexleyheath respectively. ED8 went on to New Cross, where both were used on the 108. ED5 and 6 returned to Silvertown to supplement route 300 (Canning Town - East Ham), and then swapped garages to Rainham and then back to Silvertown as the 300 fluttered between the garages. ED1-4 went off to Plymouth for refurbishment and a repaint into London Central livery, returning looking splendid in red with charcoal skirts, yellow coach line and white roofs. They were for use on newly-won route 129 (North Greenwich (Dome) - Greenwich (Cutty Sark)), based at New Cross. In the way of things at New Cross they also appeared on the 108 (Lewisham - Blackheath North Greenwich - Blackwall Tunnel - Bromley-by-Bow - Stratford)). Other early EDs followed for refurbishment. ED1-4 were seconded for O******s work in August 2012, before returning to New Cross.

10.8m Docklands eVolution ED7 on 129, North Greenwich, Oct 2011

ED7 threads the North Greenwich estate on the 129, in new Go-Ahead livery, October 2011.
The long early EDs started to be phased out from New Cross in December 2016 as the full complement of Citaros was completed for the 108.

ED3 on 108, Lewisham, Oct 2013

ED3 eases out of Lewisham Bus Station on a 108, in Go-Ahead livery, October 2013, before the Citaros took over.

10.8m Docklands eVolution

Docklands Buses joins Go-Ahead

London General took over Docklands Buses in September 2006, with the buses, routes, garage and staff. The Docklands Buses identity was retained in the short term, but London General LDPs began to appear on the 167.

9.2m Docklands eVolution

Short eVolutions for W19

Route W19 (Walthamstow - Leyton - Whipps Cross - Leytonstone Stn - Manor Park - Ilford High Road) was taken over in November 2006. Nine more Dart/eVolutions were bought, this time only 9.2m long. Again they were not there in time. The shortfall until December was covered by hiring in Darts from Dawson Rentals, mainly ex-Mitcham Belle and Centra. When the short buses arrived they lacked the toothpaste stripes, but had white roofs and small Go-Ahead titles near the top rear. They still had Docklands Buses fleetnames on their front cant-rails and dash.

They were renumbered ED9-17 in March 2007.

In May 2011 the W19 was moved to the erstwhile Blue Triangle base at Rainham, and the short eVolutions went with it.

Route 462, after being re-equipped with new Streetlites, was found to need one of the EDs - usually ED14 - during August and September 2012.

The Rainham site (BE), suffered from flooding, so it was closed for operational use in July 2016 and the short Darts went to a new garage at Riverside Road in Barking, which despite its address was less prone.

November 2016 saw ED16 and ED17 visiting pastures new. They were reallocated to Northumberland Park (NP) to take over from a pair of SEs on the 563. This was a short-term shuttle service to bypass the station bridge at Upper Holloway Station, which was being replaced.


10.4m Enviro eVolutions for 167

10.4m Docklands eVolution

In May 2007 Docklands bought another eleven MCV eVolution-bodied Darts. But these were on the new Enviro200 chassis rather than the Dart SLF. Outwardly they looked much the same as the earlier buses, only intermediate in length. ED18-28 took over duties on the 167 from the Caetanos.

They stayed on the 167, despite reorganisations above their heads at company level. The Go-Ahead group moved them - with the 167 - to the Blue Triangle base at Rainham in June 2011. They lost their blue trim and Docklands fleetnames, going plain red - a slightly darker shade - with small Go-Ahead logos here and there on the bodywork.
ED19 on 167, Loughton Stn, Sept 2009 ED19 on 167, Loughton Stn, Sept 2009

ED19 leaves the bus station at Loughton on a 167 to Ilford, in September 2009, showing the Docklands livery. ED21 heads the other way, towards Ilford, on the same afternoon.
10.4m Go-Ahead eVolution

The middle-length EnviroDarts also transferred to Riverside Road in July 2016 (except for ED23 which was langushing with accident damage after losing a confrontation with a tree on route W19: it went for scrap).

The 167 and 549 were lost to Stagecoach in March 2017. There was a weeding-out process among the EDs, with the best being kept and the others sold.


ED24 on 167, Chigwell, Sept 2009 ED19 on 167, Loughton Stn, Sept 2009

Newly refurbished ED24 and ED25 pass in Chigwell in April 2012, now wearing plain red with white bullseyes and Go-Ahead logos.

10.3m DAF eVolution demonstrator: MDL1

MDL1 had already had quite a history before it came to Go-Ahead London. The chassis, a DAF/VDL SB180, had been built in 2007, and received an MCV eVolution body two years later, in 2009. The body was slightly different from the other eVolutions with Go-Ahead. It was 10.3m long, and had no offside emergency exit or strengthening pillar, the rear window sufficing as exit if required. It also had a large air-conditioning pack on the roof, above the driver. Such excresences were fashionable at the time.

It was shown at the NEC Trade Show in 2009, then went to Arriva Kent Thameside as their 3890. At Dartford it was put to work on the 233 between Eltham and Swanley, with forays onto Dartford's other TfL single-decker route, the 428 (Bluewater - Erith). After fourteen months it was returned to the dealers: Arriva Bus & Coach.

In September 2013 it reappeared with Go-Ahead as MDL1 at the Blue Triangle base at Rainham, where it found a home on the 648 schools service (Romford Roneo Corner Hornchurch Upminster Cranham), and also on the 347 (Romford Stn - Harold Wood - Upminster - Ockendon), another single bus requirement.

MDL1 on 167, Loughton Stn, Sept 2009

The singleton MDL1 on its usual 347 route at Upminster Station, heading for Romford Station in December 2014.
Go-Ahead lost the 347 to Stagecoach in October 2015, but MDL1 still found work on the 648 and also the 646 school routes. It transferred to the new operating base at Riverside Road in Barking when Blue Triangle's Rainham base closed in July 2015. It stayed on the 646 and 648 for a few months, then in October 2016 moved to the old Dockland Buses site at Silvertown, where it took over the 549 (South Woodford - Buckhurst Hill - Loughton), another single bus weekdays-only allocation. That did not last long either, being lost at re-tender in March 2017. MDL1 moved back to Riverside Road, and settled back onto the 648 - hardly an arduous duty, with a single duty each way at the two ends of the school day on the five mile trip.

Bus Stop SLF index. Docklands SLF. histories. photo refs.