Centrewest Plaxton SLFs (DLP, L / DMP)
London's first SLF: DLP1Dennis' prototype Dart SLF was shown at the NEC Coach & Bus Show in 1995. Taken by London Buses for testing, it was placed by them with Centrewest and registered for service as DLP1 in August 1996. Centrewest put it into Uxbridge Garage to work alongside the low-floor Lances on the 222.
It stayed with Centrewest until March 1999. Then it was returned to London Buses.
Thorpe's then acquired it for the Stationlink service,
and it was subsequently taken over by Metroline.
It stayed there until 2009, when it moved on to pastures new in Staffordshire.
L1-L6: the Heathrowfast A10 buses (DMP42401-6)Centrewest bought seven new SLFs in August 1996 for a new service A10, supported by the British Airports Authority (BAA), to link Heathrow Airport with the growing chain of business areas just to the north and Uxbridge Station. They were treated to a bold blue and yellow livery, with Heathrow fast branding, and operated from Uxbridge.
Once Centrewest's Marshall-bodied Darts started to come on-stream in sufficient numbers, there was no need to keep a dedicated spare. L7 was despatched to London Buslines at Southall in 1997, where it was presumably used on the 105 alongside the three new Plaxton SLFs and the route-branded Marshall DMLs that took over from the London & Country vehicles. But its work there was progressively double-decked, and in June 2001 it was redundant. It returned to Uxbridge. Still young, it was transferred away in January 2002 within the First empire, to Bristol, Southern National and then First Hampshire & Dorset at Weymouth.
In 2002 First's National numbering scheme caught up with the others. First London retained class codes, so L1-L6 became DMP42401-6. They retained their distinctive livery until about 2006, even though they were by then used fairly indiscriminately on any Uxbridge route. Not all were repainted into red even then.
Their end (at Uxbridge) came in spring 2008. The three remaining in blue and yellow were withdrawn first, to Dagenham, for repaint into Barbie livery. DMP42406 went briefly on loan to First Beeline to cover for an errant Solo. The red three were withdrawn at Uxbridge in April, but two were seen back in service in May! All of them were sent off to First Midland Red (First Wyvern) at Kidderminster in June 2008.
Centrewest's borrowed London & Country SLFs: L225-L236Centrewest had lost route 105 (Heathrow Central - Southall - Greenford) to London & Country in April 1996. As part of the tender contract, L&C bought a dozen new Plaxton-bodied Dart SLFs for the route: DSL25-DSL36. But by November London & Country was finding the route too difficult to operate from its out-station in Greenford, and passed the route back to Centrewest. Centrewest took on the almost new dozen route-branded SLFs too. They retained London & Country green,green,red livery and ownership, but were leased to operate from Alperton garage as L225-236. They stayed at Alperton until London Buslines - a Centrewest subsidiary - took on route 105 from its Southall depot in September 1997, when they moved there.
In February 1998 London & Country found its own work for them in the Guildford area, and took them back.
Centrewest's own SLFs for the 105: L237-L239London & Country had used some DS-type Darts on the 105, as well as the SLFs. They too were borrowed, but were replaced in March 1997 by three new Plaxton-bodied SLFs for the 105. These wore a distinctive two-tone green livery, with the blue sash and route branding. They too moved from Alperton to Southall with the route in September 1997.
But the 105 tender renewal in June 2000 called for double-deckers, and they were redundant.
They were despatched in July 2001 to First PMT at Stoke.
They found a new home in Wales with First Cymru.