Limebourne (Q-Drive) Dart SLFs
Limebourne Travel was a remnant of Q-Drive, retained after London Buslines and the Berks Bucks Bus Company had been sold to Centrewest. The small coaching company re-entered the London bus field in May 1996, with six MetroRiders on the C3. Operation was from a base in Silverthorne Road, Battersea (QB).
2301-8In April 1997 Limebourne started operating route 42 (Liverpool Street Stn - Aldgate - Tower Bridge - Camberwell - Denmark Hill). For this they leased eight new 10.0m single-doorway Plaxton Pointers. To comply with London contract conditions they wore an 80% red livery, with a stone-coloured skirt separated by a white coach-line, with a yellow-edged green and gold flash on each side.
2309-15, 2317, 2319Another nine Pointers followed in September 1997 for route 156 (Clapham Junction - Wandsworth - Southfields - Wimbledon). These were the same (except for the branding), as the earlier batch.
Q-Drive into ReceivershipThe parent company, Q-Drive, ran into financial difficulties in October 1998. The leasing companies that owned the buses promptly removed them, understandably. The Limebourne business, including the operating yard in Battersea, was sold to the local management in November, and they set about resurrecting the business as Limebourne (Independent Way). Their instant need was for buses, and an operator's licence...
New buses were out of the question. The London contracted routes were maintained with assistance from other operators, (Armchair, London General, Arriva, Metrobus, Metroline and Nostalgiabus all helped to plug the gap until the new operator could be established.
The repossessed Dart SLFs, being almost new, readily found new owners. The entire first batch of eight went to Metrobus, initially at Orpington and Godstone and latterly at Crawley. The second batch was split up: 2309 became DLF9 with Thorpe's, 2310-2313 went to Town&Country in Thurrock for route 20 for a short while, then were acquired by Arriva at Grays, subsequently spending time in Southend and Guildford. The last four spent some time at Dover Docks with The Kings Ferry, then went to Thamesdown in Swindon, then turned up with Centrebus in the Midlands.