Metroline DL, DLD, DLS, DLM, DSD
DL1-21: 10.0m Plaxton Pointers
DL10 on 90 at Hatton Cross, in February 2002.These 21 single doorway 36-seaters went into service in 1997 from North Wembley. They were used on route 90 (Feltham - Hatton Cross - Yeading - Northolt Station).
Route 245 (Golders Green - Sudbury Town Station - Alperton) was added to their scope in June 1998, along with a further batch of DLs.
In February 2003 a Dart shuffle took place, as a result of several routes being double-decked, and the early DLs were displaced by DLDs, either to training or store. It had been expected that they would displace the MMs from the 46, but it did not happen. Then it did. In March-May these DLs were dispatched to Park Royal for the 46 (Warwick Avenue Stn - St.John's Wood - Hampstead Stn - Hampstead Heath - Kings Cross Stn - Farringdon Stn ).
The shake-up in September 2004 released DL1-5 to Potters Bar, and DL13-19 to Holloway where they displaced the remaining DMSs and the DLS class from the 214.
DL15 on 214 in Hampstead, in October 2005.
DL16 on 214 Kings Cross, in October 2005.The members of the class without wheelchair ramps began to be sold in July 2005, some going to Ensign, others to PL Enterprises in West Sussex. Ensign took several into service on the X80 and other Thurrock routes. Others went to Coakley of Motherwell, McKindless of Wishaw and Cavendish Motor Services, Bexhill, these last then being taken over into the Stagecoach fold.
DLD22-53: 10.0m dual doorway PointersThirty-two dual doorway medium length Pointers started work in October 1997 on two new routes which replaced the 16A and part of the 16, the 189 (Kilburn - Cricklewood - Brent Cross) and the 316 (North Kensington - Ladbroke Grove - Cricklewood - Neasden), working out of Cricklewood Garage. As the buses arrived at Cricklewood they were used on the 113 until the new contract started.
Metroline is good at showing off its newest buses at shows: DLD25 was not even into service when it appeared at Showbus in September 1997; Pointer2 DLD71 shows blinds for the 316 at Showbus, Duxford, September 1998.The 316 was lost to Thorpes in October 2002, and surplus DLDs began to appear on double-deck routes 16 and 32.. The 189 was extended in March 1998 to Oxford Circus, and in February 2003 was double-decked. So most of this batch of DLDs moved to North Wembley in February 2003, to take over route 90, and began a programme of fitting with wheelchair ramps and CCTV. Later their tip-up seats were removed at TfL insistence. Later they became part of the general pool of 10m Darts, and moved around as required within the enlarged Metroline pool until displaced by EnviroDarts in 2008.
One unexpected turn of events was the purchase of eight of them (from Ensign Bus) by Go-Ahead London for use on the shuttle between Stratford International and Stratford Interchange.
DLS1-7, (DLS101-107): 9.2m short single doorway PointersIn many ways these buses should have been numbered DLS101-107 from the start, to fit in the normal numbering scheme. A gap was even left for them, but the renumbering did not happen until September 2004. Even then it did not happen in practice: the new numbers were allocated but not carried. It was not until the summer of 2005 that DLS1-3 were numbered DL101-103 - but only on their sterns!
These eight short Pointers were new in April 1997 to North Wembley for the 206 (Kilburn Park Stn - Queens Park - Willesden - Harlesden - Brent Park - St. Raphaels). They stayed there until June 2002, when they were displaced by ten DSDs - same length but dual doors. They then moved to Potters Bar for the 383, and were fitted with transponders for the bus gate on the route.
In May 2003 they all were drawn south to Holloway to work the 214, which had a length restriction. After that was resolved in February 2004 they were held at Holloway until September, when sufficient DLs were released from Park Royal to allow their dispersal: three to Potters Bar, one to North Wembley, one to Perivale and two still at Holloway.
DLS4 on 214 at St.Pancras.The class began to be sold in July 2005, some going to Ensign. DLS3 (103) promptly found a home with Sullivan Buses, while DLS105-7 went to Stansted Transit for the 301, where they worked for a while in Metroline livery. They then moved on to McKindless of Wishaw. 101 and 102 went to AM-PM in Birmingham, and 104 to Hedingham Buses.
DLD54-74: 10.1m dual doorway Pointer 2sDLD54-63 were new to Cricklewood in 1998, where they worked the 143 (Archway Stn - Highgate Village - Hendon - Hendon Central Stn) and 302. The 143 moved to Holloway in March 2000, but the DLDs stayed put, working instead on the 232, (Wood Green Stn - Arnos Grove Stn - Southgate Stn - Brent Cross - St.Raphaels Estate) which had moved from Potters Bar. But this early batch of DLDs did not have wheelchair ramps at this time, which the 232 had had before the change. So in May 2000 they moved en bloc to Holloway, back to the 143, swapping with DLD108-117 which had the ramps for the 232. DLD64-74. These eleven went to Willesden for the 302 (Mill Hill Bdy Stn - Burnt Oak - Neasden - Willesden - Kensal Rise Stn)
In June 2003 Willesden's 297 was shifted to Perivale, and these eleven, plus DLD60-61 which had moved to Willesden in February, were transferred with it. There had been a problem: the batch formerly on the 297 (ie DLD86-100) had book-leaf front ramps, which grounded at the entrance to Perivale Garage. These eleven had retractable ramps, which cleared. So DLD60-74 were sent instead.
Then the Darts were borrowed by Potters Bar for three months (June - September 2003) for route W8, which had a temporary bridge problem at Edmonton. Their places on the 297 were filled by double-deckers in the interim. They returned to Perivale in September. But not for long. The 297 was double-decked in December, and the DLDs began to disperse as EDR replacements. Some stayed at Perivale for the 112, while DLD67-70 went to Edgware, and DLD73 to Cricklewood. More dispersals occurred in the late summer of 2004, with DLD65, 66 and 71 going to Park Royal, and DLD72 to Cricklewood. By now they were very much Metroline's standard go-almost-anywhere single-decker, and members of the batch were moved around as required by contract changes. Metroline's acquisitions of Thorpes and Armchair widened the scope of their wanderings too. Quite a few of the batch went to Brentford in the autumn of 2006 for the 493, and stayed there until March 2007, when NCP took it over. The redundant DLDs went into store at North Wembley (but not for long), or to service at Potters Bar. The stored ones, plus sundry others, were colledted together for renewed service at Potters Bar in May 2007, to release the short DMS Darts to Perivale until new EnviroDarts could be rustled up for the E6. The short DMSs mostly did not return, but in October the entire batch of ten short DSDs from North Wembley did, in their turn displaced by new buses. So seven of this batch of older DLDs were now redundant, and were sold off to Ensign. Most of these earlier DLDs were displaced in 2008-9, and were sold, many finding new homes with Central Connect in Birmingham and Wessex Connect in Bristol.
DL75-85: 10.1m single doorway Pointer 2sRoute 245 (Golders Green - Sudbury Town Station - Alperton) was converted to low-floor operation in June 1998, and attracted this batch of eleven single doorway Pointer 2s. As North Wembley already had the earlier DLs working on the 90 (Feltham - Hatton Cross - Yeading - Northolt Station), both batches tended to work both routes.
In the spring 2003 shuffle all but DL75 of them went to Potters Bar to release shorter DMS and DLS buses from the 234, 326 and 383.
When the 326 was reallocated to Cricklewood in July 2003 DL76-85 went with it.
Route 214 was calling for larger vehicles than the Marshall-bodied DMSs in use, but a turning restriction on the route limited the possible vehicles. But this was cleared in February 2004, and a shuffle sent the short DMSs to Potters Bar, and longer ones from PB to Cricklewood, releasing DL76-85 to go to Holloway to take over the 214.
Brand new DL77 shows blinds for the 245 at North Weald Rally, June 1998.The batch lasted until the end of 2005, when they were all quickly withdrawn from service and sold.
DLD86-100: 10.1m dual doorway Pointer 2sFifteen more dual-doorway medium length Pointer 2s arrived in December 1998 for Willesden's 297 (Willesden Garage - Wembley Central - Alperton - Perivale - Ealing Broadway). When they were supposed to go with the 297 to Perivale in June 2003 they were found to ground at Perivale Garage entrance, so stayed at Willesden with the 302 while DLD60-74, with a different type of front ramp, went instead.
April 2010 saw the whole batch replaced at Willesden, most going into store, but a few to Holloway and a few to training.
DLD 108-149: 10.1m dual doorway Pointer 2sDLD108-117 arrived in autumn 1999 and went to Edgware for the 107. Their introduction was delayed by road conditions in Borehamwood and they were used on other Edgware routes first.
DLD118-132 arrived late in 1999 to Harrow Weald for the H14.
The H14 was withdrawn at the beginning of September 2004. DLD118-125 moved to Park Royal for the 46. At the same time DLD126-131 moved there from North Wembley, also for the 46.
Swiss Cottage, May 2007. DLD122 heads south on 46, DLD165 goes north on 274.DLD133-149 arrived in May 2000.
DLD133 on 46, St.Pancras, September 2009.
DLD148 on 84, St.Albans, January 2008. DLD145 leaves Elstree & Borehamwood Stn on 107, October 2008.
DLM150-160: MPDs for PB1 and W5DLM150-151. This pair were bought in December 2000 for Potters Bar, to replace the Marshall Minibus MC1 on the Potters Bar Town Service PB1. They were quickly route-branded for the task.
DLM152-160. Nine more were bought in April 2001 for Holloway to use on the W5 (Harringay - Crouch End - Archway Station).
The W5 was moved to Kings Cross garage in July 2003 and its little buses went with it. They moved back again to Holloway in April 2005 when Park Royal closed, as PR's DLDs moved into Kings Cross for the 46.
They remained at Holloway until February 2011, when two (152, 158) went to Potters Bar and the remaining nine went to Ensign Bus,
where seven were immediately taken into Ensignbus stock for Thurrock Council contracts and the other two sold on to other operators.
DLD161-207: 10.1m dual doorway Pointer 2sDLD161-175 came to Holloway in May and June 2001 for route 274 (Islington - Camden Town - Zoo - Baker Street - Marble Arch - Lancaster Gate). The 274 moved to Kings Cross garage in July 2003, taking the batch, together with DLD176 which had arrived earlier, with it.
DLD164 on 274, DLD170 on 46, October 2005.
Kings Cross, on the 46: DLD168 heads for Lancaster Gate, DLD174 for Farringdon Stn.DLD176-183 went new to Potters Bar in June 2001 for the 268 (Golders Green Stn- Hampstead - Swiss Cottage - Finchley Road), but did not stay long. All but DLD76 moved closer to their place of work in January 2002, with reallocation to North Wembley (still with the 268), Efficiencies of the move allowed DLD76 to move to Holloway to join the 274 bunch.
DLD184-197 were also new in June 2001, going to Harlesden for the 95 (Southall - Greenford - Perivale - Hanger Lane Stn - East Acton - White City - Shepherds Bush Green). The route, plus the buses, moved to Perivale garage in August 2002.
The Great North Road, below High Barnet Station, October 2008: DLD190 and 194 go opposite ways on the 234.DLD198-207 came in February 2002 to Edgware, where they were used on the 251, 288, 303 and 305. That lasted until the reorganisation of August 2002, when the 288 and 305 moved to North Wembley and the DLDs moved with them.
DLD207 wearing 303 blinds at Cobham Museum Open Day, April 2002.
DSD208-217: 9.3m dual doorway Pointer 2sTen short dual doorway Pointer2s replaced the seven equally short but single-doorway Pointers (DLS1-7) on the 206 in June 2003. They stayed at North Wembley on the 206 until October 2007, when they were displaced by nine new MAN/ECVs. They moved en bloc to Potters Bar, in turn displacing the DLDs that had gone there in July to release the DMSs.
DLD693-711: 10.1m dual doorway Pointer 2sLondon required that all buses on its contracts at the end of 2005 should have wheelchair ramps. That eliminated some of the early DLs, which were sold, but left a hole in the provision. Another nineteen Pointer 2s were bought, despite the E200 being in the offing. They arrived in December 2005 or January 2006 and went straight to work on Holloway Dart routes 46, 214 and 274.
DLD697 in St John's Wood on 274, October 2008. DLD705 on 214, Kings Cross.DLD693-711 were involved in Olympic Games duty in July-August 2012. Prior to this they were refurbished at Eastleigh, repainted and stripped of fleetnames, and outstationed with Stagecoach at West Ham and Beckton Park.