Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 10th June 2013.

Red Line, Red Eagle, Aylesbury

Red Line devolved from Aylesbury's famous and long-standing Red Rose Travel, separating from its parent in 2006, and later giving rise to a further off-shoot in the guise of Red Eagle. Both the off-shoots operate in similar territory, and still co-operate as well as competing, over a large swaithe of west Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, reaching in to urban centres such as Watford, Slough, Hemel Hempstead and High Wycombe.

As befits such territory the fleets are largely single-deck - mostly Dart SLFs - with a slew of secondhand London Olympians for schools contracts. Some Volvo B7TLs operate a few double-decker routes. Red Line now has a sizeable number of EnviroDarts (2014).

Red Line

Red Line moved out from the yard that it shared with Red Rose in August 2006 to its own premises at Gatehouse Way. It had a mixed fleet of a handful of double-deckers plus four Mercedes-Benz minibuses, a Solo and a step-entrance Dart (K576NHC).

A secondhand SLF was acquired in October 2006 - almost inevitably an 8.8m MPD. Initially V262BNV was used in plain red, but then acquired the stylised Red Line fleetnames and a pair of white bands at waist and cantrail. It was put to use in the Slough area, between Uxbridge and Langley, where it has continued, working the 459 and the Hedgerley 853.

It was not until March 2009 that Red Line bought another secondhand Dart SLF. SN53LWR was a longer (10.2m) bus, that was put into service on the 88 (Luton-Hitchin) in April 2009, when Red Line took over the route from Centrebus. Operating a bus this size along the old 364 route - narrow and twisty - is quite a challenge!

SN53LWR on 88, Hitchin SN53LWR on 88, Breachwood Green

SN53LWR stands at St.Mary's Square, Hitchin, ready for a 88 journey to Luton, 8th June 2013. A little later it is seen en route at Breachwood Green.

SN53LWR on 88, Hitchin SN53LWR on 88, Breachwood Green

SN53LWR stands at St.Mary's Square, Hitchin, ready for a 88 journey to Luton, 8th June 2013.

Red Eagle

The schools contracts devolved onto a separate licence under the Red Eagle name, although both companies worked together from the same base.

A mixed pair of Dart SLFs was acquired in August 2009, in advance of the new school season: T946BNN was a 10.7m Pointer from Trent Barton, and X92FOR a 11.0m Caetano Nimbus from Claribel's in Birmingham.

Marshall Capitals

Despite set-backs due to Buckinghamshire cutting back rural services, Red Line updated its fleet in October 2009 by acquiring four 9.3m Dart/Marshalls from Go-Ahead North-East, that had originally been London Central DML9, 13, 16 and 26.

Two more, ex DML27 and 29, arrived in March 2010

Mixed Darts

February 2011 brought another round of Dart acquisitions. One was another Marshall Capital (IDZ3504), well-travelled, that had originated with de Courcey of Coventry, followed by Huntingdon Cavalier and takeover by Stagecoach, then a short spell with Stephenson's of Easingwold.

There was also a 10.7m Pointer from Silver Star of Caernafon (T375JJC), and a 10.0m Pointer that had started as London General's LDP33 (P733RYL) before spells with Sullivan Buses and ATBus.

In May Red Eagle, which had won contracts for routes in Watford, bought a Nimbus (Y184RCR) from the London Bus Company. It was repainted in pale cream with a red roof and skirt.

962 in Rickmansworth on R1, August 2015 It was followed in June by Pointer2 Y962KRX, which had come from Armchair. This was repainted pale green for Marlow 155/158/160, as the Bucks "County Rider".

Green 962 passes through Rickmansorth on an R1 to Mount Vernon Hospital, 1st August 2015.

Another Pointer2 for Red Line, R160VLA, this time ex-Metroline, came in January 2012, after Redline had taken over the Tiger Line journeys.

Ex-Stagecoach Y332FJN and Y349FJN came via Red Rose in September/October 2012, being repainted in Red Eagle livery of pale cream with red roof and skirt. They are 10.8m Alexander bodied SLFs, once SLD332 and SLD349. 332 debuted on the 377 at Beaconsfield, but the pair settled on newly-acquired routes 30, 31 and 32 in the Hemel Hempstead/Berkhamsted area.

Red Eagle's gradual expansion saw a further Dart SLF arrive in March 2013, this time SF54KHV, a short 8.9m Nimbus from Irvine of Law, which also went into the company livery of pale cream with red top and bottom. They also acquired in March W403UGM, a dual doorway Pointer2 (ex TGM/Abellio London).

One of the RedLine Marshalls was transferred to Red Eagle in 2013, possibly to make up for the loan of a step-entrance Dart to Red Rose.

By this time Red Line was buying EnviroDarts, which allowed it to operate into the LEZ where necessary, while Red Eagle, working further out from London, was winning contracts there with cheaper Secondhand SLFs. Both fleets were in good shape, none of the twenty SLFs having been disposed of.

The DDA regulations caused some changes, with older, non-compliant Darts sold off, while a pair of 10.1 m SLFs were bought from uno.

Ian's Bus Stop Dart SLF index. Red Line. bus histories. photo refs.