Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, This page created 15th May 2012. Best on 800*600.

Regal Busways Dennis Dart SLFs

Regal of Chelmsford isn't in the old London Country Area, so in many ways is outwith the scope of this exercise. But its activities in Essex have expanded, and now frequently take its buses into the old green zone, anywhere from Waltham Cross and Loughton to Brentwood and Grays. So it gets a mention, even if rather more sketchily than normal.

601 and 602: Regal's first SLFs.

Regal Busways bought a pair of MPDs in August 2004, and dressed them in the company livery of maroon and cream. They were also treated to route branding (in white on blue) for routes 14, 15 and 15A, the Chelmsford - Wickford routes that would be their main stamping ground. They were numbered 601 and 602.

But despite their route-branding they also appeared elsewhere. Almost immediately, from October 2004, they were used on Sundays on the 200 and 201, which had been relinquished by Centra. Then 602 was used initially in the Harlow bus wars in August 2008, until replaced. They also appeared on Sundays between Loughton and Waltham Cross on the 250.

Regal 601 at Loughton Station Regal 601 at Loughton Station

601 on the Sunday 250 to Waltham Cross, Loughton Station, September 2011.
Regal 601 at Loughton Station Regal 601 at Loughton Station

701 sketch

701: the first MCV eVolution.

Regal Busways had the first MCV eVolution-bodied Dart SLF in the (wider) London area. It arrived at Chelmsford in November 2005, in traditional style maroon and cream, numbered 701. It was used on Chelmsford area services, mainly southwards towards Southend, and also on Epping services. Later it was used at Harlow, on routes into Essex such as the 381 and 47.

603: the extra MPD.

603 too is an 8.8m MPD, slightly older than 601 and 602. It started with Airparks of Birmingham, registered W222APS, before reregistration and working for HAD and Norbus. Regal acquired it as 603 in March 2006. In maroon and cream, it wears no route-branding, so presumably is used wherever wanted, initially acting as a spare for 601/2 when they were unavailable. Like them it appeared on the Sunday 250 workings.

W772URP passes Loughton Garage

603 (W772URP), also on the Sunday 250 to Waltham Cross, passing the site of Loughton Garage, September 2007.

604 sketch

Secondhand SLFs: 611, 604

During 2007-8 Regal had been expanding its operations along the Essex fringe, buying a selection of used step-entrance Darts. 611 was a 10.7m Pointer2 from Central Parking at Heathrow, acquired sometime in 2008 I think, and 604 was an older 10.6m "shoebox" Pointer from Tellings-Golden Miller/Travel London, bought in the spring of 2009. 611 was operated for a while in silver livery, and 604 in Travel Surrey red and white, before both received repaints. 604 was repainted into a new company livery, with mainly red, with maroon skirts, partly contravision arrows and a modern script fleetname in white - all a far cry from the company's hitherto very traditional style..

More secondhand SLFs: 605, 606

Further replacement of old step-entrance Darts took place in autumn 2011, when Regal bought two Pointer2s from Metroline, that had been DP 33 and DP36. The former, now 605, was pressed into service straight away, in dual doorway format, still in red, but with the blue skirt overpainted in maroon. The DP33 number still lurked on the bus corners as it worked on the 3 from Chelmsford to Southend.

The Brentwood takeover: a mixed bag from Imperial: 607-610

Also in November 2011 Regal Busways took over the Brentwood routes worked by Imperial, notably the 261, 268, 269 and 71. With the routes came four SLFs: two 9.3m Marshalls, originally Metroline DMS20 and DMS26, now 607 and 609; a 10.0m dual doorway Pointer, originally London General LDP104, now 608; and an MPD that had started with Midland Red and spent time with T-GM and Travel London before going to Imperial (now 610). These were acquired in Imperial's green and cream livery, except newcomer 608, still in London General livery.

The Marshalls were quickly disposed of, in March 2012, and their numbers re-used, as if to expunge them from memory altogether.

Another secondhand SLF: 612

Regal also bought a 10.6m Pointer from NIBS at Wickford, in March 2012. This had originated with T-GM, being bought by NIBS in 2008. It was pressed into service in Harlow still in NIBS' yellow with red skirt.

Ex-Metroline DLDs: 607, 609, 613

Three Metroline DLDs, 10.1m Pointer2s, had been dispatched north to Ripley's by Ensign in December. Now Regal Busways bought them in March 2012. 607 was repainted in the new livery in July 2012, and branded for the 261 (Brentwood-Blackmore).

607 in Epping on 213, 27Dec12

607 was on the 213 in Epping when I passed through at 1530 on 27th December 2012 (photo by 'frin)

Bus Stop SLF index. Regal Busways text. histories. photo refs.