Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith, best on Netscape 800*600

This page created 5th March 2008.

Capital Citybus Dennis Dominators

251-274: new for Ensign Citybus

This story begins, as perhaps it should, with a demonstrator. Perhaps strangely, it does not start with Capital Citybus. That company's precursor was Ensignbus, which had used London's tendering process to break into bus service provision in the Barking, Upminster and Romford areas.Having started with its own fleet of secondhand buses, Ensign could see that for the expanding business new buses would be needed. The Dominator demonstrator was borrowed from Ipswich in November 1989 to allow the engineering and operating people a chance to see what they were expecting.

DDN 1-door Ensign Citybus Ensign had ordered twenty-four, with two-doorway Northern Counties bodywork, the choice of Dominators allowing them to continue buying the trusted combination of Gardner engine and Voith gearbox. The first one to arrive was 256, in October 1990. But before the rest arrived the company was sold. Ensign sold its tendered operations to the Hong Kong-based CNT group in December 1990 . So the rest of this batch was delivered in January 1991 to the new company, which at first used the Ensign Citybus fleetname on Ensign's blue and silver livery. They displaced second-hand buses on the 62, 62A (Barking - Little Heath) and 248 (Romford - Cranham), working from Purfleet.
DDN 1-door Capital Citybus The new company quickly settled on a yellow livery with red lining, and a Capital Citybus fleetname. Twelve of the new Dominators were repainted ready for the assumption of services in the Walthamstow area in November 1991, following the collapse of London Buses' London Forest District. These twelve were available after the loss of the 62/62A. They were transferred to the new depot at Northumberland Park to operate route 97 , although late opening of the new premises saw them working it from Dagenham for a while. The others worked from the Dagenham base.

All gradually received the yellow livery. Two (268 and 274) were repainted into the new red with yellow and white livery for use on the 97 (Crouch End Broadway - Trafalgar Square), which Capital Citybus took over in February 1997, which required buses compliant with the 80% red rule and for which new Volvo Olympians were late in delivery. Others too received the new livery later.

The batch soldiered on until 2002 (with a few casualties on the way). In March 2002 most were withdrawn. Some were reinstated for rail replacement work, operating from Rainham, and some helped out during the 185 tender flop in August 2002. But the end was not long delayed: nearly all of the batch were transferred north to First Glasgow by September - where they have continued to give good service.

181-182: new for Ensign Citybus

Two single doorway Dominators were bought in a hurry for the Walthamstow takeover, and arrived in October 1991 ready in the new yellow livery for routes 97A and 215 (along with new Olympians). Unfortunately the changeover publicity leaflets told the public to expect new blue and silver buses, so there had to be a temporary swap to provide the "correct" colour buses for a transition period.

The two buses operated as part of the single-doorway bus pool. They differed from the first batch in more than doorways: 181 had a Gardner LG1200 engine, 182 a Cummins. They spent time at Hackney from October 1996, working on the D6 (Hackney Central - Crossharbour) and 257 (Stratford - Walthamstow Central) routes.

They followed their two-door cousins north to First Glasgow in the winter of 2002-3.

200 at North Weald, June 1998 DDN 1-door drawing

181 was in Stratford Bus Station on Thursday 3rd August 2000, as one of a very mixed bag working the 257.

191-198: ex-Southampton Citybus

ex-Southampton A complete batch of eight secondhand Dominators was bought from Southampton Citybus in October 1992 for use on newly-acquired and extended route 257. These had single doorway East Lancs bodywork of distinctive appearance, with flat windscreens on the upper deck, and curved on the lower deck.

In 2000-1 most were away to First Mainline, with the last three going to First PMT for Crosville operations.

202-203: ex-London Coaches

These two had started off as London Buses' Dominator evaluation buses H2 and H3 in 1984. They had moved on to London Coaches for contract and sightseeing work, with single doorways, in 1991, and acquired London Plus livery. Capital Citybus bought them in August 1993, put them into yellow livery and reinstated the blind displays.

At various times they worked from Northumberland Park, Dagenham or Hackney as required. 202 partially lost its roof to the railway bridge at Cranham in November 1996, but was repaired and reinstated. The duo were transferred north to First Leicester in November 1999.


183, 184, 190: ex-Mainline

Three tall Alexander-bodied Dominators were bought from Mainline in Sheffield in October 1994. Initially at Northumberland Park, they moved to Dagenham in July 1995, and on to Hackney in 1998. They departed some time in 1999-2000.

185-201, 204: ex-Kelvin Central

Eight more second-hand Alexander-bodied buses were bought from Kelvin Central in March 1995, for use on the East London Line contract. The East London line was being refurbished, and was therefore (in the modern way of doing things) closed completely for a while so that customers could find alternative ways of conducting their lives. By way of mitigation, a replacement bus service was instituted between New Cross/New Cross Gate and Aldgate. This was intended to last seven months (Ho-ho!). Ten second-hand buses were acquired, including these eight from Kelvin, and painted in a distinctive orange and white livery with sign-writing to support their pretence at being Underground trains. Operation was from Northumberland Park at first, and later from Waterden Road, Hackney.

They departed variously in 1997-8, some once the contract was complete, some after a repaint and other duties.

200 at North Weald, June 1998 DDA drawing

200, by now repainted in yellow for normal duties, was at North Weald Rally in June 1998 when I photographed the Metrobus in the foreground!

340, 341, 342, 344, 345, 347, 348: ex-Leicester

The re-award of Romford routes in 1996 brought a need for more second-hand but relatively new buses. These came in the shape of seven 1989 Dominators from Leicester Citybus, with East Lancs bodywork with the full angled styling and enormous windscreens of the time, like the London & Country Dominators but more so. The Dominators were painted into the yellow livery, and were rushed into service with paper blinds crammed into the blind spaces, for route 248 and then the 165/365.

Like the other second-hand Dominators they were used at all the garages over time, before going to First PMY or First PMT when displaced by the low-floor generaton.

345 at Stratford, August 2000 DDE drawing

345 was at Stratford Bus Station on 3rd August 2000, while I was photographing the Excel in the foreground.

Ian's Bus Stop London Pride. Capital Citybus. bus histories. photo refs.