This page created 17th January 2008.
London Country Dominators
DD1: the big coachIn the autumn of 1988 London Country South-West bought a double-decker coach. A long-wheelbase Dennis Dominator, it was bodied in East Lancs' current style, with droop front-roof, and carried 76 coach seats. It was finished in an experimental livery. The young company was looking for a new style and logo. But this was not it! Paintwork was white and apple-green, with black lining, of which only the green was to survive into the eventual London & Country livery. An inelegant "London CountrY South West" was rendered in red.
Although intended for coaching work, it soon settled to operation on Leatherhead's 408 Express service between Guildford and Croydon. Officially un-numbered, it was commonly known as DD1, until the bus Dominators arrived in spring 1989, when it was numbered 601 in London & Country's new numbering scheme.
The livery was recognised as not a success, and the coach was repainted in the new Green Line
livery of pale green intermeshed with dark green, with a white roof. It was used on the 715.
But Green Line services in traditional form were to disappear in spring 1991
when London Regional Transport withdrew funding support from all but the 726.
601 then acquired another livery, this time as the Countryliner, using the pale green but with dark green skirt and red and dark green bands. Now it tended to appear on the 715's successor, the 415 (Guildford - Victoria).
At a later stage in its career it lost its coach seats in favour of the bus variety, and acquired standard green/green/red London & Country livery.
DD1 at work with Bryn Melyn, in Llangollen, June 2008
602-609 (DD2-DD9): the new busesFor its first order for new-generation buses to replace the Atlanteans (indigenous or imported) London & Country looked to its local chassis supplier: Dennis of Guildford. Seven new Dominators for use on tendered route 131 (Weybridge - Kingston) carried normal-length East Lancs bodies to the current slope-fronted style (considered either very handsome or rather ugly by different commentators), while 609 was a long- wheelbase 84-seater. Although 602-608 were shorter than DD1 or DD9 they carried up to 76 seated passengers, with a front doorway only. Livery for all was the new London & Country two-tone green with red band. They began a new numbers-only fleet-numbering scheme, receiving 602-609 (leaving 601 for the coach).
602-608 were allocated to Weybridge for the 131, starting in April 1989 but when Weybridge received new Volvos in September 1989 they were transferred to Leatherhead to take over that garage's share of the 131. Meanwhile 609 went immediately to Leatherhead, who tried to keep it off the 131, using it mostly on the 408 Express. The 131 was lost to Westlink on retendering in September 1990, but there was still plenty of work for the big buses. In 1992 they ventured further into London when they worked with Olympians on route 57 (Streatham Hill - Kingston).
They were renumbered in January 1996, when the acquisition of further Dominators
pointed up the problems of a numbers-only fleet numbering scheme.
They became DD2-9.
They stayed with London & Country until May 1998, when the entire batch was withdrawn, DD2-8
being sold to Thamesdown Transport in Swindon, and DD9 to South Mimms Transport.
DD10-DD12: second-hand from MaynesThree second-hand, but relatively new Dominators, with new-style East Lancs bodies, were bought at the end of 1995 to see off the last Bristol VRTs in the old Alder Valley territory. They therefore spent their service in the Guildford, Woking and Cranleigh areas, until departing for Arriva Southend in July 1999.
DD13-DD16: the last new DominatorsIn March 1996 London & Country bought the last four new Dominators from Dennis. The East Lancs bodywork bore a strong resemblance to the Alexander Royale styling. The four went into service at Guildford on route 34 (Guildford - Camberley). They became established there, and as far as I know, three (DD13-15) are still there at the time of writing. DD16 went to Arriva Southend in 2002, and subsequently went north to Arriva Merseyside and then Arriva Cymru at Chester. Arriva turquoise and cream does not suit them like the old Guildford & West Surrey livery.
DD17-DD22: second-hand from North-WesternIn September 1997 six second-hand Dominators with droop-front bodies were acquired from North-Western - a sister company. The transfer cannot have been urgent from London & Country's point of view, for the buses went into store at Crawley, only two appearing into service by the end of the year. DD19 was the first London & Country bus to carry the new turquoise and champagne livery. My records of the period are rather patchy, but they seem to have trickled into service during 1998. Photographers do not appear to have rushed to see them. Some moved to Guildford.
They moved on to Arriva Southend in May or July 1999, Southend at that stage being on the receiving end of the group's discards due to poor stock-market performance (or so I gather).
DD19 was a fairly early sale to Citybus of Toxteth in March 2003. The other five were withdrawn in October 2006, and sold to Stephenson's of Rochford. From there they were bought by Trustline of Hertford, specialists in Rail Replacement Services. Some operated for a while in Arriva livery, with the Arriva identifiers crudely daubed with maroon paint before sale, but then they began to appear in Trustline's red yellow and blue livery. But they fell out of favour in 2007, and were replaced by ex-Dublin Olympians.
DD20 was in tidy ex-Arriva livery (complete with Southend "route-boards") when on Rail Replacement for Trustline in March 2007. Here it enters New Barnet Station pretending to be a Stevenage to London all-stations Sunday train for WAGN. DD18 had been repainted in Trustline's cheerful house colours when seen heading for Rail Duty in Hertford in June 2007. It seems to have a distinct list to starboard.
Ian's Bus Stop H. text. bus histories. photo refs. London Pride.