GS62: a 50 year celebration!
Created 25th November 2003 by Ian Smith on behalf of Alan Charman.
London Transport service: 1953-1973
Amersham: December 53- April 1954GS62 was taken into London Transport stock on 16th December 1953, and registered for service the following day. The bus was one of ten GSs allocated to Amersham garage, sweeping away the twenty-seater Leyland Cubs that had operated until then. Amersham garage operated many semi-rural routes, reaching out into the delightful Chiltern countryside from Amersham and Chesham, together with some newer routes that penetrated new housing estates and connected them to the erstwhile Metropolitan Railway at Chesham and Amersham Stations. So GS62 found itself operating the 348, 348A to Buckland Common and St.Leonards; 373 between Penn and Beaconsfield; 397 between Chesham and Tring; 398 and 398A to Beaconsfield and Winchmore Hill.
The first known photograph of GS62, taken by Alan Cross at Amersham Garage in February 1954, with GS62 loading for the 398 to Beaconsfield. (Copyright Alan Cross)
Garston: April 1954 - September 1962After the wonders of the Chilterns GS62 was next allocated to the delights of Rickmansworth. Again it was operating feeder services to the Metropolitan Line, this time at Rickmansworth, where the modern little buses delivered their passengers to be whisked into London by 1920s electric locomotives. Routes operated by GS62 included the eccentic 336A, where the driver lived on the private estate served by the bus and kept the bus overnight, returning it to Garston garage each week for servicing. Others were the 309 and 361, fanning out south and north-west from the station to Harefield and Chorleywood respectively.
All these routes operated from Garston garage, which meant a long garage run through Croxley and Watford to and from the garage.
After overhaul GS62 returned to Garston, having lost the polish to the radiator trim and with wheel trims painted green also. This photo shows GS62 working Garston duty GR62, on the 309 at Rickmansworth Station, in company with RT4737, on 21st June 1959.(Copyright R.A.Golds)
Photographic evidence, if not the L.T. records, shows that it was loaned by Garston to Hertford sometime in 1955-6, and worked on the 329A market-day service from Datchworth to Hitchin. This means it would also have worked the 329 to get there, and a 386 short-working while it was there. It may have worked on Hertford's other GS routes while on loan too, such as the 333, 388 and 389.
While stationed at Garston, in September 1957, GS62 was sent away to Aldenham for overhaul. It returned the next month in almost-new condition, and had another spell of duty on the Rickmansworth routes until September 1962, when it went back to Amersham for a month.
GS62 during its unrecorded loan to Hertford in 1955-6. GS62 is at St.Mary's Square, Hitchin, on the market-day 329A route to and from Datcworth. RF578 in the background was allocated new to Hitchin in 1953, and works the straggling 364 to Luton. (Alan Charman collection)
Amersham again: September - October 1962GS62 arrived back at Amersham just in time to be made redundant. All the GSs at Amersham (as at Epping and Chelsham) were replaced by ex-coach RFs, themselves made redundant by the advent of the RMC coach Routemasters onto Greenline work. Thirty-five GSs were re-allocated in October, most going into storage. GS62 was one of the few lucky ones.
Tring: October 1962 - December 1964By now GS62 had gone five years since its previous full overhaul, and it was sent to Tring to work as a staff bus. London Transport staff who had worked in their maintenance and overhaul facilities, and who had been transferred to the centralised overhaul works at Chiswick and Aldenham were entitled to staff transport for their trunk travel to and from work. So L.T. operated a network of staff bus routes, with dedicated buses driven by pairs of Aldenham workers. Tring operated one of these buses, and GS62 found itself shuttling to Aldenham each morning, and back in the evening.
It did this for a month, then went into store at Garston prior to going into Aldenham for another overhaul in November. It did not emerge until May 1963, when it was sent back to store at Garston. After the best part of a year's holiday, GS62 was relicensed for staff bus duties in September 1963, and returned to Tring, taking over from GS75 which had filled the gap.
GS62 stayed on staff bus duty there for over a year, until it was called back to active passenger service in December 1964.
Dunton Green: December 1964 - December 1966GS62 now moved to the opposite corner of London Transport operations: from Hertfordhire to Kent. But in many ways the countyside was similar: steep hills (North Downs instead of Chilterns) narrow lanes and lots of trees. Dunton Green's speciality with GSs was the 471, a frying-pan shaped route working out from the Southern Electric at Orpington Station to Green Street Green, and then round in a loop via Pratts Bottom, Knockholt Pond and Cudham, and back into Orpington. It was while it was at Dunton Green that it made the acquaintance of its current owner, who used it and its companions to visit family in Cudham and Pratts Bottom. GS62 worked from Dunton Green for two years, until RFs took over the 471 on the very last day of 1966. GS62 was redundant again, and crossed the river to store at Grays.
Reigate: February 1967 - February 1973But fortune smiled on GS62 again, and a month later staff bus duty called again. This time it was for the Reigate-Chiswick and Aldenham staff bus. This was a long-standing duty, for Reigate had been the Southern Division's overhaul centre during the war and for a while after, so many of its staff had been transferred to Chiswick and Aldenham when the work was concentrated. In 1929 LT1425 had been used, and later it was the turn of 10T10 Regals and then 15T13s. Now it was the turn of the GSs. GS62 stayed on this into the seventies, being transferred to Central Area stock in December 1969 and avoiding transfer to London Country. It kept on with its dashes from Reigate to Chiswick - and on to Aldenham - and back, still wearing L.T. green and London Transport fleetnames. This lasted until February 1973, when GS was retired into store.
GS62 resting at Reigate garage in 1972 during her staff duty days. Although GS62 retained London Transport ownership and fleetnames, she acquired a London Country "Private" blind. (Alan Charman collection)