The London Country BTL Leyland Tiger / Berkhof Everest Coaches
This page created 12th February 2004, updated 17th February 2009, by Ian Smith
Greenline went for Berkhof bodies on the Tiger chassis in 1984-5, these offering plenty of luggage space under the high floor. These 12metre long coaches were 3.7m (12ft 4in) high! BTL1-25 were delivered between October 1984 and February 1985, in a variety of liveries to suit the specific jobs they were allocated for.
Two, BTL1 and 12, wore standard green/light green/pale green comb Greenline livery.
After training at Reigate they went to Dunton Green for National Holidays work,
then moved on to Staines as unbranded spares for the various airport services.
BTL2-9. These eight were all dedicated to the Jetlink 747 service between Heathrow and Gatwick. They were in airport yellow/green comb livery, with cream lower body panels and front. They started work, after a period of training, from Staines in December 1984.
BTL10,11,13,15,17,19,20. Seven were allocated to Crawley for the Flightline 777 service connecting London and Gatwick. These had the yellow/green airport comb, but with light green lower body panels. These too started operations in December 1984.
BTL14,16,18 initially wore National Express white with red/blue combs, for National Express duties at Slough and Reigate, although they would not spend long on this. In March 1985, along with BTL1 and BTL12, they were assigned to the Hoverspeed service between London & Dover, and were repainted accordingly. For this they moved to Northfleet.
Five were allocated to Dunton Green for contract services: BTL21-23 for Town & Country Tours in green/blue, BTL24-5 for Insight International in blue/yellow/grey.
August 1985 saw eight more BTLs delivered (BTL26-33), in preparation for the new Speedlink service linking Heathrow and Gatwick,
which started operation in October 1985. These Berkhof Everests seated just 37 instead of the 53 of the Greenline version.
They had serious seats, some of which were grouped in fours around tables. Heavy curtains kept the sunshine from
jet-lagged passengers. Externally they caught the eye in a new livery of blue and white with a broad yellow band and a red comb,
with white Speedlink branding. They went to Staines for the work.
January 1986 saw the start of deliveries of another batch of the big coaches. Two came in Green Line livery (BTL34-35), for Crawley and Addlestone, but were promptly repainted and reseated for Speedlink duties.
Six more (BTL36-41) were for the 767 Heathrow Flightline service, connecting the Airport with Central London.
National Holidays were the recipients of BTL42-46, which were spread around Reigate, Dunton Green and Guildford.
BTL47-48 were for Jetlink, and were based at Hemel Hempstead.
The last five (BTL49-53), in April 1985, were for Insight International, at Hemel Hempstead and Dunton Green.
Break-up of London CountryLondon Country was broken up into four companies with effect from September 1986, and the Green Line operations - and the BTLs - were divided accordingly. London Country South West, operating most of the airport services, took the lion's share of the airport coaches, while London Country North-west took a few with the Hemel Hempstead operations (BTL 47-49, 51). London Country South-East had BTL18, 21-25, 50, 52-3, which Kentishbus renumbered as plain 21-29.
Speedlink Air ServicesLondon Country South West carved off its profitable airport services as Speedlink Air Services in October 1989 including the Flightline, Jetlink and Speedlink services, and the associated BTLs, still young, mostly went with the operation. Some of the lower specification Jetlink BTLs were returned to LCSW in 1990, as SAS updated its own fleet. The BTLs were not really suitable for ordinary stage carriage operations, and many of the early ones were sold in 1991 to Midland Red North, who sent them to East Lancs to be fitted with 61 seater bus bodies - without all the luggage lockers!
OngoingOthers continued, either with SAS, or with Kentishbus or London Country North-West, which both had prestige commuter services and holiday contract work requiring this sort of coach. Some were even acquired later by Countybus for the Sampsons coaching operation.
The new Green Line livery appeared on Arriva The Shires' 4017 and 4019 (BTL17, 19) later in the nineties.