Arriva DAF Greenline Coaches
This page created 14th November 2005 by Ian Smith
Maidstone & District Plaxtons 2903-2910Despite the Government's interference in the bus and coach industry, making co-operation rather than competition illegal, Green Line managed to survive as a brand name, valued by several different operators of commuter services into London. This was particularly applicable to the Arriva group of companies. These included Maidstone and District, which had made its commuter services from Maidstone part of Green Line Associated Services from 1992, and had adopted Green Line branding in 1995.
In January 1998 Arriva Kent & Sussex (the current name for Maidstone & District) took delivery of eight DAF coaches with Plaxton bodywork for use on the Maidstone-London services. They received full Green Line livery and numbers 2903 to 2310.
2904 is seen on its intended duties, the 781 Greenline service from Maidstone to London, passing through New Cross in January 2005. At other times they can be found on Private Hires, such as 2903 passing Sevenoaks Station in July 2004.
Commuter's eye view of Greenline 2904, in a traffic jam on the A20 near Mottingham in August 2000. Some of the coaches have moved between the operating companies: 4055/2911 has variously worked Greenline for Arriva The Shires, Arriva Southend and Arriva Kent & Sussex. Here it is on a 797 Stevenage service approaching Victoria in October 2005.In August 2005 The Green Line services, along with the rest of Arriva Southern Counties coaching in the old M& D area, were hived off to New Enterprise. Services 781 and 784 continued to operate from the Maidstone depot. Most of the DAFs transferred to New Enterprise, with the exception of 2909, which transferred to Stevenage for the 797. Those that remained with New Enterprise were repainted into the company's white with red/navy blue ribbons. The "Green Line" services remained with New Enterprise until January 2009, when Chalkwell Services of Sittingbourne provided an alternative commuter service.
Arriva the Shires Plaxtons 4047-4056, 4064At the same time as Arriva took DAFs for Maidstone & District it bought an identical batch of ten Plaxton Premiere 320s for Luton & District, which was Arriva the Shires when they were delivered in November 1997. They were for Arriva's prestige airport route 757 (London (Victoria) - Luton Airport - Luton). The ten stayed with the 757 for two and a half years, then ten newer Plaxtons (see below) took over the prestige run and three of the Plaxtons (4047-4049) were cascaded onto Hemel Hempstead's commuter 758.
Two (4055 and 4056) went to Southend for their Green Line duties. The latter two moved on again in spring 2002 to Arriva Kent & Sussex for the Maidstone run, where they became 2911 and 2912. In 2005 they moved back north, but to Stevenage for the 797, regaining their AtS numbers.
Another four (4050-4053)were transferred from Luton-Dunstable to Hemel Hempstead in January 2006, after a batch of Alizees (4065-4069) arrived at Luton.
The other one, 4054, stayed at Luton as a spare and for contract work.
A further similar coach was acquired in November 2004 from Arriva Fox County (although it had a long history of other operators since new seven years previously). 4064 was used as a floating spare around the system, wherever needed.
4055 was going about its business on the 797 in Stevenage early one Sunday morning in June 2006. 4056 was in a queue of Green Line / Easyjet coaches loading up opposite Victoria Coach Station for a journey northwards in January 2008, ahead of Alizee 4059.
4055 joined other Green Line coaches at Wisley Airfield for Cobham's celebration of 80 years of Green Line in April 2010. It now wears a revised livery, with a bow-wave over the front wheel.This batch lasted with Arriva the Shires until 2011-12, for the most part (4056 went to New Enterprise in 2009, 4052 was written off after an accident in 2011)
Arriva the Shires Alizees 4057-4061, 4063Grey-Green, part of the Cowie/Arriva empire, had its own coaching fleet, including some DAFs with Van Hool Alizee bodywork, dating from spring 1995. Two were transferred to Arriva Cymru in April 1998. In August 1998 another two were transferred to Arriva the Shires for Green Line work, followed by three more in October and a sixth in April 1999. They went to Hemel Hempstead, where they donned Green Line livery with discrete 758 branding for the commuter 758.
Arriva the Shires' 4060 visited Showbus at Duxford in September 2005, as part of a Green Line 75 celebration. For some reason it was missing its Van Hool badge from the front.
4061 passes Victoria Station as it nears the end of its journey from Hemel Hempstead ready for the evening homeward surge in October 2005.The Van Hools lasted a relatively long time on front-line Green Line work. But by 2009 they were relatively long in the tooth, and once the big six-wheeler Acrons arrived on the Luton run these older coaches were pensioned off. Some went to other Arriva enterprises (4058,4059 to New Enterprise, 4057,4063 to Arriva Scotland West), while 4060 and 4061 became dedicated trainers. 4060 spent some time training in Green Line livery, which allowed it to be used as a spare when necessary. It was repainted in late 2010 in white with a dark blue skirt, for training and/or railway replacement work, but was scrapped in early 2011. 4061 went into training livery of white with grey skirt in 2009, and lasted until late 2011.
Arriva the Shires Plaxtons 4359, 4361-4369Another batch of ten Plaxton Premiere 320-bodied DAFs was bought by Arriva the Shires in July 2000. These went into service on the 757, replacing earlier similar Plaxtons.
Arriva the Shires' 4367 passes Victoria Station on 757 in October 2005 on a Luton Airport 757 service.Arriva took on responsibility for the Easyjet connection between Luton Airport and London, and in mid-2005 made a deal to offer a guaranteed proportion of seats on the 757 to Easyjet passengers at discounted fares. In conjunction with this 4361/3/5 were repainted in Easybus orange livery with prominent branding.
4366 went for scrap in 2006, after hitting a motorway gantry support in an horrific accident.
The batch stayed on the front line until the spring of 2009, when they were cascaded to Hemel Hempstead or Stevenage by the arrival of the six-wheeler Acrons. A variety of liveries appeared now, with the Easybus liveries disappearing from this batch. 4361 and 4365 went back into new bow-wave Green Line livery, along with 4359, 4367 and 4369; 4362, 4363 and 4368 went into schoolbus yellow; 4367 then was repainted again into interurban blue/blue.cream horn.
2011 saw four of the batch go into white with blue skirts for dual purpose training and/or railway replacement.
Arriva the Shires Van Hools 4065-4069At the end of 2005 six new Green Lines were received. These had Van Hool bodies with an attempt to cater for the wheelchair mobility market. The coaches retained the high floor needed for the underfloor luggage boot, but had a double front doorway. The second front door opened onto a wheelchair anchorage. This had to be booked in advance: when not booked the space was fitted with four seats. This arrangement resulted in a long front overhang.
The batch went into service on the 797 London-Stevenage service. One was damaged in a motorway accident in October 2007 and was impounded by police for two years. 4067 was then rebuilt and returned to service. Another Van Hool, given temporary fleet number 0412, was hired by Arriva for most of 2008.
4066 was at Cobham Museum's pre-hibernation day celebration of Green Line in October 2008.
Rebuilt 4067 joined other Green Line coaches at Wisley Airfield for Cobham's celebration of 80 years of Green Line in April 2010. The long front overhang and double front doorway are apparent.
National Express Van Hools 4070-4076Arriva Fox County operated National Express services between London and Derby (440), and London and Leeds (561), from depots in Derby and Leicester. These services used a fleet of Van Hool Alizees dating from 2003-5 in white National Express livery. In March 2010 a reorganisation of National Express services transferred these routes to Milton Keynes, together with the coaches. They became Arriva the Shires 4070-4076.
In January 2012 they became redundant with National Express. 4073 and 4074 went off to Wales, but the other five were repainted in Green Line livery and were transferred to Hemel Hempstead for second-line Green Line work.