The London Country TP, TPL Leyland Tiger / Plaxton Coaches

This page created 17th December 2002, updated 18th February 2009 by Ian Smith

1983 saw the retirement of many more of the leased RS and RB coaches, these now being five years old and therefore no longer at the cutting edge of luxury coach travel. Fashions in coaching change very quickly, and Greenline now had to run very fast to keep up with a modern image. After the TL Leopard intake in 1982 Greenline looked to a heavier chassis in the shape of the Leyland Tiger and ordered 45 with Duple Dominant IV bodywork (TD1-45).

Forty were also ordered with 11 metre long Plaxton Paramount 3200 bodies (TP1-40), with the first twenty-five delivered at the end of 1983 and the remainder early in 1984.
TP1-29, with 53-seater bodies, went into Greenline service, initially the north-west services from Hemel Hempstead and Amersham garages, and the Guildford - north-east services, served by Guildford, Hatfield and Hertford.
TP30, also a 53-seater, was meant to go to Guildford for National Express work, and was liveried as such, but actually was initially allocated to Reigate for the 755.
TP31-35 were in Greenline livery, but with luggage pens and only 49 seats. They went to St Albans, where they were used mainly on the 727.
TP36-40 were 53-seaters in Greenline livery, but fitted with public address equipment. Their primary function was for private hire, and they distributed to Amersham, Reigate, St.Albans and Dartford.

Greenline TP

Another batch of twenty, this time 12m long and seating 51 or 57, were ordered for delivery in March 1984. These were TPL41-60, most delivered in Greenline livery of white with green/pale green band/comb.
TPL41-50 were 51-seaters, scattered round the fleet garages to cater for the private hire requirement, while TPL51-57 seated 57 to deal with the heaviest commuter flows and went to Northfleet for the 720 and Hemel Hempstead for the 758/9.
TPL58-60 were 57 seaters for National Express use.

National Express TP

January and February 1985 saw the arrival of another fifteen "standard" (ie 11 metre 49 seaters) coaches, when TP61-75 arrived. These had a slightly different front treatment, without the black panel above the grille and with less chrome trim. Windows in the drivers cab and doors had a horizontal bottom edge instead of slanting. They wore a new variation of Greenline livery, with pale green supplanting the white lower body panels. TP61,63,64, with appropriate sign-writing, displaced the DL Leopards from Addlestone's 767 Flightline service, in turn displacing RBs and RSs like the other TPs, which went to Dunton Green, Hertford and Garston for Greenline work.

Kentish Bus GreenLine TP

More of the longer coaches arrived in early 1985 too:
TPL76-84 were four more 53-seaters for Greenline service at Hemel Hempstead, and five more for private hire work.
TPL85-90 were six 50 seater toilet-fitted coaches for National Express work.
TPL91-95 were five 51-seat coaches in National Holidays livery.

In service

The allocations for the ordinary Greenline TPs remained fairly constant, although Slough, Staines, Stevenage and Dorking acquired allocations, but the more fliuid nature of the long-distance, hire and airport services produced some changes with TPs and TPLs allocated to these services. In March 1985 TP30 and TPL58 were both fitted with toilets by Plaxton, reducing seating but improving their suitability for long-distance National Express work. The 767 allocation at Addlestone were displaced by new BTLs in March 1986, and two went to St.Albans for the Luton Flightline 757.

September 1986 saw the break-up of London Country, and TPs and TPLs went to all four companies:
LCNW took TP 1-7, 10, 13, 15, 21, 23, 36, 66-68 and TPL43, 45-47, 49, 51-53, 55, 57, 78, 80-81, 83-84, 86-87, 91-95.
LCNE took TP 8, 11-12, 24-29, 31, 33-35, 38, 61, 63-64, 69-72, 75 and TPL82.
LCSE had TP 37, 40, 62, 65, 73 and TPL44, 48, 54, 56, 76-77, 79
LCSW had TP 9, 14, 16-20, 22, 30, 32, 39, 74 and TPL41-42, 50, 58-60, 85, 88-90

Their five-year leases began to expire at the end of 1988. Some appear to have been re-leased, while others after return to Kirby were acquired by other companies from the old London Country: Kentishbus acquired several ex-LCNW coaches.

Some lasted a remarkably long time with the ex-London Country companies. Two gained bus liveries: 4001 (ex-TP13) with the Shires was repainted blue with a yellow roof, and 864 (ex-TP64) gained blue/pale cream with Sovereign after a spell at Keighley.

The later acquisitions

LCNW, TPL96-98

National Express TP London Country North-West continued to invest in its well-used Greenline srvices between London and the Hemel Hempstead area, buying in 1988 another three long Tigers with Plaxton Paramount 3200 3 bodywork (as well as three STLs). They had updated body styling, with new fronts and coach doors, and were painted in Greenline livery with green combs.

LCSW (Shamrock & Rambler)


London Country South West was now (1988) owned by Endless Holdings, who also owned Shamrock & Rambler. From there a TP was transferred, AEF 990Y, in September 1988. LCSW painted it in Greenline livery, numbered it TP91, and put it to work from Reigate on the 727 route. But Heathrow security did not recognise it as a "real" 727 - perhaps alerted by its unique one-piece blind display. They would not let it through the Cargo Tunnel, so it was promptly shunted off to Crawley to work the 773 Brighton service.

88-91, 98, 101, 109-111

L&C ex S&R TP In April 1989 Shamrock & Rambler ceased trading, conveniently for LCSW, which was facing the loss off-lease of many of its TPs and TPLs. Twenty-two coaches arrived from Shamrock & Rambler, including nine TP-type. The TPs were numbered in line with their registration numbers, and repainted in new Greenline livery - except 98, which was painted in the old white with green comb. 88-91 were relatively new (1988) with the new style of front. Two of them (89 and 91) had a brief spell with the new Speedlink Air Services when it was first set up, before returning to London & Country. These four naturally lasted longer with London & Country than the older (1983) coaches, (which were very quickly disposed of) and later were repainted in London & Country green/green/red or Countryliner liveries.

London Buses

London Forest TP1 TP1 was an ex-Guildford Greenline coach (TP14), which worked for a year with London Forest from Leyton, between June 1989 and June 1990, after which it went on to Kentishbus. Two TPLs were leased in October 1989 for Leaside Buses. They went to Wood Green, wearing dealer white with Leaside Buses logos.

East London Coaches TPL7 Three new Paramounts arrived in early 1990, TPL3 and 5 going to Leyton (replacing TP1) and TPL4 to Catford for contract coaching services. Another second-hand Greenline coach (ex-TP31 from LCNE) was bought, and became TP2 at New Cross, painted in red and gold. 1991 saw the acquisition of two more, TPL7 and 8. East London Coaches gave these broad red striping on the white base, and allocated at least TPL7 to North Street, Romford.

TPL1,2 and 8 have had long careers with Leaside Buses, while TPL3 and 4 went young to Reading Buses.

Ian's Bus Stop Index TD histories photo refs BTL