The London Buses Greenways
This page created 23rd February 2000
by Ian Smith, updated 3rd June 2002.
For those of you who only want red buses, keep reading.
But if you have broader tastes, or a keener sense of history, click here
for the Greenway story began with London & Country.
London Buses dipped its toe into the water of Greenway conversions in late 1992 with two prototypes:
one short, one long.
The short one became GLS1. It originated as Red Arrow National 2 LS466.
Similar to the London & Country Greenways, the most obvious difference was the rear treatment.
The rear window was fitted in a conventional position below a roof-end panel,
and a small route number display was mounted integrally below.
The number plate was central in an alcove in the deep rear bumper.
The overall treatment at the rear was smoother and rounder.
Front treatment was the "Desperate Dan" chin style, with high grille
and corner indicators, plus marker lights in the roof.
It was finished in Red Arrow livery: red,of course,
with a large single-barbed WHITE arrow,
RED ARROW fleetnames and London Buses roundels all along the roof sides.
It entered service in December 1992.
GLS 466 at Aldwych in September 1998,
swinging round the corner on route 505.
photo by Ian Smith. Click for big picture.
Ex-Crosville 11.6m National 2, FCA 9X became London Buses' second Greenway.
This longer bus was converted in 1992, and actually went into service before GLS1, in October 1992.
Apart from being longer, it was finished with dual-purpose seating,
and had only a single doorway. This had twin swing doors,
unlike the retained folding doors on the other GLS buses.
The treatment was rather more angular than on the main batch of buses,
with the edges not rounded off.
The front display was unique too,
having a single wide roller number blind on the nearside.
It went not to Red Arrow this time, but to the Uxbridge Express,
where it joined the Centrewest Division's dedicated group of National 2s.
The 607 was a limited stop service between Uxbridge and Shepherds Bush.
In recognition of this GLS2 received a route-branded livery,
with the route points enumerated along the roof sides.
GLS2 soon received a registration number from an even more elderly Routemaster,
becoming 292 CLT. In September 1994 it was privatised to Centrewest.
GLS2 was reregistered again in 1995, becoming WPC 316X, and was sold to Hyndburn Transport,
whence it was taken over by Ribble (back where it started) and assumed Stagecoach white'n stripes.
During the remainder of 1992, and through until privatisation in 1994,
Red Arrow National 2s trickled away to Reigate for mechanical work,
then roared back from Blackburn with their renewed bodies.
All 41 returned to Red Arrow work, and at privatisation in November 1994
all went to London General, operating from the Waterloo "Red Arrow" garage (RA).
These all retained their LS numbers, prefixed with G,
although some have received age-masking number plates from redundant Routemasters.
GLS 466 on its daily grind, in this case the 521,
whizzing round from Waterloo Station to Aldwych, along to the City, and back over the river to London Bridge Station.
On the morning after Showbus 98 GLS 466 passes St Paul's.
The Red Arrow network continued to make use of them through the rest of the decade and beyond.
They became a familiar part of the London City scene.
Taken for granted.
They changed very little: a yellow stripe between red body and grey skirt,
new fleetnames, and a new style of Red Arrow logo.
Who noticed them? They did their job, shifting the crowds between the City and the Southern main stations.
It was amazing how long they lasted,
carrying their Gardner roar and emission levels through the City streets until June 2002.
But on Golden Jubilee weekend they were replaced by new bendibuses, and went into store or to Blue Triangle.
We shall probably keep seeing them as the West Coast Mainline Renewal brings disruption to rail services.
GLS486 roars out of Victoria Station on the 507,
in June 1998, catching me by surprise (with a slow shutter speed on the camera, I'm afraid)
Red Arrow Network (1998):
|501||Waterloo Stn - Aldwych - Holborn - St Pauls - Bank - London Bridge Stn
|505||Waterloo Stn - Aldwych - Holborn - Old Street - Shoreditch Church
|507||Waterloo Stn - Lambeth Bridge - Victoria Stn
|521||Waterloo Stn - Aldwych - Holborn - St Pauls - Cannon Street - London Bridge Stn
Ian's Bus Stop