The London Buses Nationals: LSThis page created on 10th February 2000 by Ian Smith
Part Two: National 2s
LS438 - 506 (total 69): 3LS3
Red Arrow LS482 taking up duties at Victoria Garage. Photo, used with permission, by BusSpotter.London Transport had reached a working arrangement with the Leyland National, and was coaxing extra life out of its engines (that tended to give up after just three years). The National 2 came along with a different engine, the 11.1 litre 0680, and LT was not interested at first. But then it perceived a need to replace the remaining Merlins and Swifts, that had been performing well on Red Arrow duties. Ribble loaned their 841 to London for trials in October and November 1980, and an order was placed. LS348 arrived in December, and after testing at Chiswick was accepted in January 1981.
The production models were delivered via Apsley British Leyland Centre in Nottingham,
where the trimmings that Leyland would not tackle as manufacturer - such as fleetnames, yellow-painted doors -
Into serviceThe National 2s were allocated first to brand-new Ash Grove garage (AG) in April 1981, for use on the 502 and 513 (which had previously been worked by Hackney and Victoria). Victoria gained some in May for the 500 and 507. Walworth received an allocation for the 501 in June. The Ash Grove buses also later worked on the Stationlink service.
But 1982 service cuts in Red Arrow provision made 15 of the National 2s redundant, and they went into store. One went to Chiswick to receive a ZF gearbox, then went back into service for monitoring. Six went to Aldenham to have extra seating installed, making them B36+27D, along with Almex fare machine fittings. Their Red Arrow markings were removed and they were allocated to Stockwell for the P4 route, starting in January 1983. They were joined by another three in 1984. They subsequently appeared on the 115 and 170 as well. However, the loss of the P4 to London Country in 1985 meant that they went back into store. Meanwhile others were fitted with ticket machines and allocated to Poplar and West Ham, for use on ordinary services or Red Arrow as conditions required. Yet more were seen at Bromley, in ordinary service, at the end of 1983.
In June 1986 route 210 was converted from ordinary Nationals operated by Muswell Hill to MkIIs from Holloway. A dozen 36-seaters were gathered for this purpose - some fresh from overhaul - and operated the route until October 1987, when they went into store at Walworth.
Another conversion during this period was to LS454,
which was fitted in 1984 with a Ratcliffe Lift in the exit doorway,
with 2 wheelchair anchorages and attendant seats.
It went onto the Newham and Waltham Forest Mobility services,
working initially from Leyton and later from Ash Grove.
In 1992 the first of forty-two conversions of National 2s was made,
this time a complete body repanel and rebuild, plus engine change to a Gardner:
the Greenway conversion - but that's another page.
LS444 has been preserved, and appeared at Showbus 2005 to stand alongside converted classmate GLS443.