The M&D 402 route Leyland Olympians

This page created 1st November 2004 by Ian Smith

M&D Olympian Maidstone & District get into this survey of London's Olympians by taking over a tender to operate daytime workings of the 402, the long-standing Country route south from Bromley to Sevenoaks and Tonbridge. The route actually taken on by M&D in June 1997, from Kentish Bus, stretched south to Tunbridge Wells, taking over the 704 function, and between Dunton Green and Pratts Bottom was routed via Star Hill, Knockholt Pound and Halstead, once part of the 431 route.

Maidstone & District allocated five 1990 Leyland Olympians, 5901-5, to the route, operating out of Tunbridge Wells garage. They were painted in the excellent rich green and cream livery, with route branding.

Spare buses were taken from Tunbridge Wells' allocation of other Olympians.

The damp hand of corporate liverydom inevitably squashed this bit of magic. Arriva decreed that they had to be in corporate livery. For some reason this had to be red with a cream scoop, rather than turquoise and cream. Somebody said that this was because Bromley people were not used to getting on green buses, ignoring that from the thirties until the eighties the 402 had been operated by green buses! Perhaps he meant that Bromley people were not used to getting onto Maidstone & District buses, as these had always been very limited stop express services within the LT area. Anyway, a good proportion of Bromley's buses were blue and yellow by 1997!

So red and cream the buses became.

M&D5904 in Bromley, Feb.2001 M&D5904 in Bromley, Feb.2001

5904 rounds the corner from Widmore Road into West Street in Bromley after a journey from Tunbridge Wells in February 2001.

In April 2001 a further three were given the red paint treatment: 5906-8. They joined the first five on the 402. Later in the year 5901-3 were demoted, and given a turquoise and cream repaint, while 5904-5 were given a further coat of red and cream. When the DAFs that had been on hire to London United were returned to Arriva Southern Counties some went to Tunbridge Wells, and being red were used on the 402! After a while, in September 2002, these DAFs were officially repainted into Arriva red, making the Leyland Olympians redundant on the 402. Quite what happened to them after that I don't know. Perhaps they are still operating in the Tunbridge Wells area in red? One (5905) was transferred to New Enterprise in September 2002, still in Arriva red, and promptly worked into Bromley on the Mondays-only route 822.

M&D5908 in Bromley, April 2003 M&D5908 in Bromley, April 2003

One of the later trio, 5908, at Bromley North Station, April 2003.

Bus Stop index Alder Valley bus histories photo refs Thamesway