Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,

This page created 30th October 2012, updated 22nd January 2017.

The Shires' Scania not-SLFs

Luton & District: Scania L113CRL East Lancs European 693-699, 701-720

Shires L113 Whereas Wrights had a softly rounded front on their otherwise boxy bodies for new low-floor buses, East Lancs went for the East European look: uncompromisingly heavy-looking box. Although essentially the same shape as a long "shoebox" Dart, a smattering of heavy pillars for strength, plus a front somehow reminiscent of the Predator (as in the films), gave it a massive look. It was a last throw of the pre-low-floor generation, with two entrance steps.

Luton & District took twenty-seven in 1995-6, with 51-seater front-entrance European bodies on Scania L113CRL chassis. Twelve had dual-purpose seating, with just 49 seats. No wheelchair or buggy spaces here!

Shires L113 The Shires' livery of bold blue with yellow roof and stone skirt, plus route and district branding softened the brutal shape somewhat.

693-699 were route-branded for route 31 and Luton&Dunstable district, from Luton garage..

SE701-SE712 had type prefixes for Hemel Hempstead, a garage used to London practices. These twelve were also equipped with dual-purpose seating, and were given Gade Valley fleetnames. Hemel Hempstead was given to route-branding its buses (and then using them on the "wrong" routes. Some were subsequently branded for trunk route 500 (Hemel Hempstead - Watford).
SE701 gained short-lived adverts for Ford and Comtel.
SE702 quickly attained an overall advert for the Hemel Gazette, and
SE710 was repainted in 1996 in a blue and green overall advert for West Herts College.

713-716 were for Aylesbury, with Aylesbury & the Vale fleetnames. Some of these were branded for the 500.

SE717-SE720 were the 1996 follow-on batch for Dunstable and Luton garages.

The Shires: Northern Counties Paladins 3191-3199, 3201-3205

The Shires NC Scania The Cowie Group took over LDT in 1996, signalling the end of new buses with East Lancs bodywork for the company (Different industry tie-ups). So the next batch of Scanias were bodied by Northern Counties, using their Paladin bodywork. With a high floor-line, these came out looking rather tall.

They arrived in the autumn of 1997, dressed in blue, yellow and stone, with route branding.
3191-3195 were for Luton & Dunstable, some branded for the 12 (Luton - Stopsley)
3196-3199, 3201-3202 went to Hitchin for the Stevenage line, branded for the 100/101 (Luton - Hitchin - Stevenage)
3203-3205 went to Aylesbury & the Vale, branded for the X15 (Aylesbury - Leighton Buzzard - Milton Keynes)

Arriva the Shires

3197 on 101, Stevenage, June 2007
Northern Counties bodied 3197 pauses at Stevenage Bus Station in June 2007, between journeys on its intended 101.
Arriva Scania Arriva was the new brand-name for Cowie's bus operations nationwide (and later world-wide), and produced a new corporate livery of "turquoise and champagne", the blandness of which made NBC poppy red or leaf green seem exciting. (Only on Teeside was anywhere with a similar colour scheme, where Middlesbrough's and Stockton's paint stocks of blue and green were reputedly mixed together - and the resulting Teesside Motor Traction became the local Stagecoach firm, not the Arriva one. But on the other hand, it was only just down the road from Arriva's headquarters in Sunderland, so perhaps it did have an influence?)

Arriva NC Scania A whole load of new route brandings began to be applied to the blue and cream buses, plus some overall advertisements. By and large the buses stayed put where they had originally been put, working mainly on the trunk routes which could cope with their length.

From 2002 some were allocated to Wycombe, after the take-over of the Wycombe Bus Company, and they were to be found on the services stretching out to Reading. Some of these received ConnXion branding.

A few received a new livery with royal blue in place of the turquoise, which looked much better, even with branding for the ConnXion or route 32 superimposed.

3152 on 6, Watford Junction, April 2004 3167 on 69, Luton Station, Sept.2009

3152 on Watford route 6 at Watford Junction, wearing the Hemel Gazette advert, April 2004. 3167 in the wilderness by Luton Station, on the 69 to Leighton Buzzard, September 2009.
3160 on 300, St Albans City Stn, January 2006 3160 on 300, St Albans St.Peters St, January 2006
3160 in St.Albans, January 2006, on the 300, at City Station, and later in St.Peter's Street.
3154 on 300, St Albans City Stn, January 2008 3154 on 300, St Albans St.Peters St, January 2008
St.Albans again, this time in January 2008, with 3154 on the 300.


Arriva Scania interurban A general livery improvement was the interurban scheme adopted nationally by Arriva, a medium blue with dark blue skirt, orange innstead of yellow cheat line, and a cream horn instead of a cream scoop. Some of both types received the new livery from 2006, in particular buses at Aylesbury and Wycombe, but by no means all.

3165 at Showbus 2009 3167 in Dunstable on 31, June 2006

3165 shows off the interurban livery at Showbus, Duxford, September 2009. 3167, still wearing the older livery, runs into Dunstable on the 31 in June 2006.


Some of the Scanias went on loan as they were made redundant by newer buses and service changes. Several went to Milton Keynes, where before long they were withdrawn. Returned to Aylesbury, where the staff knew how they worked, several were resurrected for further duty. Likewise 3195 that went on loan to Tunbridge Wells, and 3199 to Maidstone, were soon returned.

Two of the East Lancs buses went before their time: 3169 was rear-ended in 2006, and was sold for scrap in 2007, while 3160 was sold to Ensign Bus in 2009. The rest of them, now fifteen or sixteen years old, were withdrawn in the latter part of 2010 or during 2011. Some went direct to the Yorkshire scrapyards, but some were store for a while at Southend, awaiting their fate.

3204 was the first to go amongst the Northern-Counties bodied buses, after a fire in 2010. Most of the rest lasted into 2012 before disposal.

Bus Stop SLW. Kentish Bus. Europeans. bus histories. photo refs.