Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 13th April 2024.

CT Plus: W12, OS2-8

Hackney Community Transport (CT Plus) took over route W12 from First London in March 2010. The Solos were similar, but a foot longer, with a more powerful engine. They also wore a small air-conditioning unit above the cab, behind the display. Livery was about as all-red as possible, with just the legal lettering, a tiny fleet logo and white fleetnumbers breaking the sea of red.

OS1-8 went into service on the W12, working out of Ash Grove garage (HK).

  • W12 Walthamstow Coppermill Lane - Walthamstow Central - Whipps Cross - South Woodford - Wanstead

The short Solos also worked some duties on the W5. Here OS4 comes down Stanhope Road to duck under the old Finsbury Park to Highgate railway, now a parkland walk. It bears incorrectly set blinds: it is NOT going to Woodford Wells!

W5, OS9-16

In February 2011 CTPlus took over the W5 from Metroline. More Solos were required. These were longer, at 8.8m, and seated two more, at 23. They had the larger engines, presumably because of Highgate Hill, and so were always favoured for their performance. They too worked from Ash Grove. There was still just a tiny fleet logo, but now a tiny strapline read "This bus is operated by ctplus".

  • W5 Harringay Sainsbury's - Harringay - Crouch End - Highgate - Archway Station
The W5 was a route of variety: some back-street hail and ride, some busy main roads. Here OS9 heads north in heavy traffic up Highgate Hill, September 2018.

NHS, OS17-18

OS17, 18 were for a contract with the NHS, providing a shuttle service for staff between Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals. The 8.8m Solos wore white, with a large yellow C logo, with digital displays as they were not bound by TfL restrictions.

However, in March 2013 they were suffering access problems at the hospitals, and were replaced by tiny 15-seater Sprinters and a minibus. A 7.1m slim Solo was borrowed from Courtney Buses to try to alleviate the problems of accessibility and capacity.

OS18 was adopted into the in-service fleet, repainted red and with roller blinds replacing the digital display, in October 2013. OS17 was sold to Proctors in Bedale in September 2015, and after being refurbished went for service in Newark.

309, OS19-27

The nine Solos for the takover of route 309 in March 2012 were different: they had two doorways. They were 9.6m long, seating 29. The route being reasonaby flat, they suffered with the smaller engine, presumably to stop them being even longer as they twisted through the Poplar estates.. They daily served a Lansbury Estate, Teviot Estate and Aberfeldy Estate with a couple of hospitals at the Bethnal Green End.

  • 309 Bethnal Green Chest Hospital - Bethnal Green - Stepney Green - Lansbury Estate - Poplar All Saints - Teviot Estate - Aberfeldy Estate - Canning Town Station
In 2015 they saw occasional afternoon use on route 153, deputising for a DA Dart.
  • 153 Finsbury Park Station - Angel Islington - Barbican - Moorgate - Liverpool Street

W5 refurbishment

During the winter 0f 2015-2016 The Solos for route W5 were refurbished and repainted.

Electric Solo demonstrator

Optare's SoloEV electric demonstrator, widely travelled YJ13 HKY, visited in August 2016, and trailed service buses on route 394.

W12 moves to Walthamstow Avenue garage

In August 2017 route W12, with the early short Solos OS2-8, moved to Walthamstow Avenue garage (AW). The other Solos remained at Ash Grove (HK).

HCT renumbers the Solos.

With CTPlus being part of a now-national HCT Group, it was decided that the Solos should be renumbered to fit in with the national all-number scheme. Easier for computerised systems, but not so easy for historians! OS2-16 became 1740-1754, OS19-27 became 1755-1763.

Covid school extras.

The requirement for social distancing on school buses meant that school-peak extras were required, Four Solos that had been hors-de-combat for some months were worked on to get them back into service, and some dealer-stock enviro-Darts were hired to supplement the Solos on the 309 (and other routes), for the start of the new term in September 2020. Even double-deckers were used as supplements on the 309. The extras were needed until the end of July, when the re-infection rate was lower, the shopping economy was suffering and Covid-distancing rules were abandoned by the government.

Stagecoach takes over.

All of HCT's red London bus operations were sold to Stagecoach in August 2022. (Their white minibuses used for scocial services contracts passed to other local companies, and the red Tucanos went to London Buses.) The change included all of the Solos for the W12, W5 and 309, and their garages and staff at Ash Grove (HK) and Walthamstow Avenue (AW).

Stagecoach renumbered the ex-HCT fleet:

  • 1740-1741:: 47809-47810
  • 1742-1746:: 47915-47919
  • 1747-1763:: 47983-47999

Electric buses for W5

In May Stagecoach took delivery of 8 Switch MetroCity 8.7m electic buses for the W5. They were numbered 45001-8, and were placed in store at Lea Interchange while the charging arrangements were installed. The Solos kept on going. The problems with installing chargers at Walthamstow persisted into 2024. Some of the batch intended for the W5 were allocated to Catford on an interim basis for use on the 124.

The 309 batch started to be withdrawn during the winter of 2023/24.


Ian's Bus Stop Solo Index. Hackney Solos. Hackney Solo histories. Solo photos.