Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 7th March 2024.

F.E.Thorpe: 8.5m 17-seaters OSL1-2

Thorpe's operated a number of niche services for London Buses, including some disability access routes. For these Thorpe acquired a pair of 8.5m Solos with large wheelchair spaces and just 17 seats. These were red with a yellow cantrail band, and were numbered OSL1 and OSL2. They operated out of Perivale West Garage (PA).

Metroline took over the F.E.Thorpe business in August 2004, but largely left the Thorpe business to continue as it was.

The two Solos went quietly about their business until July 2008, when changes in low-floor bus provision brought an end to the special services. Both went to Harris in Fleur de Lys, for Pontypridd services.

Metroline slim line 7.8m Solos, NSM 660-664

Metroline operated the Hampstead Garden Suburbs minibus services from Golders Green Station. In June 2005 it retired the last of its Mercedes minibuses and also the last of its slim-line Metroriders, replacing them with five short slim-line Solos. These five, NSM660-664, were 7.8m long, in Metroline red with blue skirts and white strap-line. They worked the H1, H2 and H3 from Perivale (PV).
  • H1 SDOGolders Green Station - Henrietta Barnet School
  • H2 M-SunGolders Green Station - Hampstead Garden Suburb - Golders Green Stn
  • H3 M-SatGolders Green Station - East Finchley

Turmoil: Golders Green out, Watford in

Metroline's tenure on the Hampstead Garden City routes was brief. After just a year Arriva the Shires secured the contract, using almost identical short, slim Solos, worked from Garston. There was a sudden dearth of work for Metroline's specialist little Solos. They had a brief moment of revived life on a route 297 diversion in July 2006. What could these little buses be used for? - a shoppers service! In January 2007 they were reinstated, and checked over for a new role. In April they were re-allocated to North Wembley, but operated two at a time from Mullany's yard at Brookdell on route 346 servibg Asda in North Watford. Metroline started the 318 in March 2008, also from Brookdell Yard. Metroline surrendered the 346 in February 2009, and it was taken up commercially by Arriva the Shires.
  • 346 Woodside - Garston - North Watford Asda
  • 318 Abbots Langley - Leavesden - Hempstead Road - Watford Town Centre


Mullany's took over the lease of two of the five Solos (NSM662 and 664) from February 2009. They resumed operation of route 318. The Solos retained their fleetnumbers, and acquired Mullany's fleetnames. They were bought by Mullany's in November 2009, along with NSM660 and 661. NSM 663 was sold to Dawson Rentals.

Metroline regains Hampstead Garden City: OS68-72 on loan

Metroline had ten tears without Solos of its own. But in June 2018 they won back the tender for the Hampstead Garden Suburb routes. But they had no suitable buses immediately to hand. So they hired the five slimline short Solos that Arriva had been using on the routes, operating them out of Cricklewood garage. OS69-72 (once 2468-2472, not in that order) worked the routes (631, H2, H3), now with Metroline fleetnames until Metroline's new SR Solos arrived in September, They then went into store at Willesden Junction. Most were then sold through Lister in Bolton.

OS68 at Cricklewood, then Potters Bar

But OS68 was retained as a spare, still at Cricklewood, and seems to have been used mainly on the 631 (Golders Green-Henrietta Barnet School). OS70 was also briefly kept as a source of spares before being dismantled in April 2019.

In August 2021 OS68 was transferred to Potters Bar for use on Hertforshire-sponored lightly used routes such as the PB1 and 305. PB1 was supposed to be the trial route for an all-electric Solo (OS2750), an Optare demonstrator, but that was not used. OS68 was sent to Perivale, presumably to get a light refurbish, then returned to Potters Bar to act as a spare on the PB1, where a new Optare MetroCity was the designated bus. It also appeared on the 305. Following the disastrous fire at Potters Bar Garage in May 2022 the Optare MetroCity OEM2770 used on PB1 was stood down while checks were made, and OS68 stood in on the PB1.

Metroline gets new SRs for Hampstead Garden City: OSL2499-2504

Six shiny new SR-style Solos arrived in September 2019. They were short, 7.8m, slim-line SR Solos, with difficult to read* digital displays high at the top of the enormous wind-screen. They operated out of the rejuvenated Cricklewood garage on the H2, H3 and 631. (* Reflections of the sky on the curved screen-top obscured the relatively dim digital dot-display))

  • 631 SDOGolders Green Station - Henrietta Barnet School
  • H2 M-SunGolders Green Station - Hampstead Garden Suburb - Golders Green Stn
  • H3 M-SatGolders Green Station - East Finchley
Brand new OS2500 stands on display inside Holloway garage during the Open Day in September 2018

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