Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 27th February 2024.

Optare Solo: Nostalgiabus, Northdown

Nostalgiabus was a long-established operator of somewhat exotic buses and routes. For instance it operated a GS and RFs on the Polesden Lacy route and on the Surrey Sunday routes, and the 32 between Guildford & Dorking. It also operated a Metrobus on the 540 Redhill school route.

But in May 2001 Nostalgia bus bought a 8.5m Solo demonstrator from Optare, which it had repainted in a rich red with cream roof. For everyday services it decided on a new image, reflecting its new fleet, and chose Northdown as a fleetname, signifying its territory. The new bus was for the 489, the Sunday 515 and the 516/22. It was soon joined by two more new 8.5m Solos, and the 306 and 540 were added to their itinerary.

  • 489 (evenings and Sundays Tolworth Broadway - Ewell - Ashtead - Dorking - Leatherhead - Fetcham - Bookham Stn -(Suns) - Effingham - Guildford)
  • 515 (Sundays): Guildford - Esher - Kingston
  • 516:Dorking - Leatherhead - Headley - Box Hill- Leatherhead - Epsom (+ Sat Box Hill - Banstead - Sutton )
  • 22:Dorking - Newdigate
  • 306:Sutton - Banstead - Walton-on-the-Hill
  • 540:Woldingham - Redhill - East Surrey Hospital
  • 468:Epsom Stn - Ashstead - Leatherhead - Effingham

For the tourist season in 2002 Northdown won a contract with the National Trust for a service serving Polesden Lacey, Dorking, Ranmore Common and Box Hill. It was given route number NT1 and one of the Solos was route branded for it. It was then repainted yellow.

Bus operation in Surrey was complicated, with a Council more attuned to the private car than to public bus services. Operators failed or withdrew commercial services, necessitating rapid changes of routes and networks to fill the gaps. Northdown survived largely by filling the niches that other operators did not want.

In December 2003 Nostalgiabus/Northdown ceased trading and the Solos were sold to a variety of operators.

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