TA, TAS: Dennis Trident, Alexander ALX 400
TAS535-591: 9.9m, Cummins C225-30 Euro-3, Voith 3-speed gearbox, centre door in bay 3, gasket glazing, tree deflectorThere was a gap of several months in new deliveries, until May 2002, apart from stragglers and a bunch that Alexanders had loaned to Connex before delivering where they were meant to go.
This new 2002 batch also had a further bodywork change: the central doorway was moved forward by a bay, to behind the front wheelarch instead of forward of the rear arch. This was to improve circulation between the front doorway and the staircase, and gave an extra pair of seats. The change also made it easier to get the wheel-chair ramp in the middle doorway close enough to the kerb for proper deployment. These buses were also fitted with tree deflectors.
TAS535-560 were supposed to be divided between Stratford and Barking. In the event they all went to Stratford, for an increase in service on the 86 in July 2002. Barking also handed over Trident-worked route 87 to Romford.
TAS561-566 followed in October 2002, going also to Stratford. Now Catford received TAS567-591 as an official allocation for route 54 and 160. These did not have tree deflectors: was Lewisham Council better at tree control than, say, Camden? The latter area did see a blossoming of warning notices about leaning trees.
With forward doorways but no tree deflectors: Catford's 17568 on the 136 at Grove Park, July 2005; 17569 at Catford Garage on the 160, also July 2005.
TA592-614: 10.5m, Cummins C225-30 Euro-3, Voith 3-speed gearbox, centre door in bay 3, gasket glazing, tree deflectorDecember 2002 saw the arrival of a further batch of longer Tridents. These too had the centre doorway placed forward into the third bay. These went to Leyton for an immediate update on the 55 and into store at Leyton or Stratford for a January update on Leyton's 48 and 56. The older Tridents from these routes were cascaded in February 2003