This page created 2nd November 2001 using Notepad, by Ian Smith, updated 4th January 2003.

London Transport acquired its Tigers from a variety of sources, most coming with the acquisition of Independent companies following the provisions of the London Passenger Transport Act. Some were also transferred from Maidstone and District. There were 37 altogether, of which 35 survived to 1935 to be gathered into the TR class when Chiswick numbered them. All but four went for GreenLine service, the remnant becoming Country Area buses. Five more coaches were added to the total in July 1935 when Maidstone and District handed over the Redcar services.

London Transport tended to gather its disparate Country buses in clumps by manufacturer. Gravesend (Dover Road), with its Leylands from Maidstone & District, was the Leyland gathering ground initially. But the takeover of Premier at Slough, with its fleet of Titans and Tigers, made the Bath Road depot there another centre. The other garage in Slough, Langley Road, became a centre for Leyland buses, operating its town services with Titans, Tigers and Cubs. But both Slough garages succumbed to rationalisation, in their case the enlargement of Windsor garage, and their allocations made the move in late 1936 and early 1937.

The advent of the highly-successful Regal 10T10 coach in March 1938 spelt doom for the Tigers. They were the first target for replacement, and all the coaches went in March and April, with a handful reprieved for Private Hire duties until the arrival of the TFs. The buses also succumbed, when the 9T9s were displaced from Greenline work in July 1938.

That seemed like the end for the Tigers. It was, but the marque returned in 1939 in a rather different guise: the underfloor engined Tiger TF class. After the war there was a reversion to more traditional chassis, and Tiger buses were ordered again, in the shape of the PS model, bought by London as Central Area buses of the postwar TD class.

The ex-Green Line coaches (L4-6, TR8-10).

At the formation of London Transport in July 1933 there were already a few Leyland Tiger single-deckers in the fleet. GreenLine Coaches Ltd had acquired three from Aston of Watford, which it had placed in its L for Leyland number series, along with elderly Lions. L4-6 passed to LT then, on its formation. Although only three in number they were a mixed bunch: L4 was a Tiger TS4, with 17ft 6in wheelbase and 7.6 litre petrol engine, with a 27ft 6in London Lorries body. L5 and L6 were Tiger TS1s, also 17ft 6in wheelbase but with the older, smaller 6.8 litre petrol engine with bodywork by Thurgood. They were renumbered TR 8-10 when the Country Area buses were all numbered by Chiswick in 1935. They lasted until the mass replacement of Tigers by Regal 10T10s in March 1938. Even then TR9 had a reprieve for a month or two with a transfer to the Private Hire fleet at Old Kent Road garage.

The Maidstone & District coaches (TR6, TR11-17?)

M&D TR drawing The Gravesend area was split down the middle by the formation of London Transport, with the local bus services on the London side being transferred to London Transport. With them went six or eight Tigers (my data is more than a bit hazy about two of them). Six were from Maidstone & District's 1930 batch (TR6, 11-15), with the same wheelbase (17ft 6in) but a shorter rear overhang, fitted with 26ft Harrington rear entrance bodies. They worked initially alongside the Regals on the GreenLine A service from Gravesend (Denton) to Ascot. Starting work for GreenLine with London Transport and GreenLine transfers over their M&D livery, they were presently repainted into the standard greens with black trim and silver roof. Some gravitated to Slough (Bath Road) garage, and hence Windsor. In 1935 they were numbered into the TR series. As with the other Tigers they succumbed to 10T10s in March 1938, although they mostly went on to further careers with other operators.

(Those of the batch remaining with M&D were rebodied in 1937 and then lasted in service until 1948-53: Dick Gilbert's history of Maidstone & District Tigers is worth a good look.)

The Premier Line vehicles (TR2-5, TR18-31)

Premier Line operated coach services from Windsor to London, creating a significant hole in the GreenLine network. They also operated services paralleling GreenLines to Beaconsfield, Aylesbury and Sunbury. With the shake-up of coach services in 1933, Premier retained licences for the Windsor and Farnham Common routes, but not the others. They sold some of their Tigers to other operators, but became ripe for takeover by London Transport, which occurred in December 1933. Their fleet of Titan single-deckers and Tigers, based at Slough Bath Road depot, came to LT. A couple were passed on to Thames Valley for the Slough to Maidenhead service, which was outwith the permitted area of LT operations.

The Tiger and Titan coaches were very similar, except that the Tigers had the lighter chassis. These were also short TS2s. The coach bodies, by London Lorries, sported large side destination boards, with a one-line destination blind above the windscreen and a roof-mounted illuminated fleetname and route number. It must have wrecked the aerodynamics and been ruinous for the petrol consumption!

Premier TR drawing In London service the coaches were promptly labelled for GreenLine, and gradually repainted green. The display arrangements were also altered, with the cab-roof indicator showing Greenline and the roof-box the destination. A curved board below the back window gave route information to those who had missed the bus. Some were rebuilt in due course with LT style destination boxes at the front.

Several of the Premier line vehicles were placed in the (un-numbered) Country Area fleet as buses, and in 1935 were numbered as TR2, 4 and 5B.

The Bath Road garage closed in December 1936 and the Slough contingent of Tigers moved to the enlarged Windsor garage. They were not there very long. The replacement Regals came in March and April 1938, and their days were over with LT.

The St Albans & District bus (TR7)

The Tiger from St Albans & District was classified as a bus. Numbered TR7 in 1935 it worked at Slough (SL) alongside the single-deck and double-deck Titans on the Slough area services until the garage closed in 1937, when it was transferred to Windsor. It survived there into 1938, probably being withdrawn in July when 9T9s became available for bus work after themselves being displaced by the new 10T10s.

ex-Reliance TR1 drawing

The Reliance bus (TR1)

TR1 was a bus. It was bought for work on the Independent route 50 by the Reliance Bus Company. It had a high-waistline bus body by Dodson, with an open rear platform.

Taken over by LT, it was allocated to the Country Area, along with the other two Tiger buses and the single-decker Titans. In their company it went to Slough (SL) and then Windsor, before retiring in mid 1938.

TR1: the nearside and rear views are inferred from the available front offside photos, and are thus somewhat conjectural.

The Prince Omnibus coaches (TR32-35)

The Prince Omnibus Co. operated tours and excursions as well as local buses, which made its takeover by LT problematic. The tours and excursions were sold off to George Ewer (later Grey-Green), but four of the tour-coaches were acquired by LT in December 1935 and pressed into service with GreenLine, although they were not ideal for the purpose. They too lasted until 1938.

The Redcar coaches (TR36-40)

M&D TR drawing Redcar were one of the companies that went into dispute about the proposed takeover of their London to Tunbridge Wells coach service, (as well as Tonbridge bus services). The dispute dragged on into 1935, and was resolved when Maidstone and District took them over in May. The disputed services, and associated vehicles, were handed over to London Transport in July 1935.

The coaches were five Tigers bodied by Beadle, with luggage racks on the roof and two nearside doors. They also had a destination indicator protruding from the cab front, as well as an advertising board on the cab roof and roof-side route boards. They were put to work alongside the GreenLine Regals on the Tunbridge Wells run, until rationalisation within the GreenLine fleet took them west to Slough and Windsor. Chiswick meddled with them at overhaul, removing the odd route indicators and replacing them with a standard destination box on the front of the roof. The sidelights were also moved from the mudguards to positions on the cab side and on the rounded front nearside corner of the saloon.

The 10T10s again saw them off in spring 1938.

Ian's Bus Stop TR main text. TR histories TR photo refs TD Titans.