Metroline's Trident Presidents: TP, TPL
an introductionMetroline operated in the north-west quadrant of the Transport for London area. Before the Tridents came along it operated a large fleet of M-type Metrobuses, plus a sizable fleet of RML Routemasters on its trunk routes into London. In 1999 it started its low-floor double-decker changeover with 9.9m Trident chassis, hedging its bets body-wise with 65 Plaxton Presidents (TP) and 52 Alexander ALX400s (TA). These had full-height bodywork, unlike the Stagecoach TAs.
TP: Dennis Trident/President: TP1-65The Presidents were numbered into Metroline's new double-deckers list of whatever type. The first batch were TP1-TP31, in March-June 1999. They were mid-staircase 9.9m Presidents, painted in Metroline's house colours of red with a deep blue skirt and white cheat line. They went straight to work on route 43, based on Holloway Garage (Metroline London Northern). The second batch (TP31-65), following on in August 1999, were for route 17 , also from Holloway. Livery was the same.
In 2001 they settled on routes 17, 134 and W7, with the 10 on Sundays. The 43 was worked by the newer VPLs.
TP7 circumnavigates Kings Cross on its way to Archway Stn, April 2003. Holloway's TP32 also on the 17, heads south for London Bridge Stn.
TP18 on 134 to Tottenham Court Road, May 2005, with lower blue skirt.
Metroline's next Tridents were ALX400-bodied. TA66 - TA117 were also 9.9m long. TAL118-134 were longer.
Then Metroline shifted to long Volvo-powered Presidents, VPL135-236.
Longer Tridents: TPL237-TPL296
So it was February 2002 before the next President-bodied Tridents arrived. These were 10.5m long They were similar to the 9.9m standard model, but with an extra 0.6m (2foot) bay inserted in front of the doorway, and the staircase moved forward to behind the cab, raising the capacity to 69 (H45/24D). The first eighteen went to Harrow Weald for the 140 and N140. Potters Bar then took fifteen, adding them to the mix on routes 82, 84, 317 and less often, at first, the 217, 231 and 242, some of which were normally worked by single-deckers. Five more arrived at Potters Bar in May to displace VPLs to North Wembley. Potters Bar's Scanias got a new lease of life.
"TPL239 on 140 to Harrow Weald, April 2004. Holloway's TPL243 on 43 to Friern Barnet, October 2005.
C2 goes double-deckIn February 2002 Holloway converted route C2 from DLD Darts to short TPs.
Holloway received the next tranche of 10.5m TPLs (TPL275-296) in May 2002.
Holloway's TPL291 on 134 to Tottenham Crt Rd Stn. Potters Bar's TPL274 on 84 to New Barnet Stn, showing the new light clusters on the rear (and the later shorter skirt).
TPs for 205: TP297-316Twenty 9.9m TPs (297-316) arrived in August 2002 for the Stationlink replacement service 205. These short Tridents had reduced seating capacity (H39/21D), allowing for wheelchair space and luggage space. They differed from the early TPs in having a forward staircase, gasket glazing and revised rear light clusters. They were put into Willesden Garage to start the service in August, but were transferred to the intended garage at Perivale in November.
Perivale's TP349 passes King's Cross on a 205 to Paddington, September 2007.