Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,

This page created 23rd June 2015.

Arriva the Shires Volvo B10s

Arriva the Shires, and Luton & District (LDT) before that, were not buyers of Volvo B10 buses themselves, but did acquire a variety of them during takeovers. They were ideal for the longer distance, faster "country" routes between the towns of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, having large-wheeled coach chassis and drivelines. Certainly Arriva extracted all the juice out of them that it could, and some served up to twenty years.

Buffalo Bus/LDT/Arriva the Shires Volvos

Buffalo Bus of Flitwick was taken over by LDT in May 1995, and brought a variety of Volvos to the party:

Volvo B58-56 Duple Dominants

Volvo B58-56 Dominant 11 drawing Two bus-bodied Dominants of 1980 vintage, Buffalo 88 and 44, were promptly taken into LDT's training fleet, where they looked smart in the company's blue with yellow roof and stone skirts. They were prominently marked with "LDT Training Services" on front and sides. They survived, as 1203 and 1204, until about the turn of the Millenium.

Volvo B10M-56 Plaxton Derwents

Volvo B10M-56 Derwent sketch In 1988 Buffalo won a tender for routes 43 and 46 (Luton - Hemel Hempstead), and bought four Volvo B10Ms, with Plaxton Derwent II 54-seater bodies, to service the route. They were painted in a company livery of white with a orange and red flash across the sides. This was later changed to an overall orangey yellow and red banded livery for use on the Milton Keynes routes.

Volvo B10M-56 Derwent sketch They became LDT 351-354, and received the blue/yellow/stone livery with "Luton & Dunstable" fleetnames, continuing on the same Bedfordshire routes as before. The new numbering scheme brought numbers 3078-3081. They wandered a bit in later years. 3078 was a relatively early casualty, succumbing in 2002.

Volvo B10M-56 Derwent sketch The others took on Arriva's bland turquoise and cream scoop livery. 3079 probably gained it while on a spell at Colchester, before it returned to work out its years at Garston and Hemel Hempstead. 3080 had the repaint and moved out to Aylesbury, before ending its days, like so many other buses, at Wycombe. 3081 also had a spell at Colchester, before returning to Garston. It then went to Harlow briefly, for the long runs to Romford. It came back to Garston in its final years. 3081, like 3079, was "sold for scrap", but was bought for further service by Hulme Hall Coaches of Cheadle.

Volvo B58_61 East Lancs EL2000

Volvo B10M-61 drawing In 1991 Buffalo bought a Volvo B58-61 chassis that was under a fire-damaged Plaxton coach body belonging to The King's Ferry. The fire-damaged coach body came off, and a new East Lancs EL2000 55-seater bus body went on. Buffalo reregistered it, and painted it in their white with red and orange flashes. It too was repainted in the orangey-yellow and red colour scheme before LDT took over. They numbered it 355, and repainted it blue/yellow/stone as 3077 in the "Luton & Dunstable fleet. In 2000 it was retired (the chassis was twelve years old), and Buffalo repurchased it. (They had retained their coaching operations). It then went south-west to Safeway of Yeovil for another five years of service.

Volvo B10B-58 Alexander Strider

Volvo B10M-58 Strider sketch Buffalo Bus in October 1993 bought a fifty seater for their Hitchin to Henlow Camp service 89. It was a Volvo B10B-58, with Alexander Strider bodywork, in a white, orange and bright red livery.

Luton & District stationed it at Hitchin, painted it in their standard blue with yellow and stone livery, branded "Hitchin & District". It was numbered 350, and later 3089. It seems to have been something of a favourite, appearing at Showbus in 1997, 1999 and 2002 at least. By then it was in the corporate turquoise and cream.

It moved to Garston early in 2005, where it was used on all sorts of duties. Its size made it ideal for schools duties. It retired late in 2008.

Parfitts' Volvo B58_61 East Lancs EL2000

Volvo B58-61 EL2000 sketch LDT did buy a secondhand Volvo in 1995. It came from Parfitts. I say secondhand, but it already had a long history, having originated as a Duple Dominant bodied coach with Grey-Green in London. It had been rebodied in 1994 by Parfitts of Rhymney Bridge, with an East Lancs EL2000 53-seater bus body. LDT painted it in blue/yellow/stone, in the "Luton & Dunstable" fleet, numbered 360 and later 3058. It was later given an overall blue/green colour scheme advertising the West Hertfordshire College, but was retired in 2001.

Sampson's B10M-56 Plaxton Derwent IIs

Sampson of Hoddesdon bought two new Volvo B10Ms with Plaxton Derwent bodies in February 1988. Sampson's were taken over by Countybus (Arriva East Herts & Essex) in 1989. The two relatively new buses continued to work the service between the estate at Upshire and the Tesco supermarket for a while, still in white with Sampson in huge black letters on the sides. Then one at least was given Townlink fleetnames for use on the Harlow-Romford routes. Arriva numbered them 3324 and 3325. 3325 went off to Colchester for a while, returning in Arriva turquoise and cream. On return it went into the training fleet in 2001, and soon gained the training fleet livery of white blouse and grey skirt. It was mainly based at the Luton-Dunstable depot.

3324 also gained turquoise and cream Arriva bus livery, and transferred to Arriva the Shires at Garston. apart from a short spell at Luton-Dunstable alongside 3325 as a trainer, it stayed as a bus at Garston until early 2005 when it moved to Hitchin for its last few months. after sale it went to Bennetts in Warrington, and then Rallybeam in framlingham.

Ex-Grey-Green B10M-61 East Lancs EL2000s

Volvo B10M-61 EL2000 sketch County Bus acquired the seven Grey-Green rebuilt B10M-61s in late 1996 / early 1997, when they ceased to be needed on Arriva London North East routes 179 and 20. They had originated as Plaxton coaches in the Grey-Green fleet, but had been rebuilt with East Lancs EL2000 bodies in spring 1992 for use on the London bus routes. They were soon all despatched to Arriva Colchester, but three returned during the spring of 1997 to Stevenage, where they were converted to trainers. 3315, 3316 and 3321 were given the white and grey training livery, and used around the Shires and Essex as required under the auspices of the Traing School. 3315 was sold for scrap in summer 2007. The other two were sold in spring 2009.

3841-3844, 3853-3854: Volvo B10B/Plaxton Verde

Arriva took over the Wycombe Bus operation from City of Oxford in December 2000, including the vehicles and the bus parking area at Wycombe Bus Station (WB). Included in the takeover were seven single-doorway Volvo B10Bs with Plaxton Verde 51-seater bodywork, dating from early 1996. They had been Oxford's 621-627, with Wycombe Bus fleetnames. They were promptly given Arriva fleetnames and legal lettering, and became Arriva 3841-3844 and 3853-3855.

Oxford 433 Oxford 433

City of Oxford 433 was NOT one of the Wycombe Bus Verdes taken over by Arriva. But, dual doors and CityLine fleetnames apart, it gives some idea of the acquired buses. It was in Oxford in April 1999.
B10B Verde sketch They were repainted fairly quickly into Arriva turquoise and cream. They stayed at High Wycombe, working largely on the routes they were used to - the 328 and 329 to Reading via Marlow. They acquired route-branding for this pair of routes, with a "route board" along the cantrail and prominent "Thames Valley line" along the flanks. When the 328 and 329 were renumbered as the 850 the numbers were removed from the branding. The Volvos received digital destination displays, like most of the fleet.

Ex-Sovereign B10M-55 Alexander PS

Volvo B10M-55 PS sketch When Arriva the Shires took over the Hertfordshire operations of Sovereign in January 2005 it acquired three Volvo B10M-55s with Alexander PS bodywork - Stagecoach standards! They had originally been intended for Stagecoach Glasgow operations when new in early 1995, but had been delivered to Ribble instead. Their area of operations had been taken over by the Blazefield Group, who allocated the buses initially to Lancashire United, and later to Sovereign at Stevenage. It took nearly eighteen months before they lost the excellent Yorkshire Coastliner style Sovereign livery in favour of bland Arriva. Although initially retained at Stevenage, once turquoise and cream they could be used elsewhere, and one by one moved across to Wycombe. There their suitability for long runs could be utilised on the 850 to Reading. They even acquired interurban blue/blue livery. 3330 lost its front in an accident in 2008. 3331 and 3332 continued until sale in October 2009. Although "sold for scrap" 3332 turned up with Griffiths, and later with Clynnog & Trefor.

Ian's Bus Stop Volvo index. Volvo sd bus: AtS. bus histories. photo refs.