Harris Volvo B9Ms

This page created 8th July 2015 by Ian Smith

In September 1986 Harris of Grays bought four new Volvo B9Ms, the short version of the B10M. These were fitted with the equally rare Plaxton Bustler bodywork, producing a small (38-seater) but shapely bus suited to Harris's network of semi-rural routes in Thurrock. They were painted in Birmingham-style dark blue and cream.

Harris quickly got on with local route tendering, picking up Essex County Council contracts for a whole network of routes. In 1990 the new shopping pit at Lakeside was opened, drawing in traffic. Typical routes were:

  • 265: Bulphan - Herongate - Grays
  • 269: Brentwood - Ockenden - Grays
  • 372: Orsett Hospital - Tilbury - Chadwell - Grays (- Lakeside)
  • 377: Orsett Hospital - Tilbury - Chadwell - Grays
  • 379: Grays - Tilbury
  • 381: Stifford Clays - Grays
  • 382: Chadwell St.Mary - Grays
  • 383: Chadwell St.Mary - Lakeside
  • 399: Lakeside - Basildon
  • 631: Saffron Walden (Sundays)
  • 723: Rainham - Tilbury
In 1996 Harris went tendering for TfL routes, a majopr shift in emphasis. The Bustlers were sold in 1997, and went via a dealer to RAI Travel in Birmingham, trading as Bharat Airlink.

D302PEV quickly moved back south to Mullany's in Watford, in April 1998. They kept it for fifteen years, until it was bought for preservation by Colin Thorne in 2013. It has since been partially reframed and repanelled, and then restored to original Harris livery. It is a regular rally attender (although since its repaint I have only seen it beyond camera range!).

D302 at Brooklands, April 2014 D302 at Brooklands, April 2014

D302PEV at Brooklands in April 2014, between repanelling and repainting.

D303PEV moved on from Birmingham to Red Rose in Aylesbury in 1999, where it received first their bold red/white livery, and later the red and yellow with black skirt. Unfortunately it was one of the victims of the depot fire in November 2007.

Bus Stop Volvo index Harris B9M bus histories photo refs