Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 6th November 2017.

PVL: Volvo B7TL, Plaxton President

early London Central PVL The President was Plaxton's competitor in the low-floor double-decker market, rivalling Alexander's ALX400. The London versions had two doorways on the nearside. Those for London General and London Central were 10.0m long, on a Volvo B7TL chassis. They seated 41 upstairs and 21 down, giving a seated capacity of just 62, less than a standard Routemaster! But they did have a wheelchair (or buggy) space. Not many of its downstairs seats were in the low-floor accessible section. The window line downstairs was lower alongside the low-seating sections to try to avoid the claustrophobic feel inside that generation of double-deckers. London Central and London General used gasket glazing. The straight staircase was in the middle of the offside on the first 143, after which later buses had it behind the driver, which seemed to make the downstairs layout work better.

PVL1-55: Bexleyheath Presidents

London Central began to receive its Presidents in March 2000. They arrived mostly via Volvo at Bedlington, and passed on to London Central at Bexleyheath. They were to replace older buses, mainly Titans and Volvo Olympians NVs on the 422, 229, 89 and 401. They soon strayed to other VN/T routes, such as the 51 and 492, resulting in the retention of some Titans.

GarageRoute noRoute
BX Bexleyheath422 Bexleyheath Shopping Centre - Plumstead - Woolwich - Charlton - Blackheath - Westcombe Park Stn - Woolwich Road - North Greenwich Station
BX Bexleyheath229Sidcup (Queen Mary's Hospital) - Sidcup - Bexleyheath - Erith - Abbey Wood - Thamesmead
BX Bexleyheath89Lewisham Station - Blackheath - Shooters Hill - Welling - Bexleyheath - Slade Green Station
BX Bexleyheath401Thamesmead - Bexleyheath - Bexleyheath Garage
BX Bexleyheath51Woolwich - Plumstead Common - Blackfen - Sidcup - Foots Cray - St Mary Cray - Orpington - Orpington Stn
BX Bexleyheath492Sidcup Stn - Foots Cray - North Cray - Bexley - Bexleyheath - Crayford - Dartford - Bluewater

PVL10 on 89 PVL42 on 229

Bexleyheath Presidents: PVL10 on an 89 to Slade Green, departing from Lewisham Bus Station in September 2000; PVL42 has reached the Queen Mary's Hospital terminus of the 229, in January 2010

PVL56-143: London General Presidents for Stockwell and Merton

Stockwell borrowed three of the Bexleyheath batch for training purposes during April and May 2000. They returned to Bexleyheath at the very end of May. Meanwhile Stockwell had taken delivery of four of its own Presidents, in London General garb, which it used on events such as the Chelsea Flower Show Park & Ride. It started its main route conversions in June, taking delivery of buses to re-equip the 77A, 37 and 88. The new buses that had been in store at Volvo Beddington came in a rush. They wore London General logos, but were otherwise similar to the first batch for London Central.

Two of Stockwell's buses moved to Merton as trainers in advance of their conversions in July.

GarageRoute noRoute
SW Stockwell88 Camden Town - Warren Street Stn - Portland Place - Oxford Circus - Trafalgar Square - Westminster - Vauxhall - Stockwell - Clapham Common
SW Stockwell77AAldwych - Trafalgar Square - Westminster - Millbank - Vauxhall Bridge - Vauxhall - Clapham Junction - Wandsworth
SW Stockwell37Peckham - Herne Hill - Brixton - Clapham Common - Clapham Junction - Putney

Merton started PVL operation towards the end of June, on the 270 and 280, and continued into July and August with the 44 and 77 as well (together with the 22 on Sundays). There were not enough PVLs at first, so they worked alongside some Metrobuses on the 88 and 280.

PVL138 on 280 at Belmont

Merton's PVL138 roars out of the Belmont terminus on the 280, in April 2007.

GarageRoute noRoute
AL (Merton)270 Oxford Circus - Trafalgar Square - Westminster - Vauxhall - Stockwell - Clapham Common
AL (Merton)280Aldwych - Trafalgar Square - Westminster - Millbank - Vauxhall Bridge - Vauxhall - Clapham Junction - Wandsworth
AL (Merton)44Peckham - Herne Hill - Brixton - Clapham Common - Clapham Junction - Putney
AL (Merton)77Waterloo Stn - Vauxhall - Clapham Junction - Tooting Bdy - Tooting Stn

PVL69 on 280

Merton's PVL69 has a spectacular rear ad, on the 280 in March 2010.

PVL144-178 and PDL1-13: Forward staircase Presidents for Stockwell and Merton

fwd-staircase London Central PVL The next batch of Volvo-based Presidents arrived in October, PVLs 144-155 going to Merton to continue their conversions, and then PVL156-177 to Stockwell. Some of these were to cater for the extension of route 88 to Camden Town. These Presidents were rather different, in that the staircase had been moved forward to behind the cab, with rearrangement of the wheelchair/buggy area and seating. Capacity upstairs stayed the same, but downstairs gained two extra seats, making them H41/23D. The nearside display was also in a different position, at the top of the first window rather than at the bottom. By this time the London Transport Service transfer had given way to a roundel and a disabled access sticker.

Trident Presidents: PDL1-13

fwd-staircase London Central PDL Thirteen PDLs arrived too. These had 9.9m President bodies on Dennis Trident chassis. They too had the forward-mounted staircase. They were mainly allocated to the 88, from Stockwell, with London General logos. They were very similar to the PVLs - well, they were Presidents too! The arrangement of grilles on the back, and the full width rear window made them recognisable from the rear. To my mind they also had less ground clearance at the rear, which may be why they were kept to their own routes.

The arrival of extra new buses took some of Stockwells PVLs onto routes 133 (VC), 196 (VC) and 345 (LDP), while Merton was using them on the 155 (LDP). But on 2nd December 2000 London General took over route 188, operated from Stockwell using PVLs, and transferred operation of the 345 away from Stockwell. So the PVLs reverted to where they should be.

In January 2001 Stockwell converted route 37. Stockwell was suffering staff recruitment problems, so Putney was given a small share, initially a pair of Metrobuses, then three PVLs.

GarageRoute noRoute
SW (Stockwell)133 Liverpool Street - Bank - Monument - London Bdg - Elephant & Castle - Kennington - Streatham - Tooting Broadway
SW (Stockwell)196Brixton Station - Herne Hill - Tulse Hill Stn - West Norwood - Norwood Junction
SW (Stockwell)345South Kensington Stn - Chelsea - Battersea Bridge - Battersea - Clapham Junction Stn - Clapham High Street - Stockwell Station - Brixton - Loughborough Junction - Denmark Hill - Camberwell Green - Peckham Bus Stn
AL (Merton)155Elephant & Castle - Kennington - Oval - Stockwell - Balham - Tooting Bdy - Tooting (St.G.Hosp)
SW (Stockwell)188 Russell Square - Holborn Stn - Aldwych - Waterloo - Elephant & Castle - Bermondsey - Canada Water - Deptford -Greenwich - North Greenwich
SW (Stockwell)37 Peckham - Dulwich - Herne Hill - Brixton - Clapham Junction - Wandsworth - Putney High Street

Part 2: 2001

Ian's Bus Stop. 2000. 2001. PVL histories. PDL histories. PVL photos.