The LONDON TRANSPORT SwiftsThis page created on Notepad by Ian Smith, August 1997, updated 20th November 2004
SM143 at Crawley (CY).
|24 Jan 70||160||Catford (St.Dunstans)-Eltham-Welling (Mon-Sat)||TL Catford||RT|
|24 Jan 70||160A||Lower Sydenham Stn-Catford-Eltham-Welling-Plumstead Garage(Sun)||TL Catford||RT|
|18 April 70||270||Richmond Stn-Twickenham-Teddington-Fulwell Garage||FW Fulwell||new|
|18 April 70||132||Eltham-Bexleyheath Garage-Slade Green||BX Bexleyheath||RT|
|18 April 70||81||Hounslow-Cranford-Heathrow Airport North-Colnbrook-Slough Stn||AV Hounslow||RM|
|18 April 70||81B||Hounslow-Cranford-Heathrow Airport Central||AV Hounslow||RM|
|13 June 70||245||Golders Green-Childs Hill-Cricklewood-N.Wembley-Sudbury Town Stn (M-S)||W Cricklewood|
|13 June 70||245A||Golders Green-Pennine Drive-Cricklewood-N.Wembley-Sudbury Town Stn (Sun)||W Cricklewood|
A year later, in January 1974, the opposite kind of displacement occurred: Bexleyheath's route 132 was converted to DMS, reducing serious overcrowding, with the SMs going to Fulwell to displace SMSs on route 90.
Two years later, the Fulwell SMs were replaced by SMDs, on the 90 in March 1976, and the 270 in April. After a trip to Poplar for fare-apparatus exchange they went on to Cricklewood in April, replacing MBs on route 268. Catford's SMs were replaced by SMDs in June, and went to Leyton for the 235.
New Cross garage (NX) was the first recipient, on 18th April 1970,
for radial route 70 (Greenwich Church - Aldgate).
More followed on unlucky 13th June, at Edgware (EW). The transition there was not helped by a shortage of ticket-rolls for the fare machines!
|18 April 70||70||Greenwich Church - Surrey Docks - London Bridge Stn||NX New Cross||RT|
|13 June 70||142||Watford Junction - Bushey - Stanmore -Edgware( - Colindale)||EW Edgware|
|13 June 70||186||Harrow-on-the-Hill - Wealdstone - Belmont Circle - Canons Park - Edgware Stn||EW Edgware||new|
|13 June 70||286||Harrow-on-the-Hill - Wealdstone - Harrow Weald - Stanmore - Canons Park - Edgware Stn||EW Edgware||new|
Click image for a larger picture.
Photo, used with permission, by BusSpotter
|27 Jun 70||418||Kingston - Surbiton - Tolworth - Epsom - Leatherhead - Bookham Stn||LH Leatherhead||RT|
|1 Aug 70||436||Staines - Chertsey - Addlestone - New Haw - Woking - Burpham - Guildford||GF/WY||RLH|
|1 Aug 70||436A||Staines - Chertsey - Addlestone - New Haw - Woking - Ripley||GF/WY||RLH|
|1 Aug 70||461||Staines - Chertsey - Addlestone - Weybridge - Walton-on-Thames||GF/WY||RLH|
|1 Aug 70||461A||Botleys Park - Ottershaw - Addlestone - Weybridge - Walton-on-Thames||GF/WY||RLH|
|1 Aug 70||463||Guildford - Merrow - Woking - New Haw -Addlestone - Weybridge - Walton-on-Thames||GF/WY||RLH|
|1 Aug 70||426A||Pound Hill - Three Bridges - Crawley - Ifield||CY Crawley||RT/RF|
|1 Aug 70||476||Crawley - Ifield||CY Crawley||RT/RF|
|1 Aug 70||476A||Pound Hill South - Three Bridges - Manor Royal - Langley Green - Ifield||CY Crawley||RT/RF|
SMSs joined SMs at Hounslow (AV) in September 1970 for new route 82 (Hounslow Bus Stn - Heathrow Airport - Hatton Cross - Hounslow West),
this being an extended version of the previously-SM operated 81B. SMs remained on the 81.
The end of October saw SMSs take over from Strachans-bodied Merlin MBs on the 107 at Enfield (E). On this route they were treated as if they were SMs, having no automatic fare equipment, and not using the centre doors.
Others arrived at Croydon (TC) for the 166 group, Thornton Heath (TH) for the 289,
and Elmers End (ED) for the 194, displacing RTs.
In November Willesden (AC) received seven to convert the 226 from RT operation.
|19 Sept 70||248|| Romford Stn-Roneo Corner-Hornchurch-Upminster Stn-Hall Lane- |
Upminster Park Estate-Cranham-Upminster Stn
|19 Sept 70||248A||Upminster Stn-Corbets Tey||RD Hornchurch||RLH|
|26 Sept 70||82||Hounslow-Cranford-Heathrow Airport Central-Hatton Cross-Hounslow W.||AV Hounslow||SM (81B)|
|31 Oct 70||107||Queensbury Stn-Edgware-Elstree-Arkley-Barnet-Enfield-Ponders End||E Enfield||MB|
|31 Oct 70||166|| Chipstead Valley-Coulsdon-Purley-E. Croydon-Addiscombe-Shirley-|
|31 Oct 70||166A||Chipstead Valley-Coulsdon-Purley-Croydon-Thornton Heath Garage||TC Croydon||RT|
|31 Oct 70||194||Forest Hill-Penge-Elmers End-Shirley-East Croydon-Croydon Airport||ED Elmers End||RT|
|31 Oct 70||289||Thornton Heath Garage-Addiscombe||TH Thornton Heath||RT|
|7 Nov 70||226||Golders Green Stn-Pennine Drive-Cricklewood-Harlesden-Park Royal||AC Willesden||RT|
Early January 1971 saw more omo conversions: Putney's route 85, Thornton Heath's routes 115/A, Stockwell's route 81 and Bromley's 227. At Putney RMs were displaced, while from Thornton Heath and Stockwell it was RTs.
On the 227 Swifts replaced not the usual RTs but RFs. The route suffered a low bridge under the Southern main line and over the River Ravensbourne at Shortlands station (Bromley), which dictated single deck operation on this busy route. A length constraint at termini at Penge and Chislehurst prevented use of the longer Merlins.
An extension of route 111 to Hampton Station to replace the withdrawn 211 (M-F)
saw more SMSs go to Hounslow for both 110 and 111, displacing MBSs to Harrow Weald.
At the end of the month
Merton converted back to single-deckers on the 200
|2 Jan 71||85||Putney Bridge Stn - Roehampton - Kingston Vale - Kingston||AF Putney||RM|
|2 Jan 71||115/A||Wallington - Hackbridge - Mitcham - Streatham - Thornton Hth Pond - Croydon Airport||TH Thornton Heath||RT|
|2 Jan 71||181||Streatham Garage - Tooting - Balham - Clapham - Stockwell - Vauxhall - Victoria||SW Stockwell||RT|
|2 Jan 71||227||Chislehurst - Bickley - Bromley - Beckenham - Penge - Crystal Palace||TB Bromley||RF|
|16 Jan 71||125||Winchmore Hill - Southgate - Whetstone - Finchley - Hendon - Golders Green Stn||FY Finchley||RT|
|16 Jan 71||240/A||Golders Green Stn - Hendon - Mill Hill - Edgware Stn||EW Edgware||RT|
|16 Jan 71||244||Southgate Stn - Bounds Green - Muswell Hill Bdy||MH Muswell Hill||RT|
|16 Jan 71||110||Cranford - Heston - Hounslow - Hanworth -Twickenham Stn||AV HounslowHill||MBS|
|16 Jan 71||111||Hanworth - Whitton - Hounslow - Hampton Stn||AV HounslowHill||MBS|
|30 Jan 71||200||Raynes Park - Wimbledon - Mitcham||AL Merton||RT|
Mid-March 1971 saw SMSs go to Romford, to North Street to replace RTs on routes 103 and 294, and another bunch to Hornchurch for the 252. Later in the month Camberwell converted trunk route 188 from RT operation, Fulwell and Norbiton converted route 285 from RMs, Highgate introduced new route 239 and Croydon rationalised by converting the 233 from operation by FRM1 and XAs.
Catford took some SMSs from this batch for the 108B in April, while Stonebridge took the last Park-Royal bodied buses for the 112 in May.
|13 Mar 71||103||North Romford - Romford - Becontree Heath - Dagenham - Rainham||NS North Street||RT|
|13 Mar 71||294||Lodge Lane Estate - Collier Row - Romford - Gidea Park - Hornchurch Stn||NS North Street||RT|
|13 Mar 71||252||South Hornchurch - Romford Stn - Collier Row||RD Hornchurch||RT|
|27 Mar 71||188||Greenwich Church - Deptford - Rotherhithe - Bermondsey - Elephant - Waterloo Stn - Aldwych - Euston||Q Camberwell||RT|
|27 Mar 71||285||Heathrow Airport Central - Hatton Cross - Feltham - Teddington - Kingston - New Malden||FW/NB||RM|
|27 Mar 71||233||West Croydon Stn - Roundshaw||TC||FRM/XA|
|17 Apr 71||108B||Crystal Palace - Sydenham - Catford - Lewisham - Blackheath - Greenwich||TL||RT|
|15 May 71||112||Finchley - Neasden - Stonebridge Park - Hanger Lane - Ealing Broadway||SE||RT|
Stevenage received some in standard green and yellow livery in March, to convert the 809 to SM operation.
Four more went to Crawley in April when London Country took over more town services from Southdown, including the 475.
|Feb 71||353||Berkhamsted - Chesham - Amersham - Gerrards Cross - Slough - Windsor||MA Amersham||RT|
|Feb 71||362/A||Ley Hill - Chesham - Amersham - - High Wycombe||MA/HE||RT|
|20 Feb 71||303/A||New Barnet - Potters Bar - Welwyn Garden City - Knebworth - Stevenage - Hitchin||HF Hatfield||RT|
|20 Feb 71||315/A||Hatfield - Welwyn Garden City - Welwyn - Kimpton/Woolmer Green||HF Hatfield||RT|
|20 Mar 71||809||Stevenage Stn - Stevenage - Bedwell - Chells||SV Stevenage||RT|
|24 Apr 71||475||Crawley - Handcross||CY Crawley||Southdown|
The 809 was not to last long. In July it was the centrepiece of a new venture in Stevenage, when it was converted to be the first Superbus route. The buses wore a startlingly different livery: yellow with blue relief. The buses were collected at Garston or Dorking before the inauguration, and completed in their new livery. Initially there were only five Swifts (SM495-499) to go with two Metro-Scanias, but success quickly brought the repainting of further Swifts.
The rest of the batch of Swifts went to Swanley, Dartford, Chelsham and Dunton Green, displacing RTs and RFs across a wide swathe of the South-East sector. Routes involved were the 401/A, 402, 423/A/B, 453, 467 and 491.
Click on images for larger pictures.
Photos, used with permission, by BusSpotter
|3 July 71||401||Upper/Lower Belvedere - Bexleyheath - Bexley - Dartford - Shoreham - Sevenoaks||SJ/DT||RT|
|3 July 71||401A||Bexleyheath/Bexley/Dartford - Joydens Wood Estate||DT Dartford||RT|
|3 July 71||402||Bromley North Stn - Farnborough - Dunton Green - Sevenoaks - Tonbridge||DG Dunton Green||RT/RF|
|3 July 71||423||Wrotham - West Kingsdown - Farningham - Swanley - Wilmington - Dartford - Watchgate - Longfield||SJ/DT||RT|
|3 July 71||423A/B||Wells Factory/Littlebrook- Dartford - Watchgate||SJ/DT||RT|
|3 July 71||453||Chelsham - Warlingham - Whyteleafe - Caterham||SJ/DT||RT|
|3 July 71||467||Sidcup - Foots Cray - Bexley - Crayford - Dartford - Wilmington- Horton Kirby||SJ/DT||RT|
|3 July 71||491||Lower Belvedere - Barnehurst - Perry Street - Crayford - Dartford - Wilmington- Horton Kirby||DT||RT/RF|
|31 July 71||SB||Stevenage - Chells||SV||809 SM|
The Swifts again went to various parts of the system, replacing some RTs
and standing in for failed Merlins and earlier Swifts:
they were not proving any more reliable than their immediate predecessors.
May saw more RTs displaced at Alperton and Southall with routes 92 and 274. Southall also gained new route 208, while Streatham acquired new route 249.
On 3rd July Swifts replaced Merlins on Peckham route P1, allowing a cover float of MBSs to be set up
for the MBS repaint programme. RT replacement continued at Loughton (167), Barking (179) and Potters Bar (299).
At the end of the month Upton Park joined in, losing RTs from the 147.
|27 Mar 71||239||Tuffnell Park - Kings Cross - Waterloo||HT Highgate||new|
|17 Apr 71||236||Leytonstone Stn-Hackney Wick-Dalston-Finsbury Pk Stn (-Golders Green Stn)||D/T||RF|
|17 Apr 71||238||Stratford Broadway-Upton Park-East Ham-Barking-Goodmayes-Little Heath||WH West Ham||RM|
|15 May 71||92||Southall Garage - Greenford - Sudbury - Wembley||ON/HW||RT|
|15 May 71||274||Hayes - Yeading - Greenford - West Ealing - Ealing Broadway||HW Southall||RT|
|15 May 71||208||Hayes Stn - Hanwell||HW Southall||new|
|15 May 71||249||Crystal Palace - Clapham Junction (- Battersea)||AK Streatham||new|
|3 July 71||P1||New Cross - Surrey Docks - Bermondsey - New Cross||NX New Cross||MBS|
|3 July 71||167||Debden Broadway - Loughton - Buckhurst Hill - Chigwell - Barkingside - Ilford||L Loughton||RT|
|3 July 71||179||Chingford Stn - Woodford Wells - Sth Woodford - Gants Hill - Ilford - Barking||BK Barking||RT|
|3 July 71||299||Southgate Stn - Cockfosters - Potters Bar - South Mimms - Borehamwood||PB Potters Bar||RT|
|31 July 71||147||Redbridge Stn - Ilford - East Ham||U Upton Park||RT|
During the back end of 1971 the omo conversion process continued unabated, using both DMSs and SMSs. In September the latter included routes 57 (Merton), 91 (Turnham Geen), 116 (Hounslow) and 231 (Enfield), all converted from RT to SMS. Norbiton started new route 211. SMSs also took over from omo RFs on the 210 route. At the end of October Harrow Weald lost its RTs from the 114, and Upton Park Routemasters from the 162. Uxbridge changed from RTs on the 222 in December, and Southall started new route 195. Croydon put one SMS onto new (Saturdays only) route 233A.
|18 Sep 71||57||Kingston-Norbiton-Raynes Park-Wimbledon-Merton-Tooting-Streatham||AL Merton||RT|
|18 Sep 71||91||Wandsworth Bridge - Hammersmith - Turnham Green - Hounslow West||V Turnham Grn||RT|
|18 Sep 71||116||Staines - Bedfont - Hounslow Heath - Hounslow (- Great West Rd)||AV Hounslow||RT|
|18 Sep 71||211||Kingston - Hampton Court - E.& W.Molesey - Walton-on-Thames||NB Norbiton||new|
|18 Sep 71||231||Turnpike Lane Stn - Enfield Town - Forty Hill||E Enfield||RT|
|18 Sep 71||210|| Golders Grn Stn-Hampstead Hth-Kenwood-Highgate-Archway Stn-|
|31 Oct 71||114|| Ruislip Lido - Ruislip - South Harrow - Harrow - Wealdstone|
- Harrow Weald
|HD Harrow Weald||RT|
|31 Oct 71||162||Wanstead-Forest Gate-Upton Park-East Ham-Barking-Mayesbrook Park||U Upton Park||RM|
|4 Dec 71||222|| Hounslow-Cranford-Harlington-Heathrow North-West Drayton-|
|4 Dec 71||195||Charville Lane Estate - Greenford (-Perivale)||HW Southall||new|
|4 Dec 71||233A||Roundshaw Estate - Wallington (Sats)||TC Croydon||new|
Early 1972 saw the last of the SMS class being delivered.
In January North Street in Romford converted routes 66 and 66B from RT.
Route 12 was split, with SMSs operating the 12A between Peckham and South Croydon.
The February changes were more complex, There were not enough new SMSs for the February programme, but more were found by converting Putney's route 85 to DMS operation. This allowed Fulwell's route 90 to be converted from RT, and route P2 to receive SMSs in place of MBSs at New Cross. There remained enough new buses to convert Hounslow's last RT routes, the 203 and 203A, in March.
|8 Jan 72||66/B||Leytonstone - Newbury Park - Romford - Gidea Park - Harold Wood Stn / Hornchurch Stn||NS North Street||RT|
|8 Jan 72||12A||Peckham - Dulwich - Penge - Addiscombe - South Croydon Garage||ED Elmers End||RT|
|5 Feb 72||90||Staines - Sunbury - Hanworth - Twickenham - Richmond - Kew Gardens Stn||FW Fulwell||RT|
|5 Feb 72||P2||Rotherhithe - Surrey Docks - Rotherhithe||NX New Cross||MBS|
|11 Mar 72||203/A||Hounslow - Hatton Cross - Bedfont - Staines / Ashford Stn||AV Hounslow||RT|
October 1972 saw the start of a repaint programme for SMs and SMSs. To provide sufficient slack in the allocations for the programme, Enfield lost its SMSs on the 107, these being replaced by DMSs.
But also in this period British manufacturing industry went through a period of serious malaise, which resulted in a chronic lack of spare parts. Buses went into store in droves due to lack of spares. In December 1973 alone London Country put twenty-three of its SMs into store!
The writing really appeared on the wall when the Merlins and Swifts proved not to be amenable to the Aldenham style of periodic reconstructions, and when Leyland Nationals appeared at the right moment. The Merlin/Swift classes were doomed to a short existence with the London companies.
In the meantime they appeared on a variety of bus duties. Liveries were updated, with the roundel replacing fleetnames in London, and NBC green washing over the Country fleet.
In 1975 a programme was adopted to modify another 115 buses, with the idea of replacing the MBs and MBSs. Route 103 was converted to DMS in August 1975, with the idea of converting route 90 to SMD operation by the end of the month. In practice the released SMSs all went to patch up gaps in SMS allocations due to non-availability. It was 1976 before wide-spead SMD conversions got underway. In practice only 104 were done. The modified buses were classified SMD. That the experimental nature of SMD75 - just sealing the doors - was repeated on this larger batch, rather than installing a proper panel, floor and window, was indicative of the rather desperate state of affairs in LT at the time.
It was February 1976 before SMSs (released from route 244 at Edgware) headed to Poplar garage for conversion, and March before they took over from SMs at Fulwell on route 90. Fulwell suffered again in April, with more SMDs arriving for the 270. Catford was the next garage to receive them, again in place of SMs. The displaced SMs went to Leyton, along with more SMDs, to replace MBs on the 235.
The SMD programme petered out when it became obvious that no-one really wanted the modified buses. Their seven year certicates were rapidly expiring and only a few achieved an overhaul to extend their public existence. Some stayed in store after modification. Some found work as Aldenham staff buses - and ventured out as far as Reigate and St.Albans, but even these were swiftly replaced by some of the first batch of red SM Swifts. The SMDs were withdrawn from public service by mid 1978.
Swifts took over from Merlins on Red Arrow duties,
but this was only until the Mark II Nationals took over in 1981.
The last Swift on ordinary bus duties went from Edgware in January 1981,
and the last Red Arrow went in July. In the Country they rapidly dwindled during 1981 too.
Most were sold. Other users around the country made good use of some of them, and others went abroad - to all corners of the globe. Malta and Belfast were two places where many found good homes. Many gave good service, when given the TLC that London's harassed bus engineers didn't have the time to give.
LONDON TRANSPORT SERVICE FLEET
Some of the LT Swifts were converted for the service fleet in their latter days:
SMD 91 became a Video-bus, with some of the forward window-spaces blanked over;
SMS 300 became a mobile classroom;
SMD 441 became a Mobile Recruitment Centre;
SMS 730 became a Mobile Recruitment Centre;
SMS 753 became a Shop and Information Centre for use at Rallies and Events.
Click image for larger pictures.
Photos, used with permission, by BusSpotter
SMS 753, previously a LT recruiting bus, now restored to its former condition and
livery. Re-registered too - an American plate?. Click image for a larger picture.
Photo, used with permission, by BusSpotter