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Inspired by the AEC Routemaster, the New Bus for London, later renamed the `New Routemaster', was the first bus specifically built for use in London since 1968, when the last Routemaster machines were constructed. Then Mayor Boris Johnson wished for a new version of the Routemaster bus to be designed and built, subsequently launching a competition for the design of such a vehicle. Wrightbus gained the contract to build the vehicle, using the design submitted by the Heatherwick Studios. The first prototype was unveiled in December 2011, with the last examples being delivered to London six years later. 1,000 examples were built, and all gained registrations in a specially commissioned LTZ series. Sporting a dual staircase and three doors, this vehicle has become a London landmark in its own right.
Launched in 1988, the Dennis Dart saloon became one of the most successful single-deck buses in the UK. Originally sold to London operators, provincial operators soon saw the success of the model and purchased large numbers. Several different manufacturers produced bodywork for these vehicles. Going from strength to strength, a low-floor model was constructed in 1995, becoming known as the Dennis Dart SLF. Again, this model was purchased by many operators across the country, with the Plaxton Pointer and Alexander ALX200 body styles being the more popular choice. Large numbers of both the step-entrance and low-floor machines were taken into stock by London operators, both big and small. The Dart and Dart SLF became a worthy workhorse of the London bus network for over twenty-five years. David Beddall takes us through the history of this significant model, with a range of previously unpublished images from the nation's capital.
Dating back to 1921 and originally operating from a base in the small Northamptonshire town of Irthlingborough, United Counties expanded significantly during the 1920s and 1930s, firmly establishing themselves in the county of Northamptonshire, as well as a network of services in south Lincolnshire, south Leicestershire and the Stony Stratford area of Buckinghamshire. United Counties doubled in size in May 1952 when the Midland area operations of the Eastern National Omnibus Company were acquired. This expanded the network before ownership passed in 1969 to the National Bus Company, under whom the company remained until 1986 when it was split into three operating areas. Stagecoach Group purchased the United Counties marque in 1987, bringing the story of its distinctive white and stripe livery to an end. With a wealth of previously unpublished photographs, David Beddall and Gary Seamarks offer a nostalgic look back at this iconic part of the local transport scene.
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