The London Bus Page In Exile

Thursday 4 January 2007

Farewell to Thorpe’s

Filed under: Companies, Historical — londonbuspageinexile @ 7:32 pm

Thorpes Dennis Dart SLFs DLF 38 (S538 JLM) and DLF 30 (S530 JLM) at Brent Cross, 21/04/2000 Thorpes Dennis Dart SLFs DLF 99 (KU52 YKF) and DML 525 (R625 VEG) at Brent Cross, 21/05/2005.jpg
It’s time to say goodbye to Thorpe’s as Metroline finally subsumes the company beneath their own identity.
Beginning with the Stationlink a decade and a half ago, the company founded by Frank and Jim Thorpe grew steadily to the point where it was running half a dozen routes and a large fleet of Dennis Darts out of a dedicated base in Wembley. Only later in Thorpe’s’ existence were double-deckers operated, firstly Metrobuses and then a handful of former Grey-Green Volvo B10M rebuilds. The company even expanded enough to buy out a neighbour, the Metropolitan Omnibus company formerly known as London Traveller, but itself fell to a buyout which brought it into Metroline’s ambit.
This photo selection shows perhaps the peak of Thorpe’s, which was the 210’s flame-inspired livery carried by DLF 38 (S538 JLM) in the foreground, while repainted stablemate DLF 30 (S530 JLM) sits in one of the usual spaces in Brent Cross, this shot being taken on 21st April 2000.
The right-hand picture was taken at the same spot five years and one month later, with a somewhat different scene to record. Not long after another major win by Thorpe’s, that of the 316 from Metroline, the company was bought by the latter and its operations divided up. The first order of business was to shuffle the routes, with the 143 taking the 316’s place as the host of the red and yellow Darts, although with the transfer of the 326 and C11 into the same garage it was possible to see both liveries in action simultaneously, as demonstrated by DLF 99 (KU52 YKF) and DML 525 (R625 VEG) on the 143.
It doesn’t look like any fleetnumbers will be changed, probably mercifully for crazy folks like me who have to record all this stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be bidding farewell to Armchair, the other London bus company finished off by Metroline.



  1. I’m sure you’ll agree Matt it would be nice if somebody subsumed Metroline, or for that matter TFL!
    London Transport has a nice ring to it, trips off the tongue easily and some people are still using the term LT. A unified, integrated transport operator/authority!
    Didn’t someone have that idea in 1933? Kind of makes sense.
    Dream on…..!

    Comment by bill — Sunday 21 January 2007 @ 7:58 pm

  2. Metroline were a great company to work for

    i never worked under LT, but good luck to Metroline. reliable service and lost of money from Del Gro will push it from strength to strength. for the benifit of the public

    If you want my honest and hopeful opinion Give me LT though any day

    Comment by Steve — Monday 26 March 2007 @ 6:57 pm

  3. I am surprised, here in Tennessee I had no idea this was going on. Thanks to the internet we can find these things out.



    Comment by Smoky — Sunday 8 April 2007 @ 6:30 pm

  4. i think metroline did good taking over thorpes cause thorpes has been always having bad reliabity problems with their drivers timekeeping in services, cause i had to wait at hanley road for an hour for a 210 to arrive but i didn’t get to brent cross till late. well i’m glad their using the same buses as they always do and add some of the buses from metroline. i think that the 143 should be a double decker route cause a lot of people take that route more to brent cross

    Comment by Dean Manley — Tuesday 1 May 2007 @ 11:39 am

  5. 143, 210, 326 and C11 is more of a popular bus routes that has been transferred to metroline cause thorpes has gone out of business

    main attraction on each route

    143 archway’s junction road shopping centre, and finchley centrals, ballards lane shops and brent cross shopping centre

    210 is probably got finsbury parks very own fonthill road aka fashion avenue and plus the park itself, and on route it has archways local shops and it takes a breeze through hampstead heath’s kenwood house and spainards inn and jack straws castle and then it swoops down the hill to golders green station where you have connections with national express coaches that connects to the north of the uk. then on route it takes a drive towards brent cross tube station and the shopping centre

    326 is a linking route from shopping centre to shopping centre driving from brent cross shopping centre and following the 143 till it end up in finchley central and cutting through finchley and ending up terminating at barnet spires shopping centre

    C11 is a mission route its the longest way to get to brent cross and i’ll guarantee it. it starts at archway and goes past parliament hill fields and drives towards hampstead heath and straight to swiss cottage going round the houses to west hampstead then straight through to cricklewood and ending up to brent cross via the 102 and 189 route down claremont road

    Comment by Dean Manley — Tuesday 1 May 2007 @ 11:56 am

  6. What a shame! I used to work for Thorpes during my Uni break in 99/00…When I saw those pics memories came back…It was a great fun to park those buses at Wembley garage 🙂
    Greetings to Smiley and Hilali 🙂
    And you know what? I’m back in the UK…

    Comment by Marcin — Friday 6 July 2007 @ 1:49 pm

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