As promised, I told you I’d eulogise Armchair as they too pass into history – they are the other company put to sleep by owners Metroline this weekend.
Armchair had operated coaches in west London for many years, but their big step into London bus operations came in 1990 when they took over the 260 with Alexander-bodied Olympians. Next came the 65, another important service, for which the fleet consisted of new all-Leyland Olympians. In both cases Leyland Atlanteans served as back-up. Out of town, a number of services in Middlesex and Surrey were operated (including my now-local 555 and 556, then operated with Leyland Swifts).
The first retender of the Ealing area network in 1996 brought Armchair the E2 and E8, both of which are still operated by the company. Dennis Dart SLFs introduced low-floor buses to the company, but TfL’s ever-changing standards necessitated a new batch of identical buses (other than being dual-door) taking over; the Alexander-bodied Darts based on the 209 were already dual-door and did not need replacement. Meanwhile, the 260 was lost and a new contract replaced it in the form of the 237, which was eventually restocked with new Dennis Tridents. The 65 departed in 2002 to London United. Other routes operated by Armchair included the 117 and 190, with the 485 since lost to London General.
As examples of Armchair I have included G364 YUR, an Alexander RL-bodied Olympian from the 260’s batch but later based on the 65, and Dennis Dart SLF DP 1027 (KP02 PVL), which not only had an 80%-red livery but dated from after when the company had introduced class codes to the fleet. The Olympian is seen at Richmond on 8th September 2001, while the Dart sets off from Ealing on 19th March 2005. Both were based at Brentford, which will remain open under Metroline.
Saturday 6 January 2007
Farewell to Armchair