In the late 1980s a large number of second-echelon routes in south-east London went over to minibus operation, some being rerouted through isolated estates, and the 273 was introduced to capitalise on this trend, building on a Christmas-only route numbered L1. Commencing at Lewisham, it introduced buses to Manor Park near Hither Green and to the Horn Park Estate off the Burnt Ash Road south of Lee, terminating at Grove Park. SRs from Catford were used, later to be joined by the MWs that had taken over the 124 (plus new offshoot 284) at the very end of 1989. However, it was withdrawn in 1991, only to make a comeback in exactly the same form three years later. SRs were still going at Catford, though they were replaced in 1998 by three MBs – O.814 Varios with Plaxton Beaver 2 bodywork. In 2002 the contract was lost to First, whose Orpington Buses subsidiary had to run its DP-class Darts (and later DMS-class Dart SLFs) a considerable way from St Mary Cray to reach the 273 roads, and perhaps with an eye to this the routeing was amended to incorporate a long extension over the parts south of Chislehurst that never really worked as part of (successively) routes 161, 161A or 162. Thus the route now terminates at Petts Wood Station – just in time for the contract to change hands again and go back to Stagecoach Selkent at Catford. A dedicated fleet of Enviro200Darts is now in use, exemplified by 36004 (LX56 DZY) at Grove Park on 11th May.
Wednesday 16 May 2007
Thursday 10 May 2007
The MM class has returned to Metroline – the last holders of this classification were two batches of Marshall-bodied MAN 11.220s inherited from MTL London. Now the chassis is longer and uprated, and known as 12.240, while Marshall rose from the ashes to become MCV, and is starting to pick up orders.
Eleven MCV Evolution-bodied MAN 12.240s have been taken, somewhat unexpectedly, by Metroline and are now in service on the 251 out of Edgware. They’re not that bad-looking buses in their red and blue colours. On Tuesday 8th May MM 779 (LK07 AYJ) swings out of Arnos Grove Station.