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Fleet news
21 fleet news items found.
Posted on Saturday 6th August 2022

Despite the almost total lack of new additions to the central fleet lately, the number of vehicles for which we are lacking fleetnumber details has been creeping up. One case was resolved this week (LR20VPN is confirmed as being 9003F), but a couple more new ones have been added. I reckon there are nine cases at present, so if you see any of the following vehicles, please try and catch their numbers. All are LUL.

LL20DVK and LL20DVN Ford Transit dropsides at Lillie Bridge
LR20EXN and LR20FEM Ford Transit crew vans at Stratford Market and Edgware Track Depot resp.
LM70ACZ Ford Transit crew van seen at the north end of Neasden Depot.
LS70TVC Ford Transit van at Lillie Bridge.
RE70HYO VW Crafter dropside at Stratford Market
LS21DLE and LS21DMO Transit Custom electric vans at ???

This situation is not helped by the fact that our occasional contact at Acton Works has been out of contact for the past couple of years.

Posted on Thursday 16th June 2022

Still no central fleet deliveries to report, but there are a couple of other snippets of news. Firstly, a Ford Transit box truck (with white body, red cab and buses roundels) has been noted at Uxbridge. AV71FWO is most likely with Metroline and there may be one or two more similar vehicles based at the Perivale CELF as replacements for the three Ford Transit vans recently disposed of.

AV71FWO at Uxbridge

A new location has been opened at Whitechapel on Durward Street (nearer the station entrance than the old Signals Department building). This seems to be home to one of the two Elizabeth Line Incident Response vehicles. However, it turns out that what we thought was 8632R actually carries number 8633R. Reports of the other van (LX68MJO) would be welcome, to confirm what number it carries and where it is now based.

8633R (LX68MHU) at Whitechapel

The high turnover of vehicles at Dartford continues, latest additions including a Fiat 500X car. Several now carry fleetnumbers in windscreen labels and reports of these would be appreciated.

The modern Fiat 500 is somewhat larger than its predecessor.

Posted on Sunday 24th April 2022

A plain white Ford Transit Custom van (CT19UHD) seen at Bexleyheath bus stand earlier in the month has now been seen again. This suggests that it is in use with the engineers at Arriva's Dartford Garage, and I have added it to the database.

Unmarked CT19UHD at Bexleyheath on 1st April 2022.

Posted on Monday 18th April 2022

A visitor to Edmonton (EC) Garage at the weekend found 10 service vehicles present. This is surprising as the use of this base has reduced recently, with just a couple of routes still operated. Nine of the SVs were crew ferry cars, of which three had not previously been reported (these will be added to the database soon). Of these, two had window labels with numbers EC903 and EC905, suggesting there may be more to find. A couple of the other cars had previously been reported at Edgware and/or Palmers Green Garage (AD). Sources differ but it seems that route 34 may currently be a joint AD/EC operation. The tenth service vehicle was a small van, while three larger vans were also present. I am inclined not to add the latter, unless they are seen there again. They were Vauxhall Vivaro WX63HBO, Ford Transit BK69UAJ and Vauxhall Movano DL21ZKD, all in unmarked white.

Lots of Arriva cars can still be found at Edmonton, plus some unmarked vans, visible in the distance here.

Not a lot else to report except that four Go-Ahead London MB Vito minibuses have been transferred out to Brighton and Hove, while a Transit van from the latter is now allocated to Metrobus (Crawley). The database will be updated with these changes soon - see Site News for why I am still busy!

One of the Go-Ahead Vitos now working in Brighton.

Posted on Tuesday 12th April 2022

Metroline's three Ford Transit vans were withdrawn a couple of months ago. No news yet on what (if anything) has replaced them.

Metroline Ford Transit AV16YGG visiting Edgware in 2018.

Posted on Saturday 9th April 2022

A couple of un-reported vehicles were found at Acton Works today. 9124F (LR20FLA) was another Ford Transit Courier crew van (like 9120F and 9122-9124F) that was new in summer 2020. 9121 will probably turn out to be a similar van, and registration LR20FLE seems likely. The other new vehicle was an electric Ford Transit Mk8 van (branded as an E-Transit) EU71HJD, in 'white with green leaves' livery and both TfL and Ford lettering. This is presumably a hire or demonstrator but has been added to the database anyway.

Ford/TfL E-Transit EU71HJD at Acton Works

Posted on Wednesday 6th April 2022

A correspondent's night visit to Cam Road (Stratford) earlier this week was fruitful, with two un-reported vehicles seen amongst quite a number. Getting full details of vehicles passing in the dark is not easy, and unfortunately the fleetnumbers were not caught. RE70HYO is a VW Crafter dropside like 9142VW, and is likely to be numbered 9143VW. LR20EXN is another Transit crew van and is probably in the 90xx range.

Posted on Friday 1st April 2022

Licensing checks have shown that a lot of Arriva London Vauxhall Corsa and Combo vans had new V5Cs (logbooks) issued over the past year, suggesting that they have been sold. The vans were based at Ash Grove, Brixton, Clapton, Edmonton, Norwood, Thornton Heath and Wood Green, and were believed to be used by the engineers. So, the question is, what has replaced them? We are aware of a slightly newer van at Norwood (FD17KKH) but observations from the other locations would be welcomed.

Has Arriva been replacing 2015-vintage Vauxhall vans with slightly newer second-hand ones? FD17KKH is at Norwood.

Posted on Tuesday 29th March 2022

Things have been remarkably quiet over the past couple of months. I have some withdrawals to catch up on but the only new vehicle reported was 9107F, a Ford Transit van with Trams. Details such as the reg and exact type were not obtained, so that is one to look out for.

The apparent plan to apply company-wide fleetnumbers to Go-Ahead London service vehicles may be back on again. RX71SZP at Morden Wharf has FV76 in a window label, while RX71SYU (recently moved from NP to BX) is FV65. This has been applied using white lettering, but only on the front. Bexleyheath's RJ19HSK still carries its 'local' fleetnumber of BX1 in eight different positions!

RX71SZP has fleetnumber FV76 on yellow labels in the side window.

Rather surprising news is that Stagecoach has applied to use the Leas Road (Guildford) garage to run buses. This was the former LT/LCBS garage recently closed by Arriva, and it was understood the site had already been sold to redevelopers. Further details are awaited.

Posted on Saturday 15th January 2022

Not very much has been reported recently, and I have just done the first database update in over a month. Additions include two more Vito minibuses for Go-Ahead, another Transit Connect for Metroline (Falcon Coachworks) and a couple of Peugeot vans with DLR. I suspect that most of the anonymous VW Transporter minibuses used by Go-Ahead London recently will now have departed. Various other vehicles have been marked as withdrawn, usually based on licensing data. Some good news is that the four delayed Point Care vans finally got to Arnos Grove around the turn of the year.

Posted on Sunday 12th December 2021

Three more Mercedes Vito minibuses with Go-Ahead London have been reported, making 18 added over the past few months. RX71SZR is at Morden Wharf, while RX71SYT and WV71ZVS were seen at Northumberland Park. Also with Go-Ahead London, an unmarked white Nissan NV250 van (HG21XBL) has been noted parked at the head office in Merton. This could be a new 'admin' van, to replace a couple of Ford Fiestas that were recently sold. The Nissan NV250 is a re-badged Renault Kangoo by the way.

Nissan NV250 HG21XBL outside the Merton offices.

The Ensignbus Volvo recovery truck new last year (AY20TXB) has been re-registered to EB20TOW. Several of these news items are now covered in the latest batch of photos.

Ensign's new tow truck is now re-registered EB20TOW.

Posted on Wednesday 17th November 2021

Yet more on the Stagecoach swaps. North Street (Romford) is now reported to have a 70-reg Transit Connect van ex Stagecoach South East, Transit Custom MD16SWN presumably having gone the other way. Rainham is still shown as having Custom van MD16SXL. On the latest list, Bow garage is shown as having Ford Transit van 90713 (MA69GKX) rather than Transit Connect 90742 (MJ18PVE). I have not added the former as I believe it to be incorrect, fleetnumber 90713 belonging to Transit van SP69YVT with Scotland East. Reports of any white Stagecoach vans seen in London would be welcomed.

Posted on Tuesday 16th November 2021

More details of the Stagecoach van swap have come to hand. At least five garages have sent their high-roof Ford Transit Custom vans away to Stagecoach South East garages, receiving the latter's Ford Transit Connect vans in return. The replacement vans are all slightly newer, and presumably compliant with the expanded ULEZ. The new vans are also smaller, and they should be noticeable due to carrying white livery. London garages involved in the swaps are Barking, Bromley, Bow, Leyton and West Ham. Catford and Plumstead already had newer vans, which means that just Rainham and Romford (North Street) retain their 16-reg Transit Custom vans, and these may be deemed far enough from the ULEZ to not require replacing.

Posted on Sunday 14th November 2021

A Volkswagen Crafter dropside truck seen at the Bedfont dealership in November 2020 has turned out to be a service vehicle after all. Licensed in Feb 2021, RE70HYN may have been delivered then, though it was not reported until seen at Acton Works in November. Still in all white but with TfL/LUL logos, it had fleetnumber 9142VW. Elderly Ford Transit dropside 7589F was still in use with Trams in mid-2021 but it appears to have finally been withdrawn. If correct then only two Mk7 Transits remain in the central fleet (facilities vans 7674F and 7675F).

A 15th MB Vito minibus for Go-Ahead London is RX71SZO, and the allocations of some of the earlier minibuses have been changed. Reports would be welcomed. Yet another hired VW Transporter minibus has turned up with Arriva London at Dartford (GL68HGY), while we now know of two additional service vehicles with Tower Transit at Westbourne Park, though their liveries are yet to be confirmed. VW Transporter SM70OFW is listed as grey while Ford Transit Courier BL19YKG is white. The operations at Westbourne Park are due to be transferred to a new joint-venture company called RATP Dev London Transit Ltd. As the name suggests, this involves both Tower Transit and RATP Dev.

Stagecoach has started swapping some service vehicles between its London and provincial operators, so as to put vehicles with better emissions performance into London. 16-reg vans from Leyton and Bromley are reported to have gone to Stagecoach South East, though details of the replacements are not yet clear. They are likely to be slightly newer and carry white livery, with Ford Transit Connect MK67MJE possibly being the new Leyton van. Again, reports of observations would be appreciated.

Posted on Wednesday 3rd November 2021

The new batch of Mercedes Vitos for Go-Ahead London numbers at least 14, with the reporting of RX71SZN working from Orpington. If you see any of the 'hired' VW Transporter minibuses still in use, please let me know, otherwise I will mark them as withdrawn. Arriva London has also had a couple of hired VWs, with GL69SHJ newly reported at Dartford.

Posted on Wednesday 20th October 2021

I haven't added them to the database yet but three more MB Vito minibuses have been reported (WP21YCZ and WP21YDA at Silvertown or Henley Road and RX71SYY at Orpington). Having mentioned last time that the new batch might total only 10 (to replace the 10 oldest Vitos), I realised that I had forgotten to consider the various hired minibuses that have also been in use recently. There are (or were) at least 8 Volkswagen Transporters and 1 Ford Tourneo. So, best to wait and see how many new Vitos eventually turn up!

Posted on Sunday 3rd October 2021

Six more Go-Ahead London Mercedes Vito minibuses have been reported, including three which were only delivered a few days ago. WO21PFE is (probably) at Orpington, WO21PFV at Northumberland Park, RX71SYR/SYS/SYU also at Northumberland Park and RX71SYV at Croydon. Now it just so happens that there are/were 10 existing Vitos with 62, 13 or 64 registrations, so that might be the lot for now. The next oldest examples are 67 reg. However, the distribution of the 10 new Vitos does not quite match that of the 10 oldest, with NP getting 2 more than it had and MB 2 less.

Staying with Go-Ahead, something odd is going on with their 64-reg Transit Connects. EK64CDZ and EK64CFY were reported as withdrawn in spring 2020 (based on licensing data), but both have been seen at GAL garages recently (SW and C respectively). The existing vans at these locations (EU64SRY and EK64CFZ respectively) have not been seen for a year or more, though they remain licensed. Similar EU64SZR at Orpington appears to have been recently withdrawn.

Posted on Friday 17th September 2021

A few bits of vehicle news this week, all from the bus companies. The first 71-reg service vehicle to be reported was unmarked red Ford Transit Custom minibus AY71JDZ, delivered to Potters Bar Garage today. A couple of weeks older is WO21PFG, the fourth new Mercedes Vito minibus for Go-Ahead London and based (with WO21PGK) at Northumberland Park Garage. The only other 21-reg addition to note is EA21KFK, a smartly-liveried Ford Transit Courier van with Falcon Buses. Falcon have also acquired another second-hand Vauxhall Corsa van (EY62UCN, which is also in livery), and appear to be using BF16MHV, a Ford Fiesta van still in Balfour Beatty white/blue with yellow stripe. GL68HHN is yet another VW Transporter minibus, but this time with Metroline at HT - all previous GL68xxx minibuses have been used by Go-Ahead, though Arriva have GL69TTV. This makes me wonder if the provision of these vehicles was arranged centrally by TfL/LBSL. By the way, similar GL69SFK was seen in Romford a while back and I assumed it was working from Stagecoach's Rainham garage (even though they had recently taken four Mercedes Sprinter minibuses). SFK has since been noted at Arriva's Grays Garage, which makes more sense.

Not previously reported are WM69GEJ/JFA, a pair of grey/silver Nissan E-NV200 minibuses at Tower Transit's Lea Interchange Garage. The Mercedes Vito minibuses latterly used from LI have been off the road since mid-2020, so the Nissans may have been here for a while. Licensing data shows that they were new in February 2020 but changed ownership in September/October that year. They are unmarked save for a white Buses roundel on each side. Finally, LOTS reports that Go-Coach of Sevenoaks has acquired three LTI TX4 taxis to support the bus services to the new Amazon distribution centre in Dartford. Reports of whether LL07CXD, LL08XAM and LO59KVD are lettered or re-liveried would be welcomed.

Please note that the vehicle database has not yet been updated with any of these changes.

Posted on Tuesday 7th September 2021

A third new Vito minibus for Go-Ahead London has been reported, this being WO21PGK at Northumberland Park (not yet added to the database).

Posted on Saturday 4th September 2021

A couple of things to report today. Firstly, a new batch of Mercedes Vito minibuses for Go-Ahead London has started arriving, with two reported so far, both in the Croydon area. These were WP21YCV and YCW, in the usual unmarked red. I would not be at all surprised if more were to follow.

My Potters Bar correspondent reports that crew ferry provision has recently returned to pre-pandemic arrangements. The hired and loaned vehicles have been returned. It remains to be seen whether this also applies to other company garages that have hired vehicles, for example Northumberland Park and Southall (Great Western).

A letter was received (quite a rarity), giving details of over a dozen cars being used as crew ferries at various Arriva operations around London. These were at Luton (Shires), Bluewater (presumed to be Northfleet-ASC), Lakeside (presumed Grays-ALon), Guildford (ASC) and Watford (Hemel Hempstead-ASC). Predictably, the cars were all unmarked. However, as quite a few of them were registered in batches (such as more LD69xxx DS3 cars), I felt it was OK to add them to the database.

Finally, our man at Acton reports some newly-delivered vehicles seen there today. LL21KPR was a Transit dropside, not yet marked-up. More interesting were four Transit vans (9157F to 9160F) lettered for LUL Point Care. What was unusual about these was that they were registered in March 2020 (with AY20xxx marks). Have they been sitting at a dealership for the past 18-months? Four other Point Care Transits (9153F to 9156F) were actually licensed a few days after the new batch, but they were delivered and entered service (at Arnos Grove) by July 2020. Also, the new vans have a full set of markings (including the red stripe), but they lack the blue skirts. The livery has hence been shown as white/red. A new standard, or a temporary one-off (or four-off)?

Posted on Thursday 19th August 2021

A couple of small items of fleet news today. Seen working in Croydon was a VW Caddy van in Trams livery, fleetnumber 9163VW (RJ20HAA). This seems to have arrived shortly before similar 9164VW last year, but has not previously been reported. Another red Seat Leon car has turned up with Arriva London North (CX70LTY), although it was seen at Edmonton Garage rather than Palmers Green. Most of the AD cars were actually at EC that day (a Saturday), though they were parked separately from the home-based crew ferry cars. Could it be that AD is short of space at weekends? This is also similar to the observations a while ago of Norwood ferry cars being parked up at Thornton Heath.

The other fleet addition today is yet another hired car for Arriva at Dartford, FP70OMM being a Toyota C-HR, a type not yet seen as a service vehicle. Photo to follow in due course. Another of Go-Ahead London's Mercedes Vito minibuses has been reported with a number, this being RF19UZK, now FV20, and apparently only just seen for the first time. All the minibuses reported with FVx fleetnumbers have been based at Silvertown, and they are being numbered in age order within each allocation. Hence, Silvertown's RJ19HSY and RJ19HTA are likely to be FV18 and FV19 respectively. An upshot of this is that it is impossible to predict what numbers will be assigned to minibuses at other garages, and as yet there is no sign of the numbers being carried.

Site news
36 site news items found.
Posted on Saturday 30th July 2022

I was running a bit late with my photo processing this month, which of course means that more of them had come in, taking longer to catalogue and file. That job was completed yesterday, then I moved on to selecting a new batch for the website. There were some excellent recent photos I wanted to use, but I also wanted to pick up on the retrospective of 1980s vehicles. The result was a 'short' list of about 40 new photos and 30 'vintage' ones. Clearly too many, I decided to take half of each to make a single batch of 40. The remainder should appear in August.

The first 16 photos are of D-prefix vehicles dating from 1986/1987, of which my favourite is this Vauxhall Astra estate captured by Kim Rennie.

Then there are 24 recent photos, covering quite an array of subjects. This is, of course, 'Miss Milly Tant', the former 1456MR!

While preparing these photos I came across a few instances of data discrepancies within LTSV. Typically these were where the date into (or out of) stock on the main vehicle record did not tally with that shown in the history events. I was working off-line so could not fix them as I went, but I do plan to have a run through all the data to check for this sort of issue.

Posted on Sunday 24th July 2022

After a gap of more than a month, I have finally updated the vehicle database. Not that there is much to report, with the break in central fleet renewals still ongoing. A few more bus company vehicles have been reported, including several at Dartford of course, and I have also updated some allocations and fleetnumbers. Photos should follow in a few days.

Posted on Thursday 23rd June 2022

I made some changes to my website configurations today, to enable error messages to be shown when a user tries to access a page that doesn't exist. Unexpectedly, this seemed to knock-out most of the thumbnail images shown across various pages. I eventually tracked this down to my using a lower-case letter S instead of a capital in the image filepaths. It seems that the configuration change made the case sensitivity more strict. Anyway, I think I have now fixed all the affected pages but please get in touch if you find anything amiss.

Posted on Friday 17th June 2022

The database has now been updated.

Posted on Thursday 16th June 2022

A batch of 20 recent photos has been published. Note that some of the related fleet updates have not yet been applied. These should follow in the next day or two. Also coming soon will be another batch of 'older' photos, with the much-delayed look at D-prefix vehicles from 1986/1987.

Posted on Tuesday 24th May 2022

The vehicle database has been updated with a few additions and changes. Nothing interesting enough to put in Fleet News though!

Regarding the PDF fleetlists, I tried printing one out the other day and it seemed to me that the font could be made a bit smaller. This would allow more details and/or fewer abbreviations. I'll do some tests. By the way, the text in these PDFs is selectable, meaning that you can copy and paste it into a different program if you want.

Posted on Saturday 21st May 2022

I have just added a forum post about the Stockwell Garage open day in June (plus some other events that month). The forum is much-improved over that on the old site so please feel free to use it for any comments or queries that are not about any specific vehicle or location. View the Forum.

Feedback on the PDF documents was unanimous - everybody said nothing! I am going to assume that they are acceptable and I will be adding more to cover other sections soon. I am currently busy working on similar documents for the LTSV Rail Data website.

There are several other sections of the new website that have not yet been fully developed. These are the Event Timeline (in the 'More' section), the Operator details and the Location/User tie-ups. I hope to be able to spend more time on these soon, once I have finished making some functionality improvements across all four LTSV websites.

Posted on Tuesday 17th May 2022

40 more photos added. Fans of 'classic' and/or large service vehicles may be slightly disappointed as all of these photos were taken over the past few months and show nothing bigger than a Ford Transit. Maybe next time. Thanks, as always, to everyone who has sent in photos.

Posted on Friday 29th April 2022

Feedback wanted on PDFs

I have been getting to grips with the process of producing 'dynamic' PDFs and, although tricky, they look promising. The first page has now been made available and is for the main ('basic') vehicle list. Because this is still under development, I have just added a small 'PDF' link above the filters on the Vehicle List page for now. Click on the PDF link to view the PDF document.

As mentioned here the other week, these PDFs will include any user-applied filtering and sorting. So, if you filter the vehicle list to just show Fords, and sort them by registration, that is what the PDF will show. Without filtering, the complete list (over 14,000 vehicles) will take a few seconds to load but it fits on 246 pages and the file is relatively small (7.8MB).

As with the manually-produced PDFs (and indeed things like the SUP15B book), the hardest part is making things fit. I have added code to the page to automatically change 4-digit years to 2-digits ones, and to abbreviate certain features (eg 'Mid-Height' becomes 'MH') and colours (eg 'White/Blue/Red' becomes 'Wh/Blu/Rd'), while a new set of abbreviated company names has been added to the operator table. As a result, most vehicles fit on one line, but many do not. Unfortunately, text wrapping does not work as well as it does in HTML, meaning that words and/or numbers are often split across a line break.

There are several options that could improve the layout, and that is where I would like some feedback. The options are:
  • Drop the icons. This would have the additional benefit of reducing the file size. For example, the complete list would still be 246 pages but now only 1.3MB.
  • Reduce the font size. It is currently set at 8pt.
  • Change the page layout from portrait to landscape.
Do get in touch if you have any views or suggestions. Please don't write to say that the column headings don't line-up. I have just noticed that error!

News of other LTSV websites is that over 500 photos have been added to LTSV Rail Data over the past month, and they're not all of wagons. Meanwhile on LTSV-RRV over 2,800 more vehicles have been added, these being ones operated by the Southern Railway and BR's Southern Region. Only another 18,000 or so still to do!

Posted on Sunday 24th April 2022

The database has now been updated with the changes mentioned at the start of this week. There are now 14,135 vehicles listed.

Posted on Monday 18th April 2022

I have had a productive weekend, though not much to show for it yet. A conversation led me to dig out some old (1970s) copies of LOTS' TLB newsletter. This didn't help answer the query but I decided it would be good to have them scanned. I've done 42 issues so far, and in the longer-term, these may be made available through LOTS.

I also decided to try and learn how to do dynamic PDFs. This is when a PDF version of a web-page is produced 'on-the-fly', with up-to-date information and any user-applied filtering/sorting, and with extraneous items such as buttons, menus and links removed. As such they are ideal for putting large amounts of data into an easily-downloadable format. I am going to roll these out across three LTSV sites (LTSV, LTSV-RD and LTSV-RRV), starting with RD. On LTSV (this site), they will eventually replace the 'static' PDFs that I created a few years ago and which have not been updated as much as I had planned.

I have been receiving a steady trickle of photos of railway company service vehicles, though more would be welcome if you see or have any. On the railway side, I have another couple of hundred wagon photos to upload. Good job I don't have to write individual captions for them all! Finally, Ray has unearthed Flickr photos of some previously unknown London SVs (mainly from the early 2000s) and these will be added to the database shortly.

The new site seems to be working OK and over a dozen users have logged-in over the past three weeks. There is still quite a bit to do, including creating the help pages, adding timeline events and operator/location histories, plus a few small tweaks. Do get in touch if you have any suggestions, complaints or feed-back.

Posted on Wednesday 13th April 2022

I managed to fix the DIY problem that I accidentally caused yesterday (but not the issue I was originally trying to improve!) and I have now completed the captions for a new batch of 21 photos. Apart from the first photo, all are from the last couple of months. The exception was actually taken in about 1925, making it almost certainly the oldest photo to appear on LTSV to date. Click on Photos above to take a look.

Posted on Tuesday 12th April 2022

Second update. The issue with editing sightings has been fixed. If you do need to edit any of your sightings, I would still encourage you to check the entries at the preview stage before committing them.

There is another slight issue that may arise sometimes. When you edit (or add) a sighting, there are three options for adding the location. The first is a list of service vehicle locations, the second is a list of other locations that have been entered for existing sightings, the third is a text box to type a new location. If there is anything typed in the third box, that is what will be saved. If there is nothing in the third box but something selected in the second, that will be saved. If there is nothing in the second box but something selected in the first, that will be saved. The issue is if you edit a sighting to change it from a previously-used location to a service vehicle location, for example, from 'Acton, Bollo Lane' to 'Acton Works'. As well as picking 'Acton Works' from the first box, you will also need to change the value selected in the second box from 'Acton, Bollo Lane' to the default '...pick an existing sighting location or...', which can be found at the top of the list. I will have a think whether I can come up with a better solution - I'm open to suggestions!

Posted on Tuesday 12th April 2022

I had planned to spend this evening writing captions for a new batch of photos. However, I have had to deal with DIY problems, so the photos will be a bit delayed.

Users should note that there is an issue with the pages for editing sightings. The default behaviour seems to replace the original location with a hyphen (-). I will post an updated version shortly but until then, please check that all the information on the preview is actually correct before you submit it. The pages for adding sightings are not affected.

Posted on Sunday 10th April 2022

I had a look at Plumstead Elizabeth Line Depot this morning, and found 19 SVs present, of which 12 could be positively identified from outside. The reason for mentioning this in Site News is that it reminded me that most of these vehicles were still lacking icons. So, I have had my crayons out again and added another six icons, including the Renault Kangoo vans with their Battenburg stripes.

Van icon

Posted on Saturday 9th April 2022

I was going to work on the next batch of photos tonight, but I ended up making a single new icon, as below.

Van icon
By the way, I do have photos of some of the vehicles mentioned in recent fleet news items. However, I cannot add the photos to the news items until the photos have been processed, and this usually lags at least a few days behind the fleet data updates. As such, photos will often be added to news items slightly retrospectively!

Posted on Friday 1st April 2022

Welcome to the new LTSV website! The new site was put on-line yesterday, and has been undergoing testing, including a bunch of updates to bring the fleet data up to date. Almost everything seems to be working as planned so I am going to go ahead and 'close' the old website (it will still be available but read-only). Please get in touch if you have any issues using the new website, or if you have any feedback or suggestions.

Posted on Tuesday 29th March 2022

Still quiet, but there has been a lot of progress off-line and the new site should be available for viewing/testing in a few days time. I think I am going to skip doing a March batch of photos, though I have still been receiving a few. I now need to think about how the cut-over from the old site to the new site will be handled. At some point I need to stop people adding stuff to the old site, but then I need a bit of time to bring the data on the new site up to date. Hmmm...

Sad news is that John Marshall died a few weeks ago. John had supplied a lot of 'vintage' photos to LTSV, plus of course he enabled us to access his huge collection of London Transport documents. These helped add a lot of data to the vehicle histories, and the documents are now available to view on the LTSV-LTA website.

Posted on Monday 7th March 2022

Things have been a bit quiet on LTSV over the past few months. One of the reasons for this is the reduced number of sightings and photos being submitted, no doubt due to the lousy weather and the ongoing COVID situation. Plus of course it has now been a year since we lost Steve Howard. Another reason is that we have not managed to get an updated list from the nice people at Acton for a couple of years. Yet another reason is that I have been doing some long-overdue home improvement work (turns out that I can build websites better than I can plaster walls!). But the main reason is that I have been busy putting together the next version of this website.

Having completed the construction of the LTSV-RRV website (if not all the data content), I resumed work on LTSV3 in early February, since when I have coded and tested over 80 new pages, for functions such as resetting passwords, adding groupcodes, editing vehicle class codes as well as the addition, display and editing of photos, vehicles, notes etc. According to my masterplan, there are only another 30 or so to do, and some of these may not be essential.

The new website is being built from scratch rather than by modifying the existing one, although it does use some process templates that I developed for LTSV-RD and LTSV-RRV. When creating the pages, I have four goals in mind. Firstly, to make them more secure, reducing the possibility of hacks or other attacks. Secondly, the pages will be more user-friendly, with guidance notes and previews etc. Thirdly, the pages will do more to trap and advise of any user errors, such as entering a date of 30/02/2017. Fourthly, there will be more background tracking of edits, to enable any problems to be traced. Other considerations are to make the code easier (for me) to read (simplifying later modification), and to make text displayed on the pages easier (for you) to read at a variety of screen sizes.

I have been talking about this new website for a long time, and here is an illustration of why its development has taken so long. I was building a new version of the 'Advanced' fleet list. This exists on the current site and is useful in that it allows the vehicle data to be looked at in more ways than on the 'basic' fleet list. For example, you can use it to see which vehicles have the most photos or sightings, were used for the longest time, or are currently unlicensed. To achieve this, the page requires queries with aggregate functions, ie ones that perform calculations on data from tables other than the main source of the data. These are relatively easy to do but they can become rather unwieldly, especially when you have multiple functions and/or large datasets. The issue is compounded if you also want to allow sorting. Only up to 100 records are ever displayed on the screen at one time but, to allow sorting, the calculations have to be performed on all records before the order can be determined. I tested the new queries directly in the database, and they returned results in less than one second. However, when I put the queries into the new webpage, the results took much longer to appear, more like minutes than seconds. This is clearly unacceptable and I have now spent several days trying to find a solution that works.

It's not all bad news though and one job took a lot less time than expected. There are currently 7,119 photos on the LTSV website, each of which exists in both normal and 'thumbnail' sizes. The new website also adds extra-large copies of many, meaning that over 16,000 files needed uploading to the 'live' server at some point. I decided to start on this last week, thinking I could do it in a few chunks. However, my upload speed seems to have improved considerably, and all the files went up in just a couple of hours.

I am tempted to set myself a target of getting the new website on-line for 1st April (which seems appropriate somehow!). Depending on how the work progresses, this may be in read-only format to start with, pending the synchronisation of the data in the new website with that in the current one. Either way, the end is in sight!

Posted on Friday 18th February 2022

I hope you are not having too much trouble with wind today! A new set of 34 photos has just been uploaded. The first 11 are part of the rolling retrospective, this month looking at C-prefix vehicles. The other 23 photos are all from the last few months.

Posted on Friday 28th January 2022

There haven't been many updates over the past few weeks, mainly because I have been busy completing work on a new LTSV website. This site (my fourth) has now been launched and it may be of some interest to visitors here. It covers road vehicles used by UK railway companies, and features a large amount of data that was supplied by Merfyn Jones. The addition of records is only half complete but it will eventually detail all known vehicles operated from the 1920s to the present. There will also be photos, and users will be able to register for an account and then add their own sightings and notes. To view the new site, head to my 'portal' page at If you happen to see any relevant vehicles (e.g. Network Rail, Freightliner, Southern etc) while out and about, I would be very happy to receive reports and/or photos.

I will now be resuming work on the updated version of the service vehicle website and hope to have this finished in a month or two.

Posted on Wednesday 5th January 2022

A batch of 26 photos has been added today. As I had included a set of A-prefix registered vehicles last month, I decided to do some B-prefix ones this time, these being the first 11 photos. Let me know if you think I should continue with this theme for the next batch! The other 15 photos cover more recent developments, including the first Maxus vehicles and some rare Toyota Yaris cars.

Posted on Sunday 12th December 2021

Second update. The vehicle database has been brought up to date with reported additions, withdrawals and other changes.

Work on LTSV3 is continuing and I have recently completed three of the BTJs (Big, Tedious Jobs). These were the re-sourcing of all existing photos to the new larger size (with optional extra-large images where possible), the modification of all existing vehicle history records to the revised structure, and the addition of web IDs to the filenames of all photos in my collection. The webpages to view photos are pretty much complete and I am now working on the pages for fleet data (vehicles, sightings, histories, locations, etc) and supporting information ('about', help, log-in etc). It should be possible to partially launch the site within the next few weeks, though this will initially be 'read-only', i.e. with no facilities to add sightings etc, and with some features (e.g. articles, forum) not yet available. This would enable the new pages to be tested before a full launch later on. When ready, there will need to be a cut-over, so that the data in the new website can be synchronised with that in the existing site.

Posted on Sunday 12th December 2021

A batch of 25 new photos has just been uploaded, dated for yesterday as writing the captions took a little longer than expected. 17 of the photos are recent, including the Ensignbus running day and some of the Stagecoach van swaps. The remainder are slightly older, and feature a selection of A-prefix vehicles.

Posted on Wednesday 17th November 2021

As promised, I have created a downloadable PDF document containing photos 6501 to 7000 (all published in the past year). A link to the 161 page file can be found on the Downloadable LTSV Documents index page.

Posted on Sunday 14th November 2021

Another 40 photos have been added, including the Plumstead open day, service vehicle models, country area garages and visits to the wild west. This update takes the number of photos on LTSV to 7014, and this means it is time to make up another downloadable content file. A PDF containing photos 6501 to 7000 (published in 2020 and 2021) should be available in the next week or so.

Posted on Wednesday 3rd November 2021

I have just updated the vehicle database, for the first time in exactly a month. Still, there is not a great deal going on with the fleets at present....

Posted on Wednesday 20th October 2021

A batch of 39 photos has just been uploaded. The first 17 are 'older', but not really what you could call 'vintage'. They focus on the relatively small number of Ford Ranger pick-ups used as service vehicles since the type was introduced in 1998. The remaining 22 photos are more topical, all being taken in the last couple of months. Thanks (as always) to everyone who has contributed.

Posted on Tuesday 19th October 2021

Here is another progress report on LTSV3.

I have been feeling quite pleased with myself recently, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, just as I was about to embark on a major exercise converting all the date fields in the main vehicles table to text format, I realised that this would result in the filters in the 'Advanced' fleet data pages not working. The plan (based on one successfully used on LTSV-RailData) had been to use a single text field for each date entry, rather than the rather 'fudgy' three fields that I originally used for this site. But, while this could handle vague dates (which date fields cannot), and sorted results more-or-less in order, it did not work so well with comparison operations (such as 'before 26th January 2001'), so it looks like I was right the first time! That's one job avoided.

Secondly, I worked out a way to show either the existing vehicle icon or the new one (which is larger and with a white background). As the screenshot below shows, the main vehicle list page is shaping up to be very similar to the existing one, but with some improvements in terms of navigation, layout and in the underlying code. One other change is that, when you hover over the (tiny) vehicle icon, a larger copy will pop out. As the lower half of the image shows, the older icons are smaller and have grey backgrounds, but they still work OK.

The screenshot below is not final. Click on the screenshot to view it full-size. This will open in the same window, so use the back button to come back here.

LTSV3 screenshot

Also visible in these screenshots are what I call 'smart page jumps'. At present, the list pages will allow you to jump to any numbered page (for example page 40 of 60), but you won't know what is on that page until you get there. The new page jumpers show a summary of the range of records on each page. This was very complicated to code, having to take into account the sort order and any filters that had been applied. It still needs a bit of work.

Having saved myself one job, I soon found another one when I decided to add operator details to the records in the history table. This is worthwhile as it will allow the capturing of changes of operator, which are currently rather easy to lose. The main vehicle table holds one operator per vehicle and thus cannot show any previous operators. Hence, if you search for 'First London' vehicles, those that passed to Metroline, Go-Ahead and Tower Transit will not show up. The change will also eventually* allow for an improved 'fleet-at-date' view (* Once all vehicles have had history records added). At present this shows the vehicles in stock at the selected date, but not the operator and allocation at that time. So, worth doing, but quite a big job to add the operator to each of the 43,000 entries in the history table. Many are easy ('LT' covers most things between 1933 and 1984) and I have so far done two thirds.

Yet another sizeable data-entry task that I have added to my list is to do with historical documents. I wanted the new site to somehow integrate these with the vehicle database. This covers both the documents that have already been published on LTSV-LTA (which are mainly Variations in Rolling Stock sheets) and the various other documents that I have copies of (such as Vehicle Record Cards and Miscellaneous Vehicle Registers). Designing and coding the means to reference and display these documents was fairly easy, but I now need to list the vehicles that are shown on each document. Easy enough for Vehicle Record Cards, a bit more time-consuming for the 19,700 Variation sheets!

Posted on Saturday 2nd October 2021

I am in Project Management mode today, trying to get a sense of how far I have got (and how far I still have to go) with the development of the replacement for this website. To do this, I broke the project down into 6 main tasks. Figures in brackets show the percentage completed to date.

1. Plan and build database (70)
The planning is complete and several of the the tables are already built. The rest will not take long.

2. Adapt existing data for new database (50)
Most of the tables are being changed, some drastically. The existing data needs to be adapted to fit, and I am now using a back-up taken a couple of days ago as the basis. When complete, I will then just need to add the records that have been added or edited since that back-up.

3. Resize all photos (78)
I have been working on this for a while, going back to the source images to make larger versions of the published photos. The plan is to complete this before launch.

4. Resize all icons (0)
I wanted to feature larger vehicle icons, though I am now thinking I will stick with the existing ones for the time being. They may look a little odd since they have grey backgrounds while the new website is based on white backgrounds.

5. Make display pages (20)
These pages are relatively easy to produce. So far done are the news and photos pages.

6. Make editing pages (10)
Unsurprisingly, the pages that allow users to change things (such as adding a sighting) are a lot more complex. The log-in page is done as are the pages to add and edit news items.

There are two other side-projects which, although not directly related to LTSV3, are being worked on concurrently.

Adding web IDs to photo filenames (72)
This makes it much easier to see which photographs have already been published. It has already proved useful, as I have found a few older photos which could do with being shown.

Adding info to title attribute of all filed photos (2)
I mentioned this here a few weeks ago. It is hugely useful in terms of finding/filtering photos and it is also beneficial from an archival point of view. However, it is a little bit time consuming so, for now, I am only applying it to newly received photos. The other 26,100 I will save to do on a rainy day/week/month!

Posted on Saturday 25th September 2021

Another batch of 40 photos has just been uploaded and, once again, these are of the contemporary scene, most being taken during September. My plan to alternate between current and 'vintage' photos has been put on hold while I still have lots of new ones to add.

Posted on Thursday 23rd September 2021

Having unearthed some spotting notes from my teenage years, I have added some 1980s sightings, including those from open days at Aldenham Works (in 1983) and Chiswick Works (in 1984). Remarkably, one service vehicle seen at the latter event remains in stock over 37 years later, with trailer CT36 having been reported at Acton a couple of weeks ago.

Posted on Saturday 18th September 2021

The database has been updated with 14 recent additions (all with the bus companies, as mentioned in Fleet News yesterday) and some withdrawals and other changes. The number of vehicles in the database now stands at 14,070. Recent photos are to follow soon.

Posted on Tuesday 7th September 2021

A new batch of 30 photos has just being uploaded, all having been taken over the past 3 months but coming from an impressive 11 different contributors. Thanks to you all, and to everyone who supplied photos that have not (yet) been used. For a change, the photos are presented in the order in which they were taken, rather than by the subjects.

Posted on Saturday 4th September 2021

The vehicle database has been brought up to date with reported additions and withdrawals. The latter include some stuff that went a long time ago but which I had not got around to updating. These are mainly Sovereign Recovery vehicles.

Posted on Friday 13th August 2021

My internet service was reinstated (a day early on Sunday in fact), though I have been fully occupied with family matters all this week. As for the little security issue, nothing more seems to have come of it. I would still urge anyone with any problems or concerns to get in touch. I have decided to accelerate the development of 'LTSV3', the next version of this website. I had been using the fact that quite a lot of photos still need re-doing to put-off the 'hard' work of actually coding the pages. However, I think the coding should now be prioritised. This will be done alongside a smaller job of tightening up the code on some of the pages on the existing site, specifically the pages that allow users to add info, comments or sightings. These changes should be 'invisible', but I will post an update when they have been implemented, so that users can let me know of any unintended side-effects.