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Photographer / Copyright
Colin Lloyd
Images should not be reused without permission.

View vehicle details
4689B P194JOW

Location Link/s
London Bridge Bus Station

Date added to site

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Details: While service vehicles employed by London Buses were normally red, a white livery had been used between 1991 and 1997, and several vehicles in this scheme remained in stock in April 2000. As shown in this view of Vauxhall Astra estate car 4689B at London Bridge Bus Station on 31st January 1998, such vehicles carried the fleetname London Transport Buses. The bus station was covered at this time and was notoriously difficult to take good photographs in. In the background of this view can be seen construction work for the Jubilee Line extension to Stratford, and one of the many Northern Counties bodied Olympian buses of KentishBus. The idea of London buses running in colour schemes such as this cream and maroon seems odd now but was of course common during the 1980s and 1990s. As for the vehicle, this represents a curiosity of the central fleet at the time, in that dual-sourcing was practiced for cars and small vans, but not for larger vehicles (which were nearly all Fords). The Vauxhall Astra was in fact the most common car in 2000, with 22 estates and one hatchback in the leased fleet, and a further 13 estates in the un-numbered fleet. There were more Ford cars in the fleet but they were divided between several models (Escort, Fiesta, Focus, Galaxy and Mondeo). Another oddity is the suffix letter carried by 4689B. General Motors used the Vauxhall name for cars and Bedford for commercial vehicles. London Transport applied a B suffix to vehicles with either badging, but started using a V from about 1996. However the changeover was not consistent and for a few years Vauxhall cars and vans could be seen carrying either letter, seemingly at random. One final note relating to this photo concerns the number series. Most blocks of 100 numbers (eg 5100F to 5199VW) had a few numbers missing, as a result of cancelled or changed orders. The 46xx range was notable for only having 36 numbers used, all numbers between 4602 and 4667 being missing. It is possible that this was due to some administrative change, such as perhaps giving transport police vehicles 'paper' fleetnumbers. To date this is the largest block of numbers to have been unused.

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