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Philip Hambling
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3319F B66OOY

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Details: The Mark 3 version of the Ford Escort was introduced in 1980 and was much more angular than the earlier Mark 1 and 2 designs. Remaining in production throughout the 1980s (latterly as the slightly revised Mark 4), it was one of the best selling vehicles in Britain, and it saw much use by London Transport, in both car and van formats. Two of the vans were seen coming down Seven Sisters Road in November 1986. They later parked in front of the nearby Manor House offices. There are a couple of interesting aspects to this photo. Firstly, 3319F (nearest the camera) has a chrome strip around the windscreen, which is not present on 3315F following behind. A quick look through my photo collection suggests that 3319F was the only LT Escort to have this feature. 3319F was of course displayed at the Chiswick Works open day in 1985. The second point is the bus in the background. Various companies used former LT DM/DMS buses on London sightseeing tours during the 1980s, most of the buses being converted to open top. However, I could not think of a company that had a base in north London. Judging by the traffic, this photo was taken in the morning rush hour, and the bus was most likely making its way into central London to start work on the tour. Using the excellent (but sadly no longer supported) BusView tool from BusData, I found that the bus was former DM1110, sold by LT in September 1985, and acquired in March 1986 by a company called Evencost Ltd., registered at Uffington (near Shrewsbury) but with a licence to operate in London using the fleetname 'London Tour Company'. Four further double-deck buses were added later in 1986 but the company ceased in April 1988. DM1110 passed to Blue Triangle and then London Coaches. It later spent a couple of years in Ireland before returning to England and eventually being scrapped in 2004.

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Thomas YoungJust two days after publishing this photo (and mentioning BusView), I received an announcement that BusView was being relaunched! It still has the same somewhat clunky interface but the sheer quantity of data more than makes up for this. The database contains details and histories of over 500,000 vehicles, as well as a lot of information about bus companies and other operators. If you are interested in UK buses, this is the program you need. Some service vehicles are also included, particularly minibuses. BusView is only available as an annual subscription service. You download the program and the main database, and the data is updated at regular intervals throughout the year. There is a 7-day free trial period followed by a £60 first-year subscription, rising to £90 per year thereafter. One change that has been made is that the program will no longer work if you do not renew your subscription. With the previous version, you no longer received updated data but you could still use the program. For more details visit 05/10/2020, 20:33