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Photographer / Copyright
Philip Hambling
Images should not be reused without permission.

View vehicle details
SMD441 EGN441J

Location Link/s

Date added to site
04/10/2020

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Details: The large bundle of photographs recently contributed by Philip Hambling included coverage of the LCBS service vehicle fleet, and also of the former buses used in ancillary roles by both LT and LCBS. London Transport adapted five AEC Swift buses for new roles between 1978 and 1981, including SMS441, which became a mobile recruitment centre. Officially numbered SMD441, it was noted carrying 'hybrid' fleetnumber 441R. Although it only saw a couple of years use, it was retained in stock until 1987, when it was sold to dealer Allco. They sold it on to Hants and Sussex, one of several bus companies owned by Basil Williams. Mr Williams had a penchant for operating certain older types of buses, and he owned at least 20 different former LT Swifts and Merlins at different times. SMD441 was returned to service in May 1987, but the Hants and Sussex operation was sold on to Solent Blue Line just five months later. Solent Blue Line was interesting in itself, having been formed as a new company by Southern Vectis (the former National Bus Company operator on the Isle of Wight) to enable expansion onto the mainland. As this photo taken in Eastleigh in October 1987 shows, some of the Swifts were used by Solent Blue Line for a while (with new fleetnames on the existing liveries) but they were destined not to last long. SMD441 was withdrawn in January 1988 and was bought the following month (along with several other Swifts) by White Heather of Southsea. It lasted here for almost 2 years, later served as a mobile cafe in Kent and seems to have been scrapped in 1994. SMD441 appears to be the only one of the five 'service vehicle' Swifts that returned to passenger service. Some of the others did survive into semi-preservation (as will be covered by further photos soon) but only SMS753 remains today.

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