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19 fleet news items found.
Posted on Monday 21st November 2022

Still no new central fleet vehicles to report. Some details have come to light about two 'newish' vehicles though. LUL van LR20EXN at Stratford Market is now known to be numbered 9025F, while the registration for Trams van 9107F is LS21DNE. Actually, the latter is not 100% confirmed. A white/blue/green van with registration LS21DNE was seen at the Therapia Lane depot, but the only part of the fleetnumber visible was the ending ...7F. It is possible, though highly unlikely, that it was actually 8917F or something else!

One more Vauxhall Vivaro-E electric van with Stagecoach has been reported, DY72XMA at Bromley, in unmarked red when noted. The vans transferred in from Stagecoach South last year are now returning home. Also in unmarked red was BX72ATZ, a new Nissan Interstar minibus with Go-Ahead at Camberwell. This will no doubt replace one (or both) of the Renault Master minibuses used for driver assessments (LV59EHP and LV59EJA). Slightly odd is a report of a white Ford Transit Custom at Orpington with Go-Ahead London lettering, as their vans are usually red. EA69MXE may have transferred from another Go-Ahead company.


Stagecoach London DY72XMA at Bromley


Go-Ahead London BX72ATZ at Camberwell


Go-Ahead London EA69MXE at Orpington

Some corrections to old data have been made, mainly thanks to Clive. For example, the registration for Raleigh Box Tricycle 337V had been shown here as BYE157 for many years, but it was actually BYE517. We also had an un-numbered Raleigh Tricycle registered BY517 (taken from LT documents of 1938), but this appears to be a typo for BYE517 so is the same vehicle as 337V.

Posted on Tuesday 25th October 2022

I have just completed updating the vehicle database with a rather higher than usual number of withdrawals. It looks as though there is going to be a thinning-out of the LUL fleet, no doubt as a result of TfL's post-COVID financial difficulties. However, in the absence of any official fleet information, we are reliant on vehicle licensing data, and things are not always as clear-cut as we would like. I have talked about this more under Site News.

There are a couple of things we can say with some certainty. Firstly, quite a lot of cars and small vans do appear to have been disposed of. These are mainly around 5-6 years old so would have probably been due for withdrawal anyway (under normal conditions). However, it is not thought that they have been replaced by new deliveries, as these still seem to be on hold. Hardest hit are the Ford Fiestas (both cars and vans). LUL had 31 of these at the start of the year, but there are now just 9 or even fewer. Several VW Caddy and Renault Kangoo vans of similar age have also gone. A handful of larger vans (such as Ford Transits and Transit Customs) may or may not have gone too. With the largest vehicles, there are several that are definitely out of use, but most seem to still be in stock. In the yard at Acton Works are six lorries (three dropsides, two dustcarts and one artic) that have been SORN'd (declared as being off the road).

If the size of the central fleet is to be reduced, it will be interesting to see how far it goes. The fleet has been fairly steady at around 1,000 for the past 14 years (since 2008), but before 2001 it had been around the 500 mark for over 60 years.

Fleetnumbers are now known for another two of the vehicles listed here last month. LR20FEM is 9031F while LS70PYT is 9050F. There are now just 20 'missing' fleetnumbers - 10 in the 89xx range and another 10 between 9000 and 9165. Some of course may not now be used.

Finally, Ford Transit dropside truck 9110F was delivered in March 2021 and was given Trams white/blue/green livery. It remained at Acton Works for over 2 months but recent reports suggest it was then diverted to LUL, with its livery amended to white/blue/red.


9110F in Trams livery in April 2021


Posted on Friday 23rd September 2022

Three vehicles can be crossed off the list in Monday's news item, all having been seen at Lillie Bridge on Wednesday night. Dropsides LL20DVK and LL20DVN are 9044F and 9048F respectively, while crew van LS70TVC is 9049F. Unfortunately, three more vehicles with missing information also need to be added to the list. Seen at Stratford Market Depot a couple of nights ago were Transit crew vans 9026F and 9050F, while similar 8917F was noted at Brixton. Registration numbers were not obtained for these, though it is of course possible that some may be from the list of registration numbers which are currently lacking fleetnumbers!

A Stagecoach London fleetcard issued this week has been seen and it included a couple of vehicles at former Hackney CT garages. KM21SWB and KR21YRT are both white Mercedes Sprinter vans, based at Walthamstow and Ash Grove respectively. It is presumed these were acquired by Hackney CT before the recent takeover, and there was notably no mention of WN66HXY, the Nissan e-NV200 electric van previously operated by Hackney CT. Also on the Stagecoach list were a number of vehicles marked as Hire Taxis. These appear to be crew ferry vehicles, though they comprise a mixture of cars, vans and minibuses. Seven are at Rainham with two each at Barking and West Ham. As they seem to have been in use for at least a couple of months, I have decided to add them to the database, although it is thought that all are operating in anonymous condition. The two new Vauxhall vans mentioned earlier this week are also anonymous but will probably gain lettering in due course, while more examples may follow for the other garages.

Posted on Monday 19th September 2022

Second update. It would appear that Stagecoach is replacing its engineer's vans (only recently received from Stagecoach South in a swap-around) with new red Vauxhall Vivaro-E electric vans. DY22LDJ was on a company list from late July, shown as being at West Ham, while DY22LCJ and DY22LDF were seen today at Barking and North Street respectively. More details soon. By the way, the Stagecoach list included a number of hired cars and vans, mainly at Rainham, West Ham and Barking. A couple of these were also seen today, which means they have been in use for at least 7 weeks or so. If I treat Stagecoach the same way I treat Arriva London's Dartford, then these vehicles should be eligible for inclusion in the database....

Posted on Monday 19th September 2022

Further to the news item of 6th August, here is an updated list of central fleet vehicles for which we only have partial details. If you see any of the following and can help with the gaps, please get in touch.

Fleetnumbers are required for these vehicles (all with LUL):
LL20DVK Transit Dropside at Lillie Bridge (perhaps 9044F/9048F)
LL20DVN Transit Dropside at Lillie Bridge (perhaps 9044F/9048F)
LR20EXN Transit Crew Van at Stratford
LR20FEM Transit Crew Van at Edgware (perhaps 9031F)
LM70ACZ Transit Crew Van at Neasden
LS70PYT Transit Van at Lillie Bridge (perhaps 9049/9050F)
LS70TVC Transit Van at Lillie Bridge (perhaps 9049/9050F)
RE70HYO VW Crafter dropside at Stratford (perhaps 9143VW)
LS21DLE Transit Custom electric van at ? (probably 9134F)

Suspected but not reported
9121F LR20FLE Ford Transit Courier with LUL

Registration required
9107F Ford Transit van with Trams

Posted on Friday 16th September 2022

Leyland Titan breakdown tender 1278LD was sold into preservation in 1983 (and remained licensed until 1995), but it has never been seen since and I had assumed it had been scrapped. However, it has recently been rescued from a yard where it has lain for nearly 30 years. It was in a rather sorry state but the new owners are hoping to undertake a restoration. No pictures as yet but if you Google the registration ALM841B you will find a couple. Thanks to KR for flagging this up.

NX67NLP (the 'well@tfl' Fiat Ducato mentioned last month) was parked at Leytonstone Station for a couple of days recently, and I now have photos of the nearside and rear (to be included in the next batch). The vehicle appears to be a mobile surgery or consultation room.

Posted on Saturday 3rd September 2022

Hackney Community Transport's London operations were taken over by Stagecoach London on 26th August 2022, including around 140 buses working from garages in Ash Grove and Walthamstow. The impact on service vehicles should be minimal since (as far as we know) HCT only had one!

Posted on Tuesday 23rd August 2022

There are a few new developments to report. Firstly, Bob found an interesting vehicle at the traincrew offices at Cockfosters Station last week. Registered NX67NLP it was a Fiat Ducato with a box body of the type often used as an exhibition unit. Livery was all white with blue TfL roundels and lettering, and the slogan well@tfl. A quick on-line search suggests this might be to do with mental health support for taxi drivers! I suspect the vehicle may actually be owned by somebody other than TfL (and curiously it is shown as not being currently taxed) but I have added it to the database.


NX67NLP at Cockfosters

A new location reported is at Royal Oak Station, first noted by new correspondent Dave Wolstencroft. This is between the LUL platforms and the elevated Westway road, though the yard does continue west of the station as far as the Elizabeth Line tunnel portal. It seems likely that this location will only be temporary, pending the opening of the through train service. At present, trains from Abbey Wood terminate at Paddington then run on to the surface level to reverse in sidings at Westbourne Park. The yard seems to be home to about three Elizabeth Line service vehicles, and also has a couple of containers, one of which appears to be an office. I have added it to the database with code ROE.


Getting decent photos of the new Royal Oak location is going to be difficult!

One of the vehicles now at Royal Oak is the second Renault Kangoo incident vehicle. These were previously based at the Network Rail premises at Romford, with one now at Whitechapel Station. This (LX68MHU) was found to carry fleetnumber 8633R instead of the officially allocated 8632R. I visited Royal Oak yesterday to see if I could check the number on the other van (LX68MJO - officially 8633R). I had to use my zoom camera and contend with fences, but eventually I confirmed that it is 8632R. By the way, the location code RDR (for Romford Railway Operations Centre) has now been marked as closed as it no longer has any London service vehicles allocated. However, it does of course remain in use by Network Rail.

Given that we have not received an updated fleetlist from TfL/LUL for a couple of years, it was a pleasant surprise to get one covering the Arriva London service vehicle fleet. Bus companies very rarely make official information available, and when they do it is often out-of-date or incomplete. This new list, obtained by LOTS, seems to be fairly comprehensive, though it does not cover 'management' cars or short-term hires. Numerous database updates have resulted, including 10 additions, 2 re-instatements and lots of transfers and withdrawals. The additions included 3 new Ford Transit Custom vans (AJ21CRZ, AJ21CSF and AK22LXS), while the remainder were older. It is not clear if these had been operated from new (but not reported) or if they were second-hand acquisitions or transfers from other Arriva operations. Though they probably would not have been listed anyway, a look at recent sightings suggests that all the GL69xxx VW minibuses at Dartford and LD69xxx Citroen DS3 cars at Palmers Green have now departed, and I have marked them as such. Other LD69xxx cars were with Arriva Southern Counties, and reports of any of these would be welcomed.

The three Ford Transit Custom hybrid electric vans with LUL are proving elusive. 9136F (LS21DMU) was noted at Acton Works in June 2021, LS21DMO was seen recently at Edgware Road and is now known to be 9135F, while LS21DLE has only been seen once, in Basildon just over a year ago! Going by the gaps in the series, the latter is almost certainly numbered 9134F.

Sullivan Buses have acquired a sixth Renault Zoe electric car. SE68VMM is currently working in anonymous white but may be painted/vinyled in due course, when it would presumably be numbered EC6.


Sullivan's new (secret) car


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.


Site news
34 site news items found.
Posted on Friday 25th November 2022

Photo time again, a batch of 47 having just been uploaded.

The first 33 are from the past few months and include the first 72 reg vehicles, a proper look at Stagecoach London's new Vauxhall vans, some more 'insider views' of Edgware Track Depot and several vehicles from exotic places beyond our normal coverage.


A neat line-up of 9029F, 9030F and 9031F at Edgware Track Depot.


You can't get much more exotic than Stockport on a rainy October day!

Next are three photos taken by Malcolm Millichip in about 1960.


Can you confirm the location of this photo of tree-lopper 972J?

Finally there are 11 photos that make up the final part of my look back at D-prefixed SVs from the late 1980s.


Unsurpisingly, Astras with roof roundels appear again in this set.


Posted on Tuesday 25th October 2022

To determine the current status of vehicles, we look at three aspects of the licensing data, which is thankfully still freely available on the internet. These aspects are whether the vehicle is currently taxed, whether its licence renewal date cycle has changed, and whether a new V5C has been issued. None of these aspects alone gives the complete picture, and it may be that in some cases we have made the wrong inferences. I'll give a few examples.

If a vehicle is delicensed, the tax expiry date will be in the past, and will often be a date not at the end of a month. This does indicate that the vehicle is not currently in use, but it does not confirm that it has been sold. The vehicle may still be on company premises. The same applies if the vehicle has been SORN'd, though in those cases, the date when the licence was cancelled is not shown.

A change of licence renewal date cycle is usually a good indicator that a vehicle has been sold. For instance, if a vehicle that had a licence expiry of 31/10/2022 now shows an expiry of 31/03/2023, there is a good chance that it had been sold in April 2022 or October 2022 (depending on whether the new licence was for 6 months or a full year). However, there are two other scenarios. Firstly, if that same vehicle was actually sold at about the time its tax expired, there is a chance that the new owner's licence will be in the same 6/12 month cycle (i.e. to 30/04/2023 or 31/10/2023), making it less noticeable. On the other hand, it is possible that a company may have to re-licence a vehicle earlier or later than normal. In these cases, the vehicle would have the same ownership but a changed renewal date cycle.

V5Cs are certificates that are issued to the keeper of a vehicle, and the date of the last V5C is shown with the licensing data. If a vehicle has a changed V5C date, then it is likely to have changed ownership, though this is not guaranteed. For leased vehicles in particular, a V5C change can result from changes to the leasing company or lease arrangements. For example, a number of LUL Ford Transit vans all have a V5C date of 28/06/2022. Some of these have not been reported for a while, and hence may well be gone, yet some others are known to still be in use.

So, licensing data is of some use but it doesn't tell us everything. Hence reports of sightings continue to be very useful. If you see a service vehicle, or an ex-service vehicle, please log the sighting, as it might just help us to pin down some details.

Posted on Monday 24th October 2022

I am about half way through updating the vehicles that we believe have been withdrawn in recent months, and it looks like LUL's Ford Fiestas have been particularly hard hit. I will add some comment and analysis later, once I have updated the remainder.

Posted on Sunday 23rd October 2022

I have finally got around to adding another batch of photographs. There are 33 in total, and the first 29 are all recent views but do include one vehicle from the 1960s which has unexpectedly resurfaced.


Leyland Titan breakdown tender 1278LD has been out of the limelight for almost 30 years. It is now being restored, but there is much to do...

There are also 4 photos taken in the late 1950s, including two of a unique sweeper vehicle.


I never thought I would see any more photos of R41 other than the well-known J C Gillham one. Amazingly, two photos (taken at the same time) have now come to light.

Disposals have picked-up over the last couple of months, though there have still been no new deliveries that we are aware of. Could it be that the central fleet is going to be reduced in size?


These three vans seen at Acton Works in early September are all thought to have been disposed of soon afterwards.

The vehicle database has not yet been updated with the disposals (or other changes). I will aim to do that in the next day or two.

Posted on Saturday 15th October 2022

The article I mentioned yesterday has now been uploaded and is an updated version of one from 2006 that charted fleetnumbers against dates into stock to look at the rate of fleet renewal. This new version includes a look at the ongoing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article can be read on-line here, or as a PDF which can be downloaded.

I have also added a PDF version of the night trip article posted a few weeks ago. To see all articles, look in the More section, or click here to go straight to the Article List page.

Posted on Friday 14th October 2022

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. There is new content on the way, including a handful of very interesting old photos and an article. For now, I have just updated some info on 1960s/1970s vehicles. It would appear that the officially recorded information was not always correct. For example, LCBS listed a van as JPB392P when it was in fact JBP392P. More significantly, it turns out that the several of the LT railway emergency vehicles were not actually based where they were 'officially' allocated. Perhaps there was an early change of plan and the revised details never got back to CDS. Anyway, my policy for now is to show the official information in the history section, adding notes where it is known that the reality was different.

Posted on Friday 23rd September 2022

I have updated the vehicle database, including adding 11 vehicles Stagecoach London has on hire, plus two vans with them that appear to have originated with Hackney CT. Other updates are several LUL vehicles withdrawn and a few where fleetnumbers are now known.

In addition I have posted a new article. This mainly talks about a night trip undertaken earlier this week, but it also considers the current SV situation. The article is quite long and can be viewed here.

Posted on Monday 19th September 2022

It's been almost six months since the new version of the LTSV website was launched and (touch wood) everything seems to be working fairly well. There is still loads of content to add (location details and user records, vehicle record cards, vehicle histories, improved icons etc) but the situation is rather better than on my LTSV-RD website - where there is quite a lot of design/functionality still to add as well as tons of data.

Anyway, I have today posted another bundle of timeline events (the Timeline can be found in the 'More' section). Most of the entries relate to London bus operations rather than service vehicles, but I think it is interesting to have a record of major events in these related fields. It will also be useful to provide context when I eventually get round to writing some more 'annual review' articles.

Posted on Tuesday 30th August 2022

I was getting a bit annoyed with the location list page. Whenever I wanted to look up a particular location, I had to guess which page it would be found on. To fix this, I have changed the page so that it always shows 'smart page jumps'. A search facility has been added as well.

Another change is on the main Photos page, where the bands that group photos by date added will now only appear if NO filters are applied (and if the sort order has not been changed from the default).

Posted on Friday 26th August 2022

Another month is almost up, so here comes another batch of photos. The first dozen continue the retrospective on D-prefix vehicles new in 1986/1987, followed by 28 more recent views.


This photo of 3476B is another of those where I keep noticing (slightly) interesting points to comment on...


I asked about Arriva's DS3 cars in a Fleet News post a few days ago, having forgotten that Derek had recently photographed one at Watford Junction.


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 https://www.ltsv.com. 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.