LTSV > Service Vehicles > Photos > Photo 6817
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Until the 1980s the work of trimming trees along bus routes (to prevent damage to passing buses) was undertaken by the bus companies. Initially former buses were used, either built as or converted to open-top. These were later replaced by purpose-built lorries. In the case of London Transport, five vehicles were deemed to be necessary, one for the central area and one for each quadrant of the country area. Five Thames Trader lorries were bought in late 1962, replacing a batch of former STL buses. The four allocated to the country area passed to London Country Bus Services on the first day of 1970, retaining their fleetnumbers and grey livery but gaining amended fleetnames (rather ironically, the one lorry that remained with LT was later repainted green). Interestingly, tree lopping was only performed for parts of the year, and most of the vehicles spent a couple of months each year (generally in the autumn) parked up and delicensed.

Thames Trader 1241F spent most of its life at Northfleet Garage in Kent. In summer 1965 it spent a couple of months allocated to 'Acton (Gardening Section)', while under LCBS control it also had spells at Dunton Green, Swanley and Crawley, though these appear to have been while it was non-operational. On 12th June 1977, Derek found 1241F parked at Grays Garage. Although north of the River Thames, this area was probably covered by the Northfleet lorry since it was closer than the north-east sector one at Hertford. Note that later Thames Trader lorries had the 'Trader' badging between the headlamps instead of together with 'Thames' below the grille snout. On the left is an RCL Routemaster bus, while on the right is T1, one of 4 Harrington-bodied AEC Reliance coaches built in 1961 and acquired second-hand from Maidstone and District in 1974 for use as manual gearbox driver trainers. A better view of T1 is in the next photo.
Photo ID: 6817
Photo date: 12/06/1977 Size: Regular. An extra large copy of this photo is available.
Date added: 12/07/2021