London Buses in the 1970s: 1970-1974 (Pen & Sword)

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This book examines the turbulent period in the history of London's buses immediately after London Transport lost its Country Buses and Green Line Coaches to the recently-formed National Bus Company.

Jim Blake's extensive photo archive illustrates a largely elderly fleet of buses from London Transport, including AEC Regent double-deckers in the process of being replaced by new types.

London Transport itself was in the throes of replacing a much larger fleet. It was already apparent that the 36 ft-long MB class single-deckers were not suitable for London conditions, particularly in negotiating suburban streets cluttered with cars, and were also mechanically unreliable. The shorter SM class superseded them, but they were equally unreliable. January 1971 saw the appearance of London Transport's first purpose-built one-man operated double-decker the DMS class. All manner of problems plagued these, too.

A shortage of spare parts for vehicles was made worse by the three-day week imposed by the Heath government in 1973-4. London Transport and London Country were still closely related, with the latter's buses continuing to be overhauled at LT's Aldenham Works. Such were the problems with the MB, SM and DMS types that LT not only had to resurrect elderly RTs to keep services going, but even repurchased some from London Country! In turn, the latter operator hired a number of MB-types from LT in an effort to cover their own vehicle shortages. Things looked bleak for both operators in the mid-1970s.

This book contains a variety of interesting and often unusual photographs illustrating all of this, most of which have never been published before.

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