London prototypes and trial vehicles

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This seemed a worthwhile topic for its own thread, stemming from the discussions about Metropolitans and Fleetlines in other threads.

I‘ve borrowed this quote from the Fleetline/DMS topic to kick things off:
Fourthed if that is a word

Most of the LT fleet had single letter designations in the 80s-90's although don't know exactly when it changed

A Dodge s50s? I used to assume the A prefix was maybe bodywork i.e Alexander but these were bodied by someone else
C Was a one off Ailsa style bus with a weird name Cumulus or Cumulo, to do with the experimental system
H 3 Dominators that were part of trials and did not proceed with any more
L Leyland Olympians
M MCW Metrobus
T Leyland Titan
V Volvo Ailsa
The ‘V’ series Volvo Ailsas were part of the same trials as the Hestair Dennis Dominators referenced in this quote. Perhaps the most notable aspect of these was that V3 had a rear staircase, although being a front-entrance bus.

Other prototypes welcome to be discussed are such vehicles as the legendary front-engined Routemaster FRM, and any others that come to people‘s minds.
 
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Richard Scott

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This seemed a worthwhile topic for its own thread, stemming from the discussions about Metropolitans and Fleetlines in other threads.

I‘ve borrowed this quote from the Fleetline/DMS topic to kick things off:

The ‘V’ series Volvo Ailsas were part of the same trials as the Hestair Dennis Dominators referenced in this quote. Perhaps the most notable aspect of these was that V3 had a rear staircase, although being a front-entrance bus.

Other prototypes welcome to be discussed are such vehicles as the legendary front-engined Routemaster FRM, and any others that come to people‘s minds.
There were two MkII Metrobuses as well, I believe as well as L1-3, which were trial buses, L1 had TL11 engine and hydracyclic gearbox and L2&3 were Gardner engined with Voith boxes. Ironically neither reflected actual order, which was Gardner/Hydracyclic.
 

Strathclyder

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The FRM aside (I've always called it the Frontmaster), the examples that spring to mind most readily are the Northern Counties-bodied Renault PR100s that were trialed in the late 80s/early 90s (era-wise, probably outwith the remit of this thread). One was decked out in full London colours & gained a appropriate fleetnumber (G276 VML/RN1) and the other was a Northern Counties/Renault demo vehicle (F100 AKB) that spent some time in London. The latter is the now the only survivor of the 5 PR100s that made it to our shores (the other 3 were bought by Luton International Airport as shuttle buses), preserved at Sandtoft in London Buses livery, representative of RN1.

Images of both vehicles linked below (from the Philip Hambling & David Flett Flickr collections respectively):



And to round things out, a pic of AKB as preserved (from the Matt D. Williamson Flickr collection):

 
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The FRM aside (I've always called it the Frontmaster), the examples that spring to mind most readily are the Northern Counties-bodied Renault PR100s that were trialed in the late 80s/early 90s (era-wise, probably outwith the remit of this thread). One was decked out in full London colours & gained a appropriate fleetnumber (G276 VML/RN1) and the other was a Northern Counties/Renault demo vehicle (F100 AKB) that spent some time in London. The latter is the now the only survivor of the 5 PR100s that made it to our shores (the other 3 were bought by Luton International Airport as shuttle buses), preserved at Sandtoft in London Buses livery, representative of RN1.

Images of both vehicles linked below (from the Philip Hambling & David Flett Flickr collections respectively):



And to round things out, a pic of AKB as preserved (from the Matt D. Williamson Flickr collection):

My bad, I didn’t intend to purely restrict the discussion to LT, I’ve edited the thread title accordingly as your contribution was exactly the kind of thing I had in mind.
 

Richard Scott

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Weren't the original Leyland Nationals trial vehicles? Thought first of production batch were diverted from a cancelled order?
 

PG

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Moved this as this is more appropriate to this thread.
The H makes sense, the C1 was based on the Volvo citybus with Alexander bodywork, so essentially the same that the SBG had, but I remember reading some kind of hydraulic system that was used on that one bus and it was named after that system.
Commercial motor had an article on that bus.
Volvo has coined the name Cumulo for the system which turns brake energy back into motive power. The bus is a prototype similar to other vehicles being evaluated by operators in Europe and at present the power system has added 15 per cent to the initial vehicle cost. More significant is the fact that it adds only a few new mechanical parts and 750kg in weight.

Cumulo works by using the energy generated during braking — which is normally lost as heat and friction — to fuel a pressure accumulator.

When the bus brakes are applied a pump/motor, which is incorporated into the drive-line by means of a power takeoff and clutch to isolate the normal gearbox and engine, receives hydraulic fluid from a low-pressure reservoir. The pump motor acts as a pump to take the fluid to a compressor. This forces compressed nitrogen into two high-pressure vessels. They look like conventional gas cylinders.

As soon as the bus begins to move, the micro processor incorporated in the drum bar assesses that sufficient energy has been stored in the high-pressure vessels (accumulator) and the system is reversed.

The pressurised nitrogen gas is released back through the system. The hydraulic fluid reverses the pump, which becomes a motor which powers the • vehicle until the stored pressure is exhaus ted .

Then the micro-processor matches the engine and gearbox to the road speed and conventional power takes over. The only way the driver and passengers can know there is a change of power mode is through the change in vehicle noise. The conventional engine just idles while the vehicle is hydraulically powered.
 
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Weren't the original Leyland Nationals trial vehicles? Thought first of production batch were diverted from a cancelled order?
I think that cancelled order didn’t occur until 1975, with a batch reputedly ordered for Venezuela o_O being redirected to London. The very first Nationals were a batch of 6 ordered for trials alongside the Metro Scania single-decks, but delivery wasn’t completed until October 1973. Apparently LS3 followed one of its Metro Scania counterparts in visiting Clapton Pond.
 

Richard Scott

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I think that cancelled order didn’t occur until 1975, with a batch reputedly ordered for Venezuela o_O being redirected to London. The very first Nationals were a batch of 6 ordered for trials alongside the Metro Scania single-decks, but delivery wasn’t completed until October 1973. Apparently LS3 followed one of its Metro Scania counterparts in visiting Clapton Pond.
That would fit in with them being 'P' registered then? Think first batch were 'M' registered?
 

Strathclyder

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The ‘V’ series Volvo Ailsas were part of the same trials as the Hestair Dennis Dominators referenced in this quote. Perhaps the most notable aspect of these was that V3 had a rear staircase, although being a front-entrance bus.
V3 has two staircases, I beileve. Not to veer off-topic so soon, but it actually wasn't the first front-entrance decker to put this concept to the test: the second of the BMMO D10 prototypes (1944 HA/4944) had a similar layout from new. This was later rebuilt to the same single entrance/single staircase layout as it's sister vehicle (happily preserved at Wythall):

(from the FF3170 YT channel)

My bad, I didn’t intend to purely restrict the discussion to LT, I’ve edited the thread title accordingly as your contribution was exactly the kind of thing I had in mind.
Not a problem. :)

Weren't the original Leyland Nationals trial vehicles? Thought first of production batch were diverted from a cancelled order?
I think that cancelled order didn’t occur until 1975, with a batch reputedly ordered for Venezuela o_O being redirected to London. The very first Nationals were a batch of 6 ordered for trials alongside the Metro Scania single-decks, but delivery wasn’t completed until October 1973. Apparently LS3 followed one of its Metro Scania counterparts in visiting Clapton Pond.
LS7-57 were the buses in question, they started arriving from May 1976 onwards. While it does seem utterly barmy on the surface imagining Nationals in Venezuela of all places, they did serve in Tasmania (from the John Ward Flickr collection):

 

busesrusuk

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V3 has two staircases, I beileve. Not to veer off-topic so soon, but it actually wasn't the first front-entrance decker to put this concept to the test: the second of the BMMO D10 prototypes (1944 HA/4944) had a similar layout from new. This was later rebuilt to the same single entrance/single staircase layout as it's sister vehicle (happily preserved at Wythall):

(from the FF3170 YT channel)


Not a problem. :)



LS7-57 were the buses in question, they started arriving from May 1976 onwards. While it does seem utterly barmy on the surface imagining Nationals in Venezuela of all places, they did serve in Tasmania (from the John Ward Flickr collection):

There is a long list of one-offs that LT and its successors have trialled. So, a few from my memory was a Metro Scania red single decker (H registered) was trialled on route 99 before the order for 6 were placed in the early 1970's. In the late 80's (I think) an orange Neoplan single decker was also trialled on Woolwich area routes from Plumstead.

Go Ahead have had a few and pics of one or two of them are here including a very early Wright Streetdeck at Camberwell (long since left the fleet before an order for 22 was placed in 2018) and an Optare Metrodecker at Bexleyheath:
LT H1 | Aldgate Bus Station. I think this must be another sh… | Flickr
LT L1 | Cobham rally 1984(?) | keith wood | Flickr
Preserved LT V1 Apr17 | Cobham Spring gathering, Apr 2017 | Flickr
GAL OM1 Aug16 | Pilot Busway, Nth Greenwich. Aug 2016 | keith wood | Flickr
GAL WSD1 Apr15 | Waterloo Place, Apr 2015 | keith wood | Flickr
GAL HOV1 Oct 12 | Optare Versa demo bus on loan to Go Ahead … | Flickr

There are more; Go Ahead London had WDL1 but can't remember now what was so special about that one

With regard to the Leyland Nationals in Venezuela they did actually take a total of 450 making then one of the largest operators of the type. The National was quite an export success story with buses operated in France, Holland, Tasmania (as mentioned), mainland Australia (with large numbers built to a special 10.9m length) and Jamaica.

V3 had two doors, one at the front and one at the rear and two staircases. It was subsequently rebuilt to front door only but retained the two staircases
 

Busaholic

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There is a long list of one-offs that LT and its successors have trialled. So, a few from my memory was a Metro Scania red single decker (H registered) was trialled on route 99 before the order for 6 were placed in the early 1970's. In the late 80's (I think) an orange Neoplan single decker was also trialled on Woolwich area routes from Plumstead.

Go Ahead have had a few and pics of one or two of them are here including a very early Wright Streetdeck at Camberwell (long since left the fleet before an order for 22 was placed in 2018) and an Optare Metrodecker at Bexleyheath:
LT H1 | Aldgate Bus Station. I think this must be another sh… | Flickr
LT L1 | Cobham rally 1984(?) | keith wood | Flickr
Preserved LT V1 Apr17 | Cobham Spring gathering, Apr 2017 | Flickr
GAL OM1 Aug16 | Pilot Busway, Nth Greenwich. Aug 2016 | keith wood | Flickr
GAL WSD1 Apr15 | Waterloo Place, Apr 2015 | keith wood | Flickr
GAL HOV1 Oct 12 | Optare Versa demo bus on loan to Go Ahead … | Flickr

There are more; Go Ahead London had WDL1 but can't remember now what was so special about that one

With regard to the Leyland Nationals in Venezuela they did actually take a total of 450 making then one of the largest operators of the type. The National was quite an export success story with buses operated in France, Holland, Tasmania (as mentioned), mainland Australia (with large numbers built to a special 10.9m length) and Jamaica.

V3 had two doors, one at the front and one at the rear and two staircases. It was subsequently rebuilt to front door only but retained the two staircases
I was the first person L.T. took on to their Traffic Administration Training Scheme in 1971, transferring from Bus Schedules Dept., and I had the privilege of being invited to the launch of the Metro Scania on a late morning, unscheduled journey on the 99 from Woolwich to Upper Belvedere, Eardley Arms and return. For some reason the remaining time it spent on the 99 as an 'unscheduled extra' was only ever between those two points, with none to the usual Erith terminus, and iirc were between the peaks on Monday to Friday only. I don't think the intention was ever to see how the bus dealt with crush loadings!
 

Swanny200

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Did LT ever trial the Iveco Turbocity double decker or any of the Optare Spectra types or were they ever considered?
 

DunsBus

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V3 has two staircases, I beileve. Not to veer off-topic so soon, but it actually wasn't the first front-entrance decker to put this concept to the test: the second of the BMMO D10 prototypes (1944 HA/4944) had a similar layout from new. This was later rebuilt to the same single entrance/single staircase layout as it's sister vehicle (happily preserved at Wythall):

(from the FF3170 YT channel)


Not a problem. :)



LS7-57 were the buses in question, they started arriving from May 1976 onwards. While it does seem utterly barmy on the surface imagining Nationals in Venezuela of all places, they did serve in Tasmania (from the John Ward Flickr collection):

V3 has two doors as well as two staircases. However, it didn't run for long in London with its twin-door layout, being converted to single-door by London Buses in 1986 and remaining thus after being acquired by Black Prince from PVS, as a write-off after a roll-over accident in 1992, and subsequently rebuilt. It had its rear door reinstated soon after being sold into preservation following Black Prince's closure in 2005.

I always say that V3 is the late Brian Crowther's memorial, as he was the owner of Black Prince and was also the man who took the decision to rebuild V3 from a wreck and return it to the road.
 

bobslack1982

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Not sure if this counts, but another Volvo Citybus that spent time with Black Prince. This one using the novel idea of converting braking energy into stored power to be used under acceleration- something virtually all hybrid vehicles now have in some form.

 

Swanny200

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Black Prince was certainly a fleet of rarities, some timewarps and one offs for definite in that fleet over the years
 

Busaholic

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Did LT ever trial the Iveco Turbocity double decker or any of the Optare Spectra types or were they ever considered?
Route 3 in London was home to a fleet (24 in total iirc) of Spectras from c1993, all single door examples - I don't recollect them ever straying to another route, other than the N3. I'm pretty sure there was a dual door one too, that may have later been on the 607 in Centrewest days. I believe Peter Hendy, then their MD, was a fan.
 

MotCO

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Did LT ever trial the Iveco Turbocity double decker or any of the Optare Spectra types or were they ever considered?

Not sure about LT, but Metrobus trialled it on the 261.

As for other experimental buses, the first 15 Merlins were experimental, and classified XMS.
 
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V3 has two doors as well as two staircases. However, it didn't run for long in London with its twin-door layout, being converted to single-door by London Buses in 1986 and remaining thus after being acquired by Black Prince from PVS, as a write-off after a roll-over accident in 1992, and subsequently rebuilt. It had its rear door reinstated soon after being sold into preservation following Black Prince's closure in 2005.

I always say that V3 is the late Brian Crowther's memorial, as he was the owner of Black Prince and was also the man who took the decision to rebuild V3 from a wreck and return it to the road.
Fair to say that V3 had a chequered history, from reading that. (Off-topic, is it really nearly 16 years since Black Prince closed? Gulp!)
Not sure about LT, but Metrobus trialled it on the 261.

As for other experimental buses, the first 15 Merlins were experimental, and classified XMS.
I wonder if the eventual outcome of that experiment was ever regarded as successful? I suppose it was successful in developing a buoyant secondhand export market...

Now, one prototype that I‘ve been trying to hunt down, though the Flickr search algorithms aren’t playing ball, was an Enviro 200 with what would normally be the centre exit plug-doors fitted at the nearside rear, aft of the rear axle. I believe it was one of the early experimental hybrid chassis. I can remember seeing a photo of it on a trade show stand somewhere, with some commentary that Go Ahead London were expected to take delivery. Could anyone shed any more light on this?
 

Mikey C

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It can be argued that many larger fleets have been "trial" vehicles, e.g. the first low floor buses, the Wright bodied LLW (Dennis Lance) and SLW (Scania)

Then there are other small trial fleets, e.g.
The first hybrid buses in London, the Wright Electrocity
Fuel cell and Hydrogen buses on the RV1
The BYD electric double deckers on the 98
 

MotCO

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Now, one prototype that I‘ve been trying to hunt down, though the Flickr search algorithms aren’t playing ball, was an Enviro 200 with what would normally be the centre exit plug-doors fitted at the nearside rear, aft of the rear axle. I believe it was one of the early experimental hybrid chassis. I can remember seeing a photo of it on a trade show stand somewhere, with some commentary that Go Ahead London were expected to take delivery. Could anyone shed any more light on this?

Yes, not sure if it was hybrid, but it had 'superwheels' at the back to allow a low floor all the way to the back. Buses Etcetera collected a couple of examples before the company collapsed.


(Not my photo -shows S12ETC, a prototype Enviro 200 in Buses Etcera livery)

Only three were registered; the fourth was hybrid apparently, and stayed with ADL. The photo below (not mine) shows SN54 GRU in service in London on route 274.
 
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bobslack1982

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Fair to say that V3 had a chequered history, from reading that. (Off-topic, is it really nearly 16 years since Black Prince closed? Gulp!)

I wonder if the eventual outcome of that experiment was ever regarded as successful? I suppose it was successful in developing a buoyant secondhand export market...

Now, one prototype that I‘ve been trying to hunt down, though the Flickr search algorithms aren’t playing ball, was an Enviro 200 with what would normally be the centre exit plug-doors fitted at the nearside rear, aft of the rear axle. I believe it was one of the early experimental hybrid chassis. I can remember seeing a photo of it on a trade show stand somewhere, with some commentary that Go Ahead London were expected to take delivery. Could anyone shed any more light on this?
It was one of two prototypes designed (I think) in conjunction with TFL with the idea that people would board at the front and alight at the rear.
 
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Yes, not sure if it was hybrid, but it had 'superwheels' at the back to allow a low floor all the way to the back. Buses Etcetera collected a couple of examples before the company collapsed.


(Not my photo -shows S12ETC, a prototype Enviro 200 in Buses Etcera livery)
Nice find, thanks. As it is in Buses Etcetera livery no wonder I couldn’t find it, I searched high and low using various combinations of Go Ahead London, E200 prototype, Enviro 200 prototype and anything else I could think of! Shows the rear ‘superwheels’ quite distinctively.
It was one of two prototypes designed (I think) in conjunction with TFL with the idea that people would board at the front and alight at the rear.
Yes, I remember that being the plan.
 

MotCO

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Nice find, thanks. As it is in Buses Etcetera livery no wonder I couldn’t find it, I searched high and low using various combinations of Go Ahead London, E200 prototype, Enviro 200 prototype and anything else I could think of! Shows the rear ‘superwheels’ quite distinctively.

Yes, I remember that being the plan.

I've edited my previous post to show an example in London.
 

galwhv69

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SED1 (YX17 NKZ) - Enviro 200 MMC Demonstrator : First with Go Ahead, then Abellio, then Go Ahead, then Tower Transit, now back with Go Ahead to cover late deliveries of the 184's SEe buses
MBK1 (BU13 ZVE) - Mercedes Benz Short Citaro K : First with RATP, then Go Ahead, then Abellio, then Arriva, then RATP, then Stagecoach, then Tower Transit, then RATP, then Go Ahead, now with Kent Coach Tours
2400 (YY64 GXG) - Enviro 400 MMC Demonstrator : First with Abellio, then with CT Plus, now with Uno (Non London operations)
MD1 (YJ17 FXX) - Optare Metrodecker Demonstrator : First with Go Ahead, then with Tower Transit
WES1 (LJ17 THF) - Wrightbus Streetair Demonstrator : First with Go Ahead
LF69 UXJ - Enviro 400 City Demonstrator : First with CT Plus, then with Metroline, then with RATP, now with CT Plus again (I believe temporarily as the 616 allocation) (Also been with other operators however not in service)
19000 (LX55 HGC) - First Enviro 400 (to replace the destroyed Trident from the 7/7 attack) : First with Stagecoach, now in their Heritage fleet
Edit : Knew there was one I was thinking about but forgot to include! YT1 (YG18 CVS) - Yutong E10 Demonstrator : First with Arriva, then with Tower Transit, then with Metroline, then with Abellio, then with Go Ahead, then with Stagecoach, then with RATP
Also OE1/EMC10 (YJ65 EOV) - Optare Metrocity Demonstrator : First with Go Ahead, then with Arriva, then with Stagecoach, then with Tower Transit, then with Arriva again, then with Abellio, then with Arriva yet again

To be totally honest, there are more but it would take ages to list!

@Busaholic The Spectra's have been on other Q routes such as the 40, as seen here (not my photo) and 45A, as seen here (again, not my photo)
@busesrusuk WDL1 was Go Ahead's only Gemini 2 with a VDL DB300 chassis, Arriva have plenty of these
 
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busesrusuk

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To respond to various posts above along with a couple more pics.

Starting with the Spectra, SP2 was the dual door "demonstrator" and was used at a number of the London Op Co's before ending up with East London. The other 24 were single door examples allocated to Camberwell for route 3. They did end up on other routes very occasionally. Here is my effort of one of the production single door buses:
LC SP5 | Regent Street | keith wood | Flickr

Here is another pic of one of the dual door E200 prototypes:
Buses Excetera S12 Apr13 | Cobham, spring gathering. Apr 201… | Flickr

Another one I remember which appeared at the same time as the Renault P100 mentioned above was a Scania N113 single decker with Alexander PS bodywork which was allocated to South London Transport at Thornton Heath garage numbered SA1, registered F113 OMJ. This was another bus that subsequently ended up with black Prince.
 

Busaholic

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An aside on the Optare Spectras at Camberwell. Within a few months most of the buses had lost their one-piece upper deck wrapround windows in favour of two separate pieces with a join in the middle. For quite some time before the Spectras left for good SP15 was the only one left with the original arrangement. I was fortunate not to be on one of these buses when the original window got smashed or cracked - I'd boarded the bus in West Dulwich, sat at the front upstairs offside, bound for Oxford Circus one bright morning. On a whim, as we entered Lower Regent Street I decided to get off at that stop to sit outside at an Italian cafe - about an hour later, having also wandered down side streets window shopping, I came to the junction of Piccadilly and Lower Regent Street to see the Spectra I'd got off standing coned off at the lights with the offside part of that large window completely gone. I admit to feeling quite shocked, though relieved to know no-one would have been sitting there, or nearby.How it occurred I have no idea.
 

Mikey C

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Yes, not sure if it was hybrid, but it had 'superwheels' at the back to allow a low floor all the way to the back. Buses Etcetera collected a couple of examples before the company collapsed.


(Not my photo -shows S12ETC, a prototype Enviro 200 in Buses Etcera livery)

Only three were registered; the fourth was hybrid apparently, and stayed with ADL. The photo below (not mine) shows SN54 GRU in service in London on route 274.
That was the ORIGINAL Enviro 200, designed to be like a continental bus with a vertical engine, flat floor and a door at the back

As nobody bought it, they introduced alongside it an improved Dart, the Enviro200 Dart, which is the Enviro 200 we know today (they then dropped the Dart name)
 

busesrusuk

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SED1 (YX17 NKZ) - Enviro 200 MMC Demonstrator : First with Go Ahead, then Abellio, then Go Ahead, then Tower Transit, now back with Go Ahead to cover late deliveries of the 184's SEe buses
MBK1 (BU13 ZVE) - Mercedes Benz Short Citaro K : First with RATP, then Go Ahead, then Abellio, then Arriva, then RATP, then Stagecoach, then Tower Transit, then RATP, then Go Ahead, now with Kent Coach Tours
2400 (YY64 GXG) - Enviro 400 MMC Demonstrator : First with Abellio, then with CT Plus, now with Uno (Non London operations)
MD1 (YJ17 FXX) - Optare Metrodecker Demonstrator : First with Go Ahead, then with Tower Transit
WES1 (LJ17 THF) - Wrightbus Streetair Demonstrator : First with Go Ahead
LF69 UXJ - Enviro 400 City Demonstrator : First with CT Plus, then with Metroline, then with RATP, now with CT Plus again (I believe temporarily as the 616 allocation) (Also been with other operators however not in service)
19000 (LX55 HGC) - First Enviro 400 (to replace the destroyed Trident from the 7/7 attack) : First with Stagecoach, now in their Heritage fleet

@Busaholic The Spectra's have been on other Q routes such as the 40, as seen here (not my photo) and 45A, as seen here (again, not my photo)
@busesrusuk WDL1 was Go Ahead's only Gemini 2 with a VDL DB300 chassis, Arriva have plenty of these
Thanks for the info - appreciated...
 
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