Tuesday 14 October 2014

When Ipswich Went To London

One of the periods of my life I look back on with the most fondness was the early days of my driving career with Boro'line in London. Although based in Maidstone, now part of Arriva, Boro'line had two London depots - Crayford, near Daetford where I worked from and Greenwich, where the 188's and 108's ran out from, before Greenwich was shut to make way for the area to be regenerated, culminating in some place called the Dome, and everything moved to Crayford.

Anyway one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was that we had such a mix of vehicles, and tied for first place with the two Scania 113k double deckers we had were the on loan Ipswich Atlanteans. Must be honest and say the 422 between Bexleyheath and Woolwich wasn't my favourite route but I loved those Atlanteans, and most of all I always jumped at the chance to bring one up to Ipswich for servicing, or a couple of times be towed up to Ipswich. That was interesting to say the least! It was those journeys that inspired me to move up to Ipswich in 2007 as I remembered Ipswich as being "a nice little town"!

Stopped laughing? Ok I'll carry on. So I was delighted to receive an email the other day from legendary contributor Robert Appleton, who had scanned some of his slides and not only got some of the Ipswich Atlanteans we used, but in the time frame I was driving them in 1990. Pretty sure I'm not actually the driver in any of the pics although the guy in the red jumper looks scarily familiar! Thanks so much, Robert for bringing back such pleasant memories.

First up is one of my favourites, 84, which had a bigger engine and simply flew! I loved the bucket style driver's seats on these - tailor made for my rather portly shape! So sad the current 84 is a ruddy Dart!

Ipswich Buses 84 MPV 84L on loan to Boro'line, briiliantly parked at Bexleyheath Clock Tower with an awesome blind!
Next are two shots of 85. I'm trying to find things I didn't like about these Atlanteans and struggling, really struggling!

IB 85, having arrived from Woolwich with the scary driver
And going the other way after a driver change
Next we have 86. You always felt you were driving, really driving when you had one of these. Every gear change had to be smooth, the steering wasn't powered but air assisted, which took some getting used to, the indicators were old fashioned huge red things - it was real bus driving!

IB 86 at Bexleyheath
88 was another favourite.

At least 86 and 88 had Boro'line on the side!
Last up we have 94, from a newer batch but you'd never have known it. I remember we also had 83 and 87 - 83 went like the wind, but time fades details and I can remember anymore than that. Many thanks again to Robert for the pics and hope it has brought some memories back for others.

Ipswich Buses 94, Leyland Atlantean TRT 94M at Bexleyheath Bus Stand, together with a Bexleyheath Garage Titan


  1. A great post. These L and M registered Atlanteans never looked that different to the N, P and R reg ones - but I think these may have had 'Corporation' interiors rather than that of Ipswich Borough Transport. Ipswich must have had around 50 of these at one time - although I can see why so many were hired out as there must have been quite a surplus by the late 1980s when minibuses started to take over and newer Falcons started to arrive. I've very fond childhood memories of them roaring around the town, making light work of everything and generally in good external condition too.

  2. Thanks Paul. They were in wonderful condition for their age, and I confess I did nag to take them out on other routes despite the lack of destinations! I occasionaly succeeded! Glad there weren't any critical bloggers around in those days!

  3. Great blog! Really appreciative of your contributions to this article.

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