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The London Dennis Dart and Dart SLF (Hardback)

P&S History > British History Transport > Buses Transport > London Transport World History > UK & Ireland > England > London

By David Beddall
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781399095181
Published: 4th October 2022



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Introduced in 1989 the Dennis Dart became one of the most successful midibuses in the UK. Bodywork was supplied by Carlyle, Wrightbus, Reeve Burgess, Plaxton, Alexander and Wadham Stringer. A large number were taken into stock by London operators, replacing many of the smaller midibuses. A low-floor version, the Dart SLF, was introduced in 1995, and like the step-entrance Dart this model also became popular with operators around the United Kingdom, as well as Hong Kong. In 2001 Transbus took over production, only to revert to the Alexander Dennis name in 2005. The last Darts entered service in London during 2007, after which time the Enviro 200 took over. London Dart and Dart SLF provides a history of this popular London single-decker, from its introduction to its demise.

Featured in

Buses Magazine - January 2023 Issue

The ubiquitous Dennis Dart seems to have been around forever, and indeed it was first introduced 33 years ago in 1989. It has been one of the most successful types of bus produced in the UK. Devised originally as a midibus to meet the needs of operators hoping to replace and upgrade the remains of their minibus fleets which were coming to the end of their short lives, the chassis grew in size over the years.

It was originally bodied by Duple, then Carlyle, with the first Wrightbus body appearing in 1991. This year also saw the first Pointer body, first from Reeve Burgess and then from Plaxton, becoming the most popular variant. The first SLF appeared in 1995, entering London service the following year. MAN and Volvo both produced competing chassis, but neither were as successful as the Dart.

This book follows the fortunes of the chassis in London service, with well illustrated chapters on each operator. In the days of all over red and a few large operators, it is easy to forget the variety of types and liveries carried in earlier days, with numerous long forgotten operators included. The last true Dart entered London service in 2007, replaced by the integral Enviro Dart, thus bringing to an end to the variety beforehand.

This is a good quality book with an engaging and detailed narrative which brings back memories of less homogenous times. The Dart has an important part in London bus history, and this captures its’ time well.

PSV Circle (Buses) - News Sheet No. 994, November 2022

About David Beddall

David Beddall is a life-long bus enthusiast, who from the age of seven has pursued his interest in the subject. He initially took an interest in his local bus services in the Bedford area, but later expanded his interests to Northamptonshire and later still the whole of the country. London’s Dart and Dart SLF is his latest book for Pen and Sword, in this volume he has researched the history of this iconic single-decker. David Beddall lives with his family in Northamptonshire, where he continues to pursue his bus interests.

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