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London Transport Daimler Fleetline Park Royal DMS25
Fifty years ago on the 2nd of January 1971 the first DMS class London buses entered service on route 220 out of Shepherds Bush depot. The first of the fleet of 2646 were delivered from September 1970, with DMS1 being displayed at the Commercial Motor Show that year, with driver and engineering familiarisation they were ready for the roll out on the 220 in January. As is well documented the class was not a success in London. Intended to replace the Routemasters on a one for one basis it failed to dawn on anyone in charge that the buses were not as fast as Routemasters, especially if fully laden, and the door arrangements, as opposed to an open platform - meant longer dwell times at bus stops. Depot maintenance was not as easy, components could not be interchanged as quickly as on Routemasters. However the biggest oversight was inability to separate the chassis from the body to enable the buses to go through the overhaul process at Aldenham Works. Amazingly it seems that the problem was only discovered when the first bus went in for its 7 year overhaul. London Transport gave up on the DMS, as it did with its singledeck counterparts, the AEC Merlins and Swifts, and later the Mercedes bendibuses - all costly mistakes. It doubtless hastened the demise of the Aldenham Works. On the positive side London bus dealer Ensgnbus' fortunes were founded on the success of the disposal of the DMS fleet and many independent, and some larger operations, benefitted from acquiring relatively new buses at knock down prices (supply readily exceeding demand). Sadly relatively few DMS survive, we did have a lovely collection of DMS with new owners at SHOWBUS 80 at Thorpe Park and we invite any DMS owners to bring their vehicles to this year's SHOWBUS international on September 26th for a mini 50th birthday celebration. This week's picture and online jigsaw show DMS25 (EGP25J) early in 1971 on the 220. It was withdrawn ten years later having ended up at Potters Bar depot, becoming an open topper in Ensignbus' own London Pride Sightseeing and was used by the BBC World Service after being fitted with a canvas telescopic roof, which involved a trip to Basel and was used on European tour to Russia, finally being scrapped by PVS (Carlton) in 2008.
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See January 24th's picture of the week here.