LONDON & COUNTRY
(LCSW) was a bus company that operated in the South West areas of what had been London Country Bus Services, since 1970.
In 1986 LCSW began to operate with 415 buses from 10 garages, of which Addlestone was one. The head office was in Guildford.
Under Nicholas Ridley, the Minister of Transport, on the 7th September 1986, as deregulation loomed, London Country Bus Services was broken into four companies.
It was not until 19th February 1988, that LCSW was sold to the Drawlane Group. A year later, in 1989, London & Country was adopted as the trading name. At this time, the attractive new two-tone green and red livery, was applied to the fleet.
LCSW determined to bid for and won several contracts, in the London Regional Transport market, having bought second hand Leyland Atlantians.
The previous owners of these vehicles, found they held large numbers of serviceable vehicles, that were surplus to requirements and were available for disposal.
New buses were purchased by LCSW, starting with a batch of Dennis Dominators for the use on Route 131.
These were followed later by thirteen 88-seater East Lancs bodied Volvo Citibuses. These mentered service at Addlestone garage, in September 1989, replacing the Leyland Atlanteans.
By the 1st September 1990, the LCSW garages were at Addlestone, Broadbridge Heath (albeit as an outstation of Crawley), Chelsham, Crawley, Dorking, Godstone, Guildford, Leatherhead, Reigate and Staines.
Also in 1990, a new garage was developed at Beddington Road, as new services were tendered for, leading to the Chelsham and Godstone garages closing.
From 1989 to 1996, London & Country acquired Horsham Buses, Gem Fairtax, The Alder Valley business which eventually to be branded as "Guildford and West Surrey", AML Coaches, Scarlett Coaches of Minehead, Stanbridge & Crichel/Oakfield Tarvel of Dorset, Southend Transport, Colchester Borough Transport and District Bus of Essex, to name a few.
In November 1992, the Drawlane Group was restructured as British Bus.
A new Londonlinks company, took Croydon, Dunton Green and Walworth, which was a subsidiary of Maidstone & District, also in the British Bus family.
1996, saw the demise of the National Greenway project which led to the closure of the facility at Reigate. (See the Greenway Program tab)
On 1 August 1996, British Bus was sold to the Cowie Group, which in November 1997 was rebranded as Arriva. (See the Ribble, Arriva, Northern Blue & Woottens tab)
During 1999 and 2000, the London & Country and Guildford & West Surrey brands fell out of use, being replaced by Arriva Southern Counties and Arriva London.
But 359 had already, left the fold, in December 1999.
ADDLESTONE GARAGE (WY)It was to Addlestone Garage, that Greenway 359 was allocated and that the wonderful red, light green and dark green livery was utilised.
Addlestone (WY), has an interesting history itself, so here is a brief outline.
At the onset of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933, all London Transport garages, both Central and Country, were given a code to identify where the bus was based. For instance, central garages Abbey Wood (central) had AW, Hackney (central) had just H, Kingston (central) had just K, North Wembley (central) had NW, Uxbridge (central) had UX and West Ham (central) had WH.
Country garages Aylesbury (country) had AY, Guildford (country) had GF, Leatherhead (country) had LH, Slough (country) had SL, but Addlestone had WY.
Addlestone was not alone with this anomaly, Central garages Nunhead had AH, Plumstead had AM, Seven Kings had AP, Tottenham had AR, and Hounslow had AV, to name a few of many more.
The only Country garages with less obvious codes were Slough - Alpha Street (country) having BL, West Thurrock (country) having GY, besides Addlestone.
There was a simple explanation Addlestone having WY. From 1933 the garage WY should have been based in Weybridge. However, the garage wasn't built. As from October 1930 to 1932, several Green Line coaches were parking at Weymann's coachworks in Station Road, Addlestone and in 1933, with inception of the London Passenger Transport Board, they were joined by buses which had used Woking (Walton Road) in an arrangement that was to continue until June 1936. Thirty-two buses and coaches were allocated at that time.
LPTB decided a new garage, part of a major plan to improvement the country area image and facilities, to commence in 1936, along with the nearby Staines garage, at the same time. The garage was built south of Station Road and west of the station level crossing.
The building was of a style that had been built a year earlier at the Two Waters garage (1935) in Hemel Hempstead (HH), built in the Holden/Pick style of the time with landscaped gardens and single storey office blocks ran on each side of the entrance/exit road towards the depot shed, being set back from Station Road. The offices bore an iconic curved and glazed elevation surmounted by a bullseye motif. The depot shed was of a steel-truss roof construction, with a large area of glazing a floor area of 14,300 sq ft to house 43 vehicles.
The last day of service for Addlestone, by London & Country, the trading arm of London Country (South West), was 25th July 1997. Being so close to the Cobham Bus Museum, several older vehicles from there, RP90, RF534, RF672 and RMC1476 made a representative selection of the garage's earlier vehicle allocation. The next day brought a major changes to the routes in the South West area. Buses were dispersed to Leatherhead and Woking, along with the new route allocations. Within two years, the Leatherhead garage was closed too. The Cobham Museum acquired the LONDON COUNTRY lettering from the side of the buildings.
Where Addlestone garage was, now stands Gleeson Mews, apparently a gated community, behind where the Gatehouse Dental Practice and Addlestone Model Centre, now stand.
East Lancs Greenway
East Lancs Coachbuilders