London Country Vehicles Postcards

St Mary's Square, Hitchin is now one of the most awkward places to try and photograph a bus, so I apologise for this less-than-outstanding shot. The subject is rather special, another Reliance, RS137, painted in Golden Jubilee livery and seen here early in March 1980. Since this time I have become braver and have been known to stand on the dotted line in the middle of the road for such shots........

The dubious charms of Leyland Nationals and earlier Reliance coaches gave way between 1977 and 1980 to a fleet of 150 'real' coaches to contemporary luxury standards. Sixty RS (Plaxton Supreme) and ninety RB (Duple Dominant) vehicles were leased from a dealer in order to revamp the Green Line image. Certain initiatives were successful - such as the Jetlink services between London's increasing number of airports. Other traditional features of Green Line services vanished at this time, particularly the cross-London journeys which were becoming impossible due to traffic congestion. These were originally forced on the company by the Metropolitan Police who complained in the 1930's of congestion caused by coaches laying over in Central London. Subsequently they continued because one return journey neatly filled a working shift for the crew.

The service 722 seen here was a replacement for the old 716, which continued to run hourly from Woking to London. The 722 ran hourly from Victoria to Hitchin, with alternate weekday journeys going via Brent Cross Shopping centre and designated 732.

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