Route History


WOOLWICH General Gordon Place - Burrage Road - Eglinton Hill - Shrewsbury Lane - SHOOTERS HILL Bull
New service




TD71 General Gordon Place



Converted to double deck operation.

Route extended from Shooters Hill to Lewisham and renumbered 89A.

Operating Garage

AM Plumstead
Changeover point Plumstead Common ?

Comment by  Alan Bond

There is one particular instance where we know for certain that the official record is incorrect and that is in respect of the 256 - which started between Woolwich (General Gordon Place) and Shooters Hill (Bull) on 30th June 1954 with an allocation of 1TD. The original allocation was TD 71 - which was transferred in to AM as a hackney trainer wef 16th June - allowing a fortnight for driver familiarisation. Bearing in mind that it had been over 20 years since Plumstead had operated crash gearbox buses (all their LTs after 1931 were pre-selectors) it may have taken two weeks to ensure that enough drivers were available for the start on 30th June. Following on from this - TD 44 had been transferred in on 1st July ostensibly as a spare bus as it was officially licensed at that time. I suspect It may well have been allocated for further training to get all AM drivers up to the mark and it seems to have been de-licensed some time later in July but its next allocation was to Hornchurch from 1st August - three days before the 256 was officially converted to RTL operation. Very few garages carried engineering spare buses and AM was typical in this respect in having no engineering spare at all - with all routine maintenance being carried out by putting buses on spreadover allocations. It seems highly unlikely that TD 44 was transferred in as an engineering spare as LT would not have been so profligate - as few garages had engineering spares unless they had very large allocations or were parent garages within an engineering group. Within less than two weeks the loadings for the 256 were such that the TD could not cope and an RTL was unofficially substituted - at least on the busiest journeys. Meanwhile the CDI at Plumstead had apparently been having frantic telephone conversations with divisional HQ in order to get official permission to solve the problem once and for all. When this finally came through the official allocation was changed to 1RTL wef 4th August - by which time TD 71 had already been de-licensed - this being effective from 1st August. Curiously - AM was one of the few Leyland garages to operate TDs - almost all of the others for the most part being AEC garages. If you look closely at the picture of TD 71 you will see that it has 'dustbin lids' on the rear wheels and it was the only TD ever to carry these. It would seem that the garage engineering foeman took the trouble to fit RTL brackets to the rear wheels as they would have been readily available in stores for his RTLs. He must have had them whipped off PDQ when the bus was transferred to Norbiton as there is no record of it running from there with them fitted.