|First Capital Leyland Olympian 206 S206 LLC negotiating the corner at Northumberland Park|
|First Centrewest Wright bodied Dart DW17 JDZ2317 rests at Willesden Junction Station having just completed a trip from Wembley Station on the 224|
|Badgerline M138 FAE at Uxbridge Station on the 222 at Uxbridge Station|
In March 1996, the group acquired Southall based London Buslines, although in due course all routes were initially transferred between Greenford and Alperton Garages and the Southall base was closed by 2001.
|London Buslines 37 H137 FLX at Edgware Station on the 79 in 1993|
|Centrewest MCW Metrobus BYX230V at Golders Green Station in 1986|
Capital Citybus set up shop in 1985. However the company as we knew them announced themselves following their purchase of Ensign's LBSL Tendered operations in 1990. The acquirement of Ensign ensured that the vehicles Capital Citybus inherited had nothing short of a striking livery which was nice, but it proved quite costly to repaint and this became evident as many of the vehicles remained in their former operator's livery albeit with Capital Citybus branding painted over the former's fleet names. The livery was subsequently changed to a striking yellow colour, with a red band, complete with two arrows either side of the blindbox. Some vehicles did receive Chinese characters which were symbolic of the company's Indochinese descent.
|Capital Citybus Metrobus 166 in Romford on the Route 165 in June 1996|
One of the recipients of the shares was Steven Norris, the former Conservative Party Transport Minister who had long expressed his desire of Cars over Buses and Trains, described public transport passengers as "dreadful human beings" causing a fair bit of contention. The companes operated separately for a while following the controversy, and at a latter date, the vehicles were subtly re-branded as 'First Capital' 'North & East'.
|First Challenger Olympian G52 XLO on the E1 at Ealing Broadway Station in 1998|
|First Capital East Marshall DMS333 on the D8 at Stratford Station in 2000|
|First London VDN34042 P242 UCW nearing the end of its journey at Uxbridge in 2005|
|First London TN33240 LT52 WVJ at Marble Arch|
|First London EA11007 LK53 FBA on the Route 18|
|First London VNW32661 LK55 AEJ on the 252 in Romford|
|Metrobus Dart 123 V358 DLH formerly First London DMS41358|
|Go-Ahead WVN26 BG59 FXC formerly First London VN37829|
Upon the sale of Northumberland Park it was quite clear to see that First wanted out of London, despite the fact there was no official announcement, but following the antics of two sales, it seemed as if Adrian Clarke had gone against his initial statement in 2007, that the company had no plans to leave London. It took over a year for an official annoncement to materialise, thus coming on the 9th of April 2013, when it was announced that the company would be sellling of the eight of its remaining depots.
Following this announcement, it became apparent that a new operator called Tower Transit would come into existance, with the Austrailian based firm taking over Altlas Road, Lea Interchange and Westbourne Park Garages in the process taking over 400 vehicles and 1500 employees whilst existing operator Metroline, would form a new company called Metroline West inheritting 494 vehicles and 1700 employees. Thus truly earmarking the end...
The changes took place on the 22nd of June that year and the rebranding commenced that day. I remember looking at the former First vehicles with their Metroline decals thinking "this doesn't look right" whilst on my way to work, the departure of First was hard to swallow, but unlike many before them, they First had a huge precense in London, a void that couldn't be filled up by any other operator. Tower Transit did their bit to keep the prescense of First alive by leaving the fleet numbers unchanged but I suspect this was done for logistical reasons rather than for enthusiast approval.
The same day Routes 193, 368, 498 plus school routes 608, 646, 648, 652, 656, 667, 679 and 686 passed to Go-Ahead London operating under their Blue Triangle brand their Rainham base.
|Tower Transit DN33639 SN11 BPU formerly First London DN33639 at Euston Station|
|Metroline West TE1580 LK08 FNA formerly DN33517 at Hayes & Harlington Station|
|First London DML44079 YX58 HVJ at Rainham Abbey Wood Lane on September 28th 2013 - The Last ever First London operated service|
Credit to all of the photographers whos photos enabled this post to materialise, it is much appreciated.Below is a slideshow of First London buses through the years. Enjoy!