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Route 242
7 May 2010

The 242 was the first London route to be converted for operation by low floor double deckers, with DLA class of DAF DB250LFs. When London Transport made it known that such buses would be required, DAF modified an existing design, unlike Volvo and Dennis which started from scratch with their low floor double deck designs. DAF was hence able to get buses into production more quickly. As the Arriva group includes a DAF dealership, the company has always had a preference for DAF's buses, and hence the order for route 242.

However, those early vehicles have now moved on, initially being replaced by later model DLAs, which were also shorter. However, Arriva London North seems to have developed a "thing" for replacing only part of the allocation on major routes; some time ago the 242 gained an allocation of VLWs alongside some of the DLAs. VLW140 (LJ03 MFU) represents the type, photographed on Sunday 17 June 2007 at Holborn Circus.

Photo © Lawrence Living.

The 242 ran from Stamford Hill garage at the time, having been transferred there from Clapton on 1 April 2006 (along with route 253) as Transport for London wished to use it for a program of retro-fitting iBus equipment to the whole London bus fleet. The 253 was also allocated DLAs, but Stamford Hill was also home to route 254, which was allocated the VLW class Volvo B7TLs. However, there were more VLWs than required for the 254, and in practice buses were mixed.

The allocation was transferred back to Clapton garage on 14 November 2009 when the garage re-opened operationally to accommodate route 38, the iBus programme having finished by then. An immediate effect was the appearance of the 38's buses of the 242. Demonstrating this possibility is DW250 (LJ59 AAV) at the Commercial Street stop in Shoreditch High Street on 20 March 2010. In line with TfL policy the blinds do not include the word "Station," which does make them less cluttered (the length of Tottenham Court Road Station in full having long created a headache for producers of publicity including myself, for the timetables on this website!) compare with the display in the first photograph but is inaccurate, as the 242 does not serve Tottenham Court Road itself, merely the station of that name.

Photo © Richard Groves.

These DWs are the latest development of the DAF chassis; DAF is now VDL and these seem to be coded DB300. They are bodied by Wright with the latest version of the Gemini bodywork. A new numbering sequence was started for these to distinguish them from earlier DAF/Wright buses on the older DB250LF chassis.

A new contract from 27 February 2010 specified that the old DLAs on the 242 should be removed, while the newer VLWs could be kept. The new element of the allocation comprises further DW class vehicles, and I doubt the two batches will be kept separate, so these route 38 buses will serve adequately to illustrate the new order. Hence I have included a second photograph of the type, being DW217 (LJ09 STX) at Bank on Tuesday 5 January 2010.

Photo © Brian Creasey.

The other type used on the 38 is the Alexander Dennis Enviro400, and these buses too are liable to appear on the 242. T69 (LJ59 ADV) was seen at Holborn Viaduct heading for Homerton Hospital on Friday 5 February 2010.

Photo © Brian Creasey.

The 242 route was formed in February 1998 by amalgamating the 22A and 22B routes; at one time the 22 bus had covered this ground between the West End and Clapton Park. Later the 22 spawned a 22A variant running to London Bridge and running further into Clapton Park, while the Piccadilly Circus to Clapton Park section of the 22 became the 22B. Later the 22B was diverted away from Piccadilly Circus to Tottenham Court Road Station, giving rise to the bizarre situation where the 22 was completely estranged from both the 22A and 22B!

Latterly the 22A and 22B were operated by Kentish Bus I once heard someone say "It's operated by Kent Buses doesn't go anywhere near Kent though!" Initially KB had worked from a depot in Temple Mills, but later moved to the large Ash Grove/Cambridge Heath garage. But Kentish Bus became part of Arriva, most of its north east London work was lost, and the remainder was transferred to Arriva London. Moreover, the wheel has come full circle, with the 22A withdrawn, the 22B renumbered 242 and extended to replace the final bit of the 22A in Clapton Park. The London Bridge end of the 22A was replaced by extending the 149 from Liverpool Street. The 242 was operated from the outset by Clapton garage, initially using a mixture of Olympians and Metrobuses, until the DLAs arrived.

See also routes 253, 254, 38, 22, 149

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