London Country South West
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|Parent||National Bus Company (1986-88)
Drawlane Group (1988-92)
British Bus (1992-96)
Cowie Group (1996-2000)
|Founded||7 September 1986|
|Service type||Bus operator|
London Country South West (LCSW) was a bus operator in South East England and London. It was formed from the split of London Country Bus Services in 1986 and operated a fleet of around 415 buses from 10 garages, with its headquarters in Guildford.
LCSW entered the London Regional Transport market, winning several contracts using second-hand Leyland Atlanteans from Greater Glasgow, GM Buses and Busways, where deregulation was making the major fleets dispose of large numbers of surplus vehicles.
LCSW then purchased new buses, with a batch of Dennis Dominators purchased for route 131, later followed by thirteen 88-seater East Lancs bodied Volvo Citybuses, entered service at Addlestone garage in September 1989, displacing Leyland Atlanteans.
In 1989, the airport coach operations at Crawley and Staines had been split off as Speedlink Airport Services. Additionally the private hire fleet was consolidated into Guildford and re-branded Countryliner. A new garage was opened in Newington Butts, near Elephant & Castle for the operation of London Regional Transport tendered route 78 and part of route 176, this was later moved to the more suitable ex London Transport Walworth garage. Following LCSW successfully tendering to operate route 320 from Westerham to Bromley, buses were outstationed at Kentish Bus' Dunton Green garage from 1 September 1990.
In 1990, to cater for an increase in tendered London Regional Transport services, a new Beddington Road garage was built, with Chelsham and Godstone closing.
Acquisitions of London & Country during 1989-1995 were:
- Horsham Buses and their garage at Warnham.
- Gem Fairtax, mainly based at Crawley.
- The former Alder Valley operations and garages at Cranleigh, Guildford and Woking which were rebranded West Surrey Buses and later Guildford & West Surrey.
- Blue Saloon ABC Taxis of Slyfield, Guildford was acquired and merged with the Countryliner fleet.
- AML Coaches, a small operator based in Hounslow and their garage and some buses were retained for a time.
- As well as Scarlett Coaches of Minehead (1992-94), Stanbridge & Crichel/Oakfield Tarvel of Dorset (1992-93), Southend Transport, Colchester Borough Transport and District Bus of Essex and a small coach operator in North London.
Garages by 1992 were located at Cranleigh, Crawley, Croydon, Guildford, Hounslow, Leatherhead, Reigate, Slyfield, Walworth, Warnham and Woking, with buses outstationed at Kentish Bus' Dunton Green garage.
In 1996, with the demise of the National Greenway project, a new garage was opened at Merstham to replace the facility at Reigate.
Also the Croydon, Dunton Green and Walworth operations were separated off into a new Londonlinks company, which was itself a subsidiary of fellow British Bus company Maidstone & District. The garages returned to London & Country management in late 1998, and in November 1999 became part of Arriva London.
In 1997, a new garage was opened at Greenford, intended to replace Hounslow, to operate route 105. Also Leatherhead garage closed and for a short time buses for London Regional Transport contract buses were out-stationed at Fulwell bus garage.
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. The fleet that were usually transferred to Arriva Southern Counties is Dennis Dart SLF and Dennis Dominator buses.
Model Bus Form
Since 1996, Alan Graves has been operating London & Country's Leatherhead Bus Garage in model bus form which you will be able to view on www.londoncountry.net. It is a continuation of where they might have been had they not been purchased by Arriva.
- Companies House extract company no 2005567 Arriva Croydon & North Surrey Limited formerly London Country Bus (South West) Limited
- Out on its own Commercial Motor 6 December 1986 page 54
- McLachlan, Tom (1995). London Buses 1985-1995: Managing The Change. Venture Publications. pp. 87–90. ISBN 1-898432-74-0.
- London Country Bus (South West) Commercial Motor 25 February 1988 page 7
- London routes farmed out Commercial Motor 30 March 1989 page 19
- New orders in for Dominators Commercial Motor 30 June 1988 page 21
- History - South East Arriva
- £6m payment renews fat-cat row The Independent 27 November 1995
- Cowie buys British Bus for £282m Herald Scotland 1 August 1996
- Cowie Group plc and British Bus Group Limited: A report on the merger situation Competition Commission 31 October 1996
- Bamber Forsyth unites Cowie Design Week 23 October 1997
- Acquisition of Crawley Depot Go-Ahead Group 2 April 2001