Doncaster, 27th December 2002

Many years ago a trip to Doncaster was special, for several reasons: the Doncaster Transport buses with their bizarre red & purple livery, National Bus Company red from Yorkshire Traction and green from East Midland, and a host of independents, many found lurking out at the Christ Church terminus. Much has changed since then, such that First Mainline is the dominant force and many of the independents have gone. A return trip was long overdue, and so I took a trip from my family's home in Sheffield late last year. The light was very poor to the extent that only stationary or near-stationary buses yielded sharp images, so many of the photos are taken at the South Bus Station, partially under cover. Nevertheless, a good cross-section of buses was snapped (except Yorkshire Traction, for some unknown reason). As usual, click on the thumbnail for a full-size image (approx 800x600 pixels).

Not in Doncaster, but snapped at Meadowhall interchange whilst I waited for the bus to Doncaster was this twin-chimneyed Dennis Dart with Plaxton bodywork, Powells 26 which originated with London Northern..

First of many photos taken at the South Bus Station is Leon 164, originally one of the first Leyland Olympians delivered to Greater Manchester PTE some 20 years ago. As is often the case with GMPTE buses, the bodywork is by Northern Counties. Why route number 9 was displayed is not clear to me. Several Leon buses I saw displayed no route number.

Also under the roof is shiny East Midland 855, an Alexander bodied Dennis Dart SLF new in 1996 to Stagecoach London as its SLD2.
By the time this page is uploaded the Stagecoach buses will have been renumbered into a single nationwide series.,

Even more under the roof is Road Car 307, a 1993 Wright bodied Dennis Dart. In the background is a Yorkhire Traction version of the same combination, and later on Powells and Mainline produced a few as well.

First Mainline 2498 giving me a bit of a nostalgia trip by sporting the livery used by Doncaster Transport prior to the takeover by South Yorkshire PTE in 1974 (almost 30 years ago!!!!). It is an East Lancs bodied Dennis Dominator dating from 1988 and which originated with First Citybus, Southampton, via First Capital.

Leaving South Bus Station for somewhere very shy about revealing its name is East Midland Dennis Dart 815, which came from Stagecoach London, although I have a feeling it started life as one of the buses used by Docklands Transit on the 106 in London. Clarification would be welcome.

Also at the South Bus Station is East Midland 359, a 1992 "standard issue" Leyland Olympian with Alexander RL bodywork, wearing the new livery.

On its way to somewhere anonymous is Road Car 328, a 1995 East Lancs bodied Volvo B6-50. It is unusual for me to see a B6 with anything other than an Alexander body.

Powells version of the Wright bodied Dennis Dart is represented by no 30, with one piece windscreen. It makes an interesting contrast, as do the other Darts and Dart SLFs in the Powells fleet which operate in the Rotherham & Doncaster area, with the very elderly Metrobuses and Olympians which are seen in Sheffield competing with First Mainline.

Not a great picture, but the only half-decent one I got of one of several Mainline Darts running around devoid of route numbers. This one is Mainline 548, formerly First CentreWest DP17 dating from 1995.

At last a different location. Mainline 542 is seen loading in St Sepulchre Gate on route 19. This Plaxton bodied Dart came to Mainline from First Yorkshire, helping to explain why this batch of Darts often elude me when in Leeds - some of them aren't in Leeds anymore!!!

On Cleveland Street is Mainline 462, one of a small batch of Volvo B6BLEs with Wright bodywork dating from 1999, and which I recall operating in Sheffield when new.

Another of the ex First Citybus Dominators is 2495, still wearing the last version of Mainline's yellow and red livery. At least one was seen in Barbie 2 colours, but the photo was of poor quality and so is not included on this page. This picture is not tremendous but is included to illustrate the fact that at least one of these buses did, and still does, wear Mainline colours.

Turning from Cleveland Street into Duke Street is Mainline 552, a Wright bodied Dennis Dart, formerly Centrewest DW104 of 1992 vintage. At sometime in its life it has lost its original distinctive two piece windscreen for a single one. It is on one of the high frequency town services which give the impression of a very busy bus scene, but which require no more than 4-5 buses each.

Going straight on at the same junction is Mainline 500, a 1993 Plaxton bodied Dart which is one of several acquired from Wilfreda Beehive in 1997. The Dennis Dart fleet no Mainline appears to be numbered in a rather haphazard way, with the SLFs following on from these buses and in turn being followed by Wright and Plaxton bodied examples of older Darts seemingly at random.

Turning into Cleveland Street is aged Dennis Dominator/ Alexander 2438, now in its 19th year of service with Mainline and it's predecessor South Yorkshire Transport.

Also on Cleveland Street is Wilfreda Beehive (a fine name for a bus company!) Optare Solo Y336HWT en Wroot for Wroot on Wroot 190! (Sorry). The light was not good at this point, accounting for the image being a little darker than hoped for, but included here as an example of the company's operations (and a chance for a poor play on words by me!)

As well as the second and third hand Darts and Dominators Mainline operates some modern vehicles in Doncaster, as shown by 1998 Dennis Dart SLF 533, with Plaxton body, loading on College Road at the side of the South Bus Station.

On the same street is an example of the other type of bus bought in large numbers in recent years by Mainline. This is 834, a 1999 Volvo B10BLE with Wright bodywork.

Leaving the Bus Station for Newcastle is National Express liveried Volvo B10M-62/Plaxton 7061 of Northern (as I still refer to it). The Moor-Dale coach behind is a duplicate for this service. All National Express coaches I saw in Doncaster had duplication on this day.

At the South Bus Station is Powells 679, an ECW bodied Leyland Olympian which came from Lothian Transport and has been converted to single door. Like the Dart pictured earlier it is on route 18 to Dinnington, which for many years was an East Midland route. This bus is the type usually seen on the commercial routes operated in Sheffield.

Leon 135 is a Leyland Lynx, formerly with an operator unknown to me at the moment. Can anyone enlightment me?  It is a shame that the light was so bad for most of the day that the only hope for clear images was to hang around a bus station and get pictures with dark backgrounds because of the roof, but I cannot control the weather. I did visit the North Bus Station but it was so quiet and underpopulated by buses and people that I decided not to waste time there when the South Bus Station and the town centre offered much more. So there are no Arriva Yorkshire buses on this page. Maybe some other time, when the light is better and the day is longer.

Another Leon bus is 143, a Plaxton bodied Dennis Dart dating from 1996.

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last amended 7th February 2004. Text, photos, opinions and spelling mistakes by Caroline Mathews
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