Blue Triangle tribute

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Former London Transport Leyland National, seen here in its early days, has now been restored. MIKE WHITE

The 35th anniversary of London area former independent Blue Triangle is being celebrated with the restoration of several vehicles formerly with the operator. Survivors include AEC Routemaster RMA32, NMY 632E, the first vehicle acquired when Blue Triangle was set up to operate a school contract in 1985 – the anniversary is being celebrated a year later due to Covid-19.

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The RMA is still owned by Mick Biddell, one of three then London bus drivers who set up the company – the others being Roger Wright, now of Epping and Ongar Railway and London Bus Company fame, and Bob Humphries.

In 1988 Blue Triangle won an Essex leisure route, the 622 from Harlow to Great Yeldham, on Sundays using AEC RTs; this was extended through the winter as a 363 with a slightly changed route. Several other routes were acquired and Blue Triangle, named after the triangular AEC (Associated Equipment Company) badge, eventually operated a swathe of Transport for London services.

Mick Biddell left to set up Imperial Buses close to Blue to Triangle’s Rainham base, which nowadays operates from Outwell in Norfolk.

Blue Triangle, along with around 60 buses, was sold to Go-Ahead in 2007 and the operator is still in business today as Go-Ahead London Blue Triangle, operating from River Road in Barking.

Also now preserved is the first new vehicle bought by Blue Triangle, Salvador Caetano-bodied Dennis Dart Y181 RCR, new in March 2001.

London Transport Leyland National LS174, operated by Blue Triangle and now owned by Roger Wright, has been restored, and repainted by London Bus & Truck ready to join other vehicles, including Routemasters, which will hopefully be attending events in Blue Triangle guise later this year, including the those at Deltling and North Weald. Some surprises are also planned. The National is starring in a TV advert for Vodafone.

Roger added: “Blue Triangle was built up from one vehicle and we had 75 when the company was sold. There’s a lot of affection for the operator.”