Ensign Celebration

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.
The Volvo B9TL has been painted to mark 20 years of Ensign’s X80. MALCOLM BATTEN

Ensignbus is celebrating an important anniversary in 2024 with a bus branded in commemorative livery. Wrightbus-bodied Volvo B9TL LX15 GPY is marking 20 years since the start of route X80, nowadays running from Lakeside to Bluewater.

In January 2004 major work began on the Higham and Strood railway tunnels in Kent, which would take a year to complete. A rail replacement bus route ran between Gravesend and Strood. Four companies provided vehicles: Ensign, which co-ordinated operations, ASD Buses, Redroute Buses and The Kings Ferry. The X80 was introduced as a commercial route by Ensign, initially using vehicles travelling to and from its depot at Purfleet to be used on the rail replacement duties. These could take advantage of an exemption from Dartford Crossing charges for buses in service, which would not have been available otherwise.

The route was later cut back from Gravesend to Bluewater but is still going strong. LX15 GPY is painted in the commemorative livery which was used by all four companies for the rail replacement service, and made its debut at the Ensignbus Heritage Bus Running Day on 2 December, which saw classic buses running on four routes.


Are you enjoying this feature? Why not subscribe to continue reading?

Subscribe for 6 issues/weeks from only £6Or login if you are already a subscriber

By subscribing you will benefit from:

  • Operator & Supplier Profiles
  • Face-to-Face Interviews
  • Lastest News
  • Test Drives and Reviews
  • Legal Updates
  • Route Focus
  • Industry Insider Opinions
  • Passenger Perspective
  • Vehicle Launches
  • and much more!