Review by Tony Price
PDL27, registration number X527 GGO is one of a batch of 10.7m Plaxton Pointer 2-bodied Dennis Darts SLFs delivered new to Arriva South London in December 2000 for use on south London route 289. It shows the CN code for Beddington Farm Garage in north-east Croydon, which is situated just half a mile from the line of the route that passes through the major super-store complex on Croydon’s Purley Way. This shoppers-paradise is just north of what is still known locally today as Croydon Airport. With the growth of Gatwick and London’s Heathrow (named after the village of Heath Row that it engulfed) Croydon Airport closed on 30th September 1959. For most of the 1980s, "Croydon Airport" was the evening and Saturday terminus of the 289, which otherwise went further south to Purley.
In 2005 the route was re-awarded to Arriva, and the bus was refurbished, losing it’s trademark Arriva cow-horns and becoming all-over red with the mandatory white roof and roof descriptor.
For almost its entire life the 289 has been the main-stay of the busy commuter corridor between Addiscombe and central Croydon. Over the years it has strayed east of Addiscombe to Elmers End and beyond to Beckenham, and south of Croydon to Waddon, Croydon Airport and Purley town centre. The PDLs worked between Elmers End and Purley from the time of their introduction, and although now allocated to Arriva’s Thornton Heath Garage and supplemented by double deck ALX400 and Wright Gemini workings, they still do stalwart service.
The Pointer SLF-bodied Dennis Dart has been a popular casting from Corgi. First introduced to us in Hong Kong City Bus livery in the autumn of 1999 there have been around eighteen general releases prior to this one, of which, surprisingly, only five have been London related in any way (six, if you’re broadminded enough to include the last release in the striking Uno livery!).
OM44709 shows that the original moulds
are still turning out crisp castings. The tampo printing is excellent,
though my naked eye refused to be able to read the perfect legal
lettering for Arriva South London’s
Bus Garage offices. The model depicts the vehicle on its way to Elmers
End Green via West Croydon and
Purley Way having been allocated CN’s running number 109. The ‘Arriva
serving London’ logos are nicely produced and correctly positioned, and
the mirrors very near-scale though have been modelled hung downwards
rather than held upwards. The roof identifier is crisply printed onto
the reflective white roof.
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