Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Merton Garage Open Day

NS1995 following arrival from the London Transport Museum Acton Store
This Sunday (17th November) saw London's Merton Garage celebrate its centenary of opening and, whilst not located in our operating area, I thought readers might be interested in activities on the day

Contributor Tim Major attended the event and I am pleased to bring you his report

'Merton garage was opened for the London General Omnibus Company (General) on 20 November 1913. The garage was modernised in 1960 and again in 1991 when a new roof was fitted and store and various welfare areas were moved to provide a larger, unobstructed parking area, which had previously been renowned for being long and narrow. Over recent years the allocation of buses has fluctuated between 83 and 134.

NS1995 in company with STL 2577 and RTL139 in Merton Yard
A heritage bus service was in operation throughout the day taking visitors to Wimbledon Common. Also on offer were garage tours and bus wash trips (very clean buses by the end of the day!). All proceeds raised on the day went to the local branch of Mencap.

I was fortunate to be offered a ride on the London General NS1995 built in 1926, from the London Transport Collection stabled at the Acton Depot, an eight o'clock departure from the depot required an exceptionally early departure from Lowestoft! The trip gave an insight to how travel would have been in 1920's London and I had fortunately followed advice and wrapped up warm clothing!

NS1995 with STL2577 in Merton Garage shortly before departure
The NS was joined by a representative collection of LT vehicles, including an STL (from Brooklands Museum) an RTL, various RM's and a 'Borismaster'. Additionally the buses operating from the depot were coming and going during the day to add more movement.

The heritage service was operated by an RTL, Routemasters, a Huddesfield utility Daimler! (disguised in London Transport livery to represent a long disappeared class of bus) and various buses (modern!) from the depot allocation.

Not all the time available was taken with bus riding and looking round the depot, as a walk to Merton Park allowed for a trip into Croydon on Tramlink. 

Tramlink 2544 departing Merton Park  for the short journey to Wimbledon

The journey back to the depot at Acton was through heavy London traffic and took some time but was a very worthwhile and an interesting day out'

My thanks to Tim for his contribution and for the photos as well - which he had already captioned for me!

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