Friday, 1 July 2011

New Darts at FHD

Darts may not be everybody's cup of tea, but with First Hants & Dorset, enthusiasts have to get used to them. 4 second hand Marshall bodied Dart SLFs have just entered service at Hilsea, with a further 6 Pointer 2 bodied Dart SLFs entering service at Hoeford.

The Marshall bodied Dart SLFs have all been acquired from First Cymru, although only 41147 has seen service in Wales. Two MPD-length Darts have been acquired - one is 41346 (V346DLH), and is pictured here looking very smart in Tipner earlier this afternoon. Sister 41348 has also joined the fleet.
Another former London and Cymru Dart is DML41387 (X387HLR) - the DML retained in its fleet number either as (a) an oversight, or (b) to differentiate its length to those at Hilsea depot who were unfamiliar with the four transfers in. 41387 is pictured at Southsea's South Parade Pier earlier today on route 6A, a regular haunt of this type of bus since February 2004, when they took over from Iveco minibuses.

Two former Truronian Dart SLFs have been acquired from First in Devon & Cornwall for Hoeford depot. One is 42234 (T34JCV), and is pictured earlier today in Palmerston Road, Southsea, heading for Paulsgrove on route 1C. These Darts are 10m length and have a flat roof, meaning they are easily identifiable by enthusiasts when out photographing. I haven't seen 42232 yet, but it is out and about in service and other enthusiasts have caught it on camera already.

First Hants & Dorset have also acquired some more former Hong Kong Dennis Darts for Hoeford. One example is 42773 (S673SNG), which would probably win the award for the smartest bus at Hoeford at present. I was lucky enough to capture it in Stubbington on Tuesday, where it is pictured heading for Southampton on route 72.

Variety at FHD may be limited, but there is certainly a variety of Dart about. At Hoeford you can find the following:
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - native R---YCR / S---KTP / S---XCR Dart
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - second hand former First Bristol T728REU
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - second hand former Southampton R415WPX
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - T32/4JCV, ex-Truronian
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - 40956/7/9/61 (ex-Edinburgh & Hong Kong)
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - 42754/9/73/80/3 (ex-Eastern Counties & Hong Kong)
* Dart SLF/Pointer 2 - 40824/5/6 - former Glasgow examples
* Dart SLF/Pointer 1 - 42407 - P407MLA (new to London)
* Dart / UVG - 4 examples new to People's Provincial
* Dart / Pointer - a variety of 9m and 9.8m examples formerly with Southampton
* Dart / NC Paladin 40262 new to Manchester
* Dart / Alexander 40623 new to Leeds

And in the past we've had Wright Handybus bodied Darts, Marshall bodied Dart SLFs at Hoeford and more.... certainly a variety of Darts, even if the fleet isn't very different.

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