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Uxbridge garage has had its Dart stock renewed over the last few years, and most routes are now operated using former DHL class Caetano Nimbus bodied Darts. Some were delivered new for routes U2 and U3, and others were cascaded in from Dagenham following tender losses there, replacing Marshall Darts on the U1 and U5 – indeed, most of the class is now concentrated here. The class was duly renumbered into First's national fleet numbering system, and the type code was simultaneously changed to DMC, the D signifying Dennis/Transbus/Alexander Dennis, the M Dart SLF and the C the Caetano variant. DMC41538 (former DHL538) pauses in Belmont Road, Uxbridge, on 28 July 2008.
|Photo © Suzy Scott.|
The U1 is the only London Buses route not to terminate at Uxbridge Station, although route U10 has an extension planned. The route originally ran just between Ruislip and Uxbridge, having been a straight re-numbering of that section of historic route 223 upon the launch of the U-Line network in 1988. From 1992 it had a rather bizarre extension from Ruislip to Harefield, Rickmansworth and Chorleywood, with some journeys continuing via Maple Cross and Denham back to Uxbridge, in replacement of Hertfordshire County Council route 128. There was also a short-lived Sunday-afternoon-only route U8 replacing the Sunday 128A, Uxbridge – Hillingdon Hospital – Ruislip – Mount Vernon Hospital – Harefield Hospital.
However, 1995 saw the introduction of new route 331 serving the London parts of this section, between Ruislip and Harefield (as well as running on into Uxbridge to replace Luton & District routes 347/348), while local Rickmansworth route R1 (now R21) replaced much of the remainder. The U1 thus reverted to its former Uxbridge – Ruislip function. At this stage the route still lacked a Sunday service – not only leaving a large area unserved by buses on this day of the week, but making a journey between Uxbridge and nearby Ruislip a decidedly lengthy detour on the 331 via Harefield and Northwood!
But within a year the route was extended by a somewhat circuitous route via Cowley, Hillingdon Hospital, West Drayton and Stockley Estate to Stockley Park, directly replacing route U5, then continuing to Hayes in place of the U6. However, the U6 had operated via Botwell Common, whereas the U1 initially took a different route via Blyth Road, though was quickly changed to the former U6 route. The U6 concept of a shuttle between Hayes and West Drayton was later re-introduced as route H50, now 350.
Additionally, a Sunday service was introduced throughout the U1, being new for most of the route, although it was quickly withdrawn again between Stockley Estate and Hayes. The extension created new cross-Uxbridge links for the first time, and also served to reduce competition for the limited available stand space at Uxbridge station. Perhaps surprisingly, therefore, the U1 was split in two again, with the U5 re-appearing to cover the Hayes - Uxbridge section. However, cross-Uxbridge link from Ruislip to Hillingdon Hospital had proved popular, and so the U1 continued to run via those two points, now via Cleveland Road instead of Cowley, supporting route U3.
Need for further support for the U3 and U5 farther south led to the U1 being projected back as far as West Drayton station in May 2008, the stand having recently been vacated by route H50. This time the route follows the U3 via Apple Tree Avenue, rather than sticking to the main roads as it had previously.
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