18500/19000 LX55 HGC

©Michael Wadman
©Michael Wadman

Spirit of London began life in 2005, and is the first production Enviro 400. It is 10.8m long, a rarity for a London Enviro 400 (the only others being 19131-40.) It began its life with orange LEDs, though this was changed shortly after to conventional blinds.

It was built to replace 17758 (LX03 BUF), which was written off following the 7/7 bombings in 2005, which was a string of attacks that claimed the lives of 52 people, 13 of which were on the bus.

Spirit of London was unveiled on the 3rd of October 2005, with its original fleet number 18500. After a promotional tour, it finally entered service on route 30 in January 2006, the same route 17758 had been used on. It was based at Waterdon Road garage (SD) which closed in 2007.

Later that year, Stagecoach sold their operations to Macquarie Bank, and Spirit of London was included. It retained its original fleet number and identity during this time.

Spirit of London toned down. ©Terry O’Neill

In 2006, its blue skirt was painted over, and sometime between 2006 and 2007, its branding was toned down.

In 2007, it moved to West Ham garage, where it remained until 2012.

The next variation! ©Terry O’Neill

Following Stagecoach’s re-entry to the London bus market, Spirit of London was repainted and renumbered to 19000 to fit in with their other Enviro 400s.

Disaster struck in the early hours of the 19th of October 2012. Spirit of London caught fire, causing £60,000 worth of damage to the roof and upper deck. The cause was two teenage girls setting fire to newspaper and stuffing them down the back seats. Stagecoach promised to repair the bus due to its significance, and it returned to the ADL factory for the rebuild.

Spirit of London returns! ©Terry O’Neill

Spirit of London was unveiled once again on the 21st of April 2013 at the London Bus Museum, Weybridge. It returned to service on the 2nd of April 2013, at Leyton garage on route 55 a route it worked on solely. In April 2015, it moved to Rainham following the introduction of NBFLs on route 55.

The final variation. ©Shaan’s Transport Photos

Spirit of London received a revised livery in September 2015, a design more true to the original. This was the last revision of its livery.

On the 2nd of October 2020, Spirit of London worked its final journey on route 252, one day short of 15 years after it was first unveiled. It is due to end up at the London Transport Museum, although nothing has happened as of yet. Spirit of London attended the 40th Anniversary of Plumstead garage open-day, alongside its successor, 11377.

Two Spirits! ©Jimster1501