This is an ongoing project to record some of the points in the history of the DMS/DM classes. I would like to thank Ian Smith, of Ian's Bus Stop who has very kindly done some DMS drawings for me, to show the differences within the class and also the different liveries carried. I highly recommend a visit to Ian's site to see more of his excellent drawings. I would also like to thank BusSpotter for the photographs used in this section.
The introduction of one man operated (as it was then called) double deck buses by London Transport was not an easy task. It needed the lifting of a union ban in the central area and a change in the law. In June 1965 the first of 50 XA (eXperimental Atlantean) buses were delivered to London Transport's Central Area. Two months later 8 XF (eXperimental Fleetline) buses were delivered to the Country Area. Both types had identical bodywork by Park Royal with a front entrance/exit with doors and a rear transversal engine. In 1965 one man operation (O.M.O.) was only allowed on single deckers but these buses would be suitable if the law was changed. On the first of July 1966 the law was changed to allow omo on suitable double deckers if the upper deck was sealed off. This paved the way for an experiment with the XFs on route 424, starting on the 2nd of October. The buses were omo off peak when a door was used to close off the staircase but during the peak hours they were still crew operated. This experiment was not a success and only lasted six months, the 424 went back to full crew operation. In June 1967 the third type of new double decker entered service. This was the prototype Front entrance RouteMaster (FRM 1) which was developed by London Transport and AEC. It was made up of 60% standard Routemaster parts but had a rear transversal engine. The plan was to make the FRM the standard London double decker but in the end only one was built. AEC was now owned by Leyland who preferred to promote its own Atlantean. Later in 1967 the law was changed again to allow full omo on double deckers. The XAs, the XFs and the FRM would need to be converted for their new role which involved the fitting of a periscope, so that the driver could view the upper deck, and a few other minor modifications. XA 22 became London Transport's first omo double decker on the 22nd of November 1969 on route 233 (which only required one bus), the rest of the XAs, the XFs and the FRM were also converted and re-entered service as omo.
Trials between the XA and XF classes had shown the XF to have slightly better fuel consumption and London Transport (L.T.) preferred the Fleetline because the engine and gearbox were mounted separately. So in 1968 L.T. ordered 17 Daimler Fleetlines for delivery in 1969, these were to become the DMS class and would be used for comparison trials on route 4A. High demand for the Fleetline meant long delays with delivery so in July 1969, to secure continuity, a second order for 100 was placed for delivery in 1970. Later in 1969 a third order for 250, for delivery in 1971, was placed so that now 367 were on order even though no tests or trials had been carried out. DMS 1 and DMS 2 were both displayed at the 1970 Commercial Motor Show at Earl's Court from the 18th to the 26th of September, DMS 1 was on the Park Royal Vehicles (PRV) stand and DMS 2 was on the Daimler stand. They both had British Leyland circular badges on their front panels for show purposes only. The previous week to the show L.T. had announced an order of 1600 double deckers for delivery during 1972-1974, making a total of 1967 DMS class buses on order.
London Transport was to launch it's new bus as the 'Londoner', perhaps because it was similar to Manchester's new Atlanteans and Fleetlines which were known as Mancunians. Another reason could be to avoid using the 'Fleetline' name because of the proposed new Underground line to be called the Fleet Line. In the end the Londoner name was gradually dropped and the Fleet Line became the Jubilee Line. The press launch was held at Victoria garage on the 31st of December 1970. DMS 38, with 'THE NEW LONDONER' on it's side adverts, had a bottle of champagne opened on it by the chairman of L.T. It was then driven to Westminster Bridge for press photographs to be taken, one of which later appeared in the Evening Standard.
The DMS has a Daimler Fleetline chassis and Park Royal body, specially designed for one man operation, and a Gardner 6LXB diesel engine derated from 180BHP to 170BHP. It can carry 89 passengers, 44 seated on the upper deck, 24 seated and 21 standing on the lower deck. It has the split front entrance form of fare collection and a centre exit similar to that used by some single deck buses (MBS & SMS). The split entrance gives the passenger the choice of entering on the left to get 'driver service' and pay the driver who has an Almex ticket machine. Or to enter on the right to get 'self service' and use the automatic fare collection (afc) machine which has a turnstile. There is also a barrier to separate to two methods of fare collection. A forward facing staircase is centrally placed so that it starts opposite the exit doors. This gives added safety to passengers descending the stairs while the bus is moving if it had to brake suddenly. Also descending passengers won't delay passengers who are entering the bus. The driver has a periscope to view the upper deck and two mirrors to view the exit doors. Other features were an internal and external public address system, automatic temperature controlled heating on both decks, fluorescent lighting and warning bells if either emergency exit is opened.
The DMS was London Transport's first all red bus, the grey cantrail band was discontinued to allow full sized adverts to be fixed on the front and rear corners. The livery also had the new open bullseye, with the words 'London Transport' across the bar, on the staircase panel on the offside and below the middle downstairs window on the nearside. The dimensions of the DMS are :- 30' 10" long, 8' 2½" wide and 14' 6" high. The first DMSs cost nearly �13,000 each, at the time they were the most expensive buses in Britain.
London Transport gives class letters to it's buses, sometimes the meaning of these letters is unclear or disputed, the RT/RTL/RTW and DMS/DM being two such examples. My personal thoughts on the subject are that DM stands for DaiMler just as RM stands for RouteMaster and MT was to be used for MeTro. As for the S, most sources state that it stands for standee (London Transport's term for standing passengers) but the DMS is fully seated, there is not a designated standing area as there is on the, multi-standing, MBA class. The DM did not have a split entrance or afc cabinet, instead there was an extra bulkhead and a bench seat. The DMS could carry 21 standing passengers, the DM only 5, but any more than 5 on a DM would make the conductors job very difficult. (5 standing passengers on crew buses started during the war and has never been altered). So the main difference between a DMS and a DM was that the DM did not have a split entrance or a 'self service' machine (and of course it lacked the S in it's class code). So could the S stand for Split or Self service? I would be interested on other peoples views on this subject.