The World's End is Green

A green (environmentally friendly) bus, with green poles, on a route to Golders Green.

Tower Transit VH38117 on Route 328, Fortune Green
Tower Transit VH38117 on Route 328, Fortune Green (© Anthony)

Right next to a green, etc.
Yeah, it's the 328 getting new buses, the Volvo B5LH/Wright Gemini 3. Similar to the previous post showing ones on the 94, they even encounter each other at Notting Hill Gate. However, as shown, these buses have the new blind style, and this is highlighting that this bus is not going to the World's End pub, but rather Redcliffe Gardens (still in Chelsea).

Green Hybrids & Poles
Tower Transit VH38115 on Route 328, Westbourne Park (© Aubrey)

There are 25 buses (VH38112-38136) for the 328, and are currently found on its allocated route for nearly all of the time.

Tower Transit VH38115 on Route 328, Notting Hill Gate
Tower Transit VH38115 on Route 328, Notting Hill Gate (© Anthony)

Route 328, the child of routes 28 and 31, well known for being the corridor where Routemasters were replaced by minibuses, essentially, are now an all-double deck corridor run by Tower Transit from Westbourne Park Garage. The business unit itself is the descendant of Centrewest, which oversaw the single decking and re-double decking. The 328, formed from the northern bit of the 28 and the southern bit of the 31, is interestingly the route in this corridor to get a second batch of new double deckers.

Tower Transit VH38116 on Route 328, Fortune Green
Tower Transit VH38116 on Route 328, Fortune Green (© Aubrey)

There have been strays of these buses onto the N97, but they are blinded for most Tower Transit double decker routes.

Bus expansion
Tower Transit VH38113 blinded for Route 70, Westbourne Park (© Tommy Cooling)

Route 70, a single decker route, is also included in the double decker blinds. Could we see future B5LHs go on the 70, or the 70 gaining a double decker conversion? Hopefully, because the 70 does get quite busy. The photo shows what it could look like, blinded enroute back from being on display at Brooklands.

This set of B5LHs are, as you expect, are pretty just like the other lot that have been ordered for other companies across London. Compared to the other B5LHs that Tower Transit have, on the 212, these buses are just as good. Overall, they seem to be decent buses, and will hopefully serve well for the 328 and any other bus routes they end up on.


More Green Buses to Acton Green

London United, along with London Sovereign (RATP London), have introduced a new fleet numbering system for their fleet. This adds extra numbers to denote what the fleet code already does anyway, to help with engineering (this batch seems to have an extra "451" added before its presumed fleetnumber). Some of the first buses to display the new fleet numbers are the new Volvo B5LHs for Route 94 at Shepherd's Bush (S).

Wet Hybrid
London United VH45156 on Route 94, Acton Green (© Aubrey)

Under the old system, this VH would be called VH56. Initially, some of these buses were delivered with their old fleet numbers.
This batch is the first of the Gemini 3s with the new style front, meaning that the Hounslow Heath hybrids will be a one-off with the old style front. It is anticipated that this type will be ordered for future use with London United, including Route 85 (which the buses are already being delivered).

London United VH45158 on Route 94, Acton Green
London United VH45158 on Route 94, Acton Green (© Aubrey)

The blinds are however not white, nor to the new standard. As they are new buses ordered not against a new contract but rather the existing 94 contract, there is no regulation stating that the blinds need to be white on black, nor in the new format.

Wright Spring Evening
London United VH45157 on Route 94, Acton Green (© Aubrey)

This is the second batch of hybrid buses for Route 94, after the first batch doesn't cover the whole PVR of the 94. This replaces the rest of the TLAs that were on the route. However, some Tridents still stray onto the route.

London United VH45155 on Route 94, Notting Hill Gate
London United VH45155 on Route 94, Notting Hill Gate (© Aubrey)

It also has the new London United interior, complete with new moquette. The grey floors as seen in the older VHs are aimed towards this new moquette. It is assumed amongst drivers that if/when the Hammersmith Bridge works occur, the 72 will gain similar buses.

Double Three
London United VH45159 on Route 94 passes Metroline VWH2017 on Route 7, Oxford Street (© Aubrey)

This photo shows the comparison between the old and new fronts of Gemini 3. This batch of Gemini 3 also exhibits more red amongst the headlamp clusters and the window surrounds compared to older batches.

London United VH45160 on Route 94, Acton Green
London United VH45160 on Route 94, Acton Green (© Aubrey)

Overall, these buses seem to be a decent ride, and shift like a usual Volvo B5LH. After many uses of the Gemini 3 upper deck, it does not seem as claustrophobic as before, even with the smaller windows.


Picture Archive Post 46

Blue Triangle LDP205 on Route W19, Walthamstow Central, 24/03/12
Blue Triangle LDP205 on Route W19, Walthamstow Central, 24/03/12 (© Aubrey)

This bus started out as part of a batch for Sutton Garage in early 2002, running on routes such as the 151. It was transferred in May 2006 for the 200 at Merton, when Centra London failed in running the route. It went back to Sutton in March 2007. In November 2011, the bus was transferred to Blue Triangle's Rainham Garage (BE) for routes such as this W19. It had since moved as a spare for many garages, including Stockwell, New Cross (working only 225), Bexleyheath, Merton (again, for the 200, 163 and 164), Metrobus Green Street Green, Rainham (again) and finally by November 2015, it is where it is currently - at Camberwell Garage as a spare for routes such as the 355, 360, P5.

Route W19 started out as a Ilford-Walthamstow Central service run by First Thamesway on the 8th May 2000. It only ran Monday-Saturday except evenings. It was temporarily at First Thamesway, as it was moved to First Capital at Dagenham from September 2000. It was extended to Waltham Forest Council Depot in December 2001. In March 2002, it moved garage to Rainham (R), and in September 2003, the route was extended to Walthamstow, Argall Avenue Industrial Estate. A new contract with Docklands Buses from 25th November 2006 saw the introduction of a curtailed evening and Sunday service between Ilford and St James' Street. New ADL Dart/MCV Evolutions were used. After the Go-Ahead takeover, bus routes between Docklands Buses and Blue Triangle were swapped. One such swap was the W19, moving to Blue Triangle at Rainham (BE), where it is still today. The allocation for the W19 currently is any single decker that can fit around the route, but mainly the allocated MCV Evolutions that have mostly been refurbished/re-painted and are still at Rainham for the route.


C Six Seven

Central MMC
Abellio London 8864 on Lambeth Bridge. (© Aubrey)

 Abellio had the first batch of E400 MMCs in TfL service, but it took a bit over another year for them to get their first E200 counterparts. These buses are in two batches that entered service around the same time, short wheelbase 8210-8219 at BC for route 367's win from Go-Ahead and longer 8844-8864 for route C10's contract renewal. Both were due in service on the 19th of March but the C10's batch phased into service later than that.
Based on Abellio's previous batches of Euro6 E200s these were initially expected to be on a ZF semi-automatic gearbox, however they arrived with an Allison gearbox like E200s before those.

Brand new - Abellio London 8217, YX16OBF at Bromley North on route 367
Abellio London 8217 on stand in Bromley. (© Jacek)
Most of the 367 ones were in service on the first day. However none of the buses had working iBus systems for about 3 weeks due to a glitch on TfL's side. These vehicles are pretty speedy, bright and comfortable inside, and passengers were complimenting them as "lovely new buses" on the first day. Abellio's service on the first day had the occasional gap, some slight delays, which is pretty typical for the first day of service. The route mostly runs through side roads and is generally a longer version of the 119, with both having termini in Bromley and Croydon.

These have new style blinds:

Abellio London 8210 on Route 367, Bromley South
Abellio London 8210 at Bromley South. (© Aubrey)
The 367's previous buses, a batch of short Dart/Esteems, have transferred to MB to replace older Darts in the fleet. Here is 234 at East Croydon before the route transferred from MB to C:

Metrobus 234 on Route 367, East Croydon
Metrobus 234 at East Croydon. (© Aubrey)
These buses have since strayed onto other routes at BC. As I don't have a photo, here's a picture of one on the 367 blinded for the 152:

Brand new - Abellio London 8213, YX16OBA at West Croydon on route 367
8213 on an odd working...not really, it's just a blind change. (© Jacek)
Bit cheeky, but oh well. The driver was nice and friendly too.

The C10's batch entered service a few days after, some with iBus and some without - again, all the buses had iBus after 3 or so weeks. 8844-8864 are nearly identical internally to the 367 batch, but having slightly more legroom, and obviously more capacity due to being longer. These are just as speedy and again attracted positive comments from the passengers much like the 367's batch.

Abellio London 8852 on Route C10, Millbank
Abellio London 8852 at Millbank in front of the Red Arrow bus stop. (© Anthony)
The route is getting another frequency increase (to every 7-8 minutes in the peaks) due to heavy usage. Running between Canada Water and Victoria it links residential areas with transport hubs for its entire length. It runs alongside the Thames for a decent part of its length while jutting in and out of important interchanges like the newly (badly) redesigned Elephant & Castle, or passing through residential roads.

This batch also have new style blinds:

Abellio London 8848, YX16NZW at Canada Water on route C10
8848 ends a journey at Canada Water. (© Jacek)
As you can see, the C10 number is a little squashed but otherwise they don't look too different from the old ones.

It also recently did a garage transfer from QB to WL, hence the incorrect codes on 8855 for W seen here. Well done, Abellio(!)
Brand new - Abellio London 8855 and 8858 at Canada Water on route C10
8855 and 8858 stand at Canada Water. (© Jacek)
Its old E200s were only a few years old and have transferred to BC and TF for the 152 and 235 respectively. The TF ones have new style blinds.

Lastly, I (Jacek) videoed a journey on 8862 on the C10. Here is the video:

Route C10 will still get strays of old-style E200s in the form of short ones off the 484, although this is maybe not the best bus to put on the route given how busy it gets. A trip south to do either batch of MMCs is recommended as these are quite nice buses, comfortable, speedy and without many rattles.


Stinging Extras

Skip Rugby Charter
DB Schenker (on hire to Riviera Trains) 67006, Coventry (© Aubrey)

Wasps RFC are originally from London, being formed back in 1847 (split into the professional club in 1996). However, due to Fulham FC's Craven Cottage being redeveloped, they moved from White City Estate (Loftus Road Stadium) to Wycombe (Adams Park). They never returned after moving in 2002, playing home games in Adams Park, and when it wasn't available, Coventry's Ricoh Arena. After plans to move permanently to a new stadium at Wycombe Air Park failed, Wasps purchased the operating company of the Ricoh Arena, moving themselves there to cohabit with the existing football team, Coventry City FC.

New: Coventry Arena Station
Coventry Arena Station + Ricoh Arena (© Aubrey)

The stadium was built in 2005 to replace the Highfield Road ground. It is alongside the Coventry-Nuneaton line and earlier in January 2016, the new station at the Ricoh Arena, called Coventry Arena was opened. However, due to a lack of trains (capacity) to run a service to the arena during events, it was agreed that the station would be closed during events, negating one of the exact reasons why the station was opened in the first place! To combat this, London Midland and Wasps RFC jointly hired a 67/Mk2 carriages set to run before and after two rugby matches. The 28th February and the 12th March, matches against Harlequins and Leicester, saw these extra services run.

DB Schenker 67028, Nuneaton
DB Schenker 67028, Nuneaton (© Aubrey)

On February 28th, 67028 and 67006 ran a six coach service between Coventry-Arena-Nuneaton. It turned out that other than rail enthusiasts, the service seemed to be well patronised. However, the service wasn't cheap, and as it ran as an extra service and not a charter service, non-fans rode the train using normal tickets, and fans also used normal tickets for this service.

Wasps Rugby Special
Wasps Rugby Special (CC Aubrey)

The service was limited stop, and due to the platform length at Coventry Arena, only the rear three coaches stopped at Coventry Arena towards Nuneaton. The full six coaches were available towards Coventry.

DB Schenker 67028, Coventry
DB Schenker 67028, Coventry (© Aubrey)

Ultimately, this service didn't go well commercially for London Midland. However it did convey more than 10% of the fans at the Wasps matches. Wasps want the service to relaunch in time for the new season in September, but for now, the station will once again shut for events, ironically as it was built to handle crowds from such events!


Glorified Bus Route Extension

Since the withdrawal of the old route 87 (Barking - Romford) and the 5 being extended to Romford back in the mists of time, the 5 has been the only route direct between Becontree Heath and Barking, and as a result, a bit of a capacity issue has been happening on the route.
To solve this issue, route EL2 was cut between Barking and Ilford and instead extended to follow the 5 in a to Becontree Heath. Now the route looks like a "C" shape!

Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle) WVL454, LJ61GWP in Barking on route EL2 to Becontree Heath
Blue Triangle WVL454 on Route EL2, Barking Station (© Jacek)

For the removed part of the EL2, existing routes 169, EL1 and more indirectly 366 cover the affected Barking-Ilford section. This is quite busy the EL1 has gained a frequency increase to offset the loss of the EL2. (or you could walk, it's full of traffic and it's not that far.) Compared to the previous situation of the 169, 179, 369 all on the direct path between Barking and Ilford, it was a considerable downgrade as only the 169 would go to Ilford Town Centre whilst EL1/2 terminated at Ilford Hill.

Blue Triangle WVL497 on Route EL2, Becontree Heath
Blue Triangle WVL497 on Route EL2, Becontree Heath (© Anthony)

On the first day of the extension most EL2s along the extension were carrying air as people didn't know whether to board the bus. Nearly everyone opted for the still full 5s behind it making the short trip to Becontree Heath quite leisurely, cruising along with nobody else on the bus.

Blue Triangle WVL347 on Route EL2, Becontree Heath
Blue Triangle WVL347 on Route EL2, Becontree Heath (© Anthony)

Another load of fresh air, but not for too long hopefully. As people get used to it a more even usage between 5s and EL2s is more likely.

Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle) WVL472, LJ61NXB in Barking on route EL2 to Dagenham Dock
Blue Triangle WVL472 on Route EL2, Barking Station (© Jacek)

The buses used for the extension were a mix of existing WVLs with new (and new style) blinds, some with new but old style blinds, and some transferred ones from SW off the 249 which has for the meantime been downgraded to PVLs. So part of the buses on the East London Transit don't even have the ELT livery now. Again.

Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle) WVL479 and WVL335 at Becontree Heath on route EL2
Blue Triangle WVL479 and WVL335 on Route EL2, Becontree Heath (© Jacek)

The ELT (well, EL1 now as EL2 follows a different routing) is basically a glorified version of the old 369 route that has a special livery on its buses and bus shelters, but on the extension the bus stops don't have the livery yet. However, the East London Transit was a larger plan, planning to be a tramway across East London, crossing at the Thames Gateway bridge (later scrapped and reintroduced as a plan albeit slightly different). It was later downgraded to hybrid, then downgraded further to conventional diesel buses, being just a bog standard bus with a fancy livery on a route with new bus stop shelters and bus lanes:

EL1 to Barking, from Ilford. Yeah...
Blue Triangle WVL452 on Route EL1, Barking Station (© Aubrey)

This bus wasn't part of the original ELT batch, as it had been cascaded from other parts of the GAL empire.
That's pretty much it. Next to do in this area is a double double decking - the 62 and 368.