14/05/2016

Barking Deckers

Routes 62 and 368 have converted to double deckers, mainly due to capacity concerns. Arriva London gained Route 368 with existing Enviro 400s, whilst new Enviro 400MMCs ply the retained Route 62 with Stagecoach London.

Stagecoach London 10315 on Route 62, Becontree
Stagecoach London 10315 on Route 62, Becontree (© Aubrey)

These are part of a batch intended to cover part of the 145, part of the 294 and the double decker conversion of the 62. In the case of the 62, which was the last RT route, it is returning to double deckers for the first time since 1993 (albeit there has been odd workings and an allocated single double decker working since 2011).

Stagecoach London 10331 on Route 62, Becontree
Stagecoach London 10331 on Route 62, Becontree (© Aubrey)

Route 62, a route running between Barking and Marks Gate, is a route that fell victim to the "frequent single decker route" concept in the 1990s, which proved to be a problem as this route ended up being very well patronised to the point a double decker reconversion was required (like most of the single decker conversions).

Stagecoach 10329 on Route 62, Chadwell Heath
Stagecoach London 10329 on Route 62, Chadwell Heath (© Anthony)

And even then, it took new development and TfL Rail (well, Crossrail 1 in two years) to force a double decker conversion of the 62 and 368. The buses themselves are fairly similar to the Enviro 400MMCs with NS for Route 498. Seats are comfortable, a ride seemed all good on it.

Stagecoach 10315 on Route 62, Becontree
Stagecoach London 10315 on Route 62, Becontree (© Anthony)

If service was to be judged on the first day of the new contract, just don't bother. Road closures along the route caused traffic hell across both the 62 and 368, specifically Ripple Road. However, as it was retained by Stagecoach, a very competent operator in East London, the 62 continues to be in safe hands well into 2021.

Arriva London T184 on Route 368, Chadwell Heath
Arriva London T184 on Route 368, Chadwell Heath (© Anthony)

Route 368, transferred to Arriva from Barking (DX) Garage from Blue Triangle has just left its second stint with Blue Triangle. This route is a first time conversion to double deck, being done so for similar reasons as the 62.

Arriva London T171 on Route 368, Chadwell Heath
Arriva London T171 on Route 368, Chadwell Heath (© Aubrey)

Existing buses from the pool of Enviro 400s at Barking, including buses transferred from the 168 are running on the 368. The 368 is one of two routes that are to benefit from the 168, the other being the E8 (supposedly). As it was awarded on the basis of existing vehicles (a trend that is increasing in the TfL contracts), it is pretty much more refurbished vehicles. And not to the extent as Reading Buses did on an ex-Arriva London DW!

Arriva London T184 on Route 368, Chadwell Heath Station
Arriva London T184 on Route 368, Chadwell Heath (© Aubrey)

Other than beating fellow enthusiasts by using the tube, walking and the 62 between Barking and Chadwell Heath, the route seems to be in better hands now than under Blue Triangle (Go-Ahead) as back then, it was deemed notorious by some people to be unreliable, possibly to the extent of Metroline West on the E3.

Arriva London T74 on Route 368, Barking
Arriva London T74 on Route 368, Barking (© Aubrey)

This route has gone through 5 operator changes between Docklands Transit (1993-1997), Stagecoach London (1997-2001), Blue Triangle (2001-2011), First Capital (2011-2013), Blue Triangle Go-Ahead (2013-2016) and Arriva (2016-). However, 4 of the changes can be considered to be currently the same operator (Go-Ahead London), after Go-Ahead London bought Docklands Buses, Blue Triangle and First Capital East, which is fairly interesting. Interestingly as well, the double decking also came with a PVR increase. Overall, things should go well and the route will have some excess capacity which will be filled.

Stagecoach 10330 on Route 145, Leytonstone
Stagecoach London 10330 on Route 145, Leytonstone (© Anthony)

Finally, the 145 and 294 have also gained similar E400MMCs to the 62 due to contract renewals, of which one is shown on the 145. The Enviro 400MMCs can be found on various routes in Barking (BK) Garage anyway, including the N15. Great for NBAD.

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