29/05/2016

Blue River

Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle) E169, SN61BGY in Keir Hardie Estate on route 147 to Canning Town Station
E169 at Keir Hardie Estate. (© Jacek)

Route 147 started operation in 1934 as a renumbering of then route 248 running between Ilford Station and Leytonstone. None of that routing remains served by the 147 in its present form (Canning Town - Ilford) - you'd have to catch a 145. During sectorisation the 147 went to London Buses' East London division, which passed to Stagecoach upon privatisation. Towards the end of the brief aberration of Australian ownership under ELBG the route passed to the newly built West Ham (WH) garage... which lately hasn't had a very good track record of retaining routes with the losses of the 488 and 69.

Stagecoach East London 18277, LX05BWK at Canning Town on route 147
The old order on the route - Stagecoach 18277 at Canning Town. (© Jacek)
They then lost the route upon the next tender.

Blue Triangle E181 on Route 147, Royal Victoria Station
E181 at Royal Victoria. (© Aubrey)
The 7th of May this year saw Go-Ahead London's Blue Triangle subsidiary win it, running from a new garage on River Road near Barking coded RR. Quite an ironic win considering that due to Crossrail works when routes 147 and 241 were curtailed at Prince Regent, Blue Triangle ran the shuttle 541 from there to Keir Hardie Estate. Its first iteration was, again, run by Stagecoach from WH but GAL won that.

Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle) E174, SN61BHE in Keir Hardie Estate on route 147 to Ilford
E174 at Keir Hardie Estate. (© Jacek)
The route now uses 61reg E400s ex-Camberwell, freed from the LT conversion of route 68. Most of these are refurbished, though it's hard to tell as they weren't looking bad in the first place. The ones still being refurbished are being covered by some older (09reg) examples freed from GAL's loss of the 345. As you'll have noticed by now, new style blinds are present on these buses - they don't look bad, although the 147 number is written in a very thin font.

Service on the 147's first day wasn't worth bothering with, due to a sinkhole on Barking Road that screwed up all of East London. Also closed was the A13 Lodge Avenue flyover, and half of Canning Town bus station. Yeah... quite a few gaps happened to say the least.

DLR and 147
E167 stands at Canning Town. (© Aubrey)
The day I (Jacek) went to snap the route most of the issues had been fixed. Service then wasn't anything special, there was the odd gap and stand arrangements at Canning Town were complicated due to half the bus station still being closed. Gaps didn't go above 20 minutes at the Canning Town end.

Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle) E181, SN61BHU in Keir Hardie Estate on route 147 to Ilford
E181 at Keir Hardie Estate. (© Jacek)
There were some minor blind issues. Not full-on Banditry like with the 541 in the past, but E181 here did have the wrong destination (it's going to Ilford).

Also with the 147, Blue Triangle won the 687. A small single journey (in each direction) school route.

Blue Triangle E166 "on Route 687", Barking Station
Blue Triangle E166 "on Route 687", Barking Station (© Aubrey)

This route, running for Dagenham Park School, was won off Stagecoach London as well, and uses the same refurbished Enviro 400s as the 147 does. It is also based at the new River Road garage.

Overall there is room for improvement with RR and the 147, but it's not particularly bad and quite a handy win for GAL.

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