24/07/2016

Return to Merton

A pile of existing Enviro 400s caused by the 345 have somehow found their way to Merton Garage where it awaited the return of the 57 on 2nd July 2016.

First London General 57N from Kingston
London General E114 on Route 57N, Kingston Fairfield (© Aubrey)
First 57N from Kingston with London General.

Route 57 was originally a route from Victoria to Tooting Broadway as part of the tram replacement program in 1951, operated from Brixton Garage. When it was extended to Kingston, the allocation moved to Merton (AL), where it stayed there until 1989, when it moved to Norbiton. During that time, it was reduced to Kingston-Streatham Hill (Atkins Road). It moved to Fulwell, London & Country (Leatherhead), Kingston and Tolworth Garages. The latter two were under London United:

London United TA312 on Route 57, Kingston Cromwell Road
London United TA312 on Route 57, Kingston Cromwell Road (© Aubrey)

The route toiled with Tridents and Volvo B7TL/East Lancs Millennium Vykings (since the 9 was converted to LT) under London United. These weren't bad buses, but under a new contract, different buses to these would be needed for this route.

London United VLE8 on Route 57, Merton Bus Garage
London United VLE8 on Route 57, Merton Bus Garage (© Anthony)

Under tender, the 85 was regained, at the expense of Merton regaining the 57. This meant that existing 09 reg Enviro 400s from Camberwell Garage were put onto the 57.

London General E111 on Route 57, Kingston
London General E111 on Route 57, Kingston (© Aubrey)

The 57 now has these buses, and it doesn't suit up compared to the new buses for the 85. However, a refurbishment and a lick of paint has done the trick to put them up for a few more years.

London General E147 on Route 57, Kingston
London General E147 on Route 57, Kingston (© Aubrey)

However, whilst other buses are under refurbishment, the usual float of some buses transferred from the 147, like this example, bringing the skirt to these routes.

London General WVL442 blinded for Route 57, Putney Bridge
London General WVL442 blinded for Route 57, Putney Bridge (© Aubrey)

There are also Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini 2s blinded for the 57, and these do occasionally stray onto the route. This is not an example of that said stray, as it is a blinded example at Putney Bridge actually on the 270, but this shows what it does look like.

Go-Ahead London E113 on Route 57, Wimbledon
London General E113 on Route 57, Wimbledon (© Anthony)

Certain curtailments are coming back, like this one showing Coombe Lane. However, this is expected due to the usual settling period these routes have to do before the route settles with the operator.
Overall, it's a greater loss for London United than Go-Ahead London, but it (and the 114 loss) does allow RATP to get rid of older vehicles quicker.

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