Metroline gains Route 235

The First Metroline 235
Metroline DEL2255 on Route 235, Hounslow (© Aubrey)

The first change of 2017 is the move of Route 235 from Abellio London to Metroline Travel, at the former base of Armchair at Brentford, Commerce Road. This returns Metroline involvement to the 235 itself after, for a short while, one journey on the 235 was operated by Armchair as a school working. Those workings were renumbered 635, and ran under Metroline until it turned to London United back in 2012.

E200MMC on Route 117
Metroline DEL2259 on Route 117, West Middlesex Hospital (© Aubrey)

It is the second route to turn from Abellio London to Metroline in West London, after the 117 returned to Metroline. The 235's buses do not always stray from the 235 due to the need for most of them to be on the route as all of the buses have the sensor to unlock the barriers at Brentford, Great West Quarter, though DE953 has worked over the route on a few occasions.

Two's company, three's a crowd
Metroline DEL2245, 2246 and 2257 on Route 235, North Brentford Quarter (© Tommy)

The first day of the 235 proved to be fairly interesting, with no faults with the barriers at Great West Quarter, but certainly quite a bit of bunching and curtailments.

Cross with this one
Metroline DEL2265 at Great West Quarter on a Sunbury Cross short working (© Tommy)

235 to Lower Feltham
The bus was later turned further back to Lower Feltham! (© Aubrey)

This wasn't even the worst of their problems. The first ever 235 out of Great West Quarter didn't even make it out of the terminus without mishap! Unfortunately, the driver didn't turn at Great West Quarter and had to reverse to make a turn in the turnaround point (as he had gone straight on nearly into some bollards). There were reports of the driver behind having gotten lost at Sunbury Cross, as well! Other than that, the route seemed to run with the usual "first day" settling in process.

Metroline DEL2250 on Route 235, Feltham
Metroline DEL2250 on Route 235, Feltham (© Aubrey)

These buses are Enviro 200MMCs with a Voith gearbox. It includes stop-start technology, which seems to stop and start not exactly when wanting to.
The route is still prone to bunching and crowding between Hounslow and Feltham, but less so after the extension of Route E8 and the double decking of the 116. It, along with the 117, are the only two direct routes from Hounslow to Feltham town centres.

The village feeling
Metroline DEL2249 starting its journey from Sunbury Village (© Tommy)

The barriers at North Brentford Quarter have a high level of "faultiness", and the complaints by some residents of buses within Great West Quarter development means that there is a proposal to move the 235 terminus point from inside the development onto Ealing Road, outside of the development, and with this there is an additional display on the blind. Many drivers were originally using this display on the first day by mistake. This maybe because it is the next destination to Sunbury Village on the set and thus the Mobitec display.

Fishing for the new stand
Metroline DEL2258 at Sunbury Village with blind display incorrectly set for Brentford, Great West Road, as opposed to North Brentford Quarter (© Tommy)

When the barriers fail at Great West Quarter, the buses normally terminate at Brentford County Court, or Brentford Commerce Road. This in itself proves to be a big problem for the residents, who still want the 235, yet ironically not right up their doorstep (hence the complaints and wanting to remove the route from the existing turnaround).
Brentford, Commerce Road is also used if there is no driver to take the bus over.

SUNbury Village
Metroline DEL2249 on Route 235, Sunbury Village (© Tommy)

Hopefully, after the small issues that always are encountered with the first day, Metroline, the route will settle down under Metroline, and it'll actually be useful. Although at the moment, bunching is still an issue with this fairly traffic-prone route.


Picture Archive Post 55

London United VLE43 on Route 27, Chiswick High Road, 19/01/13
London United VLE43 on Route 27, Chiswick High Road, 19/01/13 (© Aubrey)

Route 27 by 1934 was a route from Hounslow to Muswell Hill from 7 garages! (AV being the primary garage). In 1937, the 27 lost its Monday-Saturday service as the 33 and 27A took the rest of the route. This also meant it ran from Archway to Hounslow. From October 1952, the route was reinstated on Monday-Saturday, and the route was diverted from Twickenham to Teddington, thus running with RT/RTLs between Archway Station and Teddington Station. From May 1953, the Summer Sunday service was extended to Hampton Court. From May 1959, RM2 (Routemaster) was allocated on Route 27 (after running Route 91 Monday-Saturday) for a short while. The summer Sunday extension to Hampton Court lasted until 1965. Production Routemasters were introduced on the 27 from 1969. From 1970, the 27 was withdrawn between Richmond and Teddington on Monday-Friday (replaced by 270). Also, the whole route was converted to Routemasters (RM and RML). From 1981, the Fulwell (FW) allocation was moved to MCW Metrobuses (only on Sunday). From 1982, the Sunday FW and HT allocations were withdrawn, the 33 replaced the 27 between Richmond and Teddington and thus ran between Archway and Richmond only. When Riverside (R) was closed, the allocation there was moved to Shepherd's Bush (S). The garages by 1986 when the MCW Metrobus was introduced to convert the route to OPO were Holloway (HT) and Stamford Brook (V). In 1990, the V allocation was moved to AV (Hounslow), where garage journeys were extended to Hounslow via Route 37 or 237 for garage journeys.

In 1991, the AV allocation was moved back to Stamford Brook, the Holloway (HT) allocation withdrawn and the route truncated on each side to run between Camden Town and Turnham Green. The route, under sectorisation, became a London United route (and initially London Northern from HT). On 5th August 1995, the route was extended to Chalk Farm Safeway. When V closed on 9th November 1996, the route moved to Shepherd's Bush. When V reopened, it moved back on 30th October 1999.

Under tendering, First Centrewest won the route from 11th November 2000. MCW Metrobuses and Dennis Lance SLF/Wright Pathfinders (from Route 222 which went the other way) for a few months, when new Dennis Trident/Plaxton Presidents (TNs) took over. N27 was renumbered 27 (27N) on 19th March 2004, having been around since 3rd February 2001. On 11th November 2005, the 27 was won back by London United from Stamford Brook (V) using Scania N94UD/East Lancs Omnidekka (SLEs), the second batch for London United after the first batch for Route 267. They ran alongside VLEs from Route 9, and SPs from Route 10 (from 2010). Meanwhile, 27N ran from Hounslow (AV) garage. From 10th November 2012, the 27 was extended from Turnham Green Church to Chiswick Business Park. New hybrid Enviro 400s (ADHs) arrived for the route (in early 2013). The 27N was moved to Stamford Brook (V) after the E3 was won, shuffling the 391 to Fulwell (FW). After the LT conversion of the 9 and 10, the 27 now only gets strays of SPs from the E3, and the ADHs still run strong on the 27.

VLE43 was ordered initially for Route 9 when the route was converted from Routemasters to these Volvo B7TL/East Lancs Myllenium Vyking buses. Entering service on 4th September 2004, the buses have since stuck rigidly at Stamford Brook Garage (V) for its whole life with London United, the bus was a regular on Routes 9, 27 (after it was gained in 2005), and 391, with some ventures to Route 10. By the 9 was converted to LT (Wright Borismaster) on 26th October 2013, some of the VLEs were already surplus due to the ADHs on Route 27 shuffling SLEs around. This one was included, and left the London United fleet in February 2013, after its last outing on the 9 on 11th February 2013.
When Sullivan Buses won a load of school routes off Metroline, including the 626, buses were needed. Sullivan took a few VLEs from London United (having already taken a few EVLs from London General), and this bus became ELV8 for Sullivan Buses. It is still with Sullivan Buses to this day for the various school routes Sullivan Buses run:

Sullivan Buses ELV8 on Route 626, North Finchley Tally Ho(!) Corner
Sullivan Buses ELV8 on Route 626, North Finchley (© Aubrey)


Existing Enviros on 157

Arriva London T112 on Route 157, Morden Station
Arriva London T112 on Route 157, Morden Station (© Aubrey)
First eastbound Arriva bus on Route 157 (second Arriva 157).

The 157 was the first change to occur on 3rd December 2016, changing from Abellio London to Arriva London using existing Enviro 400s from the 133, which got DWs out of yet another Arriva fleet shuffle.

Arriva London T128 on Route 157, West Croydon Bus Station
Arriva London T128 on Route 157, West Croydon Bus Station (© Aubrey)

Crews are based from Thornton Heath (TH), however the buses are parked at Norwood (N) for this route. The route returns (in some form) to Thornton Heath since November 1988, when the route was moved to Sutton (A) under the Sutton Bus scheme. On Sundays, Thornton Heath based Enviro 400s are used instead of the ones partially shared with the 2/133.

Arriva London T114 on Route 157, Morden Station
Arriva London T114 on Route 157, Morden Station (© Aubrey)

Yes, the lighting is poor here.
The buses that these replace include worn-out Volvo B7TLs bought from the time with Travel London, and ex-Connex, ex-Travel London and then Abellio London Dennis Trident/ALX400s, with some lasting from the first day on the 157 with Connex, to the last day of the 157 with Abellio London.

Abellio London 9756 on Route 157, Wallington Station
Abellio London 9756 on Route 157, Wallington Station (© Aubrey)

The route is an orbital suburban route running from Morden to Crystal Palace, via Croydon. The last significant routeing change was when it was cut from Raynes Park (via current 164>163) to Morden Station. It is a fairly busy route, although it is paralleled by National Rail lines roughly throughout.

Arriva London T128 on Route 157, Morden Station
Arriva London T128 on Route 157, Morden Station (© Aubrey)

Other than the first bus from Morden running 15 minutes late, the 157 seems to be settled with Arriva's Enviro 400s for the next few years. There has been no notable complaints with the 157 service, so far.