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 From 1970, the 27 was withdrawn between Richmond and Teddington on Monday-Friday (replaced by 270).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 From 1982, the Sunday FW and HT allocations were withdrawn, the 33 replaced the 27 between Richmond and Teddington and thus ran between Archway and Richmond only.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In 1991, the AV allocation was moved back to Stamford Brook, the Holloway (HT) allocation withdrawn and the route truncated on each side to run between Camden Town and Turnham Green.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)

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