Sullivan Hoppa

Metroline lost the W9 to Sullivan Buses, one of two routes to do this move in 2017. The other one, the 217, moves later in June 2017.

Sullivan Buses AE23 on Route W9, Southgate Station
Sullivan Buses AE23 on Route W9, Southgate Station (© Aubrey)

Another slightly lagging blog post, but we are all pretty busy people!
On 4th February 2017, Sullivan Buses took over Route W9 from Metroline with new Enviro 200MMCs with stop-start technology.

Sullivan Buses AE20 on Route W9, Southgate Station
Sullivan Buses AE20 on Route W9, Southgate Station (© Aubrey)

These buses replace Enviro 200s from Metroline which were delivered mid-contract (as part of a batch with the 234). Those buses had replaced DSDs (Darts) cast-off from the 206. Metroline had run the route from Potters Bar for just under 17 years before Sullivan took over. This route is the first of two to leave Metroline at Potters Bar for Sullivan Buses at South Mimms.

Sullivan Buses AE12 on Route 298 passes AE23 on Route W9, Southgate Station (© Aubrey)

Currently, both of the full-time daytime routes that Sullivan Buses operate (the 298 and W9) cross paths at Southgate Station. The existing 298 Enviro 200s have blinds for the new route gains, and at least one of them have already been on the W9. The buses for the 298 are being refurbished to have the same moquette as the Enviro 200MMCs on W9, and the future buses for the 217.
The interior is of the style similar to the ones seen in CT Plus's new Enviro 200s, as well as many Enviro 400City buses with Arriva and CT Plus. This interior is devoid of company references, and is more "London-like".

Sullivan Buses AE23 on Route W9, Southgate Station
Sullivan Buses AE23 on Route W9, Southgate Station (© Aubrey)

Therefore, Southgate Station is a shared dwell point. The changeover point for the W9 is at Chase Farm Hospital, and Sullivan are running the route fairly well, running most buses on time.

The W9 is a local linker between Southgate, Winchmore Hill, Highlands Village, Grange Park, Enfield and Chase Farm. Starting out as an experimental minibus route, only W9 and P4 out of the original 4 introduced in 1972 still exist today. The section between Southgate and Enfield has been pretty much constant throughout its life, but between 1982 and 1991, W9 replaced Route 244 to Muswell Hill. That section is now the 299 (Muswell Hill-Cockfosters). At the same time, it was extended to Chase Farm Hospital. It was one of the few routes to be tendered to a non-LBSL unit, operating with Eastern National (Thamesway), which was part of the Badgerline group. In the 1990s, this was one of many local linker routes to gain "Hoppa" branding. This eventually became First Capital before moving to Metroline in 2000.

Evening Sullivans
(© Aubrey)

The W9 seems to have settled down with Sullivan Buses, and now with a new iBus office in South Mimms, Sullivan can prosper with the highest amount of TfL routes they've ever had in the two times they had a foray into TfL tendering. It does seem that Sullivan Buses are here to stay as a TfL bus operator, and not just school buses.


Picture Archive Post 57

London Sovereign SP82 on Route N13  & Metroline West SN1952 on Route N207, Oxford Circus, 22/06/13
London Sovereign SP82 on Route N13 & Metroline West SN1952 on Route N207, Oxford Circus, 22/06/13

A scene you will not see anymore after the morning of 31st March 2017. Although it's been pretty rare since August 2013 when the N13 gained Volvo B5LHs as part of the new contract back in 2013. Also, since February 2017, the N207 has been based at Uxbridge Garage, so only a few SNs have appeared on the N207 recently. The N13 will be withdrawn from 31st March 2017.

Route N13 started out as a route between Trafalgar Square and North Finchley run by Finchley Garage by MCW Metrobuses in April 1984. The route was extended to Barnet Church via Route 263 in October 1984. In July 1992, the route was extended south to Victoria, akin to many night routes at the time, to take advantage of meal break facilities there. Under sectorisation, it went under London Northern. In December 1993, the route was extended to Potters Bar, as the route was moved to PB. In June 1995, the route was shortened back to its original length, and moved to Holloway Garage.
In September 2001, along with the transfer of the evening/Sunday service on Route 13, the route transferred to Sovereign Buses from Edgware (BT). Through the takeover of Sovereign by London United, the 13 initially had OPO buses from other routes, before getting the 13's Scania N94UD/Scania OmniDekkas (SLEs) when the 13 was converted to OPO. The frequency was increased in 2008, only to be reverted back to every 20 minutes after N113 was introduced in June 2012. New Volvo B5LHs/Gemini 2 (VHs) were introduced in August 2013, along with the new Transdev logo. The logo was only worn on those VHs before Transdev sold LS to RATP, and now Gemini 3 VHs also ply the route, as well as the odd Volvo B5LH/New Routemaster-style VHRs.
The route will be withdrawn on 31st March 2017, as the N13 becomes the 13N, and is rerouted to Victoria (akin to the 82). The route will be replaced by the 139N (run by London Sovereign), 13N (run by Tower Transit) and N113 (still run by Metroline).

Route N207 started out as Route 289 running between London Bridge and Southall. During the trolleybus withdrawal scheme, the number 289 needed to be freed for future day bus use, so the route was renumbered N89. The 289 number was not used until 1968, however. The N89 started in September 1960, and ran as far as Uxbridge from April 1984 via Route 207 (at the time). By 1989, one journey ran to Heathrow North, Bath Road, and by 1993, there were journeys to Uxbridge via Heathrow Central, and journeys to Ruislip Station via Greenford and Northolt (replacing N50). The Heathrow Airport journey was withdrawn in October 1995.
In October 1996, the N89 was renumbered N207. The route was simplified to run between Uxbridge and Victoria via Trafalgar Square. The route was under First Centrewest control, run by Alperton and Uxbridge garages. In November 1999, the route was withdrawn between Trafalgar Square and Victoria, and Alperton allocation was replaced by Acton. In April 2000, the route was rerouted to its current extent of Uxbridge-Holborn. In March 2008, the Acton Tram Depot garage closed, so the route partially moved to Hayes (HZ) garage. The Uxbridge allocation was withdrawn on December 2011, leaving Scania OmniCity N230UD being the usual, firm allocation. On 12th February, the N207 was allocated back to Uxbridge Garage, where it is currently. Some late night/early morning journeys on the 207 are thus operated with N207 buses. They are now Enviro 400s and Volvo B7TLs.

SP82 was ordered for the contract renewal for Route 183, and is still on Route 183, although it moved from Edgware (BT) to Harrow (SO). The bus has not been on any other route since the 114 in July 2015. It is now SP40082 after RATP's renumbering of fleet codes.

SN1952 started out as First Centrewest's SN36064, ordered for the 207 conversion from articulated Citaro buses to these buses. Scania OmniCity buses were ordered as Wrightbus and ADL were busy with orders, and the buses were required to meet Boris Johnson's requirement for bendy buses to be withdrawn before 2012. The bendy replacement is more expensive and arguably a downgrade. Of course, it's the Borismaster. SN36064 transferred to Metroline West on 22nd June 2013 as First sold most of its London assets to Metroline and new operator Tower Transit, having already sold Northumberland Park and non-Stagecoach losses in East London to Go-Ahead. It still plys the 207 mainly from Hayes Garage (HZ).


Go-Back to BN

Enviro 400H City on the 133 and 333
Arriva London HA47 on Route 333 in front of a HA on Route 133, Elephant & Castle (© Aubrey)

New buses for the 133, 333 and N133 arrive as the 333 moves from London General to Arriva London South on 21st January 2017. Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400H City buses entered service on these routes, replacing diesel  Enviro 400s (which already are on the 157) on the 133/N133. However, not all the new order are new buses.

South London Arriva Changes
Arriva London HV27 on Route 133, Elephant & Castle (© Tommy)

Existing Volvo B5LH/Wright Gemini 2s from Arriva London North have been drafted south for the existing component for the contracts. Along with this, the 133 has moved from Norwood Garage to Brixton Garage, which it passes. Thus, the 133 returns to Brixton Garage since the route moved from South London to London General back in 1990.

Arriva London HV23 on Route 333, Elephant & Castle
Arriva London HV23 on Route 333, Elephant & Castle (© Aubrey)

Route 333, which was formed from the split of the 133, and rerouted to go via Stockwell (hence the 415 exists), has also moved to Brixton Garage. This route was with London General from introduction in January 2003, and had only ever been at Stockwell Garage with the same Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini buses.

Arriva London HA26 on Route 333, Kennington
Arriva London HA26 on Route 333, Kennington (© Aubrey)

The 333 also getting the new buses, seen here approaching the 133/333 split part. The 333 was not running with too many issues throughout the day, with the odd curtailment mainly happening on the 133.

Refurbished and New on the 133
Arriva London DW286 and HA36 on Route 133, Elephant & Castle (© Aubrey)

The first N133s the previous night were of the HA kind, so I (Aubrey) had missed the N133 launch with new buses. Therefore, in the next few weeks with night bus observations, Aubrey got a few photos of the N133 with its new buses:

Arriva London HA35 on Route N133, Morden
Arriva London HA35 on Route N133, Morden Station (© Aubrey)

The N133 was introduced when the 133 was split into two sections. It has since been diverted to Mitcham, and since extended to Morden as part of Night Tube. It is a fairly useful night route for the local area.

Arriva London HA39 on Route N133, London Bridge
Arriva London HA39 on Route N133, London Bridge (© Aubrey)

The 133, N133 and 333 all had no major hiccups on the first day of the new contracts. Some of the HAs were delivered without LT roundels at the front of the buses.

Left or Wright?
Arriva London HA31 on Route 133 next to London General LT63 on Route 11, Liverpool Street (© Omar)

On the left is the ADL option, on the right is the full Wrightbus option for "specialist bus for London". Technically, the Wrightbus option also has a Volvo chassis option, but the bodystyles are as shown. Opinions are varied for both, but one can clearly see where the Enviro400 City has design nods to the Borismaster. However, the E400 has more in common with the E400MMC than the Borismaster. These two designs can now be seen side-by-side on stand at Liverpool Street Station.

London General WVL115 (Route 11) & Arriva London T111 (Route 133), Liverpool Street
A stark contrast to the same place, nearly 4 years ago (© Aubrey).

4 years ago, it was Enviro 400s on the 133/N133, and Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Geminis on the 11 (which was also the type on the 133 before it moved to Arriva). Things change so quickly. But are the modern designs progress?

Arriva have a good opportunity to do well on these routes, especially as the garage is now on the line of the route. Presentation of most of the new buses were good on the first day. One existing bus was displaying "133 to Arriva", however.



New Operator, Existing Buses (Again)

Metrobus SOE31 on Route 455, Wallington Station
Metrobus SOE31 on Route 455, Wallington Station (© Aubrey)

Route 455 has transferred from Abellio London to Metrobus on 4th March 2017, where existing buses are replaced by existing buses. Optare Esteem and Enviro 200 bodied Enviro 200s are the buses transferred from various garages for the 455. These buses were mainly on the 413, and some had already transferred a couple of months before the 455 gain.

Metrobus SE174 on Route 455, West Croydon Bus Station
Metrobus SE174 on Route 455, West Croydon Bus Station (© Aubrey)

The first day did not bring up any major issues, with drivers drafted from other routes (including the 202) to do the 455's first day. The buses themselves - the Enviro 200 bodied examples tended to yield better rides than the Esteem bodied ones. Which are very uncomfortable, to say the least!

Metrobus SOE31 on Route 455, Purley Old Lodge Lane
Metrobus SOE31 on Route 455, Purley Old Lodge Lane (© Aubrey)

SOE31 had a blind calibration problem, hence it was showing "Clapham Park 455" instead of any destinations. Also, this bus was losing power throughout my (Aubrey's) trip, to the point that the bus stalled at Croydon Town Centre. Although, to be honest, most rides on the SOEs are, in my personal opinion, terrible due to very rattly bodywork.

Metrobus SOE33 on Route 455, West Croydon Bus Station
Metrobus SOE33 on Route 455, West Croydon Bus Station (© Aubrey)

It seems that as the 455 had no notable issues running the service, with a few larger than normal gaps only appearing occasionally, all seems well for the 455.