10/05/2017

(Nearly) All Change on the Uxbridge Road

It's been nearly all change recently for the Uxbridge Road corridor, with all but the 607 changing allocations.

The first change came on 10th/11th February 2017, with the N207 moving from HZ (Hayes) Garage to UX (Uxbridge). Enviro 400s and Volvo B7TLs replaced the firmly allocated Scania OmniCity buses, which have been the sole allocation since the route fully moved to HZ/HS back with First in 2011.

Metroline West TE1581 on Route N207, Ealing Broadway
Metroline West TE1581 on Route N207, Ealing Broadway (© Aubrey)

Some TEs from the 607 have new blinds for the 114, and this one thus demonstrates the newer blind style on the N207....with blind lighting needing improvement.

N207 to Hanwell Broadway
Metroline West VW1561 on Route N207, Ealing Broadway (© Aubrey)

And surprisingly, on the first night of UX operation, they had managed to curtail an N207 at Hanwell Broadway. Night buses are rarely curtailed short of the timetabled curtailments, thus this example is pretty notable.

Metroline West VW1563 on Route N207, Ealing Broadway
Metroline West VW1563 on Route N207, Ealing Broadway (© Aubrey)

Here is a more normal destination for the N207, being Holborn. Some buses on the first night had 607 or 207 side and rear blinds.

The N207 moving to UX also meant some late evening journeys on the 207 also moved to UX, leading to the same vehicles running on the 207:

Limited Stop 207?
Metroline West VW1567 on Route 207, Shepherd's Bush (© Tommy)

Some of the 207 VWs, for the first few evenings at least, were using 607 blindset destinations for the 207, thus the oddity of a 207 being limited stop is shown here!

Metroline West TE1742 on Route 207, White City
Metroline West TE1742 on Route 207, White City (© Aubrey)

Other TEs had the older blindset from Greenford, which included the 207. Thus the 207 on some of these SN09 registered buses were "normal" for the 207.

Blue 207
Metroline West TE1574 on Route 207, Shepherd's Bush (© Aubrey)

However, the newly blinded sets did not initially have 207, but have it as an additional insert. This meant that the 607 blue destination for White City is used.

The Scania OmniCity buses, a staple on the N207 and 207 since the bendy conversion in 2011, were to also move, before cascades would move the leased buses away from the Metroline fleet. The cull was done on the 8th April.

Last Metroline West Scania OmniCity
Metroline West SN1924 on Route 207, Acton Old Town Hall (© Aubrey)
The last Scania on the 207 was this bus, being also one of the last 207s in service for the evening.

During this time, the future allocation of the 207 was running on the 427. This included transferred B9TLs from Holloway Garage:

New at the end
Metroline West VW1286 on Route 427, Uxbridge (© Tommy)

On the 8th April, the 427 moved within Hayes from the Metroline garage to the tighter spaced Abellio garage.

Abellio 427
Abellio London 2558 on Route 427, Acton Twyford Avenue (© Tommy)

New Alexander-Dennis Enviro 400MMC hybrid buses are the new order, cleaning up the western end of the route, ever so slightly.

Abellio London 2402 on Route 427, Ealing Common
Abellio London 2402 on Route 427, Ealing Common (© Aubrey)

However, some of the 427's buses had not arrived for the start of the route, so some hybrids from Walworth Garage also moved over for the start of the 427. These buses started out on Route 188. As there are now many hybrid double deckers at Abellio, some of the 427's buses have made it on the E1, E9 and U5.

Abellio London 2573 on Route 427, Ealing Common Station
Abellio London 2573 on Route 427, Ealing Common Station (© Aubrey)

First day service on the 427 was not too bad, but the new operator only has a shorter, 3 year contract to impress TfL. This is due to the Crossrail Elizabeth Line being introduced, which may change the patterns on the western end of the Uxbridge Road. The current GWR service is thin with short trains, so the Uxbridge Road corridor buses usually have a higher usage as a bus corridor.

Meanwhile, Route 207 had moved to Greenford Garage and gained the old 427 allocation. Which meant that all the buses with jammed blinds out of the 427 batch either gained new blinds, or were wrenched forcibly to display 207 instead!

Metroline West VW1834 on Route 207, Ealing Common
Metroline West VW1834 on Route 207, Ealing Common (© Aubrey)

All of the 427's VWs however did not have White City blinds. The first day was interesting though as people did not know whether the route was actually curtailed to Shepherd's Bush, or was displaying that in lieu of White City.

Travelling "West"
Metroline West VW1266 on Route 207, Acton Twyford Avenue (© Tommy)

These buses had moved from Holloway on Route 134, bringing more Volvo B9TLs to top up the existing fleet from the 427 to make the 207 allocation.

The first day of the 207 under Greenford was, slower to say the least. However, things have improved since the first few days.

Many Buses, One Corridor
Thus the current scene of the day part of the Uxbridge Road corridor is as shown in this photo.
(© Aubrey)

Two VWs on the 207 (of different origins and different batches), Abellio on Route 427 and the 607...still with its Enviro 400s....

Metroline West VWH2184 on Route 607, Ealing Common
.....and the odd rogue appearance of an 114 bus. (© Aubrey)

It's been all change on the corridor, with shuffles of buses nearly everywhere bringing new types, ousting old types and shuffling around existing types. The 207 regains a Greenford allocation since 2001, with the experimental articulated buses. It also gains the Uxbridge allocation for the first time since the split of the route back in 2005. The N207 returns to Greenford after a short absence of 6 years. And the 427 introduces a new operator to the main corridor routes (207/427/607/N207) for the first time, as all of those routes have been operated by Centrewest, or descendants of it since sectorisation/privatisation back in 1989.

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