More Go-Ahead electrics ...

Saturday 3rd February 2018 was a very busy day in London with no fewer than six routes changing operator on the same day; 153, 299, 343/N343, B14 and W4.

This mini-post though covers the operator change on route 153 which saw Go-Ahead's third batch of E200 BYD electric single deckers come into service.

The route, from Finsbury Park to Moorgate used to be operated by CT Plus from Ash Grove with a fleet of generic E200 single decks. The tender announcement for this route was cobbled together with routes 46, 214 and 274, which were all being tendered for as electric routes, but with varying start dates. The 153 start date came first, with the 46 & 274 (awarded hybrid double decks) in June 2018, and the 214 in summer 2019.

Go-Ahead's 153 10.8m electrics, SEe65-76, are based at Northumberland Park, as will the 214 and its SEes from 2019.

Go-Ahead SEe66 arrives at Finsbury Park displaying the latest version of the "Finsbury Park" blind display.
© Tommy Cooling

Go-Ahead SEe67 leaves Finsbury Park heading towards Moorgate on the 153.
© Tommy Cooling

SEe66 picking up at Finsbury Park Station Interchange.
© Tommy Cooling

Post by Tommy Cooling
Some of these images and more can be found on my Flickr page:
Please do not reproduce any of my images without permission


Hybrid Metroline

Metroline ordered 167 new Volvo Gemini 3 B5LHs (VWH2266-2432) in 2017 for new routes 120 and 222, plus to upgrade routes at Willesden and Holloway to hybrid following a number of retained contracts.

VWH batch 1 (2266-2284)
These 19 vehicles were ordered for Metroline's take up of the 120 in June 2017.

Metroline VWH2276 arrives at Hounslow Bus Station at the end of its trip on the 120 in September 2017.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH batch 2 (2285-2305)
These 21 vehicles originally ordered for the new contracts on routes 260 & 302. As the new 10.6m Gemini 3s ordered (VWH2322+) failed their route surveys, this batch was diverted away from Willesden into Perivale to release VWHs 2001-2021 (10.5m version) to Holloway for routes 4 & 17.

VWH2296 stands in East Acton before heading into Central London on Route 7 to Oxford Circus in September 2017.
Route 7 is seeing new 2017 hybrids replace the existing 2014 hybrids which are moving to Holloway for the new contracts on routes 4 and 17. The new VWHs failed the route tests so older VWHs which passed grace the routes instead to fulfil the contractual requirements.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH batch 3 (2306-2321)
These 16 vehicles were also ordered for the new contracts on routes 260 and 302. Due to low-emission Euro 6 requirements for Central London routes to take place in the not-to-distant future, it was decided that these vehicles would be diverted on the 52 instead, displacing the older Euro 5 2012 VWHs which should end up on route 460.

VWH2312 pulls off stand and out of Willesden Garage to form a Route 52 service to Victoria, in February 2018.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH2313 leaves Queen's Park whilst working on Route 6 to Aldwych in October 2017.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH batch 4 (2322-2344)
These 23 vehicles were ordered for the new contract on route 17. As the Gemini 3 failed the Holloway route tests, these vehicles have been diverted into Willesden garage displacing VWH2088-2118 to Holloway for routes 4 and 17.

At time of publishing, VWH2336 and 2337 are currently at West Perivale covering for two broken SELs. These two hybrid vehicles will end up at Willesden once the SELs have been fixed.

VWH2341 is seen at Charing Cross on Route 6 after arriving at Willesden from its stint at Uxbridge, in November 2017.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH batch 5 (2345-2363)
These 19 vehicles were ordered for Metroline's take up of the 222 in September 2017.
This batch is mixed in terms of allocation with VWH2167-2186 at Uxbridge such that both sets of hybrids can operate on the 114 and 222.

VWH2347 in Uxbridge on Route 222 in October 2017
Note, with these newer vehicles the front blinds have been moved closer to the glass making them easier to see at an angle.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH batch 6 (2364-2381)
These 18 vehicles were ordered for the new contract on route 4. These have also been diverted to Willesden and will convert routes 260 and 302 to Euro 6 hybrid.

Metroline VWH2377 pulls away in Kensal Green on Route 302 to Mill Hill, in February 2018.
Some of this batch have been retrofitted with flashing lights for Oxford Street (visible next to the front indicators).
© Tommy Cooling
Metroline VWH2365 calls in Kensal Green on Route 6 to Willesden Garage in February 2018.
Some of this batch have been retrofitted with flashing lights for Oxford Street (visible next to the front indicators).
© Tommy Cooling

VWH batch 7 (2382-2432)
The remaining 51 vehicles were ordered for the new contracts on routes 6 & 98.

At time of publishing VWH2384 and 2413 are currently at West Perivale, temporarily replacing two VWs, VW1196 and 1197 which are currently on a Euro 6 trial at Willesden (see picture below). These four buses will swap back to their home garages later on.

Metroline VWH2417 in Kensal Green heads towards the Bus Stand on Route 302 in February 2018.
Some of the new VWHs at Willesden have reused the old blinds from the 2015 VWHs. VW1197 displays a new blind set.
© Tommy Cooling

Subsequent Hybrid movements
VWH 2001-2021
These vehicles moved to Holloway to satisfy the contractual agreements for Routes 4 and 17. The new 10.6m Gemini 3s ordered failed their route surveys due to the longer overhang. 2285-2305 replaced these.

VWH2003 pauses at King's Cross station on Pentonville Road on route 17 operates a short working to King's Cross due to various road closures for the Prudential RideLondon cycle event, in July 2017.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH 2088-2118
These vehicles moved to Holloway to satisfy the contractual agreements for Routes 4 and 17. The new 10.6m Gemini 3s ordered failed their route surveys due to the longer overhang. 2306-2344 replaced these.

VWH2094 passes St. Paul's Cathedral during a break in traffic whilst on Route 17 to London Bridge in October 2017.
This bus had moved from Potters Bar to Holloway for hybrid type training prior to new start of the new contract on Route 17, having originally started life at Willesden Junction assisting on Route 295.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH 2167-2186
These buses filled in for the late arrival of 2345-2363 on Route 222 meaning that vehicles had to be drafted in to cover on the 114. 14 hybrids from store bound for Perivale and Willesden satisfied this (see below).

VWH2170 arrives at Hounslow Bus Station on Route 222 on the first morning with Metroline, in September 2017.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH 2289-2341 (14 vehicles, with gaps)
VWHs 2289, 2311, 2318, 2319, 2320, 2322, 2323, 2327, 2328, 2329, 2331, 2334, 2341 all from store covered the 114 along with a few TEs whilst 2167-2185 ran the 222 due to the late arrival of the 222s vehicles. As these buses were not intended to be used before arriving at their due garages, none had the correct blinds during their time at Uxbridge. As a result of this, slipboard designs were drawn up prior to their introduction into service in mid-September.

VWH2328 on stand at Ruislip Station on Route 114 in September 2017.
© Tommy Cooling

Post by Tommy Cooling
Some of these images and more can be found on my Flickr page:
Please do not reproduce any of my images without permission

Branding Hayes

Following on from the route branding trial in Barkingside over summer 2017, Hayes became TfL's next target area to splash some colour over. An area with declining bus passenger usage, and an area soon to become home to Crossrail, TfL's idea is to brand the routes that traverse through Hayes to get people back onto the bus in time to draw them into Crossrail from late 2018/2019.
This branding has been applied on routes; 90, 140, 195, 350, 427, 607, A10, E6, H98, U4, U5 & U7.
Unlike the Barkingside trial, the Hayes scheme only features the route's "via points" on the near-side and rear of the bus, and the splashes of colour merely confined to these, and the Route number and frequency stickers. In addition to this, only around 25% of each route's allocation is being branded [cost saving], whereas Barkingside has 75% of each route.
TfL's poor current state of affairs is plain to see from this scheme with incorrect branding on no fewer than three of the twelve routes, with grammatical errors, and very questionable via points on others. Just to summarise these:
- the advertised frequencies on routes 350, E6 and U4 are incorrect following TfL's frequency cutbacks
- capital "B" but lowercase "s" in "Bus station"
- intu Uxbridge and Intu Uxbridge [a shopping centre]
- large parts of routes not showing, 140 nothing between Harrow & Hayes, or 427/ 607 Ealing & Uxbridge (no via point in the Hayes area!)
- use of Lake Farm country Park over Stockley Business Park [main purpose of the A10 route!]

Route 90
VW1176 with branding for Route 90 showing the front and side attempts.
© Tommy Cooling

VW1176 showing the side and rear Route 90 branding.
© Tommy Cooling
VW1176 passing Hayes ASDA showing off  the Hayes branding.
© Tommy Cooling

Route 140

VWH2237 passes the Lombardy Retail Park in Hayes showing the branding for Route 140.
© Tommy Cooling

In detail view of the side branding on VWH2237.
© Tommy Cooling

View of the rear Route 140 branding.
© Tommy Cooling

VWH2237 showing of the branding in Hayes Town Centre.
© Tommy Cooling

Route 195

Abellio 8876 showing the Route 195 branding in Hayes.
© Tommy Cooling

Route 350

Abellio 8894 showing the branding for Route 350 by Hayes ASDA.
© Tommy Cooling

Side-on view of the Route 350 branding.
© Tommy Cooling

Route 427

Abellio 2552 showing the Route 427 branding in Hillingdon Heath.
© Tommy Cooling

Route 607

Metroline VW1570 showing the Route 607 branding on the approach to Hayes By-Pass.
© Tommy Cooling

A view of the rear Route 607 branding attempts on VW1570.
© Tommy Cooling

Route Al0

Metroline DE1585 in Hillingdon Heath showing the Route A10 branding.
© Tommy Cooling

Route H98

London United DLE3001 showing, what looks like incomplete, H98 branding in Hayes Town.
© Tommy Cooling

The rear view of the H98 branding.
© Tommy Cooling

Route E6

Metroline DE1911 showing the E6 branding in Greenford.
© Tommy Cooling

The rear of the E6 branding.
© Tommy Cooling

The E6 branding is currently missing the route number & frequency stickers which are being replaced due to TfL errors.
© Tommy Cooling

Route U4

Metroline TE1573 showing the Route U4 branding in Hayes.
© Tommy Cooling

Metroline TE1573 showing the front and side branding attempts for the U4.
© Tommy Cooling

The rear view of the Route U4 branding.
© Tommy Cooling

Route U5

Abellio 2579 showing the Route U5 branding in Hayes.
© Tommy Cooling

Route U7

Abellio 8570 showing the Route U7 branding at Hayes Sainsbury's.
© Tommy Cooling

Off the beaten track

VWH2188 showing off the 140 branding whilst in Cricklewood on Route 182!
© Tommy Cooling

Post by Tommy Cooling
Some of these images and more can be found on my Flickr page:
Please do not reproduce any of my images without permission



Another route that changed operator on Saturday 11th November was the 176, which Go-Ahead nabbed off Arriva London. This spelt this end of the VLA, Volvo chassied Alexander Dennis ALX400s, operation in Central London.

 Route 176
One of the last remaining homes of the VLA class of bus was on Arriva's route 176, route 142 being another solid VLA home albeit until early 2018 only when RATP take the route.

VLA74 crawls along the Strand in heavy traffic with a curtailed 176 behind.
It should be noted that VLA74 was the second in a procession of three 176s caught up in this traffic.
© Tommy Cooling
VLA65 calls at Waterloo Station.
© Tommy Cooling

Arriva London VLA17 circles St. George's Circus near Elephant & Castle on a Route 176 service to Penge.
The routes passes to Go-Ahead's Camberwell garage.
© Tommy Cooling

The route passed to Go-Ahead at Camberwell garage using a fleet of existing Euro 6 vehicles with a small top-up batch of 67-reg EHs. The 176 sees a daily allocation of MHVs and WHVs, with EHs (new and "old") forming the majority.

EH75 was one of the existing hybrid vehicles used on Route 176 which was won by Go-Ahead on a mixture of new and existing hybrid vehicles. The route uses older WHVs and EHs topped up with a small batch of new EHs.
© Tommy Cooling

EH170, part of the small batch of E400 MMCs for the 176, waits for time outside Waterloo Station.
© Tommy Cooling
WVH112 on the 176 at St. George's Circus shows some of the existing vehicles used on the route.
© Tommy Cooling
MHV55 at St. George's Circus also demonstrates the use of existing vehicles.
© Tommy Cooling

Post by Tommy Cooling
Some of these images and more can be found on my Flickr page:
Please do not reproduce any of my images without permission


Picture Archive Post 67

Finally, a night bus service to Terminal 4.
First Berkshire VSH69929 on Route N7, Hatton Cross Station, 28/09/2016
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

Route N7 began after the "rationalisation" of the First Berkshire network, splitting the Heathrow routes to a core route to Slough, with the other half of the routes being localised to terminate at Slough. Night service by First Berkshire from Slough to Heathrow began on 5th September 2015, when the 75 (to Heathrow Central via Langley Harrow Market) and 78 (to Heathrow Terminal 5 via Trelawney Avenue) had an added hourly night service. This stayed as far as 24th September 2016, when the routes were split. The N7 was formed as a night service, which ran every 30 minutes Slough-Heathrow Terminal 5, before running alternately to Heathrow Central and Hatton Cross via Terminal 4. The part between Hatton Cross and Heathrow Terminal 4 only lasted about 10 nights, being withdrawn on 3rd October 2016. Passenger numbers between Heathrow Terminal 4 and Hatton Cross were so low, it is likely that the author was the only passenger ever to Hatton Cross on the N7. The N7 thus continued as Slough-Heathrow Central/Terminal 4 until the morning of the 19th January 2018. Further cuts on First Berkshire has caused the withdrawal of the N7 service, with a few 7 journeys replacing the latest N7 journeys. Thus ends the short-lived attempt to give Heathrow's forgotten terminal a night bus service.
Yes, somehow, Transport for London don't give Heathrow Terminal 4 a night bus service, yet commercial First Berkshire managed it for a couple of years.

VSH69929 is one of a few Volvo 7900s in the UK, and harks back to a more successful 7series era. 2013 was when First Berkshire obtained these buses to upgrade the 7series routes, then consisting of the 71, 75, 76, 77 and 78. With the Green Bus Grant partly funding these buses, this bus was part of a batch of 10 initial hybrid buses for Berkshire. A further 5 buses were ordered in 2014, thus 15 Volvo 7900s now are supposed to form the whole allocation of the 7. When these were ordered, they supplemented and replaced part of the large Citaro fleet for the 7series. Heathrow-Slough via Langley at the time was 8bph. After the most recent cuts, the service has been reduced to 4bph.
These buses still show the erroneous 8 buses per hour figure, as these buses have not been rebranded to show the current situation. They are still at Slough Garage though, although with the cuts to First's services, one can only worry what could happen in the future.

Post by Aubrey Morandarte
All rights reserved © WLTMTB 2018


Sovereign's Next Step

For the first change of the year, on 6th January 2018, Routes 142 and 642 moved from Arriva London North to RATP London Sovereign.

The 142 and 642 are allocated ADL Enviro 400s displaced from the loss of routes 120 and 222 at Hounslow to Metroline. These buses had worked [mostly] all their lives from Hounslow, thus this is a change of scenery for these buses from their usual haunts on the 81, 120, 222, H98 and occasional trips on the 111 and H32.

Gleaming first day?
Logo work on some of the ADEs has occurred with ADE40418 being one with London Sovereign logos seen turning to Edgware High Street enroute to Watford.
(© Tommy Cooling)

London Sovereign ADE40429 on Route 142, Edgware
Newly refurbished ADE40429 stops on Edgware Road (Edgware High Street) enroute to Brent Cross
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

As a result of the 142 changes, a few other changes were required for the route to squeeze into Edgware Garage. Edgware's 183 allocation had to move into Harrow as the Gospel Oak to Barking London Overground rail replacement Service J took up the remaining garage space. To fit the 183 into Harrow, routes 398 and H17 moved to London United's Atlas Road garage on a permanent basis, as well as six 183 buses (drivers still based at Harrow), albeit on a very temporary basis until the LO-J service finished later in January.

Hybrid 142 [Explored]
VHs from the 139 allocation also strayed onto the 142 on the first day, with VH45106 being an example at Stanmore.
(© Tommy Cooling)

Other buses on the first day strayed onto the 142, including VHs, and SP40135 originally from the London United division, for Route 10 then Route E3.

London Sovereign SP40135 on Route 142, Brent Cross
SP40135 seen at the southern terminus, just starting another journey towards Watford Junction.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

The Polish influence [Explored]
SP40135, having finished the journey it was seen on above, now turned at Watford to head back towards London.
(© Tommy Cooling)

First day service was generally alright, although there were some notable gaps of 20+ minutes. These gaps were, however, few and far between. Overall, service was decent for the first day. With familiar drivers amongst possibly other staff, the service should settle to a normal, improved state.

London Sovereign ADE40434 on Route 142, Edgware Station
Some of the buses still have their AV (Hounslow) codes in original yellow, although the logos, garage codes and refurbishment are due for some ADEs still. To be honest though, the unrefurbished examples do not have many notable signs of wear.  Unrefurbished ADE40434 is seen turning into Edgware Station.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

London Sovereign VH45121 on Route 142, Stanmore
Multiple VHs saw service on the first day of the 142, with VH45121 advertising Too Faced in the middle of Central London being far away from said store, at Stanmore.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

Prior to London Sovereign, the 142 has only been at Garston, since 1986, having been won then by London Country from London Transport, then still under National Bus Company control (for only 3 more months). Between 1986 and 2018, during its time at Garston, it was run either with the ordered Olympians (LRs), ordered DAF DB250s (60xx), or...err.. anything TfL at Garston Garage!

Arriva Shires 6014 on Route 142, Brent Cross
6014 (DLA614) showing the order after the low-floor conversion of the 142 back in 2003. 6000-6024 was the combined order for the 142 and 340, with 6025 (DLA625) (the last ever DLA-class to be built) as a top-up in 2004 for the 142.
(CC Aubrey Morandarte)

2 is company, 3 is a crowd & 4 is ... [Explored]
The allocation later became the VLA-class Volvo B7TL/ALX 400 displaced from other parts of the Arriva London area. 4 examples are seen here at Watford Junction.
(© Tommy Cooling)

6100 and 6101, side by side
The route did also see the use of Wrightbus vehicles too with the Volvo chassis (VLW-class) and the intergral (DW-class). Here 6100 (later DW190) and 6101 (later DW191) pass at Edgware Bus Station. These two were bought by Arriva for the 640 school contract in 2009.
(© Lewis Nagle)

However, a more too familiar sight was the single deckers on the double decker routes, even when deckers were found on single decker routes!

Garston doing what Garston does best [Explored]
A Cadet during the last few days of 142 operation by Arriva London North at Watford Junction. The use of singles on this route (and the 258) had become common place during the last few months of the contract.
(© Tommy Cooling)

Double single
And on the odd occasion, singles on both routes have been captured together, with [now withdrawn] Cadet DWL97 (3728) and PDL117 in Bushey.
(© Tommy Cooling)

Single to Brent Cross
A rarer sight was to see the few Dart/Pointer buses at Garston on the 142, as Garston only had a few. Back in 2015 and under Arriva Shires control, 3804 is seen at Brent Cross.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

As a result of this there were a number of knock on effects, a number of Arriva's remaining VLAs were withdrawn, the last remaining VLWs were/will be withdrawn. A couple of the older deckers will need to be kept for scheduled school workings on the H18 and H19, alongside the new Streetdecks allocated to the 340. All of Garston's routes are now scheduled to move out of the garage, mainly to wins by other operators leaving the sole 340 to move to Palmers Green. Their two closest routes are now with RATP London Sovereign, and later on this year, after the rest of the routes will move away, Garston Garage site will be sold to developers. It's a sad time for many enthusiasts, as Garston holds a significant historical relevance in today's bus operations, being one of the few original London Country garages left.

Post by Tommy Cooling & Aubrey Morandarte
Photos by Tommy Cooling, Lewis Nagle & Aubrey Morandarte

All rights reserved © WLTMTB 2018
Please do not reproduce any images without permission