15/12/2018

Central London route changes Part Four

On Saturday 24th November, RATP-dev London United's Route 10 became the first Central London bus route to be cut in its entirety in conjunction with the Oxford Street and Central London bus consultations by TfL. With the aim of removing "excess" bus routes [capacity] off London's flagship shopping street, it was decided that Routes 10 and 23 would be merged at Marble Arch to form a new route running between Westbourne Park and Hammersmith. The former sections of each route, the 23 from Marble Arch to Aldwych and the 10 from Marble Arch to King's Cross, would be withdrawn and no longer served. Marble Arch to Aldwych is still be achievable on one bus by using Route 6, or with a short walk to use Route 139. Marble Arch to King's Cross would still be achievable on Route 390.

These route changes leaves the British Museum unserved by London's famous red buses, and plenty of ordinary punters out in the cold at Marble Arch when their bus from Westbourne Park or Hammersmith fails to find Oxford Street. This was in fact the second recent iteration of Route 23, having only been withdrawn between Liverpool Street and Aldwych in late 2017.


The final London United Route 10 was LT166 in the early hours of November 24th, followed by DN33784 on the first new Tower Transit 23.

TT DN33777 on the 23 to Liverpool Street at Ludgate Circus in June 2017, prior to being cut back to Aldwych.
© Tommy Cooling

TT VNW32416 on the 23 to Aldwych on Oxford Street in October 2017, after being cut back from Liverpool Street.
© Tommy Cooling

TT DNH39126 on the 23 passes RATP London United LT83 on the 10 along Oxford Street, a scene no longer possible.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/30821636057/in/album-72157664460961351/
© Tommy Cooling

RATP London United LT85 under the Oxford Street lights, in the last few days on Route 10.

© Tommy Cooling

RATP London United LT80 passes the British Museum, now no longer served by a red London bus.
© Tommy Cooling


RATP London United LT163 with Russell Square in the background, on Bedford Place no longer served by a TfL bus route.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/45755943451/in/album-72157665247070991/
© Tommy Cooling

The new route, which now runs from Westbourne Park to Hammersmith kept the 23 route number, and stayed with the 23s operator, Tower Transit, at Westbourne Park (X), as well as keeping its previous E40H DNH allocation. London United's Route 10 was withdrawn in its entirety, and its allocation swapped to Route 27 causing further fleet reshuffles inside London United.

TT DNH39118 on the 23 at Paddington, heading for its new home at Hammersmith.
© Tommy Cooling

The previous 27 allocation.
RATP ADH[450]36 on the 27 at Notting Hill Gate.
© Tommy Cooling
The new 27 allocation using the former Route 10 LTs.
RATP LT81 on the 27 opposite St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington.
© 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

28/11/2018

Routemasters make special November appearances

Iconic red London Routemaster buses returned to the streets of London during November marking a string of special events.

On Friday 9th November RML903, owned and maintained by Metroline, undertook a series of trips over Metroline's Route 24 between Hampstead Heath and Pimlico, raising money for the Royal British Legion charity on Poppy Day. This event raised £360 for the charity.

RML903 at Pimlico on the 24.
© Tommy Cooling

RML903 at Hampstead Heath.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/45118867124/in/photostream/
© Tommy Cooling



A similar event took place the following Friday on November 16th for Children in Need, with Metroline's RML903 working special trips over Route 4 between Archway and Waterloo, raising £500 for the Children in Need charity. This occasion was also likely to be the last time RML903 would run to Waterloo on the 4 with its impending cutback to Blackfriars Station, due in 2019 as a result of TfL's Central London bus consultation.

RML903 at Waterloo on the 4, for the last time?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/45857560492/in/photostream/
© Tommy Cooling

A day out with Pudsey on RML903.
© Tommy Cooling



Pudsey even came along to help out!
© Tommy Cooling



















Finchley bus garage (FY) closed on November 25th 1993, and on Sunday 25th November 2018, a special event was organised to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the closure of the garage in North Finchley. The site is now a B&Q store, which retains a original wall from the former bus garage. Finchley garage was home to the early "RML" series, also known as "ERs", Extended Routemasters. Nine of the former allocated RMLs were brought together to run trips over the old 104 and 104A routes; Route 104 operating between Moorgate - Archway (via Islington Angel) - North Finchley - Barnet, and Route 104A operating Golders Green - North Finchley - Barnet. In the event, RMLs from Ensign, The London Bus Company and Metroline were used; ER880, ER882, RML893, RML897, RML898, RML899, RML900, RML902 & RML903.

Ensignbus ER882 at North Finchley.
© Tommy Cooling

RML900 in North Finchley.
© Tommy Cooling

RML902 in Whetstone.
© Tommy Cooling

London Bus Company's RML893 in Whetstone.
© Tommy Cooling

Metroline's RML903 in Barnet.
© Tommy Cooling

RML903 in Archway.
© Tommy Cooling

RML903 at Moorgate Finsbury Square.
© 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

14/11/2018

Excellence...eventually.

After multiple months of anticipation, the high specification BCI Excellence for Go-Ahead London Central finally entered service on the 6th November 2018. It is a high specification bus, with many interior features which are very new to Transport for London services, even though they are already prolific on some buses outside London.

London Central TA1 on Route 12, Oxford Circus
TA1 standing at Oxford Circus awaiting the next journey to Dulwich
© Aubrey Morandarte

Following various mechanical mishaps it ran into, as well as fitting of some new allegedly high-tech axles, it finally was deemed ready to go out on the road.

Initially tipped to work route X68 from Camberwell [Q] garage, the plans were changed after it transpired it would disrupt certain crosslinks involving school routes which it would not fit around. It was also rumoured it might struggle to get round West Croydon bus station, but that is unconfirmed. Therefore a change was made for it to be used on the route 12 between Oxford Circus and Dulwich Library instead. Normally worked by the notorious BorisBuses, as a somewhat more conventional vehicle with front single-door boarding, it was only a matter of time to witness some custom try to board through the back and be told off by the driver. This route also was one of the articulated bus routes in the 2000s.

Apart from the obvious fact that the bus is a 12.5m long tri-axle vehicle, unusually for TfL conditions they are also equipped with high-back Lazzerini seats, 5V USB ports, phone holders [pictured], LED displays (same as 6 of the micro-hybrid MMCs at WH), proper air conditioning units as opposed to usual air-cooling ones used in London, personal 'Stop' buttons due to a noticeable lack of grab poles on the upper deck, and upstairs available seats counter on the lower deck.


A demonstration of the phone rack equipled at the rear of the high-backed seats - given the lower quality plastic nature, how long till one is broken??
(© Alisha Juszczyk)

In addition to that, it also carries some feature branding on the side, and attracted enough attention that even some non-enthusiast people were spotted taking pictures!

Now time will tell how this bus gets on… Let's hope all precautions were taken so that it does not break down again anytime soon - especially that the track record of previous Vantage hybrids in TfL service was not so good. It would also be interesting if more routes were to trialled, especially ones that do not use LTs. 25 anyone?

London Central TA1 on Route 12, Peckham Rye
The journey sampled was one where it curtailed at Peckham Rye, hence the display. The short notice curtailment does show the speed which a destination can be changed on an electronic LED display as opposed to blinds.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

*NEW* Go-Ahead London: TA1 | LX18DGF || 12: Dulwich Library - Oxford Circus
The display can be difficult to photograph at times, as shown here. TA1 shown stopping in Regent Street, by Oxford Circus at the end of a journey from Dulwich Library.
(© Alisha Juszczyk)

TA1 circles St. George's Circus after dark heading towards Dulwich Library.
The new LED screen has come out well here despite being shot at 1/200.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/44842275175/in/dateposted/
© Tommy Cooling
With the advent of Transport for London's ever decreasing demand for buses, as well as the various cuts to service, this bus could be a catalyst for a higher-quality revival. Other than the electronic screens for iBus displays, USB ports and LED displays, the features shown are very new to London service.

Post by Aubrey Morandarte, Alisha Juszczyk
Photos by Aubrey Morandarte, Alisha Juszczyk and Tommy Cooling

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

07/11/2018

Euro Bus Expo 2018

The European BusExpo event returned to the NEC in Birmingham this year. The 2018 event continued on from 2016's focus on varying forms of electric and gas powered vehicles. There was, however, a greater visible shift towards the technology side for passenger information, as well as bus safety.

As follows beneath is my pictorial journey around the Bus Expo arena, enjoy!

Citaro Hybrid
© Tommy Cooling

Mancunian with the Omnibus stand.
© Tommy Cooling

Former Midland Red BMMO D9 5242.
© Tommy Cooling

Yutong Pelican.
© Tommy Cooling

ADL E400 MMC 1235 for Bluestar of Southampton.
© Tommy Cooling

ADL E400 MMC.
© Tommy Cooling

ADL E400 MMC 6687 for Xplore Dundee
© Tommy Cooling

ADL Scania, with Lego little brother.
© Tommy Cooling

Transport for Ireland Wrightbus Streetlite
© Tommy Cooling

Wrightbus for Translink.
© Tommy Cooling

Wrightbus Hydrogen-fuelled StreetDeck FCEV, with Metroline interior.
A fleet of Hydrogen buses [similar to this] are due for Metroline in the not-too-distant future.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/44930701194/in/photostream/
© Tommy Cooling

Look familiar?
Optare Slim line Solo formerly OS1476 with Metroline.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/45655765061/in/photostream/
© Tommy Cooling

Slim line Optare Solo xFE
© Tommy Cooling

Optare Versa xFE
© Tommy Cooling

All electric Optare MetroDecker EV.
A brand new fleet are the 134 at Potters Bar next summer.
© Tommy Cooling

All electric Optare MetroCity EV, MC1.
Go-Ahead have announced that one should be on trial on the 360 this winter.
© Tommy Cooling

New Optares for London both due to enter service within the next year.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/44930702014/in/photostream/
© 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

04/11/2018

Electric Metroline

On Saturday 20th October 2018, after much delay, the first electric E200 BYD 'BELs' for the 46 were introduced into service at Holloway. The first out was BEL2513, followed by BELs2506, 2508, 2512, 2514, 2515, 2516, 2517, 2520, 2523, 2524, 2525, 2526 & 2527 later that day. Two weeks later, and at time of writing, BELs2507, 2509, 2511, 2519, 2521, 2522 are still awaiting their introduction into service.


There had been many snags that had delayed their introduction. All 23 BELs were delivered on time during the early part of the summer and were put into store at Perivale Garage.

On a route test in June it was discovered that there was a traffic island in the Warwick Avenue area that needed to be re-sited to avoid the new vehicles clipping the pavement curb stones. It was amazing that this wasn't discovered before, however it transpired that there was a parameter here that had not been factored in during the BYD length-simulation phase. Quite what this was I do not know. One does wonder why this wasn't flagged up by TfL when the tender award with said vehicles was announced a whole year prior, similar to the failure to trim the 274s trees for over a year following the same tender award! TfL quoted the usual 'several months' for the work to take place, and duly by early October, said works had been completed.

The other limiting factor was the substation electric charging facilities at Holloway Garage. The charging points originally were to be installed on the outside lower deck, but upon drilling into the ramp down found that this was unsuitable for burying cables in, back to the drawing board with the National Grid! By this time the tender award for the 43 with electric vehicles had been announced, so when work resumed on a new site inside the garage, where the sales stalls were at the open day, the plan had to be further amended to future proof the design to cater for the 43 ADL electrics from summer 2019. Another delay! There was a slow portable charger supplied by BYD to keep buses ticking over, which also provided the charge for the two BELs at the open day. After the charging facilities were installed, work began on the substation at Holloway.

BEL2510 and BEL2516 were used as special extras on the '609' for Holloway open day. 15-Sept
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/29763100767/in/dateposted-public/
© Tommy Cooling

BEL2510s first 'passenger' service on "heritage" route 609 to Muswell Hill. 15-Sept
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/29779699007/in/dateposted-public/
© Tommy Cooling
The charging facilities are now complete, and have been future proofed to cater for the 43 from next summer. Following the completion of the highway infrastructure works at Warwick Avenue, the decision was to introduce a half-allocation of BELs onto the 46. Despite all the vehicles present and ready, the allocation is not 100% yet whilst the substation capacity at Holloway is finished and signed off. The completion of these works are at the mercy of the National Grid and UK Power although, it is hoped that this will be completed before the end of 2018, however we shall have to wait and see.


BEL2506 crosses Holborn Viaduct, in The City, on the 46 towards St. Bartholomew's Hospital, running as HT355. 03-Nov
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127662272@N07/44975602994/in/dateposted-public/
© 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

01/10/2018

Electric Enviros for London United

The first set of buses for the newest wave of delayed electric conversions arrived today (01/10/2018) on Route 70. The BYD K9/ADL Enviro 200EV is the type of bus, meaning that London United is the first operator to co-currently have two types of production electric buses allocated to their routes. A partial allocation of production Optare Metrocity electric buses on the H98 are the other type that London United have.

New Electrics for Route 70
BE37011 at Chiswick Business Park, starting an eastbound journey.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

Intended for Routes 70 and C1, these buses are based at Shepherd's Bush Garage. As these buses contracted to run the 70/C1 were delayed, the cascade of displaced existing buses are affecting routes such as the 72/371/419 and H22 which are still pending their newer buses from the C1 and 70 respectively.

These buses are similar in length to the existing Enviro 200MMCs on the 70, and slightly longer than the Enviro 200s on the C1, thus length of the buses should not be too much of an issue. However, a combination of larger wheels and smaller overhangs (as the bus is a downsized full-size bus, rather than an up-sized midibus) has been a small issue for Route 46, partly explaining why existing buses are still on that route.

New Electrics for Route 70
A higher point of view of BE37011 shows the driver's air conditioning pod and the large battery pack.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

Iron-phosphate batteries are found on the roof, which are much cleaner to produce than most other batteries power a motor, driving the rear wheels for drive. Although electric buses do not produce emissions at the immediate vicinity of the bus, the electricity ironically is usually from non-renewable sources. The minimal space on the roof that is not taken by the battery pack means the fleet number on the roof is more forward than on other buses.

New Electrics for Route 70
BE37010 arrives at Chiswick Business Park
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

At a rate of a maximum of 5 per day (according to staff at Shepherd's Bush), these electric buses will slowly displace the year old diesel Enviro 200MMCs that were ordered for the 70 in lieu of these electric buses being delayed. It is unknown for a certain date for the introduction of these buses on Route C1, but expect it to be in the near future.

Hybrid/Electric Business
A sight which may not last for too much longer, as ADH45004 on the soon to be curtailed 27 passes BE37011 on stand.
(© Aubrey Morandarte)

Route 27 has the two London United prototype Enviro 400 hybrid buses, introduced into London service on the 482 just about 10 years ago. To think that in 2018, we now have electric buses sufficiently proven to be the allocation on several routes shows how far we have developed technologically. The Anglo-Chinese partnership for the BYD/ADL bus seems to be popular with many British cities (i.e. Liverpool, Nottingham as well as London). The next step for the BYD/ADL partnership is the double decker version, which will be arriving in 2019 for Route 43 with Metroline.

Post by Aubrey Morandarte

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