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Route 423: Heathrow Terminal 5 - Hounslow Bus Station (Timelapse)


Route 423 runs between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Hounslow Bus Station and is operated by London United from Hounslow Heath (HH) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 7 buses and is approximately 9 miles long.
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Route 3: Oxford Circus - Crystal Palace (Timelapse)


Route 3 runs between Oxford Circus and Crystal Palace and is operated by Abellio London from Beddington Cross (BC) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 22 buses and is approximately 9 miles long.
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Route 111: Kingston - Heathrow Central (Timelapse)


Route 111 runs between Kingston and Heathrow Central and is operated by London United from Hounslow (AV) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 23 buses and is approximately 15 miles long.
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Metroline CELF Centre Part 31...The latter batch of TEH

This may well be the final post for the calendar year, 2011 and we at the COL Blog would like to take this time to say Merry Christmas and have a happy new year. Thank you for all the support and we hope that you join us again in the new year. In typical COL Blog fashion we visited our much loved CELF Centre. For those who are not familiar with CELF. In a nutshell, CELF is Metroline's Central Engineering Logistics Facility. It was opened in September 2007 and has since revolutionised the way in which Metroline maintain their Buses. The Centre deals with MOT, Chassis cleaning, repaints and refurbishments. It now means all of these operations can be done in house, which saves the company revenue and it also means vehicles undergoing maintenance can get back on the road much quicker than before.

Metroline TEH1241 LK61 BLZ

Today proved quite a good day for photography and a special thanks goes out to Jack who is our newest member for going out and providing us with the excellent shots we are able to give you today. The reason for the visit today was to see the latter batch of the long awaited TEHs for the Route 16 and 139. The TEH class buses are part of a batch of buses numbered between TEH1217 - 1242 that were all supposed to be delivered in November. However by late October only 8 Buses had been delivered and these came in the form of TEH1217 - 1224. It became apparent that the whole batch would not be delivered by that November 26th deadline. Interestingly the same thing happened last year with the delivery of TE1073 - 1104. Official reports confirmed that the latter batch of these vehicles 1225 - 1242 were still being prepared by Alexander Dennis in their Falkirk, Harlow and Guildford plants and delivery would be immanent.

At the Centre there are 15 TEHs which when fully introduced will allow the 86% conversion of route 16, (providing TEH915 - 919 do not move to the 189) and the full conversion of flagship route 139 to full Hybrid conversion. Making the route the fist Metroline route to become fully operated by Hybrid Buses. The Buses are being parked here briefly whilst they get commissioned before entering service at Cricklewood Garage. 

The new TEHs are built to an absolutely stunning specification which sees the addition of LED running lights as well as Passenger CCTV screens. They have the red tree deflectors as standard, although when in build some did have the silver tree deflectors. 

Other things to note at the centre were VPL233 Y233 NLK which was a victim of fire damage and will probably not be used again. DLD199 LN51 KXE is still standing at the centre despite the fact it should be on the Route 70 any day now. DE864 LK08 DWX which is victim of an act of vandalism. There were various TPs in the centre as expected as well as an SEL which came in the form of SEL743. However this was pretty much all that was at the centre today. Things at CELF normally quiet down during this season.  Thank you for reading this post and we hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have in writing it. More photos from the visit are displayed below. 

Metroline TEH1232 LK61 BKU

Metroline DLD199 LN51 KXE

Metroline TP412 LK03 CFF

Metroline TP412 LK03 CFF

Metroline SEL743 LK07 BAA

Metroline TEH1241 LK61 BLZ offside

Metroline TEH1235 LK61 BKZ

Metroline TEH1235 LK61 BKZ

Metroline TEH1236 LK61 BLF

Metroline TEH1241 LK61 BLZ

Metroline TEH lower deck interior

Metroline TEH Steering wheel

Metroline TEH1237 LK61 BLJ

Metroline TEH1237 LK61 BLJ
and TEH1240 LK61 BLX

Metroline TEH upper deck interior
facing rear

Metroline TEH upper deck interior
facing rear

Metroline TEH upper deck interior
facing rear

Metroline VPL233 Y233 NLK


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Hybrids for Route 15

Stagecoach London began taking delivery of its first Hybrid deck buses on the 15th December. A total of 26 ADL built buses will arrive for serivce on Route 15 between Regent Steet and Blackwall currently run from Bow (BW) garage.

12128,LX61DFD

The buses use the established and successful BAE Systems serial hybrid system where the engine is not connected to the wheels but provides power to a generator and batteries that transmit the drive via an electric motor. By using this system it creates a better fuel economy with fewer emissions and less noise. When the bus begins to brake, the motor becomes a generator and returns power to the batteries, leading to further energy efficiency as well as helping bring the bus to a stop.

The buses fleetcodes will range from 12128 - 12153 with the whole batch expected to be fully delivered in mid March. Although the interior layout is to TFL specification, the colour scheme is the same overall green as used on all of Stagecoach's National hybrids.

12128 Interior



#The information regarding the Hybrid bus technology is based around the original infromation provided on the Stagecoach London website
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Final service change of the year!

On the 31st December we see the last service change for 2011 take place. This sees Route U9 move from Arriva The Shires to Abellio London.

3482, W482YGS

Route U9 runs between Uxbridge and Harefield Hospital. The U9 is currently run from High Wycombe garage with one of the largest dead runs to and from the garage across the whole of the TFL network. The move to Abellio London will see the route operated from Hayes (WS) garage with 56reg MDP's from Dawsons rental, examples of which have already shown up as odd workings on route U7. Below are some pictures of Route U9 in its final days under Arriva The Shires operation.

3226, V421DGT

3482, W482YGS

3838, KE53NFA

A personal message from me: I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Happy New year and I look forward to seeing you all in 2012 with more posts! Keep Safe!
Jack
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First London Willesden Junction Depot...New Streetlite for the 226

Today's travels saw me end up at First London's Willesden Junction Depot in Harlesden. The garage is adjacent to the busy West Coast Mainline and currently operates flagship Route 18, along with Routes, 187,226,228,487 and N18. The Garage opened in 2003 following First's retention of the Route 18 with new 18m Mercedes Citaro Bendybuses. The opening of this garage allowed First to have more flexibility with their routes and routes 187,226,487,PR1 and PR2 all transferred from Alperton (ON) following the opening of this garage.
First London WM47400 DRZ 6181
Although this may count as another Garage visit for whom I must give credit to First for allowing me on their premises. The reason for me visiting here today was to view the Bus above.The new Bus is titled the 'Streetlite' and it is a joint venture between Mistral Coach Sales and Wrightbus. Announced in late 2010 the first of the Streetlites took to the road in early 2011. The Bus above was due to be delivered to First London's Lea Interchange Garage in July 2011, however due to ongoing problems with the transmissions systems the delivery of this vehicle was delayed. It was initially set to run on the Route 236 which would allow First to make a direct comparison between it and  the Dennis E200s. Should it had been delivered on time, the E200s currently on order for Routes such as the W15 may in fact have been Streetlites instead. The bus will now run on the 226 once Oyster and Wayfarer machines have been installed where it will provide a direct comparison between the E200s on the Route. Originally coded VN58200 strangely, it has now been re-coded VM47400 but still has an Irish registration for some reason....The 10.2m vehicle seats 31 people and weighs a whopping 8020KGS. However although it seats 31, the legroom is adequate enough for the majority of the public to sit comfortably, I say this being 6ft2 and having tested out every seat on the vehicle. I must say I do like this vehicle a lot, may I add that it would be a very welcome addition on London's streets. On the other hand, I was also informed that a WTA 10.2m E200 would be bought by First to allow the comparison between these two vehicles to be more accurate. Credit to First for allowing me on the premises and I have to stress that I had all safety gear including High Visibility Jacket (Hi-Vi) and I followed all garage safety procedures whilst on site. 

First London Streetlite interior 
First London Streetlite interior 
First London Streetlite interior 
First London DML44056 YX58 FPU

First Willesden Junction Garage Yard

First VN37939 BF60 VJN and VN37933 BF60 UVA

First London DML44055 YX58 FPT

Ex-First London EA11053 LK05 FCO

First London DML44054 YX58 FPO

First London DML41419

First London DML41420 LN51 DXD

First London VN37924 BF60 VJJ

First London WM47400 DRZ 6181
First London Streetlite interior

First London WM47400 DRZ 6181

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All Change Route 207! Last of the Bendy Bus Routes in London

December 10th 2011 was a day remember for all London Bus enthusiasts as it marked the day the last of the 'Bendybus routes' in London was converted back to Double Deck operation. Originally introduced on the 9th of December 1960, the Route 207 ran between Shepherd's Bush Green and Uxbridge Station along the whole of the 13mile gateway that is Uxbridge Road.

First London SN36038 YR61 RRV on the 207 at White City
© David McKay

The lengthy route required a PVR of 35 Buses to run from London Transport's Uxbridge Base. Initially using Routemasters, in 1970 the route was converted to one-man-operation using some Damilar DMS Class Buses however due to reliability problems with these Buses, the route was converted back to Routemaster operation until 1987 when some state of the art MCW Metrobus' vehicles were introduced. The Metrobus' continued to run the route for another 14 years until they were replaced with new buses in 2001.

The new vehicles came in the form of 48 Plaxton President bodied Trident 2 buses (TNL), the vehicles were all locally registered at DVLA's Stanmore office. The vehicles settled in nicely on the route and were well received by passengers on the route who were used to the ageing Metrobus'. However they were deemed unsuitable for West London's busiest Bus route and plans for a capacity increase along the route arose....With all this came doubts over whether the TNLs would continue on the route...Perhaps the introduction of six Wright Fusion & Gemini bodied Volvo B7RLE bendybuses on the route could have been an indication as to what TFL were planning to do next with the Route 207.

The six bendybuses came from First's Manchester operations and introduced on the 207 as part of a six month trial to see how the route coped with these buses. The vehicles of course had the 'Barbie' livery applied. Although one example AV1 Y151 ROT was repainted in London colours. The six Buses were operated from Greenford Garage (G). The six month trial was deemed a success by TFL and they quickly announced that upon next tender the Route 207 would be the next route in London to be converted to bendybus operation. Little was known that the success of the bendybuses on this route would pave the way for another 12 routes in London to switch to this type of bus known as the 'artic' which would also include near enough 500 vehicles.

In Autumn 2004 TFL announced that First had retained Route 207 brand new state of the art bendybuses. The buses would come in the form of 35 Mercedes Citaro Artic Buses. A new base in Hayes was opened and on the 9th Of April 2005, First began running the Route 207. However upon the introduction of the bendies, would see the 207 cut between Uxbridge and Hayes By Pass and a new Route introduced between Acton High Street and Uxbridge Station, numbered 427.  The reason for thus, owed to the fact the bendies would be incapable of navigating the narrow streets of Uxbridge. The new route 427 would require 20 TNLs straight from the old 207 allocation and the 607 was also upgraded to this type too, gaining 20 of the 48 vehicles that previously operated on the 207.

The bendies proved a successful people mover, with over 149 people on the move at a time as opposed to 87, however three doors meant that fare evasion was a common problem.  This meant TFL were making losses. When new mayor Boris Johnson was elected in 2008, he was keen to eradicate this problem and he swiftly announced that all bendybuses in London were to be axed by late 2011 and he certainly stuck to his word.

In early 2011  TFL announced that First had retained the 207 contract once again for another 4 years, however this time using 35 double deck vehicles. Although First threw us a shock with the ordering of the new Scania Omnicitys, they were delivered on time and were ready for service and on the 10th of December First began running the route 207 with 35 new Scania Omnicity double deckers. This was the last of the bendybus routes in London to be 'de-bendifeid' and the significance of this day had enthusiasts flocking from near and far to gain their pictures of what the 207 looked like prior to this day and what it will be looking like from this day forward.

First London SN36048 YR61 RTO on the 207 at White City
© David McKay

The new Buses were built in Poland and then shipped over to Hull Docks before being evaluated at Scania Hull and Scania Worksop (Nottingham), the first of the vehicles were delivered to Hayes Garage (HS) in late October and testing began the following week. A large number of the vehicles were stored at Scania Heathrow prior to being delivered to Hayes Garage.

First London SN36038 YR61 RRV on the 207 at White City
© David McKay

I must say the vehicles are a welcome addition to the streets of London which seem to be very boring and very unvaried. Credit to Dave McKay for providing the photos used in this post and I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading it.
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Metroline Potters Bar Garage [PB]

Today I visited Metroline's Potters Bar garage in Hertfordshire. The garage currently houses 128 buses including 5 spares. Buses in the garage range from Alexander Dennis E200/400's to Dennis Trident / Plaxton Presidents.

Metroline DLM152, Y252NLK on the Potters Bar Forecourt

Potters Bar garage is home of the last two remaining Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer 2 8.8M (DLM) buses within the company. DLM152, Y252NLK and DLM158,Y258NLK both transffered to PB from Holloway (HT) garage when the company lost the W5. The garage currently runs route 82, 84, 217, 234, 263, 383, 384, 626, W8, W9 and night routes N20 and N91. The garage also holds buses for Hertfordshire bus route 242. Potters Bar recently welcomed a batch of DP's from Brentford (AH) garage numbered between DP1001 - 1014, these were displaced from the loss of Rotue 117 to Abellio London. Back on site was repaired TE943, LK58KHH. DEL856 was also on site which is the only 84 bus which does not have the blue skirt. These buses could have any livery and/or branding the company want as the route has nothing to do with TFL. Oyster cards will no longer be accpeted on Route 84 in the new year as it goes to a full commerical route. In October 2011 it was announced that the Garage has successfully retained the Route 82 Contract which will commence in May 2012 with 25 new double deckers. The Buses are yet unspecified. Below are some more pictures from my visit. Credit must go out to the Metroline staff for allowing me on the premises and just a reminder that I had to comply with Garage safety rules on site by wearing a Hi-Visibility Jacket.

Metroline DES791, LK07BDO

Metroline DEL856, LK08DWL

Metroline DEL852, LK08DWE

Metroline TE943, LK58KHH

Metroline TE943, LX58KHH, Repaired and Repainted rear

Metroline DSD217, LR02BFE

Metroline TP464, LK03GKC & TPL278, LR02BBN

Metroline DP1012, RL51DOH, Ex 117 bus
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