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All Change Route 79!

Back to normality some may say, or just another page in the history book which sees the Route 79 shift between First and Metroline at almost every tender. Originally tendered in 1987 by London Bus Routes Limited the 79 was awarded to London Bus Lines who were later purchased by Centrewest.

Metroline VW1211 LK61 BNE at Queensbury Station © Peter Horrex

Operated from their Southall Garage, the Route originally ran from Edgware Station to Alperton Station with a PVR of 5 DMS type Double Deck Buses. In 1996 the Route was extended to Alperton Sainsbury's as more stand space made it more practical and it also provided another link between the station and the Sainsbury's rather than the infrequent 224 and 297.

In 1996 the route upon re-tendering was awarded to MTL , who began operating the Route on the  23/11/1996 from their North Acton base using 9 MMs, although the 2 school day journeys were retained by First...

In August 1998 Metroline purchased MTL and subsequently moved the 79 to their North Wembley based. The MMs were ditched in favour of some ERD Class Dennis Darts.

In 2001 the route was won again by First , this time using 11 Double Deckers in the form of some new 9.9m Plaxton President bodied Trident 2 Buses (TN). The route was run from their Alperton base. First seemed to be doing well with the route and in 2002 it received an surprising upgrade. This came in the form of some new Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs (VNL) which were 10.6m. These were part of the same batch that were due to operate on the 83 following its retention. The batch were deployed on the 79 and 258 to allow both routes to get rid of their TNs in order to allow Alperton to be an all Volvo Garage. This would make it easier for engineers operating on the Buses.

In 2004 the route received a further upgrade in the form of some new 10m Wright Gemini bodied B7TLs (VNW). It looked as if their hard work had paid of as in 2006 First were re-awarded the 79 contract for a further 5 years.The ordering of these Buses allowed the VNLs to be returned back to their original allocation of 83. So no one would have guessed the shock that came with the outcome of the re-tendering of this route.

On April 8th 2011, it was announced that Metroline had won the 79 from First. The contract was specified with new Buses, and there much suggestion over the bus type it would use and where it would operate from. However it was quickly confirmed that the vehicles used would be in the from of some Wright Gemini2 Volvo B9TLs (VW). At this time too, it was also announced that the 297 would be gaining some VWs. There were earlier suggestions that the route would be run from PA (Perivale West) and this seemed the case when some of the VWs started appearing at Metroline's CELF Centre with intact PA Codes. This seemed to somewhat confirm that the route would operate from PA. However when it was confirmed that the VWs that had appeared at CELF Centre were for the 297, more questions were raised.

It was later confirmed that the Route 79 would operate from PV and not PA as earlier suggested and in late October the VWs for the 79 had finally started arriving. Consisting of 12 vehicles the new VWs were built to the new W.T.A specification. Metroline commenced running of the Route 79 today and will be doing so for the next five years.


Metroline VW1215 LK61 BNN at Queensbury Station © Peter Horrex

Lets hope the running of the Route 79 will be a successful five years for Metroline, but whether or not they will keep the route on next tendering remains to be seen. Anyway cheers to the next 5 years. 
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Latest Buses at the trim...26th Of November 2011

Brighton & Hove B5LH BK10 MGV
KonectBus BL57 OXH
Metroline VP486 LK03 GMU
Arriva London VLA57 LJ04 LFM
GAL London PVL384 PJ53 NKZ
Metroline VP493 LK03 GNN

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Metroline CELF Centre Part 30...C94 CLE 122

This is my first visit here since the new TEHs were built, been quite a long time if you ask me. As expected here today, present were the new VWs for the Route 79, numbered between 1205 - 1216. They will operate from Perivale East Garage as most of us know. However upon my arrival I came across this strange looking vehicle...


C94 CLE 122

The vehicle came from The London Transport Museum as far as I know for M.O.T, I'm not familiar with the vehicle so any added information would be appreciated. Other news sees PA's preparation for the Route 90 operation on Saturday 26th of November (my birthday!). To prepare for this, the drivers will be type trained on MMs before the a decision is made as to whether or not the 90 will use the MMs. Other things to take note of at the Centre are some decommissioned TPs from the original TP1 - 65 batch as well as the sole remaining step entrance Dart, DP274 which seems to be hanging on for dear life!  DLD199 LN51 KXE is still standing outside of the centre in a repainted state, this vehicle has been joined by DLD202 LN51 KXH, both of which are supposed to be entering service on the Route 70 by the 3rd Of January 2012. VW1182 LK11 CXS which was partially destroyed in the Southall Riots in August still remains at the centre. This sums up what was at the centre today apart from the usual. Many thanks to the CELF Centre staff for allowing me on the premises.

The rear of CLE 122
Metroline DP274 M674  MLE

Metroline VW1211 LK61 BNE

Metroline VW1215 LK61 BNN

Metroline DE1171 LK11 CXD and VW1216 LK61 BNO

Metroline DE1142 LK10 BZJ
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Watford Gap Services: More E200s for Metrobus!

Arriving in convoy are four Metrobus E200s which have just been released from Plaxton's Scarborough's plant. As stated in the previous post in this series, the new E200s for Metrobus are destined for Routes R1 and R11 which the company successfully retained. The new E200s are the first Dennis E200s to have the offside door centrally placed. this is due to new safety regulations by the E.U (European Union).


Metrobus 175 YX61 ENT © Steve Buckley

Metrobus 174 YX61 ENR © Steve Buckley 

Metrobus 176 YX61 ENU © Steve Buckley 
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Watford Gap Services: Metrobus's new arrivals

Credit to Steve Buckley for allowing me to host these Pictures! Below are two new Dennis E200s for 'R' Routes R1 and R11 which were successfully retained by Metrobus on the 23rd Of May 2011 with the contract starting on the 3rd Of December 2011. The new Buses are part of a batch of 16 new vehicles that will be based at Orpington Depot (MB) and will replace the elderly Darts that currently operate on the Route.

Metrobus 165 YX61 ENF

Pictured at Watford Gap Services in Northampton, the Buses have just completed the first half of their journey from Plaxton's Plant in Scarborough to Orpington in which they will go via ADL Harlow for a minor check up then to the headquarters in Crawley for appraisal by the Metrobus managers and directors before they reach their final destination of Orpington...Quite a long journey if you ask me. The new Buses are 8.9m and are of course built to the new W.T.A Specification which sees the addition of nearside and offside side lights and the introduction of an offside door. The new specification on Alexander Dennis E200s results in the new 8.9 models no longer having the offside emergency exit situated at the rear of the bus this is due to the new  EU regulations. So to make up for this it has been positioned centrally. Interestingly Metrobus's other  E200s also have this exact layout but they were delivered this way in order to accommodate the for the size of the huge MAN engine.

Metrobus 163 YX61 ENC
I must stress that these photos are not property of the Circle Of London Blog and must not be re-used prior to gaining permission from their owner Steve Buckley , if you would like more high quality pictures from his collection then I'd suggest you visit here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36343393@N08/
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Latest Buses at the trim...17th Of November 2011

Metroline VP563 LK04 EKX
Arriva Shires 6032 YJ55 WOM
Volvo Gemini2 B5L Demonstrator Hybrid BK10 MGV
Ex Go Ahead London MAL110 BL57 OXM
All photos © EHBusman1958
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SP90 - New Allover Rear Advert

SP90 is London United's first Scania Omnicity to gain an allover advert on the rear of the vehicle. I must say it does look rather weird considering that part of the advert is missing where the grill is. Below, SP90 is pictured taking time at the Ealing Broadway Station stand.


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All change Route 313!


The Route 313 which runs between Potters Bar & Chingford was successfully retained by Arriva London North back in early 2011, prior to the new contract starting, TFL specified that the route must be run with 7 single deckers 1 double decker. So Arriva went straight to Alexander Dennis and placed an order for 8 10.8 Enviro 200 Buses and 1 Enviro 400.

Arriva London ENX7 LJ61 CHY seen outside Ponders End Tesco © Peter Horrex
The new contract commenced on the 5th Of November 2011 although at least one of the new E200s was seen out on the route a day for the contract started, presumably to iron out any issues with the vehicles. The vehicles were quite early with the first arriving in October, although the sole Enviro 400 will arrive in January, so the garage for the time being will have to fish for any spare double deckers that are available in the garage, whether that be DLAs or DLPs. Interestingly the new E200s which are coded 'ENX' are the first of the new W.T.A (Whole Type Approval) specification for the company which sees the vehicle have a range of new features such as powerblinds and sidelights. They do look very nice indeed and I do look forward to seeing more of these buses built to this specification. Cheers to Arriva for another 5 years, in which I hope are 5 successful ones.
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Metroline CELF Centre Part 29...New VWs for Route 79

Today I visited Metroline's CELF Centre, the central point for Metroline's bus maintenance. Metroline will operate Route 79 (Alperton Sainsbury's - Edgware) commencing on the 26th of this month using Volvo B9TL/Gemini 2.

Metroline VW1210 LK61 BNB

The vehicles, numbered VW1205 - VW1216, weigh 12150kgs. Route 79 will be operated from Perivale East (PV). The vehicles have commenced delivery to the CELF Centre with some still at Heysham on there way over to the centre. Whilst on the site today I noted the following vechiles: VW1205, VW1206, VW1207, VW1208, VW1210,VW1211, VW1212 and VW1213. The new VWs are somewhat a unique batch of Buses in London. This is due to the fact they are the first Volvo B9TL Wright Gemini2 Buses to be delivered to the new W.T.A (Whole Type Approval) specification, this means the bus have an array of new features such as orange lights running along the body, CCTV Screens and the Buses are generally lighter than their predecessors. One strange feature on these Buses is the lack of upper-deck rear lights, whether this is a direct result of the new W.T.A Specification remains to be seen...I would like to take this opportunity to thank the lovely staff at Metroline's CELF Centre for allowing me in the premises. Please note that all safety precautions were taken whilst on site. More shots from the day are below.

Metroline VPL585 LK04 NMJ
Metroline VW1208 LK61 BMZ

CCTV Screen on the new VWs situated on the
staircase
The line up at CELF Centre
Metroline TE1080
Metroline VW1208 LK61 BMZ interior
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First of the Bunch...well not really

Although not chronologically the first SP to be numbered in London United's original first batch of 15 Scania Omnicity Buses, London United SP5 YN56 FCF is the first of their Omnicitys to be fully repainted.

SP5 YN56 FCF © EHBusman1958

The Bus above, SP5 is part of the original batch of Scania Omnicitys that were quite shockingly ordered by London United in 2006 and delivered in late 2006 hence their '56' registrations numbered between SP1 - 15 they were first of the class for London and many enthusiasts such as myself were very excited to see this new bus for London (if you like). Bought specifically for the flagship Route 148, they allowed 15 other Volvo ALX400 (VA) to be cascaded to Hounslow Garage (AV) for use on the Hounslow routes, in particular the 120. In 2008 it then saw the turn of these nearly new Buses to be cascaded to Hounslow Garage, this is due to the fact TFL did not favour these low height vehicles, they are in fact the lowest height double deck vehicles since Arriva's S & T Reg DLAs which are now in fact of the process of leaving London. Although these vehicles did not leave London completely, they were ousted to the outskirts of London, however they make cameo appearances on the Route 27 from time to time. As of August 2011, this batch of vehicles started to get sent of to Hants & Dorset Trim in Eastleigh for a repaint, in which, I must admit does make them look quite smart. 
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