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London Sovereign Harrow Garage [SO]

Its been a while since my last garage visit, so I decided to treat you to this whilst I can. Today I visited London Sovereign's Harrow Garage which located in the pinnacle of the Routes and runs 85% of the 'H' prefix routes in Harrow. It is also my local Bus Garage so I believe a visit to here was long overdue.


Although the name would suggest the Garage is located in the centre of Harrow, it is actually located in North Harrow with Routes 183 and H18/19 running right past the doorstep of the Garage. It was opened in 1994 to support the company's then expansion of their dominance over the Harrow Routes, it proved very successful as in 1999, the company won the Route 183 from this base using Plaxton Pointer Dennis Darts in the distinguished colours of cream and black. Initially 20 Darts were used on the route. However an increase in the demand for capacity on this Route had so see the Darts replaced by some Double Decker Plaxton President bodied Buses on the very reliable Volvo B7TL Chassis. Thus meaning the operation had to shift to Edgware Garage owing to the fact Harrow Garage has a very low roof structure and cannot support double deck vehicles. However one positive that was borough from this devise is that it allowed this small Garage which only holds 42 vehicles to strictly hold one chassis which made bus maintenance work on the garage much easier to manage.

Since the take over of the company by Transdev in 2002, there have been various vehicles that have come and gone to the garage to signify Transdev's presence within the company, however they have all been on the Dennis Dart chassis which has to be accredited for by Transdev.

More recently  the company have taken on the delivery of 43 Enviro 200s, 29 of which are allocated here for the contractual work on Routes H9/H10/H11/H14 and H17 which were all successfully retained by the company in 2011. The DEs were reportedly part of a batch of cancelled stagecoach vehicles, hence their untraditional colour scheme. Although there was not one present here today, more shots of the garage are based below.

Credit must go out to the London Sovereign Staff, who first allowed me on site and ensured that all the rules from Health and Safety act were followed whilst I was on site, to ensure my safety was paramount. Please note that this was an authorised visit and prior contact with the company has to be made before proceeding to go on site.

Transdev DE59 YX59 BYH is seen at Harrow Garage 
London Sovereign Harrow Garage shed entrance from the rear of the Depot

London Sovereign Harrow Garage closed maintenance area

Transdev DE56 YX59 BYH is seen at Harrow Garage  

London Sovereign DPS639 is seen inside the shed at Harrow Garage

A view of the rear shed at London Sovereign's Harrow Garage

London Sovereign DPS629 SK02 XHD and DE54 YX59 BYF are seen in the shed  at Harrow Garage

London Sovereign DPS632 SK02 XHG

A shot of the yard in London Sovereign's Harrow Garage

The bus wash facility at Harrow Garage


London Sovereign DPS630 SK02 XHE is seen near the entrance at Harrow Garage

London Sovereign Harrow Garage closed maintenance area

Key facts to note about London Sovereign's Harrow Garage
  • Runs 85% of the 'H' prefix Harrow Routes
  • Holds 42 Buses
  • Opened in 1994
  • Compound is shared with Venture Coaches of Harrow
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London Observations: Richmond, Hounslow & Hayes

Whilst taking advantage of the abundant yet unexpected March sun, I managed to gain shots from in and around the Richmond and Hounslow area, which is pretty much London United territory.

Metroline VW1057 LK60 AEB is seen on the 190 in Sheen. Not so much an odd  working these days, however this is part of a batch that was ordered for the E2 back in 2009 but delivered in September 2010. 
London United DPD668 LG02 FGV is seen at Hounslow Blenhiem Centre whilst making a strange appearance on the Route H37.
London United DE72 SK07 DXX is seen on the Route 493 which London United are currently set to respectively loose to Go Ahead London. 
London United DE123 YX60 CCJ is seen on the Route 493 en Route to Richmond.
London United DE113 YX60 CAV is seen on the Route 493
London United DE74 SK07 DXZ is seen on the Route 493.
London United DE121 YX60 CCE is seen on the Route 493.
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Route 350: Hayes & Harlington Station - Heathrow Terminal 5



Route 350 runs between Hayes & Harlington Station and Heathrow Terminal 5 and is operated by Abellio London from Hayes (WS) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 8 buses and is approximately 7 miles long.
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Route 267: Fulwell - Hammersmith



Route 267 runs between Fulwell and Hammersmith and is operated by London United from Fulwell (FW) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 16 buses and is approximately 9 miles long.
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Route 266: Hammersmith - Brent Cross



Route 266 runs between Hammersmith and Brent Cross and is operated by Metroline from Cricklewood (W) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 25 buses and is approximately 10 miles long.
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London Observations: White City, Hammersmith, Ruislip, Twickenham and Brent Cross

March has long been the sign of a change in the air, atmosphere or simply a change of season.Made more apparent by the season of Spring which signifies new life and new beginnings. So here at the COL Blog we are pleased to announce a new section. Entitled 'London Observations'. It will feature pictures of Buses from my travels in and around London in various locations. Hope you guys enjoy!
SC01 YT11 LSC is seen at White City Bus Station off loading passengers having just finished a trip from Camberwell Green in South London. This is one of two Scania Omnicity's that has been sent on loan to London based bus companies who have Scania Double Decks while Scania conduct checks on the hit and miss N230UD chassis. The sister vehicle, YT11 LSD is currently with Metrobus. Eventually, both vehicles will visit, First, Metroline and London Sovereign, all of which have N230UDs.

First London DN33512 LK08 FMU stands at White City Bus Station, having just formed the lengthy trip down the 13 mile gateway that is Uxbridge Road from Uxbridge. This is one of 11 DNs that transferred from Route 23 from Westbourne Park to Uxbridge Garage (UX) to take on duties upon the new 607 contract. These will be joined by a further 11 VNWs from Dagenham Garage that are in the process of refurbishment.

TLA32 SN53 KJV makes an appearanc on the Route 148 at White City Bus Station.
London Sovereign VLP23 PJ53 OUW makes a rather cameo appearance on the Route 114 at Ruislip Station. Not so much a rare appearance, however compared to around 3 years ago, to catch one of these beauties on any route other than their intended 292 is quite odd.
Abellio London 8438 RX51 FGN is seen at Brent Cross Bus Station, having just arrived from Ealing Broadway. Not so much an oddity seeing as some of the normal Ceatanos that operate on the Route have been transferred to BC to take up duties on the newly won Route 455.
Metroline TPL275 LR02 BBF is seen on the Route 266 at Hammersmith Low Level Bus Station.
Abellio London 8101 LJ56 VSP makes a rare appearance on the Route 490.
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Watford Gap Services: Abellio new E40Ds for the C2!

Another visit to Watford Gap by our good friend Steve Buckley presented us with this, one of 20 new Abellio E400s for the Route C2 which commences on the 28th of April 2012 from their Queenstown Battersea Garage (QB).

Abellio London Enviro E40D 9525 SN12 AAX is seen accelerating down the M1 en route Queenstown Battersea Garage, having just departed from Watford Gap Services in Northampton. This is one of 20 Enviro E40D Buses with bonnet numbers ranging from 9524 - 9543. These are due to take on duties on the flagship Route C2 on 28th of April 2012.
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Route 222: Uxbridge - Hounslow Bus Station



Route 222 runs between Uxbridge and Hounslow Bus Station and is operated by London United from Hounslow (AV) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 17 buses and is approximately 11 miles long
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Route 207: White City - Hayes By-Pass



Route 207 runs between White City and Hayes By-Pass and is operated by First London from Hayes (HS) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 35 buses and is approximately 9 miles long
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Route 140: Harrow Weald - Heathrow Central (Timelapse)



Route 140 runs between Harrow Weald and Heathrow Central and is operated by Metroline from Harrow Weald (HD) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 24 buses and is approximately 13 miles long
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Route 120: Hounslow Bus Station - Northolt (Timelapse)



Route 120 runs between Hounslow Bus Station and Northolt and is operated by London United from Hounslow (AV) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 16 buses and is approximately 8 miles long
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Route N9: Heathrow Terminal 5 - Aldwych & Return (Timelapse)





Route N9 runs between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Aldwych and is operated by London United from Hounslow (AV) garage. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 17 buses and is approximately 21 miles long
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Metroline CELF Centre Part 33...New VWs for the Route 43!

Its been a long time since the last CELF update from me, mainly due to the fact, I have so many other commitments at this moment in my life, however today I had to take out for myself and visit this extraordinary centre, which you so often hear me say, due to the fact, I had gained information that the new Buses for the 43 were in the process of delivery here.
Metroline VW1243 LK12 AAF and
Metroline VW1246 LK12 AAU
The Route 43 was part of a string of contracts that were announced late by TFL due to internal reasons, this included contracts such as the 134 and W7 that were also overdue announcements. This left a fair number of operators confused over whether they should order new Buses or halt the ordering whilst they were awaiting the impending announcements.

However Metroline, adamant that they would retain these routes, smartly placed a provisional order for 64 Wright Gemini 2 B9TLs in the summer of 2011 for delivery in March. They did this due to the fact, it was at an time where the two main body builders, ADL and Wrightbus were quite full with orders, so this slot order or provisional order would ensure that the company's Buses would be delivered on time.

At present there are three Buses at the Centre, which will go into service imminently after IBUS installation, wayfarer and oyster machines are installed, this has been made possible due to the fact type training has been done with similar models from Perivale East Garage (soon to be mothballed) were taken over to Holloway to kick start driver familiarisation. Although at present only 14 VWs will be delivered to HT, which have been allocated the bonnet numbers of 1243 - 1256, a further 32 will be delivered over the course of the next two months for the Route 134, then a further 18 will be delivered in summer for the Route W7.

The new VWs are built exactly to the same specification as the examples on the Route 79 which are numbered between 1205 - 1216. They have a revised length of 10.5m now as opposed to 10.4, not that the passengers would notice by an increase in leg room.

In all honesty, there was not much to see here apart from the beautiful VWs, so limited pictures are available below.

Metroline VW1243 LK12 AAF and
Metroline VW1246 LK12 AAU are both seen at CELF Centre, having just been delivered from Wrightbus' Factory in Northern Ireland. These are are two of a batch of 14 Buses that expands to an eventual batch of 65 VWs that are due for Holloway Garage. 

Metroline TE979 LK59 DZC at CELF Centre. This is part of a batch of TEs numbered between 976 -992 that were Delivered to Brentford Garage (AH) in August 2009 for the Route E2 Contact. They lasted just over a year there before being replaced by new VWs numbered between 1056 - 1072 in November 2010  and transferring to Cricklewood Garage where they are deployed on the Route 210.

Metroline VW1243 LK12 AAF and
Metroline VW1246 LK12 AAU are both seen at CELF Centre, having just been delivered from Wrightbus' Factory in Northern Ireland. These are are two of a batch of 14 Buses that expands to an eventual batch of 65 VWs that are due for Holloway Garage. 

Metroline VW1243 LK12 AAF and
Metroline VW1246 LK12 AAU are both seen at CELF Centre, having just been delivered from Wrightbus' Factory in Northern Ireland. These are are two of a batch of 14 Buses that expands to an eventual batch of 65 VWs that are due for Holloway Garage. 

The rear of Metroline VW1247 LK12 ABU is seen at CELF Centre, having just been delivered from Wrightbus' Factory in Northern Ireland. These are are two of a batch of 14 Buses that expands to an eventual batch of 65 VWs that are due for Holloway Garage. 

Metroline DE1025 LK59 AVN, is seen here at Metroline's CELF Centre, undergoing a mandatory service check, this is part of a batch of 20 Dennis Enviro 200s that were purchased by Metroline for the Route 316 contract from Cricklewood Garage (W). 

Metroline TP430 LK03 GFV, is seen here at CELF Centre after being relieved from its duties at Harrow Weald Garage (HD), This bus is part of a batch of TPs that were originally purchased for the Route 139 and 189 in 2003 after both routes were converted to double deck operation. This Bus is currently on loan to Harrow Weald as refurbishment cover.

A Scania City Link Coach is seen at the facility. Interestingly, it has been here since Summer of 2011 and there is not much information available on the destiny of this vehicle...

Metroline VW1243 LK12 AAF is seen here at CELF Centre, having just been delivered from Wrightbus' Factory in Northern Ireland. These are are two of a batch of 14 Buses that expands to an eventual batch of 65 VWs that are due for Holloway Garage. 
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The wait is over - DP37 on Route 190!

As many of you know, Metroline have a large batch of Dennis Dart SLF 10.2m/Plaxton Pointer 2 which operate from a few of the companies garage across London. When Route 117 was lost to Abellio London it saw all of the batch at Brentford (AH) shipped over to Potters Bar (PB) & Perviale West (PA). DP37, W137WGT was the lone survivor at Brentford and can usually be found on Route E8 (Ealing Broadway - Brentford, Commerece Road) with the odd appearance on Route 209 (Mortlake - Hammersmith). By luck I managed to spot DP37 on Route 190 (Richmond - West Brompton) which is a very rare and unusual sighting so I had to jump on the opportunity I was presented with.

DP37, W137WGT, Seen at Richmond Bus Station about to run light back to the garage


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