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Minor changes at Potters Bar [PB]

DP1006 RX51 FNV is one of 14 DPs that have transferred from Brentford Garage (AH) to Potters Bar Garage (PB) for the Route 234, which runs from Barnet Spires to Highgate Wood. These Buses were recently refurbished seemingly for no reason but Metroline always know what they were doing when they do not look like they are.

The reason for the transferring of these Buses was to replace the older Euro2 Darts at PB that used to operate on this Route, as of January 2012 those Euro2 Darts would have not been able to operate in London due to the fact they are not LEZ (Low Emissions Zone) compliant so Metroline have made the decision early to remove those faulty Euro2 Darts from service as they were released by the retaining of the Route 209 contract with new Buses. It seems like these darts have settled in nicely with the staff at Potters Bar, they may not be new Buses but they are pretty reliable and LEZ compliant which is most important.

Photos supplied by my mate, Peter Horrex and must not be reproduced without his acknowledgement! 
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Latest Buses at the trim...14th Of September 2011

All photos provided by Mike (EHBusman1958)!

Go Ahead London SO5 BV55 UCY
Arriva London VLA58 LJ04 LFN
London United VLE17 PG04 WHW
Go Ahead London PVL369 PJ53 SRO
London United VLE16 PG04 WHV
Arriva London VLW135 LJ03 MHL
Go Ahead London WVL215 LX06 DYV

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Go Ahead London Camberwell Garage [Q]...Re-visit!

Now I actually visited this location earlier this year and if I remember correctly it was the 27th Of January 2011. However now I'm back at this location as I received word that some WVLs had been delivered here for the Route 12. So in my usual manner, I decided to book a visit so I could witness these WVLs for myself.

Go Ahead London HOV1 OP07 ARE and WVL439 LJ61 GWY
As I arrived I noticed there were 7 WVLs parked right at the back and strangely registered with 'LJ' plates as opposed to the preferred 'LX' plate on this class of vehicle. The 20 new WVLs for the Route 12 are part of an interesting story, they were actually intended for the Route 89, however Go Ahead appeared to have changed their minds and now the new WVLs will go on the Route 12 and new Enviro 400s will go to Bexleyheath Garage for Routes 89 instead.

In addition to this 16 Volvo B5LH Hybrids that were initially for the 436/53 will be delivered soon again for the Route 12 and a further 5 new Enviro 400s will make up the allocation for route 12 (pvr 41). The sole Optare Versa Hybrid HOV1 OP07 ARE, was present at this location as it is allocated to the Route 360 but it still remains unknown when it will see service. EVL17 presented me with a real shocker today as it was parked up in the yard, blinded for the X68. Credit to the Go Ahead London staff for allowing me into this facility.

Camberwell garage is the second maintenance point for London General with the first being Merton which is head office. Although the garage was opened in 1914, it did not operate a single bus service for much over 5 years when it was requisitioned for the war. However when it did start to operate, it became one of the largest garages in London, the mammoth base was used to carry out body overhauls in 1940s, however in that said year, it was severely damaged following a bomb attack during the war. Following the attack, 13 vehicles were seriously damaged while four were completely destroyed.

The garage was promptly repaired, however in early 1950s the garage underwent a modernisation programme which is sounds funny to say considering the 1950s was so many moons ago. However the programme included the reconstruction of the welfare and operational block, with the addition of a new extended parking area which greatly increased capacity of the garage. The new and improved facilities incorporated a new pit and workshop which also took on the duties of heavy maintenance for the Walworth Garage ironically situated across the road from the base. The changes took the the capacity of the garage to a respectable 350 buses.

Despite its mammoth size, the allocation steadily decreased over the years as many routes were shifted out, until the closure of Walworth garage in 1985. This saw the allocation of vehicles rise back up to 142, although a shadow of the amount it did operate in the 1950s, which was close enough to 200 buses.

For a bit of trivia, the garage held three Leyland Titans, that were fitted with electronic blinds on an experimental basis. The vehicles were used on night bus standby duties.

On the 1st of April 2006, the based commenced the running of Routes 68, 468, N68 & X68 often referred to as the '68 group' after respectively winning it off Arriva, the chosen vehicles were Wright Gemini B7TLs, which are said to be some of the best in London.

On the 1st of May 2010, the garage gained more work, as Routes 42 and 185 moved in, following the takeover of East Thames Buses a year earlier.

On the 31st of March 2012, Routes 345 and 355 were transferred in from Stockwell and Merton Garages following the recent tender gains of the 19 and 249 from Arriva London respectively.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post as much as I have writing it and more photos are available below. Please do not hesitate to comment as your feedback is much appreciated.

A mini fact file has been provided at the end of the post for those who would rather look at pictures and take out segments of information from the post.

Go Ahead London HOV1 OP07 ARE Interior
Go Ahead London HOV1 OP07 ARE Interior
London General EVL17 PN02 XCD
Go Ahead London WHY8 LX11 DYA
London General WLT516
Go Ahead London WVL446 LJ61 GWE

Go Ahead London WVL435 LJ61 GWU &

Go Ahead London WVL436 LJ61 GWV nearside

Go Ahead London LDP103 S103 EGK

CUV 305C

Go Ahead London EVL15 PN02 XCD

Go Ahead London WVL436 LJ61 GWV
Garage Fact File
  • Opened in 1914
  • Did not operate a single bus until 1919 
  • Bombed in 1940 with 13 buses badly damaged and four being completely destroyed
  • Became a major base for overhauls in the 1940s
  • Modernised in the 1950s which included a new workshop which undertook maintenance for Walworth Garage
  • Capable of holding 300 buses
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Go Ahead London New Cross Garage [NX]

Another visit for today was Go Ahead London's New Cross Garage located in New Cross, South London. The reason for this visit owed to the fact that I had received word that the fire damaged WVL302 was at this location following a gruesome fire attack during the London riots.

Go Ahead London PVL345 PF52 WPV
 New Cross Garage is arguably one of Go Ahead's biggest Garages, holding just one short of 150 Buses. It runs routes; 21,108,129,171,225,321,436, School Route; 621 and night routes N21 and N171. The Garage has a vehicle variation worthy of its size too, which is quite uncharacteristic of GAL Garages. It has Dennis Pointers for the Route 225, MCV Evolution Darts for the 129, Mercedes Citaros for the 436 which will soon be replaced by some E400s, E400s for the 36, Volvo Plaxton Presidents for the 36, 321 and 621, Wright Gemini2 B9TLs for the 21 and 171 and some DAF Wright Merits for the Route 108. Not to mention a small batch of E400 Hybrids for the 436 are set to be introduced in November. Nothing really special to see here apart from a silver Optare Solo which I have no clue why its here as well as a dozen Routemasters. But credit to the Go Ahead Staff for allowing me onto the premises.

Go Ahead London MAL45 BD52 LMY

London Central PVL348 PF52 WPY
JJD 4720 , JJD 520D , CUV 318C and VLT9

London Central WVL302 LX59 CZV
Panoramic view of NX
London Central PVL405 LX54 GZT
Go Ahead London PVL264 PN02 XBM

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Metroline CELF Centre Part 27

Today SP80 YT59 RYF did the honours of being the London Sovereign vehicle here for MOT. The vehicle originates from London Sovereign's Edgware Garage (BT) which is ironically shared with Metroline.

London Sovereign SP80 YT59 RYF

Still at the centre today were the Citylink Scania Irizars, which appear to be here for MOT work as well, but who knows...leave that to the professionals. VW1202 and 1203 were on the forecourt, with the new '61' plate registrations. The registrations go as followed. VW1202 is LK61 BJE, VW1203 is LK61 BJF and VW1204 is LK61 BJJ. DLD206 is also on the forecourt awaiting passenger service conversion so it can enter service on the 70 along with sister vehicles. DLD199 and DLD207. TP49 is fire damaged and will not be re-entering service and it remains in a decommissioned state.TP433 is in the finishing stages of its refurbishment following fire damage. Other than that there was nothing else to see here today. But many thanks to the Metroline CELF Centre staff for allowing me and trusting me on their premises! More photos from the visit are below.

Metroline VW1203 LK61 BJF
Metroline DLD206 LN51 KXM,
TE682 LK55 KXR  and
VW1202 LK61 BJE
Metroline TP29 T129 KLD
Metroline TP29 T129 KLD
London Sovereign SP80 YT59 RYF
Metroline VW1200 LK11 CYU
Metroline TE1076 LK60 AEX
Metroline VW1072 LK60 AEW
Metroline VP484 LK03 GMF
Metroline VPL600 LK04 NNJ
Metroline VP473 LK03 GKU
Metroline DLD706 LK55 KME
Metroline TP433 LK03 GFZ
Metroline VW1202 LK61 BJE and VW1203 LK61 BJF
CELF Centre Left Wall
Metroline VWs at Perivale West Garage
Metroline VW1204 LK61 BJJ

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Metroline CELF Centre Part 26

Today when I visited Metroline's CELF Centre, I noticed something very strange indeed, there were three Scania Irizar Coaches which appeared to be from Ireland, noticed by their Irish Number plates. The coaches are operated by Scottish based travel firm, Citylink, who are in fact Scotland's leader of Express-Coach services. So what they were doing here leaves much to be desired...Any available information would be greatly appreciated.

Other than that, there was nothing out of the ordinary in this live and bustling place. A few DLDs from PB and  KC were here for decommissioning. Around the side of the centre were four DEs numbered between 1171 - 1174, which were originally intended for the Route 209 along with 12 DEs from the lost Route 251 contract, however for standardisation purposes, those DEs will now go to PA for the Route 395 and DE999 -1002 will move to AH for the Route 209 along with the 12 DEs from Cricklewood (W). Some VWs for the Route 297 batch VW1193 - 1204 are in the process of being commissioned at the centre too. Credit to the staff as always for allowing me into this truly wonderful facility! More photos from the visit are below.

Metroline CELF Centre
Metroline LN51 KXE
Citylink Irizar Coach 05 - G - 8886
Metroline DE1174 LK11 CXG
Metroline DE1171 LK11 CXD
Metroline VW1199 LK11 CYT
Refurbished Metroline TPL259 LN51 KYT
Metroline DSD210 LR02 BDY and
Metroline DLD705 LK55 KMA

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