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Saturday, 26 November 2011

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. 


Peter Horrex says:
at: Saturday, November 26, 2011 11:14:00 pm said...

Nice informative text.

C0BO says:
at: Sunday, November 27, 2011 12:06:00 am said...

That's a really good history but a few corrections.

First Centrewest was known as Centrewest and not London Buslines.

Centrewest, First and London Buslines are or were three completely different companies.

London Buslines operated the 79 from their Southall garage originally using DMS type Double Deck Buses and in 1991 they was replaced by Leyland Olympians.

Centrewest purchased London Buslines in March 1996 and then First purchased Centrewest in 1997.

In the year 1996, the 79 was won by MTL London and run from their North Acton (NA) garage using MMs.
First Centrewest operated 1 schoolday service using a MCW Metrobus.

In August 1998, Metroline bought MTL London and so in the year 1999, the 79 was moved to NW and the MMs was replaced by ERDs.

In 2002, route 83 was retained by First with new buses and so Volvo B7TL 10.6m / Plaxton Presidents was ordered but they was diverted onto routes 79 and 258 instead so that ON could get rid of the Dennis Trident 9.9m / Plaxton Presidents (TNs).

In 2004, First bought Volvo B7TL 10m / Wright Eclipse Gemini (VNWs) for routes 79 and 258 and so the VNLs went back to their original home the 83.

Jay says:
at: Sunday, November 27, 2011 1:08:00 am said...

Thank you very much C0BO

Jay says:
at: Sunday, November 27, 2011 1:34:00 pm said...

Thanks Peter! That's a bonus coming from you!

Tom Bowell says:
at: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:03:00 pm said...

Really good post Jamaal mate geep up the good work.:d

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