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Saturday, 14 January 2012

First London Atlas Road Garage [AS]...Revisit...Farewell to the TNAs!

I visited Atlas Road today for the second time since it's opening in October. The Garage is currently an outstation for headquarters Westbourne Park and has the capability to house just over 150 buses. Located in North Acton the garage sits just 5 minutes down the road from Willesden Junction Depot which is also owned by First. It currently runs routes 28,31,328,N28 and N31. It is due to gain a Garage 'status' in April 2012.


The base has been subject to a lot of vehicle movement as of late, due to the fact First have quite a few spare vehicles due to the contract loss of the Route 79 and other routes. This time it is the movement of the TNAs which have been shifted from Westbourne Park Garage (X) to Atlas Road (AS) for storage prior to being used on the Olympic contracts. The TNAs were first delivered back in 2003 when First's flagship Route 23 and Route 295 were retained with new Buses. The TNAs, originally classed as TALs were were favourably ordered and delivered in September of 2003 subsequently they entered service that month. Fitted with a Euro3 Voith gearbox, the new buses were not as quick as the RMC Routemasters and Euro2 Tridents they replaced but nevertheless they did the job. The new buses were numbered between TNA33343 - 33386. Although at least one was retrofitted with a Caterpillar engine and another repainted at Rotherham, the TNAs have been left relatively untouched which is unusual for a First vehicle.  When TFL announced the 23 contract had been retained, First took the opportunity to get rid of the TNAs and replace the vehicles with some new state of the art Wrightbus Gemini2 Volvo B9TLs, VNs to you and me. However there is an interesting story to this.

The TNAs will be refurbished at Rowan Telmac's trim in Coventry prior to being sent to work on the Olympic contracts before they end up in their final home of Bristol Depot. This will allow First to get rid of more step entry buses within the provinces as they seek to modernise their fleet.

However First seem to have gone back to the 37XXX series to number their VNs rather than continuing on from the Route 25s batch numbered in the 36XXX series. The new VNs are numbered between 37952 - 37984 and will operate on the 23 on a temporary basis until April when they will make way for 33 new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Hybrid Buses. The VNs will then be transferred to AS will 28 of them will operate on the Route 266 which they respectively gain off Metroline in May 2012.

Other things to note in the garage were two formerly based Willesden Junction Trident President (TN) trainers at 5 VNs waiting to be commissioned before going into service on the Route 23. Credit to the Atlas Road staff for allowing me on site, please note that I did have to sign a form to state that I was on the premises and I had to wear a High Visibility Jacket (Hi-Vi) as part of a compulsory safety procedure. More shots from the day are placed below.

First London VN37963 BN61 MXJ awaits commissioning at First London's Atlas Road Garage in North Acton, this is part of a batch 28 Buses that is set to be temporarily used on the Route 23 prior being replaced by some ADL E400 Hybrids and going on the 266.  

First London TNA33360 LK53 EXZ stands inside Atlas Road Depot after being decommissioned, this is one of 10 TNAs that are present at the site today and one of 43 that will be decommissioned in the following months for Olympic contract use and cascading to First's provincial operations.

First London Routemaster SMK735F being stored at Atlas Road Garage for some reason or another. Any comments on this would be much appreciated.

First London TNA33348 LK53 FCG stands inside Atlas Road Depot after being decommissioned, this is one of 10 TNAs that are present at the site today and one of 43 that will be decommissioned in the following months for Olympic contract use and cascading to First Bristol. 

'Out with the old and in with the new'  TN33348  LK53 FCG and VN37969 BN61 MXT stand side by side at Atlas Road Garage.

A general yard view of Atlas Road Garage. I did promise that I would provide more yard shots of Bus garages rather than just take pictures of the Buses only. 

TN33348 LK53 FCF, this is just one of the few TNAs that has survived the firing line for the time being but in due time, this bus will of course be decommissioned. 

An offside view of 3 of the 10 TNAs that are currently situated at Atlas Road Garage in a decommissioned state. 

First London VN37965 BN61 MXM awaits commissioning at First London's Atlas Road Garage in North Acton, this is part of a batch 28 Buses that is set to be temporarily used on the Route 23 prior being replaced by some ADL E400 Hybrids and going on the 266.  
Another general yard view of Atlas Road Garage
Not the most popular buses if this caption is anything to go by!

Key Facts to note about Atlas Road Garage
  • London's newest Bus Garage 
  • Opened in October 2011
  • Has the capability to house 150 Buses
  • Set to run the 266 when gained off Metroline
  • Currently an outstation of Westbourne Park
  • Interestingly it houses one Enviro 400 in the form of DN33509

17 Comments:

Anonymous
at: Sunday, January 15, 2012 12:20:00 am said...

Have the London United buses moved from that storage site next to the First site?

Jay says:
at: Sunday, January 15, 2012 12:25:00 am said...

They have. I did not see a single one when I was at AS.

cc2005
at: Sunday, January 15, 2012 12:10:00 pm said...

Very few of the TNAs were repainted, most are in original livery, and are looking in a pretty good state, which is unusual for buses of this age! Some of the buses did have the logos beside the front blinds replaced with black though..

Anonymous
at: Sunday, January 15, 2012 3:03:00 pm said...

What happened to the vnl's that first had for the no 10 and 295? I have fond memories of them. Also, does anyone have any news for route 295? When will the contract be tendered again? And will there be new buses?

Cheers.

TR*
at: Monday, January 16, 2012 2:16:00 am said...

The VNLs left London when the 10 was lost. I think they went to Rotherham?
92/295 will get new VNs after the Olympics apparently. It's about 2 years into a new contract

Anonymous
at: Monday, January 16, 2012 3:56:00 pm said...

295and 92 to get 40 new volvo wrights.

Anonymous
at: Monday, January 16, 2012 3:58:00 pm said...

official planning documents for this base say 150 buses maximum.

Anonymous
at: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:26:00 pm said...

Good stuff! I particularly like those general yard shots - it'd be great to see more of those on your next garage visits.

Anonymous
at: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:07:00 pm said...

"•Interestingly it houses one Enviro 400 in the form of DN33509"

And this bus was out on the 23 today....

mark
at: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 2:25:00 pm said...

The Volvos that were available after the 10 was lost went to Doncaster and Southampton(251-259 at Southampton,the rest at Doncaster)

Jay says:
at: Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:36:00 am said...

Yes although DN33509 was on the 23 today, it is allocated to AS.You may be interested to know that AS and X Buses regularly switch garages as AS is an outstation of X.

Jay says:
at: Friday, January 20, 2012 3:48:00 pm said...

@Anonymous

Thank you for that piece of information.

mark.
at: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:33:00 pm said...

When these buses go for refurbishment prior to entering service in Bristol,they will want to put extra seats in them and especially on the upper deck as the Alexander bodied Volvos they have seat at least 45 on the upper deck,possibly more.

Anonymous
at: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 4:04:00 pm said...

I really cannot believe an RMC to be faster than a TNA as you mentioned. If these TNA's are with the Cummins ISC euro3 engine with Voith 4 speed gearbox similar to that of Stagecoach London spec; then a RMC would stand no chance. Not even a similar Euro2 spec ISC Cummins engine with Voith 3 speed gearbox.

Anonymous
at: Monday, February 27, 2012 8:00:00 pm said...

These TNAs are not Voith but ZF 5 speed. These are flying machines and good buses to drive compared to the Euro 2 type. Also led to believe some of the TNAs will be going to First Glasgow.

Anonymous
at: Friday, June 01, 2012 5:08:00 pm said...

Most of these buses have now been refurbished by First South Yorkshire Rotherham workshop and Thorntons of Ashington in Northumberland. First Glasgow is to get some of them after Olympics.

Adam Green says:
at: Thursday, April 09, 2015 11:47:00 am said...

The RML2735 is owned by First Berkshire and kept in Bracknell Depot now alongside RMC1510 the Open Topper. This happened when First abandoned London!!! Which i think was a mistake

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