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Metroline CELF Centre Part 38...New VWHs for the 24!

It seems as if trips to CELF are all I do now days, but they are with good reason. I have recently enrolled into an International Business course at University, which I am taking very seriously so I rarely have time to myself for which I can blog. So when I do go out it normally is with good reason and the damp weather provided the perfect photography conditions for this.

Its not often in this modern day and age that a company takes on the delivery of a new type of bus, since the introduction of the Gemini2 and the horrid E400 companies are tending to stick to what they know, and with the MCV B9TL progress not looking promissing it somewhat excites me when an operator takes on the delivery of a new class, albeit with the same bodywork as their diesel derivatives.

As all London Bus enthusiasts know, the high profile route 24 contract was re-awarded to Metroline from Go Ahead London after a five year stint which lasted from 2007 - 2012. It was announced that Metroline would take over the route on the 10th of November 2012 and as part of the contractual agreement, Metroline would have to source 5 hybrid buses and 24 standard diesel buses. The route was previously run by Metroline from the years 2002 - 2007, so its somewhat a homecoming to the company.

Having the third largest hybrid fleet in London, consisting of 5 Optare Tempo Hybrids and 41 ADL E400 Hybrids, the company took on trial a Volvo B5LH, which is the product of  a combination between Volvo and Wrightbus The bus was based at their Cricklewood garage and it must have proved successful as it was announced that the hybrid allocation would consist of 5 Volvo B5LH Hybrids or VWH to you and me. They would be allocated fleet numbers VWH1360 - 1364 while their diesel variants would be given fleet numbers VW1365 - 1388 which are reported to be late for some reason or another.  There are a few differences between the diesel and hybrid variant as the shot below demonstrates.

The new VWHs weigh 11911KGS (conspiracists take note) and are finished off with very smart looking gold advert frames. A fleet list created by Ian Rivett has been created in order to help familiarise yourself with the buses. 

VWH1360 - LK62DHX - body no. AH155 - At CELF
VWH1361 - LK62DHZ - body no. AH156 - At CELF
VWH1362 - LK62DJY - body no. AH157 - At CELF
VWH1363 - LK62DJZ - body no. AH158 - Heysham Bound
VWH1364 - LK62DKE - body no. AH159 -Heysham Bound

The Vehicles have been delivered just under a month before the route 24 contract starts in order to allow the drivers to familiarise themselves with the new chassis, which has proven itself with its main operator; Arriva, with the managers at Stamford Hill garage quoting them to be very reliable and providing excellent comfort levels for both passenger and driver, this is testament to the fact that Arriva have ordered a further 75 of these vehicles, due for January 2013. Although this being their delivery of the vehicle, Metroline were quick to get out their cheque book once again and place a further order of 12 more of these vehicles, coincidently due in January also for the Route 52 contract, which will also be gaining VWs as part of the diesel order. 

If I was to honestly give an opinion on these vehicles, it would be that they are the best DDs in London at the moment, apart from VM1 BJ11 XGZ and I think they are far superior in quality to the E400 Hybrid.

There are still a few TAs and VWs lingering about at CELF following their return from Olympic duties, however they should disappear in the following weeks, returning to their respective garages. The TAs will be returned to W to operate on the 32 contract, I must say I like the fact that they have retained their cosmic fainsa seats upon refurbishment. There was at least two DEMs on the premises today awaiting commissioning before being delivered to PB for usage on the Route 234 and W9 contracts.

Now although I did not go on to the premises, I must say thank you to Metroline for providing us with a such a facility, that allows us enthusiasts to take advantage of seeing new buses prior to them entering service and allowing us to take photographs without hassle. More shots from the day's visit are placed below.

Metroline DEM1359 LK62 DHV

Metroline VWH1362 LK62 DJY

Metroline MM785 LK57 EHV (Offside)

Metroline TP451 LK03 GHU

Metroline TE1314 LK12 AWJ

Metroline TEH1113 LK60 AJY

Metroline DEM1358 LK62 DHU

Metroline MM785 LK57 EHV (Offside)

What was here today?

  • 3x  VWHs
  • 1x TEH
  • A few TEs
  • A few DLDs
  • A few VWs
Read more »

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