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Abellio Twickenham Garage [TF]...New buses for Route H28

Today I took the short trip down to visit Abellios Twickenham Garage. Twickenham garage is the main base of Abellio's West London operation with the garage running routes 117, 235, 290, 481, 490, 969, H20, H25, H26, R68 and R70. The garage is home to a mix of bus types although the presence of  Enviro 200's has started to become a lot larger since the blogs last visits with new batches for the 117, 290 and 490.

The main purpose for today's visit was to look at the new and old buses that are currently being stored at the garage for Route H28. Since leaving the depot, 8590 & 8591 have moved to Hayes and entered service on the H28. Ironcially whilst at the depot, I saw more Hayes buses than Twickenham buses! Thanks must go to the garage staff for allowing me on site to take pictures. Photos from the visit can be seen below:

A line up of new E20D's bound for Route H28 
 8486, KU52YKR
 Hayes Garage's 8463 getting ready to go onto Route 481
 Hayes Garage's 8463 getting ready to go onto Route 235
 The Bus Wash
 8463 and 8469 getting ready to hit the road
 Shed view
 The pits
 8055 still blinded for the last route it served
 A line up of the old H28 buses waiting there fate
 8591 blinded for the 490
 9 Hayes buses
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Heysham Docks: 27th of February 2013

Content on the blog seems to be livening up once more and thanks to another mate who goes by the name of 'Jenky' we are pleased to announce our latest series on the blog which will focus on Buses passing through Heysham and Fleetwood Docks. This will join our other new series 'Wrightbus Watch' which was started just a day before.

For those who don't know, Heysham Docks and Fleetwood Docks are two major docking ports located on the north west coast of Britain, they are major shipping points for commercial vehicles crossing over the Irish sea and for many years Wrightbus have used these two terminals to transport their Buses from Ireland to mainland Britain.

This new section will join our other sections such as the 'Hants & Dorset Trim' and the popular CELF Centre series which has been running since the opening of this site back in April 2010.

Noted at the docks this week, were a multitude of vehicles for operator, Arriva. Two significant batches of Buses for the company are the new DB300 vehicles which will be delivered for their London operations at their Enfield and Wood Green Garages. In addition to this a fleet of 11 Volvo B5LH vehicles with Wrigthbus Gemini2 low height bodies are also passing through this location en route to their Maidstone Garage

Arriva Volvo B5LH Gemini2 7011 KX62 CHV

Arriva London vehicles from left to right

DW507 : LJ62BDF, 

DW509 : LJ13CCE, 

DW504 : LJ62BZV 

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Wrightbus Factory Watch

Thanks to an excellent Paul McClurkin, who lives near the Wrightbus factory, it is my pleasure to announce that from now on, we will be presenting you with a new section entitled 'Wrightbus Factory Watch', the section will contain photos of the manufacturer's Buses on their site in Ballymena. I've always wanted to visit this factory, however due to the expenses involved, I'm sure I will be left out of pocket but now due to him we can host photos with his permission.

The 'picture above' shows one of the new Borismaster Buses, which I suspect has just assembled in preparation for the Route 24's from which they will relieve the VWs and WVHs of their duties from June 2013 when these begin operating on the route. Visually there are no different to the 8 prototypes that are currently operating on the Route 38 however they have had electrical rectifications to make them more reliable.

If my assumptions are correct about this bus, this is one of the 32 (LT9 - 40) Buses that will be allocated to Metroline's Holloway Garage and will start being delivered from April onward.  This particular vehicle weighs a monstrous 12,460kgs. A keen eye will notice an Arriva London DB300 (DW) in the background of the photo.
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All Change Route H28...Goodbye Euro2 Darts!

As I'm sure many of you will know, this is my mate Jack's favorite bus route and rather worryingly so. Normally, I'm not the type to get so sentimental when a set of buses leave London to be replaced by a newer set of drivel as I can honestly say, with the way routes are timetabled now, it doesn't matter if the bus is new, old or whether it has 240HP, you will still have a very slow and unpleasant journey!

Abellio London 8590 YX62 DVC
However this time, I can relate. At 20 years of age, I wouldn't exactly call myself and 'oldie', neither would I want to, however I guess its safe to say, I've done and seen my fair share of things in this life, its not the age that makes you, its the experience. I've also seen good buses enter the Tfl network and leave the network, Titans, B6LEs, name it!

But this time, its really personal, for those who don't know the Route H28 is in the process of receiving a batch of 9 new Euro5 E200s, which will see its current buses being phased out, thus making it the last route in London to be run by an allocation of Euro2 Darts. The Euro2 Darts are being phased out due to stricter emissions standards influenced by the European Committee, in addition to this our mayor Boris Johnson has announced his concern of the high levels of pollution that is taking place in the City of London. In order to do his part he has ordered the removal of all Euro2 Buses in London and demanded that exhaust traps to be fitted to Euro3 Buses in order to make them more 'environmentally friendly'.

For me and many others alike, this is sad news, as the Euro2 Dart is arguably the best single Deck vehicle that has ever hit the streets of Britain, it was fast, comfortable to ride on and full of character and most importantly, I was there to witness the pinnacle of it's success and now it is being replaced by utter drivel, in most cases the Enviro 200. As a youngster growing up in Harrow, in 1999 when Sovereign retained all of their routes, I was suddenly surrounded by them and I will always remember that distinctive wolf like howl when they were clocking speed.

Back on topic, the Route H28 was introduced by London Buses as a low frequency route operating between Osterly Tesco and the enormous Bull's Bridge Tesco in Hayes. Its primary focus was to serve the un-bused back roads of Hounslow, Isleworth and Brentford. Here's a map of the route below

In December 2000,  in order to comply with the DDA Act, Tellings Golden Miller introduced 8 new 8.9m Dennis Darts with Plaxton Pointer bodies. The vehicles were numbered as followed;

8051, X311KRX
8052, X312KRX
8053, X313KRX
8054, X314KRX
8055, X315KRX
8057, X317KRX
8059, X319KRX
8061, X322KRX
8062, Y38YVV

8062 was a late purchase by the company and entered service in February 2001. The route was originally run from their Fulwell Base adjacent to London United's base on Wellington Road. The new Darts were very light and quite nippy and they were finished off in TGM's white,yellow and blue livery as demonstrated below by 8052 X312 KRX.

8052 X312 KRX. at Bull's Bridge Tesco (C) Andrew HA

The route, along with the buses transferred to Hayes garage where they were repainted into 'London Red'.  During 2008/2009, 8061 spent 3 months at Walworth, whilst in 2007, 8062 spent 4 months in Byfleet.
Apart from this the vehicles on the route stayed pretty much route bound, although towards the latter end of the contract, 10.2m Pointer Darts from other routes became more common on the route and Jack rightly so hinted that it could be Abellio testing the route to see if it could accommodate the use of longer vehicles for their next tender of the route.

Abellio 8470 HX04 HTV
His assumptions were right and when it was announced that Abellio had retained the Route for a further 5 years, they quickly confirmed it would be more drivel in the form of 9 10.2m E200s and this week the  Vehicles have started to enter service.

The new vehicles numbers go as followed;

8583 - YX62DAU - body no. C238/1
8584 - YX62DBU - body no. C238/2
8585 - YX62DDE - body no. C238/3
8586 - YX62DDO - body no. C238/4
8587 - YX62DFE - body no. C238/5
8588 - YX62DFO - body no. C238/6
8589 - YX62DVA - body no. C238/7
8590 - YX62DVC - body no. C238/8
8591 - YX62DVG - body no. C238/9

But wait, it doesn't end there, upon the introduction of these new vehicles, the company have also taken the opportunity to showcase their rather interesting new livery...I'll reserve my judgement in this post, although by that sentence alone, you have probably guessed what I think of it already. The new interior puts a much welcome change to their previous livery which was shared by National Express Group.

Thanks for reading the post and we hope you have enjoyed reading it. Feel free to comment and rate below.
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Metroline CELF Centre Part 39...New TEs for the 82

As we get ready to bid farewell to another classic type of vehicles, we get ready to intake the introduction of another new type of vehicle, in the form of yes you guessed it E400s! This time it is the route 82s time to be converted to the type. From March of this year the Route 82 will gain a batch of 28 E400s for a contract that actually commenced in March 2012, however the delivery was held back due to the manufacturers being pushed to capacity to build hundreds of new vehicles in time for the Olympic Games.

The Route was subject to much speculation as it was announced that Metroline are due to take on the further delivery of 24 unallocated as yet E400 Hybrids, so it was suggested that these may end up at PB for the route 82 as it is after all  a heavily congested route. However loyal COL Blog readers may remember Jack's Potters Bar Post from December 2011, it was confirmed by a manager that the route would be getting a new batch Euro5 TEs and well here they are. The new TEs are part of a batch of 28 vehicles numbered between TE1420 and 1447, which are Metroline's second batch of WTA E400s, seconded by their Cricklewood based sisters TE1307 - 1317. At present there are three vehicles are at the centre, these are TE1420/1421 and 1422.

Metroline TE1420 LK62 DXM at CELF Centre, a batch of vehicles destined for the Route 82.
The rear of TE1422 LK62 DXS at CELF Centre

The vehicles are over a month early and will be phased into service as soon as they start arriving at PB, this owes to the fact, the TE1309 from W was taken to PB to type train drivers on the new dashboard for new E400s. When drafted into service later this month, they will release the TPLs on the route which have soldiered up and down the Finchley Road corridor for over 10 years. I don't normally get sentimental over a 'box on wheels' but I will really miss the TPLs, they are some of my favourite vehicles in London, probably due to the scream which is emitted from that 3 Speed Voith gearbox and the mixture of the Euro3 Cumins Engine. It saddens me to see 10 year old buses being drafted out of London service as with a bit of care these vehicles could easily soldiered on for a further 5 years. I know Peter Horrex would most certainly be sad at the departure of these vehicles too. However it must be said that have in fact served their time in London and they were not exactly the most reliable of vehicles.

Although Identical to their sister vehicles at W, there is one minor change and that is within the sidelights, these have rectangular sidelights as opposed to the Oval sidelights. Apart from the TEs here, there was not much here to see here apart from a few VWs and VWHs for Willesden Garage which are awaiting commissioning. However upon my commute away from the Centre, I did go past PV which I will be visiting next and I noticed a multitude of stored VWHs,VWs, VPLs, TPs and one TA. Thank you for reading this post, please be sure to comment and rate below. More pictures from the visit can be seen below.

Metroline VWH1415 LK62 DWU

Metroline TE1420 LK62 DXM

Metroline TE1420 LK62 DXM

Metroline TE1420 LK62 DXM

Things to Note today
  • More VWs and WVHs for Willesden Garage
  • 3 new TEs for the Route 82
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London United Fulwell Garage [FW]

Today hosted a visit to London United's Headquarters’, Fulwell, located just west of Twickenham. It has been a visit that we have been wanting to do for a long time, but it was certainly worth the wait!

 TA341, SP60 & DPS667 rest on the Fulwell Forecourt

The Garage was originally built as a tram depot for London United Tramways around the start of the 1900's. The company had just acquired a 99 year lease on the land that was completed just shy of summer 1903. The primary purpose of the garage was to provide a base for the new tram routes operating in the Hampton Court area.

The main shed area of Fulwell tram depot housed 20 tracks albeit it was never used to its full capacity. In the early 1930's, London's first trolleybuses’ moved into the depot alongside the trams. The trams had all left Fulwell garage by 1935. Fulwell became London Transport’s main trolleybus works due to the large amount of space that was available on the site. Due to the space present, it became one of the last two depots to convert to Motor Buses. The garage was fully converted on 9 May 1962. During 1986 and 1987, the garage underwent a huge redevelopment and the depot was left open throughout. Instead of being split in the middle length ways, it was changes to a width way split.

Bring things forward 26 years to the present day, the garage remains spilt in two section. The Wellington Road end runs London United bus services whilst the Stanley Road end runs Abellio London bus services. The Stanley Road end of the depot is owned by TFL and leased to Abellio London which explains why Route 33 and N22 can stand there as many often wonder. London United run routes 65, 71, 110, 131, 216, 267, 281, 371, 671, 681 & 691. The garage also houses the private hire buses although it was recently announced that Twickenham garage is set to close as a service garage and the private hire buses would move to Twickenham to allow Route 33 to transfer to FW garage.

Recently, Fulwell garage has seen a lot of vehicle movement, with many of the older VAs and early TLAs transferring over from Shepherd's Bush Garage. In addition to this many of former Route 27 SLEs are being refurbished and dispatched here to displace the SLEs on the 267 that are going off lease.The current future of the VA's at Fulwell garage is unknown, but TLA3 and TLA4 are set to stay at the garage long term.

More photos from the visit can be viewed below

 Fuel Bay
 Running Plates
 Fuelling Equipment
 Bus Wash
 RATP Coaches HF53OBG & HF53OBH
 ER880, WLT880 & B178WUL
 SLE49 with new blinds fitted
 Pit area
 The pit area hidden away
 General yard shot
 SLE53 showing a new blindset featuring new destination "Brentford, Watermans Centre"
 New Route number 661 blind previously not included
   New Route number 881 blind previously not included
 DE29, YX09HJZ in the shed
 Forecourt line up shot
 Private hire DP1, S301MKH & DP11, S311MKH
 Peak school buses, VA8, SLE59 & VA49
 SP54 laying over on the Forecourt
 Building shape still shows its previous history 
 General shed overview
 SP27, YN08DHO & SLE47, YN55NKS
  General shed overview
 Roof shot
 TA345 having a steam clean
 TA343 on one of the lifts
Engineering bay
 New 267 blind with only 1 via point now
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