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Odd Observation

Arriva Kent Thameside Dart, 3301 Y301 TKJ is seen here at South Harrow Bus Station while it pauses and awaits the next duty to Watford Junction.

Arriva 3301 Y301 TKJ seen at South Harrow Bus Station. Photo © Lewis JN
Single Decks are not uncommon on the Route 258, in fact, prior to the introduction of Trident Presidents on the route back in 1999, the allocation was actually made up of some Burges Reeves step entrance darts. Since the Arriva take over in 2006, single deck appearances have become the norm so to speak, with may Optare Solos and Cadets making cameo appearances from time to time. However it was a shocker when my mate Lewis JN, who owns this photo, captured this bus as it made a rather uncanny appearance on the 258.

The 10.7m Dart is part of a batch of vehicles that have been left surplus to London operations since Metrobus took over the 126 from Arriva, the vehicle is currently on refurbishment cover for Cadet 3704 YJ06 LFE which is being prepared for the 268 contract which commences in the summer. 
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A good day for Man...

Metroline MM789 LK57 EHZ sports a new paint job, following a long overdue refurbishment that was completed at the Hants & Dorset Trim which may explain the absence of many of these vehicles over the past few weeks.

It was expected that these vehicles would have been refurbished in time for the start date of the route 90 contract which commenced in September 2012, however it has taken well over 6 months to see a refurbished bus. Those who know me, know that these are my favorite single deck vehicles due to their sheer power and comfortable ride which is a far cry from the dismal E200 or E20-D if you like! 

It however seems strange that this was one of the first buses to be refurbished as this particular Bus is actually part of the batch of vehicles ordered for the 206 and not the 90. So it may well be that the company have taken the opportunity to refurbish the lower numbered MMs for the E6 for which this particular bus is allocated to...Either way I'm a happy man after seeing this. No prizes for who can spot the oddity on this vehicle. 

As these lovely buses continue in their refurbishment, I will keep you updated on the latest going on's. 
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Wrightbus Factory Watch Part 3

On a wet and cold day our mate Paul McClurkin, decided to give us surprise visit to Wrightbus's Factory in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. This series has so far proved interesting both readers of the blog and me as a writer for seemingly obvious reasons, its not everyday that you get to see the inside of a Bus manufacturer's premises.

So what was on show today? The above picture shows an incomplete Streetlite due to be delivered for London 'supercompany' Go Ahead. The vehicle is part of a batch of 23 vehicles that will be split between three routes, these being the 219, 327 and 491 as part of their new contracts. Their due date to enter service is May 2013 and their introduction will supplement the 9 shorter wheelbase models that are already in service with the company for use on the 462. The 10.2m vehicles have an acclaimed capacity of 71 passengers, which I highly doubt anyway and a very high roof line which is perfect for tall passengers such as myself.

To the far left of the picture above you can see an Arriva London DW566 LJ13 CKF which is part of a batch of vehicles that is due to be delivered to Enfield Garage (E) to help cascade older vehicles in the fleet to outer London.

Also a Metroline VWH, which I suspect to be VWH1413, can also be seen in the background of the photo. The vehicle is part of a batch of VWH, numbered between 1408 and 1419 for the Route 52's contract which commenced last year December.

Arriva London DW519
Arriva London DW519 can be seen undergoing the last parts of production prior to being delivered to Ash Gorve (AE) for the recently won Route 106. This bus forms a batch of buses numbered between DW516 & 533.

Go Ahead London Wrightbus Streetlite 
Go Ahead London Wrightbus Streetlite 
Arriva London DW566 LJ13 CKF

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Abellio Hayes Garage [WS]...500,000 Hits for the Blog!

Today hosted a visit to Abellio's Hayes Garage which is arguably the smallest garage in London, with a total vehicle capacity of only 25 - 30 service vehicles! The base is the remains of the former Tellings Golden Miller base and one of a few that Abellio now operate from.

The base located on the same road as Volvo's Hayes dealership was formerly home to an array of vehicle types including East Lancs bodied Darts for the U7 altough these periodically popped up on the 112, 350 and H28.

In April 2012, Abellio decided to take the opportunity to convert the route 350 to Double Deck operation using Dennis Tridents with Alexander ALX400 bodywork which had just been relieved of their duties on the Route 3 following the introduction of Hybrids on that route.Upon this decision 10 Tridents from BC numbered between 9763 - 9772 transferred over from Beddington Cross Garage (BC) to release the existing E200s to Fulwell Garage (TF)  in what I think was a very smart move economically as it allowed them to utilize older vehicles that were still in good nick! 

Abellio have taken the chance to lease one half of the garage to coach operator, City Circle who have a very nice fleet of Mercedes Benz Tourismo coaches.  No doubt they would give them the boot if they needed to house newly won routes!

Today the Garage runs the following routes, 112350H28U7 and U9 and is home to a fleet of following buses;

  • Alexander Dennis Enviro200 Dart 10.2m for route H28. 
  • Dennis Dart SLF 10.2m / Caetano Nimbus for routes 112 and U7.
  • Dennis Dart SLF 8.8m / Plaxton Pointer 2 for route U9.
  • Dennis Dart SLF 10.2m / Plaxton Pointer 2 as logical spares.
  • Dennis Trident 2 9.9m / Alexander ALX400 for route 350.

Upon this visit, we can now proudly say that we have now completed the whole set of Abellio London Garages in London! The first for any operator on this Blog, to now have the second company garage completion, we need to visit Metroline's Willesden Pound Lane Garage (AC).

Below are pictures from the visit, we hope you enjoyed this post. 

8466 GM03 TGM, 8589 YX62 DVA & 8051 X311 KRX

8589 YX62 DVA 

Trident 9722 YN51 KWG having some work done to it!

Trident 9722 YN51 KWG having some work done to it

Abellio 8114 KX06 LYT going through the washer

Abellio 9765 YN51 KVZ parked near the fueling facility 

The fueling facility

The City Circle Coaches

No getting away!

8589 YX62 DVA 

Abellio's new interior

Another Fiesta

Abellio 9765 YN51 KVZ arriving at the garage

Interesting Fact!

Did you know that the garage is home to Ceatano Bodied Dennis Dart 8466 GM03 TGM, which is the only post 2001 Euro2 Dart. The reason for this, is due to the fact, the chassis was made in 1998, however the body of the bus was only mounted in 2003 and registered the same year!

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Wrightbus Factory Watch Part 2

As promised, here are more shots from our new series entitled 'Wrightbus Factory Watch' made possible by our mate Paul McClurkin in Ireland.

I was informed by him that there is an array of buses that can be seen on site all year around, including some prototype buses or buses undergoing maintenance, mechanical work or warranty work. This directly ties in with the 'picture' above which shows a Wright Gemini2 DB300 (DL) WNH39004 LK58 ECY which is owned by First London and operated from their Westbourne Park Garage parked up inside the compound. A keen eye can also see a London spec Gemini in the background, the vehicle's identity is London General's WHD1 LX58 CWJ which is allocated to the company's Stockwell Garage, it is also here for similar modifications.

The reason for the vehicle being here was to have conversion work done to it, which now includes a new Euro6 engine and an extended wheelbase to accommodate this engine, the final length of the vehicle is 10.7m. Similar to this, Arriva London's DW411 LJ11 AEB has had this work done to it also.

NB4L Borrismasters 
NB4L Borrismasters 
NB4L Borrismaster and Streetlite

NB4L Borrismaster side view

The above pictures show of of a dozen new NB4L Borrismasters in what looks like their final stages of production, prior to being delivered to Metroline for their duties on the Route 24. Some have arrived early ahead of their proposed April 2013 delivery date. The third shot shows an incomplete Go Ahead London Streetlite which is due to be allocated to their Northumberland Park base for their recently won Route 491 to the hands of Arriva.

Arriva London DW520 LJ13 CME
Arriva London's DW520 LJ13 CME can be seen through the fence, albeit devoid of any company logos but with a 'Buses' roundel applied to it. This will form a batch of 18 vehicles due to delivered to Ash Grove for their recently won Route 106 to the hands of Stagecoach.

Another shot of shows a completed First London WNH39004 LK58 ECY devoid of it's TFL 'Green Leaves' Livery as it prepares to be signed off before completing that long journey back Westbourne Park Garage in Ladbroke Grove.

We thank you for reading this post and we hope you have enjoyed its content. Be sure to rate and comment below and don't forget to look out for more posts in this series. 
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London United Twickenham Garage [NC]...Last day as an operational garage

Today hosted a visit to London United's Twickenham Garage. Today, Friday 1st March 2013 was the garage's last day as an operational garage. As of tomorrow, the garages routes, Route 33 and 419 will transfer to Fulwell and Stamford Brook respectively.

 VA50, R950YOV

Twickenham Garage, located in Twickenham Trading Estate opposite Twickenham Stadium, opened in November 2005. It was the first garage for NSL Buses, formerally know as NCP. The garage was originally used to operate routes 33 and 419 like it is today however, route 493 was won in 2007 by the company and housed at this garage. 4 years later, the company sold operations to Transdev London (now London United). All buses began the process of integrating into the Transdev London fleet although this did take quite a while to happen! After the news that London United had lost Route 493 to Go Ahead London, many thought the future of the garage was in question. The news was announced that the Private hire fleet will move from Fulwell garage to Twickenham to allow Route 33 to move in at Fulwell. The garage will be used only for the private hire fleet and some buses waiting disposal/sale. Many thanks to the kind staff on site who welcomed me to the garage and I wish them all the best in the future. Pictures from the visit can be seen below

 DP7, S307MKH
 DE118, YX60CBY
 DPS702, SN55HKE
 New advert being applied to the buses
Former TV DPS601, SN51TDU
 Former AV VA103, W139EON
 DPS601 & DPS702
 DPS593 & DPS594
Former TV DPS557, Y557XAG
 Former AV VA104, W141EON
 Former TV DPS602, SN51TEU
 Welcome to Twickenham Garage!
 General yard shot
 VA82, V205OOE
 General yard shot
 DE118, YX60CBY
 DPS703, SN55HKF
 DPS703, SN55HKF hiding in the bus wash
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