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Sunday, 7 July 2013

London Sovereign Edgware Garage [BT]..New Hybrids for the 13

Its been a while since the last update I know *covers face* but there's a reason behind it. 4 weeks ago I moved house and anyone who has moved house will know how hectic moving can be, as a consequence of the move, it has meant that I have had no Internet for this period. In addition to this I have also started working full time, so I have really been pushed for time as late...


However lets crack on. Before I go any further I must give credit to the London Sovereign staff for allowing on site and for ensuring my safety while they carried out their duties. Most of you by the above image have probably guessed why I was here in the first place. Followers of the blog would already know that I visited here in October 2011. But I'll still give you a brief insight into the history of the garage.

The Garage was officially opened in 1925 by the London General Omnibus Company and at the time only holding 30 Buses. However in 1984 a restoration program took place and the Garage was replaced with a new 100+ Base, that would have light maintenance facilities and a Bus wash. In spring of 1999 London Sovereign had won/retained routes 13,114,183 and 292. The 183 was respectively won of Metroline from Harrow Garage (SO). When these routes were won/retained, they saw Edgware Garage as a perfect opportunity to base their operations as it was closer to the routes which they ran and would ease dead mileages. Subsequently Sovereign's Borehamwood Garage ceased London operations. So Sovereign as they were known as at the time took out a 10 year lease on this garage and they became the sole operator of this garage right until summer of 2000 when Metroline moved back in. Metroline moved back into EW following the retention of the 107,113, 204 and 240. The Route 186 moved back into EW in October 2006 following a reallocation from Harrow Weald (HD). However this did not mean there were any capacity issues at the garage, but it now meant that there was now stiff competition for TFL contracts.

In late 2012 it was announced that London Sovereign had retained the Route 13 and to their surprise as I learnt today. The route which is their only Central London route, runs from Golders Green to Aldwych with the night service extending beyond Golders Green to North Finchley. The contract due to start in August 2013 was awarded on the basis of new Hybrid Buses, which were believed to be the shambolic Borismasters or NB4Ls to me and you. 

As everyone prepared for the worst, London Sovereign quickly announced that the vehicle chosen would be a conventional Hybrid which was later to be revealed as the ever reliable Volvo B5LH with prestigious Wright Gemini2 bodywork. Their arrival was much anticipated as many thought the company would opt for the E400 Hybrid instead. 

I expected the vehicles to be arriving around June, however there was no sign of them and just as things had started to get quiet Ian Rivett, the author of 'Bus News' reported that a few of the buses had started to arrive. I instantaneously started to plan when I'd attempt to visit the London Sovereigns and photograph them which turned out to be today (Sunday).

Prior to arriving I expected that their specification would fall in line with 11 Reg DEs they have, however there was no such luck. The vehicles which are classed 'VH' have fleet numbers ranging from VH1 - 23 have a totally different interior to their other fleet members as you are about to witness. Three vehicles still devoid of logos were on site, with another two set to arrive tomorrow. Interestingly they are the only batch of vehicles in London to have a registration sequence that matches up with their Garage code, the Route they are entering service on and the year of them entering service. 

The introduction of the vehicles on the Route 13 will oust the existing SLEs to the Route 292 which will oust possibly my favourite buses VLP18 - 27 back to their leasing company. The remaining SLEs will help oust some of the VLEs on the 114 which will also return back to their leasing company. The changes are expected to take place in August so if you like the VLPs as much as I do, I'd suggest you hurry up and snap them. 

Again, credit to the London Sovereign staff who made the visit possible and very much worthwhile. Please note that all safety procedures were implemented to ensure my safety whilst on site. Please do contact operators before proceeding onto any garage or site as this is a place of work and accidents can prove very costly to the company. More photos from the visit are placed below.


The upper deck interior facing the rear shows off a
very light colour scheme topped off a royal red seat moquette.
The Grey theme becomes evident as we turn towards
the front of the Bus.
 
The bottom deck interior demonstrates how airy the
Gemini2 body is

Not quite sure on the interior choice of colours if I am being totally honest. I don't mind the seat moquette, as I do like the red, however I'm not a fan of the orange handrails topped off with grey seat backs. 


London Sovereign VH1 BD13 OHU is seen on the pits
still with the beautiful hubcaps on the wheels. 
London Sovereign VH2 BD13 OHV shows off its
rear end at Edgware Garage
Here's a look at some of the other stuff that was in the garage today

Olly...Olly...Olly...Oi..Oi..Oi London Sovereign VA17 XDZ 5917
London Sovereign SP68 YT59 RXR in the washing facility
London Sovereign SDE23 YX60 BZF with
VPL220 seen in the background
On Loan YT11 LSD 

London Sovereign VLE30 PA04 CYS and YT11 LSD
A general Garage view
London Sovereign SP71 RT59 RXV
London Sovereign SDE19 YX60 BZB
London Sovereign VLP20 PJ53 OUP
More shots of the VHs




In sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today's post as much as I enjoyed taking time out to construct it, visiting a garage again has certainly got me back in the mood and I look forward to doing more posts when my time permits. Thank you and take care. 

15 Comments:

Lewis JN says:
at: Monday, July 08, 2013 6:06:00 am said...

This post is FAB - I can't wait for them to enter service!

I think the interior is here to stay - the new Veolia/Transdev branding says they've 'picked the name of one and the colours of the other' and this is evidently the newest Veolia interior (as seen on the Tempos just bought by Carousel from Veolia).

Again, great post, and keep it up!

LJN :)

Jay says:
at: Monday, July 08, 2013 12:04:00 pm said...

Many thanks Lewis. I quite like the interior although it is a bit different. Would love to see one on the 114 but i doubt it would ever happen.

Anonymous
at: Monday, July 08, 2013 4:19:00 pm said...

Why can't they get one of the VLPs to 605 when 292 uses SLEs than them keeping VPL220.

Anonymous
at: Monday, July 08, 2013 9:31:00 pm said...

Just to correct the history ...
The present Edgware garage is the third one; the 1925 garage was replaced in 1939. The 1939 garage was next to the old bus station, roughly where Sainsburys and the adjacent part of the car park are now. The 1925 garage was more or less where the current one is.

Tom says:
at: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:00:00 am said...

I think these are best B5LH in London, and LS should get B9TL for 114/183/292 in 2016 (183 only if gets 2 year extension).

Anyway, great to see you back!
Tom

Anonymous
at: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 7:56:00 pm said...

why is yt11 on loan from stagecoach London

Jay says:
at: Friday, July 12, 2013 11:34:00 pm said...

Thanks for the correction Sir. I will update it very soon.

Thanks for the kind comments. It may be worth noting that the SLEs will also replace about 11 VLEs on the 114.

Anonymous
at: Saturday, July 13, 2013 7:56:00 am said...

You know most of First London's operations are gone to Metroline.

London Bus Breh says:
at: Saturday, July 13, 2013 11:56:00 am said...

Very informative post. I, cannot wait to jump on-board one of these later on in the summer. Hopefully they will apply the hybrid stickers in time for all twenty-three before they enter service.

I'm not too keen on the red seats and the orange handrails, either. I would have liked to have seen silver handrails and an upgrade of the current Transdev seating livery using the same colours (like how London United upgraded theirs). The grey/silver theme is the best part of the interior.

Route 13 is the perfect allocation, and hopefully we shall see an odd-working or two on the 114, 183 and 292 a couple months into service.

Anonymous
at: Friday, August 02, 2013 3:16:00 am said...

Thank you for this post. Do you know if the VHs will get Transdev logos and which VLEs will be replaced by SLEs?

Anonymous
at: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 10:49:00 am said...

The best one to drive is still Va17, ive driven it for 16 years...those Va class Volvo's are something else, largest tyres and most powerful engine add up to a smooth and fast drive...

Anonymous
at: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 10:55:00 am said...

Sad thing about all these newer buses is that they have rear seats facing each other and that encourages people to put their feet up on them.
Also mothers with supersize buggies taking advantage of the wheelchair space. 20 years in this industry has made me critical of the publlic's behaviour when they use our buses.

Jay says:
at: Monday, January 13, 2014 11:55:00 pm said...

Miss those VAs, they were beasts on the 114

Anonymous
at: Sunday, March 01, 2015 4:33:00 pm said...

Loaads of odd workings on the 114, 292 and even 605! not so much 183 though. Anyone know when the 605 is getting re-tendered. LS is the worst operator of this route with their unreliable service, buses break down almost each week!!!! Metroline's Enviro 400's weree much better for this route. Hopefully the new LS sale to RATP Group, will change the shoddy 605 service!!!! If anyone has info about 605 please do reply...

Grubby Sa says:
at: Wednesday, March 04, 2015 6:51:00 pm said...

You should see the way Metroline operate route 606, the buses are always late in the mornings and are always early in the afternoon, it is like the drivers don't even look at the timetable for route 606.

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