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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Arriva Midlands Thurmaston Depot [THM]

We know, its the Circle of London Blog, so literally everything should be based in and around going ons in London right?. However no one can disagree that the Bus scene in London is becoming increasingly boring, with a thousand and one blogs reporting the same old news albeit using different words. I thought it would be a good idea if we branched out and did something completely different and this post is a product of this thought.

Having said that, the lack of anything to interesting to write about and the repetitiveness of the scene is probably the reason, we've all taken a break. With all that said, we are proud to announce our newest member to the team; Will Swain! Based in the midlands, he will add content from the said area as demonstrated with this post. I've actually been an admirer of his photos for quite some time so it is with great pleasure that he has agreed to contribute. I'm sure you will very much like the content he has to offer

The Garage is is the headquarters of the re-branded 'Midlands' operation, who were previously branded as Fox County. The company as we know it today were founded in 1981 following the split of Midland Red which formed a new company called Midland Red East, similar to the way in which Stagecoach East London and Selkent worked.

In 1984 the company was renamed Red Fox, with the name signifying the county's abundance fox population...those were the days when operators were more a bit creative. In 1987 the company was privatised in a management buy out. For those who do not know what this is. It is when shareholders and managers form an allegiance with one another to buy out a company they either work for have shares in. Oldies will remember the London Central buyout.

In 1989 several other smaller companies within the area were purchased, however all the facts show that this was probably the wrong move as three years later in 1992, the operations were sold to British Bus, who in turn parted with the operation four years later in 1996, selling to the Cowie Group.

In 1997, Cowie Group rebranded themselves as Arriva with Midland Fox being re-named 'Fox County'. However in 2003, it was decided that Fox county would merge with nearby Derby, thus creating the Arriva Midland we now know today.

On the 3rd of October 2011, Thurmaston Depot was opened. The 3.3 acre site, located in Norman Road, Leicester houses 98 vehicles from which 311 members of staff are based. The depot costed a royal £5.5 million to construct and is part of a bigger investment by the company which has seen many new and some refurbished vehicles from London being drafted in.

The state of the art facility operates in a similar manner Abellio's Battersea garage does, with a rainwater harvesting system being installed, which ensures that 90% of the water used in the bus washes are re-usable by being stored in an 8,000 litre underground tank.

In addition to this the garage has been  fitted double glazed solar glass to external windows to reduce the amount of heat entering the building – absorbing light and reducing glare helping to reduce the need for air-conditioning and blinds. To cap things off, a six metre high acoustic barrier fencing helps to lessen and reflect any noise which may otherwise travel to neighbouring properties.

The rest of the pictures from the visit are placed below along with a major fact file this time, outlining the ex London vehicles currently in operation at this depot. 

This shot shows the forecourt, complete with
some ex-London bendies.
The contrast between single deck types at the garage is shown here
Unfit Optare Versa
Arriva Midlands Optare Solo 2523 YJ09 MJE
Arriva Midlands Volvo B7RLE Eclipse 3902 FJ58 HYL
Some ex-London DLAs or DAF ALX400s stand inside the depot
Arriva Midlands 3723 FJ06 ZTK
Arriva Midlands Citaro 3008 BJ12 YPT
Fuel area
Shrew'd looking maybe?
Arriva Midlands Pointer 2375 FJ55 BWE
Another yard view
Arriva Midlands Pular 4750 FJ06 ZSV
Arriva Midlands Citaro BX04 MXH
Two London outcasts stand side by side
The trainer vehicle
Former DLA55 S255 JUA
Yet another yard shot
A line up of ex-London vehicles
From another angle

Vehicle fact file

The garage is home to many London buses these being the following:

ALX400 DB250s [Arrived in 2012]
  • 4783 - S255 JUA - Former DLA55
  • 4784 - S232 JUA - Former DLA32
  • 4785 - S211 JUA - Former DLA11
  • 4786 - S212 JUA - Former DLA12
  • 4789 - S215 JUA - Former DLA15
  • 4790 - S216 JUA - Former DLA16
  • 4791 - S217 JUA - Former DLA17
  • 4792 - S218 JUA - Former DLA18
  • 4793 - S219 JUA - Former DLA19
  • 4794 - S220 JUA - Former DLA20
Plaxton Pointers [Arrived in 2009]
  • 2132 - V425 DGT - Former PDL5
  • 2134 - V427 DGT - Former PDL7
  • 2136 - V429 DGT - Former PDL9
Citaros [Arrived 2011] - Used for Uni-Link services for Leicester University
  • 5000 - BX04 MYG - Former MA40
  • 5001 - BX04 MXG - Former MA9
  • 5002 - BX04 MXK - Former MA43
  • 5003 - BX04 MYA - Former MA25
  • 5004 - BX04 MXH - Former MA10
Garage fact file
  • Opened on October 3rd 2011
  • Headquarters for Arriva Midlands
  • Manages vehicles from all fourteen garages within the Midlands division
  • Currently houses 98 buses
  • Sits on 3.3 acres of Land
  • Very economically friendly garage
  • Cost £5.5million to build
We hope you have enjoyed reading this post and look out for more outer London garage visits. 


at: Sunday, December 08, 2013 8:15:00 pm said...

INteresting mix of 'horns' and full scoops. What is the policy with the paintwork these days? I noticed the way they do the scoops has changed too.

FG49 says:
at: Monday, December 09, 2013 2:37:00 am said...

Excellent post as usual Jay :) keep it up! And a warm welcome to Will Swain, great addition to the blog, look forward to your posts :D (You might recognise me from Twitter!)

Jay says:
at: Monday, December 09, 2013 3:43:00 pm said...

Thank you for your comments guys.

at: Monday, December 09, 2013 10:30:00 pm said...

It was named Midland Fox, not Red Fox, in 1984. With a rather snazzy (depending on your opinion) red and yellow livery.

at: Friday, December 13, 2013 12:08:00 pm said...

Any idea what that many rigid Citaros were doing parked up in Thurmaston? (when were the photos taken?) They are Tamworth buses, I think Thurmaston still has a major engineering facility attached to the depot so you may expect to see the occasional 'foreign' vehicle in being seen to but that many new buses being so far from home seems somewhat strange.

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