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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Metroline CELF Centre - Part 41 [R.I.P Vincent Mckenna]

As confirmed by Leon Daniel's the industry has lost a pioneer in Vincent Mckenna who passed away on Tuesday from a heart attack. Condolences go out to his family. A pioneer in every aspect Vincent and his brother set up up their own bus blind making business in 1978. The company grew from that point on and the introduction of the smartblind in the late 90's, was a second to none, increasing reader visibility especially in conditions of low light as demonstrated in the shots below, increasing the life of the blind and no doubt making the vehicle look more attractive. May you rest in peace.

In all honesty, I didn't come here to picture anything in particular, the weather conditions were really foggy outside and these are some of the best conditions to take photos in. No exposure to sunrays and very mild light. As I came to photograph nothing in particular I got exactly that. But of course there is news on hand!

The vehicle above was DMV44311 in its former life with First, however as of the 22nd of June 2013, it became a part of Metroline's new 'West' subsidy which represented a £57.4 million investment by the company,seeing them take over 5 garages and 494 buses. Here for a routine visit to the centre, it will stay here for two days which is a requirement for each metroline vehicle passing through the centre.

Just looking at the bus, reminds of how odd it looks with the grey panelling coinciding with metroline logos. When you think of metroline, you think blue and yellow, not grey and aqua. Nevertheless the vehicle has survived the axing of the hubcaps as you can see, which is always a good as they do look nice.

Metroline VW1034 LK59 JJU 
VW1034 LK59 JJU was nice to see, can't remember the last time I saw the vehicle and although no different to any other post November 2011 Metroline Gemini, it holds some sort of sentimental value to me. It was actually the vehicle that got me into visiting garages to take pictures of buses when new. Long time viewers will remember my Brentford Garage visit back in April 2010....darn, come to think of it that  was well over three years ago, time waits for no man!

The vehicle was part of a shock order by the company who at the time were strictly ordering the very average Enviro 400. Anyways, the batch consisted of 38 vehicles, with numbers ranging from VW1034 - 1072 with the latter 1056 - 1072 being delivered that November for the E2. The vehicles were actually to be delivered to Willesden for the 260 and 302 however that changed and they were diverted to Brentford (AH) instead for the 237 and E2.

Metroline TP425 LK03 GCF
This very knackered looking vehicle has actually been withdrawn for well over a year now, infact the 26th of October 2012 was the last date it ever saw service, however it still retains its wayfarer ticket machines which is quite odd. Part of a batch of Presidents delivered in March 2003, they were allocated bonnet numbers 403 - 465 and split primarily between Holloway (HT) and Potters Bar (PB). Although a few did escape to Harlesden Garage for the newly introduced route 460.

This particular bus was allocated to Holloway before moving to Brentford in 2009 to fill the void made by the returning of the Trident ALX400s to their leasing company that formerly ran the 237.  It went back to HT in 2010 before returning in 2011. In its latter months of life at the garage it was allocated to school route 635 for which it is still blinded for.

Metroline DE1004 LK09 ENT DE1004
There's a story behind literally every vehicle present at the centre today. Part of a batch of buses allocated numbers between DE1004- 1013 they were delivered in summer of 2009 as part of an upgrade for the route 251. This allowed the former vehicles operating on the route MM770 - 781 to transfer to Perivale East (PV) for dual carriageway route 232. However when the 251 was lost to London Sovereign in September 2011, the vehicles were promptly transferred to AH for the route 209 contract and joined sister vehicles DE993 - 1003. Note: DE999 - 1003 were transfers from West Perivale (PA) in 2011 upon the introduction of DE1171 - 1174 at the garage.

Metroline MM826 LK57 AYX
MM826 LK57 AYX one of a few survivors from the axe stands outside the centre prior to undergoing maintenance. I won't say much as it saddens me to see so many of my favourite single decks in London withdrawn, but the vehicle was delivered in January 2008 as part of the route 90 contract. Allocated bonnet numbers MM810 - 827, it was part of the third and final batch of Evolution bodied MAN 12.240s the company would receive. I'm sure you know the story well, in June 2013, Metroline purchased 5 Metroline garages, with the 24 converting to NB4L operation the same day as the takeover, 22 VWs from Holloway were sent to Alperton for the route 245 conversion, which in turn allowed the redundant E200s to be utilised on the 90 and E6.

Following up from this many of the MMs were withdrawn and sold with a large number ending up in New Zealand. Most of the survivors are now trainer vehicles, with some being refurbished for further Tfl use.

The News

Following the introduction of New Routemaster modeled buses on the 390, VPL581 - 603 have been now been released from their duties. VPL603 has already taken up duties at Willesden (AC). It has been confirmed that VPL581 - 602 will operate on the Route 4 as it has just been approved for longer vehicles.

It was mentioned a while back that the 217 would be getting some TEs from HT, allowing the phase-out of the TPs. This was supposed to take effect from the 22nd of June 2013, with the VWs taking up duties on the 91 and the TEs from the 91 moving to PB to facilitate this. However this was blocked for a number of reasons, the notable one being the requirement of double decks on the 245.

The plan is now to be fulfilled with the following TEs being withdrawn already
  • TE889 - 903 
  • TE905 - 909 
  • TE911 - 913
More pictures from the day are placed below. 

Metroline DEL1979 at CELF

Metroline MM826 LK57 AYX

Metroline VW1034 LK59 JJU

Metroline DE1004 LK09 ENT

The rear of Metroline DEL1979
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post as much as I have writing it.


COBO says:
at: Thursday, December 12, 2013 10:58:00 am said...

So AH is going to have TEs again excellent.

at: Friday, December 13, 2013 12:11:00 am said...

A really interesting article and great pictures - thank you.
TP412-425 spent several years allocated to the 297 running through Perivale - I have fond memories of them having used that service for many years when living in Perivale. TEs 891-908, also mentioned in your article, spent quite some time on the 297 as well.
Keep up the great work!

Jay says:
at: Friday, December 13, 2013 1:19:00 am said...

Glad you enjoyed the article Andrew. There are many others in the CELF series. I remember them on the 297 too, although they were shifted between AH and PV quite a bit.

TE891 - 896 eventually went to Cricklewood back in January 2011 I believe it was, when the SELs were sent over to PA. I used to love TE905, that vehicle was a beast.

Jay says:
at: Friday, December 13, 2013 1:21:00 am said...

That's the latest scoop

at: Sunday, December 15, 2013 6:46:00 pm said...

Dont TE880-890 Work at EW,saw TE 889 last week !

Jay says:
at: Monday, December 16, 2013 7:17:00 pm said...

Indeed they do, but they are being included in this transfer in order to prevent a scatter of vehicles as with the transfer of the VWs to AH and ON from HT

Unknown says:
at: Friday, December 20, 2013 3:57:00 pm said...

Metroline West have now won route 112 of Abello London which runs from Brent Cross Shopping center - Ealing Broadway they will start to run the route on 02/08/2014

at: Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:42:00 pm said...

so what will replace them.

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