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Monday 3 March 2014

Metroline CELF Centre Part 42

My once very numerous visits to Metroline's CELF Centre have now become as few and far between as a summer without rain. Those familiar with the blog would be more than able to testify to this. The Centre was opened in 2007 to help assist the engineering departments across the company with the maintenance of their vehicles. The Centre since its opening nearly 7 years ago has been accredited for its excellency and is widely utilised by other companies, namely London United and Tower Transit, whose vehicles can be seen here on a regular basis.

Metroline operate a fleet in excess of 1600 vehicles, which was boosted by Acquirement of First West London in June 2013. All of which must spend a statutory two day period at the centre whilst they undergo MOT and chassis cleaning amongst other things.

Today was the first time in many moons that I actually stepped foot into the location, which was probably due to my pursuit of BF63 HDE, the imminent Gemini3/B5TL which will operate from PA (West Perivale) when it is delivered next week. However I did read a report regarding the vehicle stating that it had been delivered, however that turned out to be untrue; but mistakes can do happen in this industry. Nevertheless, I still managed to gain some pretty interesting news that may put the rumour mill to rest for the time being.

I'm sure I started this the last time I came here, but I'm still miserably trying to get used to seeing the former First vehicles, with Metroline decals applied, it will be interesting to see what is done with the TEs on the 607 when they are refurbished. They seemed to be out in their numbers the centre today and I even mistook a former Alperton (ON) DEM for a traditional DE at one stage!

Metroline West (G) TE1772 SN09 CEJ
An elevated TE1772 is seen undergoing treatment inside the centre, the vehicle in its former life was DN33582 and was new to Greenford Depot in May 2009 for the retaining of Routes E1 and E3. The vehicle was part of a larger batch which had bonnet numbers ranging from DN33575 - 33610. However in 2013 it was announced that both routes had been lost by the company, which in turn will see these vehicles transferring to the Routes 282 and U4 to displace the older Trident Presidents on the routes.

Metroline West (ON) VW1755 LK59 CWR 
VN37776 in old money which was new to Alperton Garage in December 2009 following the retention of the 83 is seen undergoing some sort of treatment. The vehicle now spends most of its time on the 245 following the introduction of ex Route 24 VWs at Alperton which are primarily allocated to the 83.

Metroline (AC) VPL203 Y203 NLK
Seen here blinded for the 460, and part of a once numerous batch of vehicles, Metroline's older VPLs have steadily started to be withdrawn since 2013 which sees VPL203 just one of a few to have survived the exodus thus far. It was transferred from Holloway to Willesden in January 2014 to assist the fitting of ad-blue tanks to the Presidents there. It is expected that the vehicle will be around for a while yet before being withdrawn.

It is expected that VP466-472 & 485 - 488 will be withdrawn by the Summer of 2014 and be replaced by some 5xx VPs, those with a keen eye will notice that none of these vehicles are receiving any ad-blue treatment.

Metroline (HT) LT135 LTZ1135 & LT96 LTZ1196
Not long to go now before LT35 touches the road again, the vehicle was involved in an incident on the 25th of July 2013 at Hampstead heath which has seen it out of action for a number months, since them the front of the vehicle has now been moulded and just awaits a lick of paint to complete the job.

I hate having to chew my words, but I was once a critic of the new Routemaster, but I have to say it has actually grown on me despite my initial hate the for the vehicle when I realised London would be getting 600 of these things. The ride quality it on par with that of any other conventional Hybrid bus in London and in all honesty it doesn't look too bad, its different but given the choice between an Omnicity and this, I would definitely be boarding the open platform! I'm still against 600 however as I think they should only be allocated to the more recent former Routemaster routes to help them maintain their symbolic status.

Metroline (PB) TE897 LK03 NVM
Seen here, repainted and refurbished with brand new White on Black blinds intact, is TE897, a former resident of the nearby West Perivale Garage. The vehicle itself was delivered to W Garage in 2008 for the upgrade of the Route 16, however it was originally planned to be worked on the 460 which never did actually see any TEs on the route.

In 2009, along with TE896 and 898 - 908 it transferred to West Perivale for the new 297 contract, which commenced a year earlier. TE905 was my personal favourite from this batch, I remember it being the more nippy of the bunch which always made it a bit more fun to ride than the rest. In 2011, VW1193 - 1204 were delivered to PA for the 297 upgrade, which shifted these vehicles to Holloway (HT).

As of December 2013, the vehicles began their transposing to Potters Bar (PB) to fulfil contract requirements on the 217, made possible by the conversion of the 390 to Routemaster operation as the former VPLs could now begin to fill the void left by these vehicles.

Outside there was an array of vehicles as expected at CELF but just not the one I was looking for. 

Metroline (PA) SEL739 LK07 AZV
From  left to right: Metroline (HT) LT22 LTZ1022,
Metroline West 
(ON) DM1918 YX61 EKZ 
Former Metroline 
(AH) OTH972 LK58 CTZ 
From left to right: Former Metroline (AH) OTH972 LK58 CTZ  
Metroline (W) DE1147 LK10 BZP 
Metroline (W) TEH1220 LK61 BJN
Metroline (AC) VW1405 LK13 BHW

From left to right: Metroline (PA) MM785 LK57 EHU
Metroline (PA) VW1195 LK11 CYL
Metroline (PA) DE1612 YX58 DWM
Metroline (PA) MM815 LK57 AYJ
Metroline (PA) DP10166 RL51 DNU
Metroline (AH) DM968 LK09 EKM
A line up of vehicles at CELF Centre
A trip back inside the centre allows us to see what else was inside, you can pretty much say I went all out today.

From left to right:
Metroline West (G) DES1709 YX09 FLR
Metroline (EW) TE833 LK57 AXN
Metroline (PA) DE1611 YX58 DWL
Metroline (HT) VPL630 LK54 FWJ
Metroline (HD) VP345 LR52 BOU
Metroline (PA)  VW1180 LK11 CXP 
Metroline (PA) VW1180 LK11 CXP


London Buses On The Go says:
at: Monday, March 03, 2014 3:56:00 pm said...

Did you see SEL763 in the CELF by any chance? Very nice post, do the workers at the CELF let you inside? Whenever I go there I just stick to the outside although I have seen some weird things in the building from outside which I have not been able to see close up.

LondonBuses72 says:
at: Monday, March 03, 2014 9:23:00 pm said...

Awesome post, you've answered a lot of my Metroline questions. I look forward to BF63 HDE's arrival next week, and hopefully if rumours has it correctly, it could end up on the 79 (It's a rumour, don't take it for word yet), now I know where YX61 EKZ is, it hasn't been in service for a while and I saw YX58 DWL with blinds for the 70 the other day in Perivale. Tried to get a shot, however failed as it was night time and the focus was too low. Also please to see VW1180 again, just needs a touch of paint, a bit surprised about the little line of red underneath the blind box..... Reminds me slightly of WDL1.

JP says:
at: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:12:00 pm said...

The line looks horrible!

at: Saturday, May 17, 2014 1:27:00 pm said...

What happened to VP345

at: Sunday, June 08, 2014 8:17:00 am said...

Just a tiny correction, it was from my garage EW that the lovely VPL203 was transferred. Lucky Willesden. In my opinion it was the nicest VPL at EW. I loved driving that bus. All the VPLs have gone from EW now though. Mixed feelings about that really!

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