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Monday, 7 April 2014

Vehicle Focus: VNE32052 [X578 RJW]

Every now and again, we Londoners are blessed with the opportunity to experience a new type of vehicles, be it for a fixed period trial or evaluation. Today's post will focus on VNE32052, an East Lancs bodied Volvo B7TL and the only one to be operated by First London.

VNE32052  X578 RJW in 2009 on the 79 seen leaving Edgware Station
Ⓒ JE1791
The demonstration vehicle was the first ever ELC Vyking body to be coupled to a Volvo B7TL Chassis when it was completed and delivered in September 2000.

Coded VE953 prior to First's Voyager numbering system took place, it was allocated to their Centrewest Uxbridge Garage (UX) although it was rarely used due to its reliability at the time. Being a Euro II B7TL it mechanically different to any other Volvos within the Centrewest fleet. However when it was utilised,  it was mainly seen on the 207.

Following its stay at UX, it was sent to Westbourne Park (X) as well as blinded for the routes there although it did not make it out onto the running sheets.

The brief stint at X ended when the vehicle, still owned by Volvo was sent back to ELC for major modification work, the lack of opening windows saw it fitted with an air conditioning unit which required major structural change in order to bring it in line with Tfl compliance.

Two years the vehicle now purchased by First London, reappeared, this time at Alperton (ON) with a new fleetcode (VNE32052) as well as opening windows. The vehicle was purchased as part of the route 83 tender which saw it run alongside 29 VNLs that were also purchased for the route although used primarily on the 79 and 258 while the 83 still used a proportion of its Leyland Olympians. Despite being allocated on paper to the 83, it spent most of its time on the 79 as well as making cameo appearances on the 92.

The 10.2m vehicle impressively seated 63 people, something typical of East Lancs vehicles which was made possible by the lightweight seats used.

November 2009 saw the phased introduction of new Gemini2 bodied Volvo B9TLs for the route 83 contract thus saw the decommissioning of the this lovely vehicle, I often referred to as just 'VNE'. Before it disappeared for many moons.

It resurfaced on the 13th of November 2010 after a major refurbishment which saw it converted into a Engineering research and development vehicle.

VNE32052 X578 RJW at First Aberdeen Depot in June 2013
Vehicle Fact File

  • First ever ELC Vyking Volvo B7TL 
  • Delivered to First Centrewest in September 2000
  • First used at Uxbridge on the 207 before visiting Westbourne Park
  • Sent back to ELC for major modification work which saw the inclusion of opening windows
  • resurfaced in 2003 and formed part of the vehicles used on the 83 contract after it was purchased fom Volvo
  • Allocated to the 79 
  • 10.2m long
  • Withdrawn in November 2009


at: Tuesday, April 08, 2014 8:39:00 pm said...

I heard that RATP Group that owns London United has also aquired London Sovereign too, and that the H13 is getting an additional Enviro 200, is this true?

metroline West
at: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 11:41:00 am said...

Yes I believe it is true

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