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Metroline Harrow Weald Garage [HD]...VWs for the 140/640

Located right at the pinnacle of Harrow is my local garage Harrow Weald, which is operated out of by Metroline and has done so for as long as I can remember. Although the garage at present only runs three routes, two of them are the busiest routes in Harrow. For years the garage has solely operated bus types but only on the Plaxton President body, however that is about to change and in this case change is good.

The Garage was opened by the LGOC in 1930 in order to allow the much smaller South Harrow garage to close which it did, although the new base in fact was not much larger which it evidently wasn't as it had to be extended just two years after opening in order to provide additional space. The garage became somewhat of a hub for a few experimental vehicles during its earlier years of operation, following the introduction of the Daimler CH6 types as well as the ST diesel type, the first diesel buses in London.

By 1970 the garage had become home to the newly set up Harrow Buses network, which saw the vehicles painted in a royal cream and red livery, reflective of the borough's affluence. The very successful operation ran all of the routes in and around the Harrow area benefiting from demand of a new local netowork. However it fell victim to its own success and the new network eventually collapsed in 1994. Harrow Weald survived the demise and the garage and operations were passed to Metroline that year with the small base holding just shy of 60 buses.

By 1999, the base took on delivery of its first new low floor DD buses with the commencing in delivery of 16 brand new Trident 2/ALX400 bodied vehicles for the newly won Route 140.

The introduction of new buses at the base was aided again in 2002, following the delivery of new President bodied Tridents, dubbed as TPLs, TPL239-255 were their numbers. A year later a further 9 new vehicles were delivered to the base, with President bodies, however with a Volvo B7TL Chassis, thus starting the nonchalant and gradual introduction of Volvos into the garage, they were assigned bonnet numbers VP466-469 & 484 (now transferred to Willesden AC) - 488.

A year later in 2004, the garage took on the delivery of a further 24 Plaxton bodied Volvos which were assigned bonnet numbers VP604-628, 628 being unique in being the only one of the vehicles to have powerblinds. A year later the garage took on the delivery of VP317-330 which were released by Holloway (HT) following the introduction of the new bus type, the Enviro 400 on the 24. Thus allowing a similar amount of TAs to be transferred to Cricklewood (W).

In December 2006 Metroline had taken 6 former Metrobus ELC/Trident Lolyne vehicles, which were coded, ET765-770, the vehicles were delivered following the transfer of 6 TAs to W, by July 2008, they had all departed the fleet.

By November 2007, the garage had taken on delivery of the remaining VP331-347 from HT, completing the transfer and conversion of Harrow Weald from a Trident to a Volvo garage in a move which saw the TAs headed to Perivale East (PV) and latterly W for the 210.

In 2004, following negotiations with Tfl and London Sovereign, it was agreed that the Routes H12 & H14 would swap operators, which saw the H12 shift to Metroline and the H14 going the other way to London Sovereign.

In recent years the garage has come under much scrutiny from enthusiasts, who seem to think that if a bus is over 10 years old, it needs to be withdrawn and have called for new buses to be introduced into the base. Well it seems as if their calls have been answered, as at present the garage has taken on the delivery of 6 VWs from Brentford (AH), these being VW1243-1248 which began their life at HT on the 43 over 2 years ago. The vehicles at present are in the process of receiving new blinds as well and will go into service on the 640 when that is taken over from Arriva on the 3rd of September 2014, and the 140 which will be receiving a frequency increase. Look out for the new(er) vehicles which are set to hit the road within the next two weeks. I hope you have enjoyed this read and more pictures are based below.

VWs and VPs lined up at the back wall
Metroline VP344 LR52 BOJ enters the bus wash
Forecourt view of Harrow Weald with VWs intact
Metroline VPL184 Y184 NLK
Harrow Weald Shed entrance from the rear
Metroline VP319 LR52 BLV 
Forecourt view of Harrow Weald
Forecourt view of Harrow Weald
Wheel Testing facility at Harrow Weald Garage
Metroline VP336 LR52 BNO & Metroline VP619 LK04 UXB
Maintenance bays at Harrow Weald Garage
Panoramic view of Harrow Weald 
Metroline VP616 LK04 UWY at Harrow Weald Garage
The maintenance area
The maintenance area
Metroline VW1243 LK12 AAF hides away at Harrow Weald Garage
Garage Fact File

  • Opened in 1930
  • Holds 70 Buses
  • Runs three routes at present
  • Built to replace the former South Harrow garage
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Picture of the Week [W/E - 17.08.2014]

VH20 - BT13 YWS is seen on stand at Colindale Superstores after completing service on the 292.

A couple of VH's have been appearing on other Edgware (BT) routes such as the 114 and 183, but this is the first time a Wright Gemini 2 Hybrid has been on Route 292. The vehicles are from a batch of 23 vehicles for the conversion of the 13/N13 into a hybrid operation.

Route 292 is set to gain new buses in December 2015, what will London United introduce. Do the VH's suit the route or if you have any suggestions, please comment below!
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Route 112: Brent Cross to Ealing Broadway (Timelapse Video)

Route 112 runs between Brent Cross and Ealing Broadway via the North Circular Road, serving Stonbridge Park and Hanger Lane in the process.

It was operated by Abellio London but now it is operated by Metroline from Cricklewood Bus Garage (W). The route is 7 miles long and has a Peak Vehicle Requirement (PVR) of 9.

The route is operated using double decker buses, usually the 9.9m ALX400 (TA) and the occasional Enviro400 (TE). 10 of each bus type were reblinded prior to the 112 contract. Do you think the 112 requires double decker buses? Please comment below!

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ADL Falkirk Watch

The Alexander Dennis facility in Falkirk, Scotland is one of those I've always wanted to visit with the view of uploading the pics here but due to the expenditure, I've always had to limit myself to searching for photos on the net, however I'm not too fussed now as the pics I have found are excellent, and the photographer has agreed for them to be shown on here, in a quite similar format to our 'Wrightbus Watch' series, we bring you ADL Falkirk Watch.

The company are the remains of Plaxton whom they know own as well as Transbus and launched their first official product the E400 in 2006, which ultimately became Britain's best selling bus. Follow us through this series as we keep up to date with the latest goings on at the factory.

Unidentified Metroline E200
At present the factory is on its annual shutdown, which saw the manufacturing process slow down before grinding to a complete halt which is made evident through the above picture which shows one of Metroline's new 10.8m E200s in very early stages of production. The vehicle is of 10 that will be delivered to Cricklewood (W) for the 112 following a revised allocation.

Unidentified Stagecoach London E400 
Although not immediately evident an E400H is seen in the first stages of construction, the vehicle is part of a 30 batch initially ordered for the 205, however the 205 being a Central London route, was prioritized and given an earlier batch ordered, this new batch will be heading over to Plumstead (PD) to operate on routes 99 and 472.

Wrong Blindset
An Abellio E400H is seen here albeit with the wrong blindset, thus taken from a Stagecoach vehicle, when I originally viewed this photo, I was under the impression that Stagecoach had changed their interior, but on second glance I could see that it was an Abellio vehicle. The vehicle is one of 22 vehicles that will be delivered to the operator for the 49 contract which they respectfully take over from London United come this September. The batch is numbered between 2465 & 2486. Below are some more shots from the visit.

Unidentified Stagecoach E400H 

Unidentified Stagecoach E400H 

Unidentified Abellio E400H 

Unidentified Abellio E400H
Unidentified Abellio E400H

Unidentified Abellio E400H

Unidentified Metroline E200s

Unidentified Metroline E200

Look out for more posts in this series!
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London Recap [July 2014]

Our new once monthly section will recap a few workings from the past month month we start off with the north-west and central area

Metroline [PA] VW1469 BF63 HDG at Ealing Broadway
We start off with VW1469 BF63 HDG which duly entered service on the 297 as anticipated on 1st of August 2014, following a two month abstinence after its delivery over 2 months ago. The vehicle is one of three demonstrator Wright bodied B5TLs that have/are being trialed in London over a 3-6 month period beginning with the Go Ahead model which was delivered in October 2013. The vehicle is set to begin its three month trial period imminently and will be rooted to the 297 as it can easily be run to Perivale, should any problems occur during this period.

Metroline [W] TA655 LK05 GHB on the 112 at Brent Cross
Yes, Metroline West took over the 112 on the 2nd of August 2013, with Metroline Limited Buses from a Metroline garage, in possibly one of the most puzzling tender sagas I've ever encountered. The route was said to be running from Greenford Depot using some TEs while the new DELs awaited their delivery following the ADL factory summer shutdown. However it was decided against this as the Abellio drivers transferring over don't have sufficient enough knowledge on how to operate an E400...The decision was made to use the 6xx TAs which are identical to the ALX400s that would regularly appear on the 112 under Abellio. At present the DEs and TEs at W are being re-blinded for the 112 and I don't see why the DEs can't be use so one does suspect both Metroline and Tfl are using this time to assess whether or not the 112 qualifies for the use of double deck buses.

London Sovereign VH15 BT13 YWJ in Harrow Town Centre
VH15 is an example of how the London Sovereign B5LHs are beginning to stray onto the suburban routes at their Edgware Garage. The vehicles are part of a 24 strong batch that were delivered in July 2013 for the conversion of the 13 from diesel to hybrid operation.

Metroline [HT] TE927 LK58 KGG at Brent Cross
Seen here resting in between duties on the 210 at Brent Cross Shopping Centre is one of 10 TEs that have transferred over from Holloway to Cricklewood to aid the take over of the 112 which is now using the 6xx TAs. At present TE925/926/927/928/929/930/931/932/933 and 934 have been allowed to go over following the transfer of most of the batch VW1205-1216 from PA to HT. More are expected to following in the coming weeks to help aid the conversion to VW operation.

Arriva 3525 LJ51 DDV at Harrow Bus Station
Another loanee to Arriva's Garston Garage comes in the form of former TH operative DWL12 or 3525 in new money. The vehicle displaces E200 3991 which transferred from Dartford after it was relieved of its duties following the loss of the 286 to Go Ahead London.

Metroline [HT] LT190 LTZ1190 
Beautiful livery, horrible bus. Metroline's prototype LT is seen in between duties on the 24 on only its second day in service, the vehicle is one of a few LTs that have been allocated this special livery and Metroline's only EuroVI LT which with test results from the other LTs will act as a testbed for the new NB4Ls.
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