Follow Us

Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Search This Blog


Route Overview: Route 350

The Route 350 runs between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow Terminal 5, the route was first introduced in 2008 when terminal five at Heathrow opened. In fact for the first four days, buses terminated in Harmondsworth as passengers were not allowed to be taken into the terminal as it had not opened.  The route superseded the H50 which only operated between Hayes and West Drayton and was introduced in 2000 and ran Monday to Saturday only as it was funded by Hillingdon Council and operated by Wings, after the first year, the Saturday service was cut due to a lack of patronage and the route remained a Monday to Friday operation until the route ceased. The operation of the route was passed to Tellings Golden Miller (TGM) in 2004 however this only lasted just over twelve months before they were acquired by Travel London.  Soon after Travel London began operation, the route was converted to double deckers, using three of their brand new Volvo B7TL Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini’s. However double decker operation only lasted for two years as with the creation of the 350 the route returned to single decker operation with 8 brand new enviro 200’s although one peak time double decker did remain. Once again in 2012 the route returned to full double decker operation, this time with eight ageing dennis trident alexander ALX400’s and hopefully within the next few weeks these fourteen year old buses will be retired in place of brand new ADL Enviro 400 MMC’s which will complete Abellio’s current order.

9768 (YN51KWC) is seen at the Bath Road Roundabout, Longford approaching its final destination, taken on 18/03/15 by Kristian Lake
The route is around seven miles in length and takes on average between 30 and 35 minutes to complete one trip, buses run every 12 mins Monday to Friday and every 20 mins at weekends. I rode the route from Hayes & Harlington Station to Heathrow Terminal 5 on Saturday 14th March, and hope to return when the MMC’s begin. And I was surprised at the amount of people that also boarded at Hayes station, the route begins on a small residential street just around the corner from the station. After departing the stop at the station we head down towards Heathrow however we will be turning off very shortly. The first points of interest on the route are located just off the first road on the left which is Nestles Avenue, where you will find the London Motor Museum, a real hidden gem for anyone interested in cars, it is identifiable by the ex-Seaford and District Leyland Olympian parked outside which is now acting as a burger bar, also if you carry on further down the road you can marvel at the now derelict Nestle Factory which has stood on this site for over a century.
E851DPN - Ex Seaford & District Leyland Olympian/Northern Counties now acting as a burger bar outside the London Motor Museum. Taken 14/03/15 by Kristian Lake
The one thing you will find on this route is that there is a distinct country feel juxtaposed by modern industrial estates and this is felt as soon as you cross the Grand Union Canal which brings the large Lake Farm country park into view, we suddenly turn off Dawley Road onto a small tree lined side road called Bolingbroke way, now I start to wonder where we are actually going, as it doesn’t look like a road a London bus should be going down. At the end of the road all is revealed as we turn left into the buses only entrance to Stockley Park Business Park, home to companies such as Apple, Canon and Marks & Spencer’s, the site also features a lake, country park, golf club, a gym as well as restaurants and shops. After passing through a bus gate, we are parachuted deep inside an out of town modern business park which to and to my amazement this is where most of our passengers are deposited. And it’s also work noting that two other bus routes serve the site, they are the routes A10 and U5. 
9772 (YN51KWG) is seen approaching West Drayton Station while heading towards Hayes & Harlington, taken on 18/03/15 by Kristian Lake
After leaving the business park at Stockley Park, we start to head towards West Drayton or Yiewsley to be more precise, both villages have now merged together on each side of the railway, with West Drayton station at the centre of all this. After a short burst down a country road we arrive into the industrial sprawl of West Drayton, which then becomes more residential as we approach the main high street and station. After circumnavigating the forecourt of West Drayton Station, which is currently a building site to make it ready for the increased services, Crossrail will bring to this station and area. Turning back onto the high street we head under the railway and start to head towards the small village of Harmondsworth. After flying over the M4 we leave West Drayton behind and are shortly arriving in Harmondsworth, after passing through the village which is full of speed bumps we arrive on the A4 colnbrook by pass for a spell of quick dual carriageway running which will take us to the boundary of the airport where we join the western perimeter road just as a plan lands right above us, which is always an surreal and slightly unnerving experience. And soon enough we are arriving at the maze of roads which form the entrance to the ultra-modern terminal five which is where the journey ends. 

2526 (YX15OWU) is seen outside West Drayton Station while heading towards Hayes & Harlington on 28/03/15, taken by Kristian Lake
Now to talk a little about the buses, currently the route is covered by 51-reg Dennis Trident ALX400’s most of the time, however looking at the records, other buses from Hayes seem to make regular occasional appearances on the route, including single deckers. Which is not a surprise as loadings often don't require double deckers. But all credit to these 14 year old tridents, they still perform well on the dual carriageway sections of the route, as the one that I rode was quick and the engine was very responsive, I suppose part of that comes with a good driver who knows the bus and the route well.

An interior shot of the upper deck of 9770 (YN51KWE) taken on 14/03/15 by Kristian Lake
The route has plenty of fast running and buses are able to stretch its legs, so I look forward to riding a Enviro 400 MMC when they are due out before the end of March. No matter how well the tridents perform, they are defiantly showing their age internally, as they are looking very tired, even though they are probably not as battered and bruised as some of the younger models found at Walworth. It will be a shame to see another batch of Tridents leave London as I was brought up on them living in East London as there where the dominant stagecoach bus a few years ago. I am sure they will find a nice home out of London for these buses.

2528 (YX15OWW) is seen arriving at West Drayton Station while heading towards Heathrow Terminal 5 on 28/03/15, taken by Kristian Lake
Returning a few weeks later, on the first day of Enviro 400 MMC operation on the route and buses where gradually introduced over the day with the first four in service by the afternoon. Including 2523 (YX15OWO) which I rode on it's first ever working, and there is no real difference in feel compared to the other previous Abellio examples, however this is probably the best route to experience the full potential of the MMC's as the Route 109 is a very stop/start route, the Route 415 doesn't really get going enough before meeting the hills between Brixton and Tulse Hill, but due to the many open stretches of roads on this route, you will defiantly be able to have the full MMC experience.
Read more »

Stagecoach London Barking Garage [BK]

The other garage in Barking is occupied by Stagecoach, located on Longbridge Road, the garage stands out almost as a monumental figure as it has done for the past 9 decades. Opened in 1924 by the LGOC following the increased demand of bus services, which was an implication of the sudden boom in the construction of housing estates in the nearby Beacontree Heath area.

The structure was comprised of a yard as well as a large Victorian styled shed, which was typical of many garages which were built under the influence of the LGOC. 7 years after opening, the base was expanded, and rather unusually, the entrance of the garage was located on S Park Drive, which limited the amount of vehicles that could enter at any one time and this was amended when it was expanded years later.

The garage proved quite a successful one time, taking advantage of the numerous routes that operated in and around the neighboring Barking, Beacontree Heath and Dagenham areas, its Central location allowed for easy access as well as providing relief for the nearby North Street & Seven Kings Garages, but its size prevented it from ever utilizing its full potential.. However it still remained quite a popular one and certainly among enthusiasts which was probably intensified when in 1979 it rather dubiously became the last garage to run the much loved RT class Buses on the Route 62.

However its popularity could not expel it from the plans, to close it in the 1990s. By 1991 plans had surfaced to close the garage by 1992 in favour of a new 'super garage' in the Chadwell Heath area. The new garage was planned to have replaced the work from the Barking, North Street and Seven Kings Bases and rather fittingly coded 'CH' and set to commence operation in 1993. But closer inspection of the site, revealed due to its previous use as a paint manufacturing plant, the land had become so badly contaminated, it was no longer suitable to build on anymore and the operation was aborted. Expectations for the base seemed rife and many of the Barking and North Street vehicles for years ran around with 'CH' codes.

Despite the fact the super garage did not open, quite surprisingly the Seven Kings Garage still proceeded with its closure that year, which as a consequence meant Barking had increased pressure due to an influx of work.To mitigate, it was slightly extended, which was achieved by purchasing of two adjoining bungalows before demolishing them.

By 1994, the garage had a maximum vehicle requirement of 109 vehicles at any one time, quite a large proportion of which made up by lengthy Route 5. The base like many in the 80s and 90s underwent a period of modernisation resulting in the introduction of the coveted Leyland Titan and the rather uncanny Optare Delta types.

Skip a decade to 2013 and, it was chosen as the first London Bus Garage to use  chip fat oil which on its 120 buses, this was set to reduce emissions by up 20%, stickers to designate this were accordingly applied to the vehicles on site. A 50,000 litre storage tank was installed on the site which enabled the bio-fuel to be mixed on the site, further reducing the costs as well as carbon emissions. A key standing point for the introduction of bio fuel on the site was the 8,700-strong bus fleet uses around 250 million litres of fuel each year, with 3.7 million litres used by buses operating out of the Barking garage alone. Although it remains to be seen whether or not the results from this experiment were successful or not. 

In contrast to the 1980s and 1990s, at present the garage runs the following routes 5, 62, 101, 145, 169, 366, 387, 396, N15 (also BW) with a fleet that consists of  40 double deck Alexander Tridents, 54 ADL Enviro 400s,  23 ADL Enviro 200 and 14 Optare Versas. 

Garage Fact File
  • Opened in 1924
  • Expanded once in 1931 and again in the 1990s
  • Runs 10 Routes
  • Ran the last ever route to run the Regent RT Class on the 7th of April 1979
  • Runs 120 Buses
  • Planned for closure in 1992 due to opening of new Chadwell Heath Garage which did not happen
Read more »

Enviro 400 MMC, The Story So Far...

Alexander Dennis launched the new model Enviro 400, codenamed MMC for Major Model Change in May 2014, the bus comes in four different specifications:
  • 10.3m Single Door, with 45 seats upstairs and 29 seats downstairs
  • 10.3m Two Door, with 45 seats upstairs and 25 seats downstairs
  • 10.9m Single Door, with 49 seats upstairs and 33 seats downstairs
  • 11.5m Single Door, with 49 seats upstairs and 37 seats downstairs
Now so far only three companies have currently placed orders for the London Specification (10.3m two door) vehicle. Abellio where the first company to place an order, for forty five buses going to three garages; Beddington Cross, Walworth and Hayes. Details as follows:

Spec: AD E400H – AD Enviro 400 MMC, 10.3m H41/25D, ULW- 11665kg.
  • Beddington Cross (BC) – 2487-2498 (Delivered Dec 2014), 2499-2513 (Delivered January 2015).
  • Walworth (WL) – 2400, 2514 (Delivered January 2015), 2515-2522 (Delivered March 2015)
  • Hayes (HS) - 2523-2531 (Expected March/April 2015).
Note: 2400 was used at BC for training purposes only and was used in service at WL, however it is unclear if the vehicle is going to be kept by Abellio.

This was shortly follow by Metroline who announced they had placed a small order for sixteen going to Cricklewood Garage, the first vehicles arrived towards the end of February 2015 and where expected into service around April 2015.

TEH2074 (LK15CRZ) is seen at Metroline's CELF Facility on 20th February 2015, a few days after delivery. Taken by Kristian Lake.
Spec: AD E400H – AD Enviro 400 MMC, 10.3m H41/25D, ULW- 11665kg.
Allocated to Cricklewood (W) – TEH2072-TEH2087 (Delivered to CELF Feb/March 2015)
Note: CELF is Metroline’s Central Engineering & Logistics Facility.

Finally, Stagecoach have confirmed they are expecting seven diesel buese to be delivered to their Romford Garage in June 2015 for the Route 499 which they will be taking over. It’s also worth noting that the stagecoach examples will be the first full diesel MMC’s to be introduced into the London as both the Abellio and Metroline examples have been Hybrid versions. Stagecoach will also more than likely to be the first to introduce the Enviro 200 MMC, which will also be going to Romford in June 2015.

We were first introduced to a MMC in London when a demonstrator was shown off at Abellio’s Walworth Garage open day on 19th July 2014. This bus has since returned to the company, first at their Beddington Cross Garage (BC) towards the end of that year to train drivers up on the new design before the main batch arrived there for the Route 109 in mid-december.
2506 (YY64TZF) is seen outside Beddington Cross Garage on 28th January 2015, while classmate 2511 is seen inside the shed. Taken by Kristian Lake.
It has since moved onto Walworth (WL) where it was fitted with set of blinds, ticket machine and I-bus and given the un-official fleet number of 2400, which is in itself incorrect as this is a hybrid number on a diesel bus. But it was first recorded in service on 24th February 2015 on the Route 172 covering additional morning only workings between Old Kent Road Tesco and Elephant & Castle which are in place of the impending extension of the Route 415 which was also moving over to Abellio operation from 7th March.
2400 (YY64GXG) is seen on stand at City Hall while working as an additional on the Route 381 on the morning of 4th March 2015. Taken by Kristian Lake.
However it was photographed a week earlier on the Route 381 covering additional peak time workings between London Bridge and Waterloo. It has since worked on other routes out of Walworth including the Route 40 (Aldgate to Dulwich Library) on the afternoon of 24th February and the Route 35 (Shoreditch to Clapham Junction) on the evening of 5th March also the Route 415 (Tulse Hill to Old Kent Road) on 8th March.
2502 (YY64TZB) is seen at Crystal Palace Station while working the Route 157 on its first day on 27th January 2015. Taken by Kristian Lake.  
The first buses from the Beddington batch started to appear a few days before the take-over of the 109, with the first (2502) appearing on the Route 157 (Crystal Palace to Morden) on 27th January and 2501 made an appearance on the Route 407 (Caterham to Sutton) on the following day.

2501 (YY64TZA) is seen on the London Road at South Croydon Bus Garage while working on the Route 407 to Caterham on 28th January 2015. Taken by Kristian Lake.
They have since made occasional appearances on the Route 157, and only four ever made it onto the Route 407. The final few didn’t arrive in time to make it out on the first day, so a couple of non-hybrid older buses where used on the Route 109 over the first few days however they had all entered service by the end of the first week.

2511 (YY64TZL) is seen on Streatham Hill at Brixton Bus Garage while working on the Route 109 on 31st January 2015, taken by Kristian Lake.
The intended last bus of the Beddington batch was supposed to be 2514 however this was actually reallocated to Walworth to form the first bus for use on the Route 415. This bus officially entered service on 26th February after doing a few journeys on the Route 343 (City Hall to New Cross Gate) and just like the demonstrator it has since made appearances on the routes 35, 40, 172 and 381. And it also featured on the first day of service on the 415.

2514 (YY64TZO) is seen at Elephant & Castle after working as an additional on the Route 172, taken on 4th March 2015 by Kristian Lake.
The start of March saw the first day of Abellio operation of the Route 415, over time this route should become fully MMC operated however on the first day only three made it into service these being 2514, 2515 and 2517. The latter two being brand new 15 plate buses which had only been delivered a few days previous. March should also see the start of the introduction of MMC’s at Hayes for the Route 350 which runs between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Hayes and Harlington, this should then allow the disposal of the remaining thirteen year old Tridents that still remain at Hayes.
2515 (YX15OWD) is seen on the Brixton Road while working on the Route 415 on its first day in service, taken on 7th March 2015 by Kristian Lake.
Now for a small section on the buses themselves, having ridden on a few different vehicles on different routes. I have to say that I am defiantly a fan, one of the first things to strike you when you board is how spacious they are inside, I think it’s larger windows and compared to a new bus for London which can feel like you are looking out of portholes with the amount of panelling there is especially on the upper deck. The seats are also very good a great improvement on something like a Scania Omnicity for example which have wooden benches in comparison. The next thing you will notice is when the bus pulls away, is the immense acceleration these buses have even in electric mode (on the hybrid vehicles), you will find that the will reach 30/40 mph very easily. They also feature a new bell which sounds twice whenever it is pressed, unfortunately there is still no widespread system used to prevent it being rung over and over again. Overall in my opinion these buses are a great improvement on the original Enviro 400 and are the best double decker around at the moment.
Upper Deck interior of Abellio 2517, taken on 7th March 2015 by Kristian Lake.
Finally a bit about the latest Metroline batch, after a large an continued order with Wrightbus for Gemini 3’s, I was slightly surprised to see this order of MMC’s but I suppose it will mean Cricklewood remains an Enviro garage for the time being. As the buses haven’t entered service yet, there isn’t much to say as they are no different to the Abellio examples so I will let the pictures do the talking.
TEH2087 (LK15CUH) is seen at Metroline's CELF Facility at Perivale, soon after delivery. Taken on 28th February 2015 by Kristian Lake.

TEH2077 (LK15CSU) is seen at Metroline's CELF Facility at Perivale, soon after delivery. Taken on 28th February 2015 by Kristian Lake.  
TEH2075 (LK15CSF) is seen at Metroline's CELF Facility at Perivale, soon after delivery. Taken on 28th February 2015 by Kristian Lake.

Read more »

The Marmite Gemini 3

You're either going to love it or hate and whilst I don't love it or hate, I'll gladly take the title of being a hypocrite or coming across as contradictory for stating that I do like it and fully accept the fact, I'm probably in the minority here. For whatever reason, I think its a very attractive design but having said that I think the Optare Metrodecker is also a decent design specsavers may be due a visit!

Brighton & Hove Gemini 3 seen leaving Wrightbus' Ballymena Factory © James Bus Photographs 
The quite provocative design was unveiled to us by Bus &  Coach buyer on the 30th of October 2014, just days before the much anticipated Bus & Coach Expo in Birmingham, with the announcement that Brighton & Hove would be the first operator operate these machines. The ever reliable magazine informed us the a Go-Ahead Subsidiary Brighton & Hove ordered 24 vehicles. Mounted onto the the Integral Wrightbus Chassis, complete with it's 5 Litre Mercedes engine, the type replaces the DB300 before it albeit with a smaller engine and less torques. Although it remains to be seen how they will overcome to the terrain in Brighton Wrightbus are said to be very confident in the performance of these vehicles, and provide a very detailed account backing up their choice of power.

This face-lifted model sees Wright move away from the rounded 'Nokia' design, to a more sleek and more futuristic looking vehicle, complete with its sharp edges and crevasses which does take some getting used to. The shallow windows, are less apparent and appear to be more fitting with this style of bodywork in comparison to the 'other' Gemini 3. The introduction of this model, sees Wrightbus become the only manufacturer to now produce two bodies for the same chassis simultaneously.

As of March 2015, the first of the new buses are undergoing testing as illustrated above before their expected delivery to Brighton in April 2015.Complete with their leather seating and headrests, it wouldn't be wide of the mark, to suggest these are upmarket models. It would be nice to see some of these land on London's street and hope if the results of this order are positive, it may help to influence the London subsidiary's orders. 
Read more »

London Recap - February 2015

Welcome to back to London Recap, a section where we will be focusing on specific changes within the London Bus Scene for each Calendar Month.

Introduction of New Buses for London on the Route 55

LT385 (LTZ1385) is seen outside Leyton Garage having just arrived from Oxford Circus, taken by Kristian Lake on 11/02/15
Bus Details:
Wrightbus 'New Bus For London' Hybrid 11.3m H40/22T (Inc. 19 Standing) ULW 12390kg
Numbered: LT312 to 316
Registration Plates: LTZ1312-LTZ1316

Wrightbus 'New Bus For London' Hybrid 11.3m H40/22T (Inc. 18 standing) ULW 12480kg
Numbered: LT357 to 390
Registration Plates: LTZ1357 to LTZ1390

The first LT’s to enter service on the Route 55 actually took place on the 17th January, but as it was a phased introduction it took the whole of February for the majority of the batch to enter service, and even by the end of the month there was still one remaining, that being LT359 (which entered service on 7th March). Unfortunately there was two collisions involving 55’s on consecutive days at the beginning of February, Firstly LT360 crashed within Leyton Garage on the morning of 3rd Feb and LT315 collided into the rear of another bus in Hackney on the afternoon of 4th Feb. In autumn 2014, two buses from this batch (LT312 and 313) had both spent some time with Stagecoach Strathtay working on the Route 73 between Arbroath and Dundee, arriving at West Ham garage in mid-december 2014. The introduction of LT’s on the 55 has allowed a number of Scania Omnicity’s to be taken off lease and it has also released some Tridents to move to other garages.

Introduction of Wright Streetlites on the Route 192

WS44 (SN64CVK) is seen on Watermead Way at Tottenham Hale while working on the Route 192, taken by Kristian Lake on 18/02/15

Bus Details: Wright StreetLite WF 8.8m B28F (ULW 7487kg)

Numbered: WS33 to WS48,
Registration Plates: SN64CTZ, CUA/C/G/H/J/K/O/U/V/W/X/Y, CVA/B/C and CTV.
The first two of fifteen 8.8m streetlites (WS33 and 37) entered service on the Route 192 on 22nd January and by the end of February they had all been used, however WS35 and 40 had developed faults and where withdrawn on 10th and 11th February respectively, to be sent back to  Wrightbus for an engine change. For a couple of months the route 192 was covered by inherited Enviro 200’s and Pointers, that where hired to Go-Ahead due to the late delivery of the streetlites, however by the end of the February a few of these hired buses had returned back to Arriva. These buses have made a number of rare appearances on other routes during February, WS39 was on the Route W10 (Enfield-Crews Hill Shopping Route) on 2nd Feb and WS37 was on the Route 389 (Barnet Shopping Route) on 21st Feb.

Introduction of Enviro 200's on the Route 488
DMV45102 (YY64YKM) is seen on Fairfield Road, outside Bow Garage heading towards Bromley By Bow, taken by Kristian Lake on 28/02/15.
Bus Details: AD Enviro 200 10.8m B31D
Numbered: DMV45101-45111
Registration plates: YY64YKL/M/N/O/P/R/S/T/U/V/W

The Route 488 transferred to Tower Transit operation on 28th Feb and they also introduced 11 new 10.8m Enviro 200’s, all of which had entered service by the second day of running. And within the first week four other 12 reg Enviro 200’s had also been used on the route. These buses had bucked the recent trend as they had been flywheel fitted but featured Allison gearboxes. They are blinded for other routes so length permitting there maybe the occasional rare working in the future.
Read more »

Tower Transit, The Next Two...

So one week after the Tower Transit take-over of the Route 488, they took over two further routes in North East London, these where the route 212 between St James Street and Chingford as well as the route 444 between Turnpike Lane and Chingford. Both routes have a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of ten buses, so the fleet now consists of eleven 10.5m Wright Gemini 3 B5LH’s and eleven 10.8m Wright Streetlite’s along with one 10.4m ex first demonstrator streetlite (more on that later). As with the Enviro 200’s on the route 488, these buses both feature the new Grey/Green Tower Transit interior. However they have a different type of seats compared with the Enviro 200’s.
The Interior of WV46106, Taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15.
Starting with the Route 212 which between St James Street Station and Chingford Station, the route in its current form originates from early 1981 where it was a newly created route to partly replace the routes 191 and W21, the route was operated by First for nearly 18 years and passed to the previous operator (CT-Plus) in 2010. Having ridden the route a couple of weeks before the transfer to Tower Transit, it seems a relatively short distance, or at least it does on the train. However in most cases the train runs along a fairly direct route with the bus taking the much longer route. Statistically the bus route is around a mile and a half longer. And while on the route you will frequently see the Greater Anglia (soon to be London Overground) line.

VH38109 (BL64MHU) is seen on Selborne Road, Walthamstow while working towards Chingford. Taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15.
Shortly after departing Walthamstow you will encounter the first of many residential streets that the route will run along, I only really noted a couple of points of interest along the way, the first being while skirting passed Highams Park Station, this is one of very few locations you will find a railway level crossing in London, it is also a busy road so I can imagine this can cause problems when the barriers go down for a couple of trains. The route encounters a couple of steep hills between Highams Park and Chingford one of which is found after serving the rather unusual stop at Chingdale Road just after Chingford Hatch. The stop itself is set from the main carriageway, on a smaller road called Friday Hill, it is a tight squeeze getting into and out of Friday Hill especially in a 10.5m bus. Also on arrival at Chingford, you will find that the bus station is fairly small considering the amount of buses that regularly fill it, seven routes terminate their along with another non TFL route from Harlow. It has also become Tower Transit’s chosen relief point for both the route 212 and 444 with staff cars returning drivers back to Lea Interchange (LI). The buses themselves are very much like the previous examples of the Gemini 3 hybrids, found with Metroline. They do make the first hybrids based at LI and also the first Gemini 3’s in Tower Transit.

VH38111 (BL64MHX) is seen leaving Walthamstow Bus Station heading towards St James Street, Taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15
Now for the Route 444 which was first created in November 1991 after replacing the Route 144 which used to run along the same route. The route was operated by Arriva for around sixteen years, first starting off under Lea Valley County Bus. Riding the route on the first day under Tower Transit between Silver Street Station and Turnpike Lane which is a journey I had only previously done on the modern day route 144 (which now runs between Muswell Hill and Edmonton Green), a large proportion of this journey is on the Great Central Road otherwise known as the A10, which is a non-descript dual carriage way, lined by houses and the odd shop along the way. This does mean that the streetlites can get up to a good speed. As while I was there a couple of buses turned at the North Middlesex Hospital, meaning the bus I rode through to Turnpike Lane was well loaded which was no issue for the bus which still performed very well.
VW46106 is seen in Turnpike Lane Bus Station departing for Chingford, taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15

After leaving the Great Central Road, the route crosses over lordship lane and heads down Westbury Avenue which was quite slow due to temporary lights at the main junction at Turnpike Lane. On arrival the driver went through the blinds which showed that they are blinded for most of the Tower transit single decker routes, of course they won’t be used on all routes due to the length of the buses. It’s also worth noting that on the first day the newly acquired 10.4m ex First Streetlite demonstrator made an appearance on the route even though it does not show any external Tower Transit branding.

WV44700 is seen at Angel Corner, Silver Street Station heading towards Chingford, taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15

Overall it is good to see Tower Transit branching out into new areas, the new buses that have been introduced over the last two weeks have all very good and hopefully this is a sign of good things to come for Tower Transit with more successful tender results.
Read more »

Route Overview: Route 488

The Route 488 itself is a relatively modern route in the sense it was first introduced on 5th July 2008, however it did replace the Route S2 which dates back to 1970. Starting back in 1970, the route itself has seen many small alterations in the length of the route as well as the destinations it served although for the most part it has ran between Bromley-By-Bow and Clapton. In 2011 it was extended from Clapton to Dalston Junction via Rectory Road to terminate in the purpose built ‘bus station’ alongside the London Overground East London Line station. I use the term ‘Bus Station’ loosely as it is currently only used by the 488 but there is room for other routes if and when necessary.

DMV45107 (YY64YKS) is seen in Dalston Junction Bus Station about to depart towards Bromley By Bow (taken on 28/02/15 by Kristian Lake)
The route transferred to Tower Transit on Sat 28th Feb 2015, after being operated by Stagecoach for five years. It now works out of Lea Interchange Garage using brand new 10.8m Enviro 200’s, it runs between Bromley-By-Bow Tesco to Dalston Junction Station which is a distance of around nine kilometres or six miles, and it takes around 40 minutes on average to complete one journey. Buses run every 12 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 15 minutes on Sundays. The route has a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of ten. And it is also worth noting that the numbers of buses on this route has increased steadily over the last few years as the PVR was only seven when First started the route in 2008. I would assume this is thanks to the steady population increase in the East End.  This route is used by many as a hoppa service as it explores the back streets of Bow and Hackney very well. Not many people use the route in its entirety, but it does provide valuable links to the Bromley-By-Bow Tesco, Roman Road Market and Homerton Hospital.

DMV45101 (YY64YKL) is seen on Kingsland High Street, Dalston Junction having just arrived from Bromley By Bow. (taken on 28/02/15 by Kristian Lake)
After travelling on the route between Clapton Pond and Bow Bus Garage it does provide an interesting perspective of the area, starting on the Homerton High Street you turn to do a circuit of the front entrance to Homerton Hospital, returning back to continue along the Homerton High Street you are turning again onto Kenworthy Road which is a non-descript residential street which deposits you on the rather busier Wick Road, you then travel under the concrete structures carrying the A12 and North London Line before you arrive at the terminus of the route 30. This is as close to Hackney Wick station as you are going to get, as you then turn to run alongside the A12 for a short while. If you pay attention on the left then you may get a glimpse of the Olympic stadium between the numerous light industrial estates which litter this area. You then find yourself dropping slightly below the A12 into what is known as ‘Fish Island’ before a rather sharp right hand turn (a struggle in a 10.8m bus against oncoming traffic) is made under the A12 once more, joining Wick Lane for a short time which would take you up into Victoria Park is you wished, however we turn left to join Jodrell Road which will then feed us through the back streets of Bow, passing the bustling Roman Road Market on one side and shortly after on the other, the now derelict Bow Fire Station. Soon enough we are turning onto the double parked Fairfield Road which causes problems when two buses want to pass each other in opposite directions. Now a few doors before you get to Bow Bus Garage there is a rather imposing building on the left, now known as Bow Quarter which was a mid-19th century match making factory which has now been converted into 750 apartments, a story which is similar for many buildings in this part of London.

DMV45103 (YY64YKN) is seen on Fairfield Road outside Stagecoach London's Bow Bus Garage. (Taken on 28/02/15 by Kristian Lake)
The brand new buses Tower Transit are using on the route are 10.8m ADL Enviro 200’s, numbered DMV45101-DMV45111, they are fitted Allison gearboxes which does make them sound and ride much better than recent examples on the Route 100. Internally they do also feature Tower Transit’s new seat coverings and green grab poles. So overall they are very good buses and the larger type is certainly required on this route, to cope with the numerous pushchairs and shopping trollies that come with the route.
Read more »

Total Pageviews

Recent Comments

Recent Comments Widget

recent posts

Contact Us


Email *

Message *

© The Circle of London Blog 2015