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Thursday, 9 April 2015

London Recap - March 2015

The calendar month of March is always a busy one irrespective of the London Bus Scene, if we recap Arsenal just came a step closer in being crowned Premier League champions following their 2-1 over Newcastle and Jeremy Clarkson left Top Gear in favour of the more lucrative role as a presenter of Channel 5's Fifth Gear. But deep within the streets of London are a group of individuals who pride themselves on accumulating knowledge of London's Buses and this is what this month's March Recap will be corresponding on.

Bexleyheath gained a V6 

V6 (BJ14KTL) is seen at Abbey Wood Station while working on the Route 229 to Queen Mary Hospital. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 12/03/15)
Short lived, V6 from Camberwell (Q) to Bexleyheath (BX) proved quite a shocker, when it suddenly appeared on the Route 229 one day, apparently for fuel comparison trials, the move was allowed to take place following the introduction of Streetdeck WSD1 on the 2nd of March 2015. The move also saw WVL366 move to Northumberland Park. The transfer itself was short lived and the vehicle was withdrawn from service on the 24th of March, reported to be visiting Coventry, prior to going abroad. 

London United OC1 moves to Quality Line

OC1 (YD63UZL) is seen in Kingston Town Centre while working on the Route 411. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 14/03/15)
One of the more quiet transfers saw former Metrocity demonstration bus OC1 YD63 UZL transfer between sister companies London United and Quality Line. The vehicles was the one previously launched at the Bus & Coach expo back in 2012 rather strangely sporting route 29 blinds.

Introduction of LTs on the 15 

LT391 (LTZ1391) is seen at Trafalgar Square having arrived from Blackwall on the Route 15. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 04/03/15)
During the early days of March , another Stagecoach route, in the 15 began its conversion to LT operation, with its batch ranging from LT391-416 as well as top up vehicles LT462 & 463 which randomly appeared out of sequence. The introduction of LTs en route has helped to aid the conversion of another Stagecoach route, in the 56 to full Hybrid operation in order for it to meets the terms of its new contract. After a refurbishment by ADL 12128-12153 will return to their new home, Leyton (T)

Streetdecks enter service 
WSD1 (SN64CTV) is seen on Westminster Bridge Road while working on the Route 12 towards Dulwich Library. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 04/03/15)

SW1 (LK64DVV) is seen leaving Wood Green Garage about to start on the Route 221 to Edgware. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 04/03/15)
Two new Wright Streetdecks enter service in London in March, but thankfully they have retained there Gemini 3 styling. WSD1 has gone to Go-Ahead at Camberwell to replace V6 and SW1 has gone to Arriva at Wood Green to run alongside VDG1, the Volvo B5TL demonstrator.

Transfer of Route 482 to Metroline
    TE1727 (SN09CEX) is seen on South Road at Southall Town Hall on the first day of Metroline operation of the Route 482, taken on 21/03/15 by Kristian Lake
On the 21st of March 2015, Metroline West duly took over the Route 482 from their Greenford Garage (GR) using the former E1 & E3 buses, with numbers ranging from 1715-1751, had things gone slightly differently, this batch of buses would have ended up at Potters Bar, operating on both routes 34 & 125. The batch is now split between the 91*, 282, 482 & U4, with the higher ended numbers transferring across from Holloway (HT) to Uxbridge (UX) to form a partial allocation on route U4 alongside the TPs. 
Tower Transits new buses and routes 212/444

WV46108 (SN64CVM) is seen at Sterling Way at Silver Street Station while working on the Route 444 to Chingford. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15)

VH38110 (BL64MHV) is seen at Walthamstow Central Station while working on the Route 212 to Chingford (Taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15)
Tower Transit took over two new routes in March which required twenty new buses (10 new Streetlites and 10 new Gemini 3 hybrids) both currently working out of Lea Interchange (LI) but could easily be moved to the forthcoming Pickkets Lock (PI) garage. Both routes start and finish at Chingford which was virgin ground for Tower Transit. Anyone interested in finding out more about these two routes and buses please check out the Tower Transit, The next two post.

MMCs commence Abellio operations on the 415

2514 (YY64TZO) is seen at Brixton Station while working on the Route 415 to Tulse Hill Station. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 07/03/15)
The penultimate Abellio route to gain MMC's was the Route 415 which was also a takeover from Arriva, the first day saw only three MMC's running with other Walworth (WL) buses assisting but within a week all MMC's had entered service, they have also made a number of forays onto other WL routes such as the 40.

Three new E200s for Blue Triangle 

SE233 (YX15XML) is seen on Woolwich Manor Way at Beckton having just started its journey on the Route 376 to East Ham. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 17/03/15)
One of the surprises of the month came in the form of three new Enviro 200's which went to Rainham (BE), they are almost identical to the recent batch for the Route 100. And so spent there first few days on the Route 376 while drivers where being trained on them as they have the new gear box. All three made an appearance on the route within the first week using borrowed blind sets from Silvertown (SI) while new sets where on order. They have all since been used on there intended route the W19, but unfortunately this is likely to spell the end for the two remaining Cadets (DW11 & 12).

MMCs starting on Route 350

2526 (YX15OWU) is seen at West Drayton Station while working on the Route 350 towards Hayes & Harlington. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 28/03/15)

The long awaited final batch of Abellio MMC's entered service a week later than planned towards the end of March on the Route 350, a rather unusual choice in my opinion given Hayes only has two double decker routes. I would have thought they may have been better suited on a more central route. Anyway this batch signals the end of Abellio's current order of MMC's and also the end of some of the 51-reg tridents that have spent there latter years on this route. Anyone interested to find out more about the route of buses please check out the Route 350 overview post.

Introduction of LTs on the 12 

LT417 (LTZ1417) is seen turning into Margret Street at the end of the Route 12 at Oxford Circus. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 29/03/15)
March saw a second route start to receive New Routemasters, following on from the Route 15 at the start of the month the route 12 also began towards the end, this was one of the larger batches of recent, with a total of 40 buses going to Camberwell (Q) even though they may eventually get mixed in with the 453 batch at Mandela Way (MW). This phased conversion will be continuing into April.

New Enviro 200's for National Express at Heathrow

8360 (SN15LKG) is seen at Hatton Cross Station while working on the British Airways Staff Shuttle BA5. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 14/03/15)

8369 (SN15LKD) is seen at the Bath Road Roundabout near Terminal 5 while working on a British Airways Staff Shuttle service (Taken by Kristian Lake on 18/03/15)
March also saw the start of a new contract between National Express and British Airways for the operation of a number of staff shuttle services around the Heathrow perimeter calling at all the main British Airways office's, buildings and hangers. 10 ADL Enviro 200's (10.8m) and 4 Optare M900SR's where ordered for this contract and these supplemented a couple of other existing Enviro 200's which will solely be used for these services. These new buses join a number of other Enviro 200's based at Heathrow for BBC Staff Shuttles and Heathrow Hotel Hoppa services.
London's new Sightseeing Tour Company 
    Ex Metroline VPL183 (Y183NLK) is seen at the Tower of London while working on for London City Tours. (Taken by Kristian Lake on 28/03/15)
And finally this month also saw a new Open Top tour operate begin operations, they are using heavily modified ex Metroline VPL's, these buses have had their roof's removed (not all have the roof fully removed), new LED destination blinds, free Wifi as well as USB/plug charging. So they seem to have the facilities of a luxury coach compared to a sightseeing bus.


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