Friday, 28 July 2017

A transitless 266...

I'll be honest, I noticed my last post was at the end of April and was not quite happy that I didn't make more posts (well, I don't have a quota, self-employed pay-less job), so I decided to rush something in rather than nothing in. I have an upcoming post and possibly another, just that I need to gather more time to execute it efficiently into a reasonable, readable post that's not that much of a bore.
VN37975 (BG61SXK) at it's stop in the Lower Bus Station of Hammersmith.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Easter Break

This post was supposed to be published a week back but due to complications I couldn't find the time to do so, but I've finally compiled, finished and proofread my post and here it is, it also explains my two week absence. Hope you enjoy reading this post, and stay tuned for possibly more!

Nobina 2056 (BD91713) ?
I took the chance to finally escape London which I wanted to escape for such a long time, but specifically to Europe, such as Rome which I've been before twice and got used to it's atmosphere, but this time instead of Rome or other places in Europe which I haven't visited except for the one I shall mention, I visited my aunt and my cousins up in Oslo (Norway).

Monday, 3 April 2017

Fools of April

On the 1st of April, the day of April Fools, we've had service changes on lots of route, mainly relating to their contracts and routings, let's first start of numerically.

Route 2/N2:
HV306 (LK17AHD) in Marble Arch

To be former look
VLA44 (LJ53BCX) at the start of route
The daytime route had a contract renewal retaining the same PVR of 24 with frequency reduced to every 7-8 minutes in peak hours from every 6-7 towards Marylebone AM and 7 otherwise. The daytime and nighttime variants both were retained with brand new Volvo B5LH Wright Eclipse Gemini 3's, also joint bid with 249 meaning both routes got the same time, however 2/N2 being a central route had it's ones, HV295-323, with gold ad frames. Nighttime N2 was rerouted at Victoria via daytime N2 to Marylebone Station as part of the central London consultation schemes.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Finchley Road quake

RATP VH20 BT13YWS on the previous 13
These quake of changes won't go unnoticed by passengers, however the first consultation did become an earthquake TfL didn't expect just by withdrawing 13. Quite desperately they decided to withdraw 13 again but make it look like the 82 is being withdrawn instead. Though of course people still use it and the Finchley Road corridor as a whole can be busy, TfL want to cut costs as they see the Finchley Road corridor as one which wastes too much money. In my opinion things could've been twisted a bit here and there, say frequency cuts outside of peak hours. That would still require a lot of buses in the peak hours but saves money on the off peak hours, but the ratio would look a bit wonky so it's better to cut the PVR in one go.

TEH1454 LK13BGX on the
pre-extended 139.
The most noticeable change without a doubt is the renumbering of 82 into 13, of which 82 has been awarded to Tower Transit with new Volvo B5LH MCV Evosetis, but following the consultation, the contract will commence as number 82. The 13? The current 13 is simply withdrawn. Anything to replace it's stead in London Sovereign? 139 will be novated to them, running under the current 13 contract using existing VHs. Whilst the 139 change (extension to Golders Green) won't be much, the focus is all on 13/82 which will have severe effects on the Finchley Road corridor. Metroline themselves devised a special Routemaster service (with RML900) on the 82 as a way to send off the route they had for so long, in Potters Bar (PB) post-privatisation. Pre-privatisation the route went as far as 1986 from a depot called Finchley (FY).

TE936 LK09EKR turned
to Park Lane (Hilton Hotel)
My main focus will look cynical but it's going to focus more on 82 than any other route (not going to bother with 139).

The 82 as a route is an interesting route which starts off at the lively central London Victoria and goes up through the tree-infested Park Lane up to Marble Arch, from then on it starts to look typical London refurbished buildings which look expensive mind you, that's until we reach roughly Finchley Road O2 Centre where standards drop down a little bit. The roads are still spacious enough to hold capacity and the surrounding average buildings still look pricey as it's near the posh Hampstead.
We move on to Golders Green where we take a turn for the cheaper, there's less routes serving and there's less space on the roads as they become narrower like typical City of London streets.
At times the road has an up incline or a down incline constantly, which gives flavour on top of the existing decent scenery for a North West London route such as 82 (I'm not fond of other areas I've visited of North West and I consider this pretty well-cared).
Passing the A406 the roads become wider, the buildings become more apparently aged, and there's trees to supplement for better scenery as a whole, there's also shops here and there, like Finchley Central where there's the Northern Line again.
Typical North London (not North West) style houses where it looks good on the outside followed by more routes as we go through Finchley Central on our way to North Finchley, of which if you look to your right you will notice a board stating "Welcome to the area of North Finchley" which is a good greeting if you ask me.

An allocated Voith E40D
TE1425 LK62DXY
I always like to mention the route's history somewhere at some point, the 82 commenced service on the 21st June 1986 to replace 2B (the current 2)'s Baker Street to Golders Green section and a certain withdrawn 26's Sunday service (which also was born off one of the 2's, 2 the current 322). Enough about my addiction to my route 2, the 82 started off as Victoria to Golders Green with garage journeys to North Finchley and Barnet Chesterfield Road on Sundays only. As years passed the route found itself having it's Monday-Saturday service extended to North Finchley, but it's Barnet section replaced by the 84A(184). Half a year after that change, the Golders Green shorts was shortened to only weekday evenings and Saturday early mornings/evenings. Later, 49 months on, on the 4th December 1993, the 82 received the Victoria-North Finchley routing as permanent on all hours it operated, plus a transfer to Potters Bar (PB) with the closure of Finchley (FY) which the route resided in and has been given the running number #1+ (in gratitude huh).

Besides low floor conversion (with VPLs, in September 2001) or type changes or even running number sequence changes, nothing has changed until this date. Commiserations to Metroline for losing one of their good central London routes and congratulations to Tower Transit for managing to win the 82. Que the passenger's new reactions on April Fools day...

I may do a post on the new changes tomorrow in general, who knows, for this was a rushed post, but anyways I hope you all a good Foolery! :P

Friday, 10 February 2017

Featuring Finsbury Park

To be lost:
WVL494 (LJ61NWG) on stand
Well once again I had some business and once again it was on a Friday and once again it's nothing I intend on spilling.
Nothing interesting in my commute there, as I've taken the Victoria Line which took me 15 mins on my way there but almost 20 the other direction to Brixton. Nevertheless I got where I wanted to and triumphantly got there. However, I'm going to admit that I almost exited without touching out as there weren't barriers on the way to the exit.

I took a few pictures in Finsbury Park Interchange as can be seen below.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Trek to North West!

For personal reasons I've trekked to Burnt Oak, and I decided why not prepare for many pics and write a post when finished, on my way there it was like travelling through the Sahara Desert with nothing interesting, but on my way back it was rather like a Fast & Furious 7 race. I'll elaborate, if you read on that is.
Stagecoach 36338 (LX09ACU) at
Brixton Police Station

I had VLA58 on 2 to Victoria from little snack buying in Brixton, but the real story kicks in when I boarded LT758 on 16, I had a driver whom was keen on driving the LT fast, especially along Hyde Park Corner, all in all decent and reliably fast journey to Kilburn Park, passing Arab-ware Road then to estates along Maida Hill just before a populated Kilburn.
Metroline Travel
TA642 (LK05GFZ) in Kilburn

It was at this moment I knew I shouldn't have done 32...well, I can compare 32 with routes 25 and 86 which pass houses after houses and populated people, but majority houses where they share along Romford Road. 32 on the other hand is car shop after the other....I counted Volkswagen, Ford, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and probably Vauxhall as I'm not sure about the last one I saw. Took me 40 mins to get to Burnt Oak and I wasn't really impressed but hey well. More about 32 excluding for the car shops, it was pretty much houses on a dual carriageway really, with some shops here and there.
RATP London Sovereign DE20157 (YX11GBE) at Burnt Oak Station
After finishing at Burnt Oak I went to pray at Edgware Islamic Centre which I never knew existed...took DE61 on 251 which was rather nippy and healthy and being floored, but the body was about to cripple into pieces. When I left there I walked all the way to Edgware Bus Station because I deeply underestimated the distance there. Took some snaps and surprise surprise, the first refurb at Edgware (EW) was my 113, TE981 (LK59DZE).
Left: TE835 (LK57AXP), towards Northwick Park Hospital
Right: TE888 (LK08DYA), towards Brent Cross
Boy did I enjoy my 50 minutes on 113, well worth having that as my bus and route home, my bus was being literally floored even when school was released (sadly my 20 min recording became shortened to 7 mins due to school children), but having mentioned school, in Mill Hill a crowd of kids boarded for one stop when a 186 was already ahead of us and left the stop before we arrived....and the stop they got off 186 also serves....what was the point?

Arriva London PDL123 (LJ05GPU)
on 303 at Burnt Oak Station
I was enjoying the dual carriageway experience to the point only houses and nature was the things I can take note of, at first greenery then houses, once we came to Hendon Central it was populated (at least) with living beings, then right from there we go straight back to houses. I was surprised a place like Hendon Central has a dual carriageway cut direct in it. Anyways, we head to pass Brent Cross with the Tesco in sight, from now on it's a race to the finishing line: Finchley Road!

Yet again, only greenery. But one thing I can definitely mention is how my bus driver drove the bus like he was Lewis Hamilton in Fast & Furious 7. I was lost for words on the amount of flooring there was....I probably exaggerated that experience as I have a clip....
KICKDOWN+Thrash | Metroline TE981 LK59DZE | ADL Trident E400 | Route 113

Anyways I hope you enjoyed this unexpected spin-off from me and as always, stay safe! And in case you enjoy seeing photos, I've got more (some may be bad quality)!

MM820 (LK57AYP) driver training in Burnt Oak

Arriva London North SW4 (LK16BYD)'s rear, while on 340

Metroline TE720 (LK57FHP) in Edgware on route 204

Arriva London North VLW187 (LJ03MKM) on route 221

Metroline Travel VW1205 (LK61BMU) on route 79 getting to stand

Metroline Travel VW1405 (LK13BHW) on route 302 in Burnt Oak

Metroline West VWH2167 (LK16DFD) on route 114 in Burnt Oak

RATP London Sovereign DE62 (YX11GBY) in Burnt Oak

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Triple Variety 39 [While stocks last that is]

LDP222 (SK52MLV) on Victoria Drive,
Putney Heath
The title directly refers to it's former but still used allocation of Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointers (the last of their kind alive right now), formerly used on 368 10.8m Enviro200s (SEN31-7) and brand new Streetlites (WS66-73).

The 39 is a busy trunk single deck route which used to be a double deck routes and used to enter Central London going as far north as Edmonton Park Road, but for the most part used to always serve Victoria until 12 May 1990 where it was converted to midibus operation and was shortened to be Clapham Junction to Putney Bridge, with 'bread-vans' as some call, the allocation, with a PVR of 8.

12 years later an allocation change to Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointers in 2002 with a PVR of 13 to deal with the extra loads balanced by much increased capacity on the busy former central London route. It's hard to believe since 1985 the running number was always 21+, the reason for that is, since 1985, the route was always based at Putney (AF) but moved to Plough Lane (PL) in 2007 to make space in Putney (AF), but transferred without running number change.

Interior of SEN32 (YX61FZR) facing rear
It was 27 November when the route started it's contract renewal with intended ex-368 SENs and new WSs, the WSs were for the most part late, the SENs were refurbished with a hint of First colour scheme to suit the green/purple interior better, some LDPs have left the fleet however.

SEN32 (YX61FZR) at the first stop
on Falcon Road
Before we jump onto 39's routing, I only did majority of the route (Clapham Junction-Putney Heath) and it was a good experience. From the populated Clapham Junction bustling with life, we stroll to Wandsworth Southside, a shopping centre, it's from there that we jump onto residential roads to gather people to get from A to B, with our next checkpoint being Southfields Station.

The distance between Wandsworth and Southfields is decent and a little short but fun if you get the right driver (you're bound to) and is slightly posh in it's residential form, we then arrive at the slightly more populated than average (for small towns) Southfields where people next board/alight as an interchange point. The awaiting checkpoint for us is Putney Heath, whilst I admit I didn't go exactly the known part of Putney Heath, time was running short for me so I alighted along Victoria Drive, at Levana Close.

Once we leave Southfields Station whilst still on Wimbledon Park Road, we go from what we had as house-ful yet calmly residential and posh (but not posh like Chelsea or you name it), we escape onto Victoria Drive to get to Putney as soon as possible as we took time by getting to Southfields in the first place...
Go-Ahead London General SEN32 YX61FZR | ADL Enviro200 10.8m | Route 39 

This is where 39 shares resemblance to another route, one I have done before and loved when I did it back then, Abellio's T33 (or now known as, 433), both the vehicles I did it in and routing (at this point) was striking similar, I had SEN32 (YX61FZR) which had vibration issues but was very nippy on 39 on this journey Putney-bound, and on T33 I had 8776 (YX61ELH) which was nippy too.

So, as my time was short, I decided to escape back to Clapham Junction, but wanted to savour the taste of an LDP in case I never have the chance to do so again as at the time, there was a decent number of LDPs in service despite the possibility to fully convert. My bus was LDP222 (SK52MLV), which was decently loaded, by the time we got to Southfields we were full up but by Wandsworth most people unloaded however a neat amount remained but all have left once we got to Clapham Junction Station.

Thrashy | Go-Ahead London General LDP222 SK52MLV | Dennis Dart Plaxton Pointer 2 | Route 39 

Hope you enjoyed this post as I've not done a post of a route in a very long time and by now you probably get the drill if you read my posts before.....but let me twist the words this time...stay safe until next time!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Cherishing new bonds, 157 + Arriva

Arriva T112 (LJ59LYP)
in Crystal Palace
As you know today, 3rd December 2016, Abellio lost 152 to Go-Ahead, 157 to Arriva and Go-Ahead lost 413 to Quality Line, only 157 has not seen it's respective operator even once. However, prior to privatisation, Thornton Heath (TH) ran 157 for most of the 1973-87 period (not fully though).

And so technically Thornton Heath (TH) run 157 again (but Norwood [N] behind the shadows do in fact), as drivers are from the depot with new drivers to the company going on the route, but buses are based in Norwood (N) due to space constraints at Thornton Heath (TH), and those same buses 157 needed are from Norwood (N)! Allocated to 133, it's part of the T84-117 batch of which some which are not needed for 157 will head to Wood Green (WN) for route 221's contract renewal which did not start with intended buses.

The old look. Abellio's 9021 (BX55XLS) in
Crystal Palace Bus Station.
The last Abellio bus in service on route 157 was 9072 which finished service at 2:15, the last Enviro400 MMC was 2512 at 46 past midnight and the last Trident was 9813 which finished quite ironically, at 6pm (or, 1800). For the time being Thornton Heath (TH) are also lending a hand in allocation as in the first place, it is Thornton Heath (TH) drivers (signing on at the depot before going to Norwood [N] to pick up intended bus) who're driving the route as I mentioned before, it seems the Enviro400s already in Thornton Heath (TH) have had blinds for 64 and 157 prior to even tendering seemingly, I'm talking about T118-21 which were intended for Croydon (TC) but moved due to school routes 663/689 being born.

SE145's the first Go-Ahead 152 and MCS04's the first Quality Line 413, just saying.

The service with Abellio had been questionable, sometimes dreadful, and had an allocation of Volvo B7TLs which were hated by drivers so weren't best for the route, even at times you'd have one or two Enviro400 MMCs on it due to drivers trying to be rebels. On the other hand, the service with Arriva is questionable as they only took over it now, and have decent vehicles coming off 157.

Thornton Heath (TH)'s T129 (LJ10HVK) on Whitehorse Lane
The full allocation for 157 isn't really known but I'd stamp a guess for T84-105 as they're 21 vehicles for a PVR of 18. Oh, speaking of 157's service, the Sunday frequency has been increased from every 20 to every 15, at least some change has been addressed, and Thornton Heath (TH) run the Sunday service thanks to the low PVR with spare Ts from routes 64/198/250.

My T112 (LJ59LYP) clip on route 157 on Saturday can be seen here.

Thanks for reading (the post was rushed and was supposed to be published on Saturday), and enjoy yourselves as always!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Last byes for Abellio with 157

As you may have guessed, routes 152 157 & 413 leave their decade long journey with their current operators Abellio and Go-Ahead respectively (of which the former was in Go-Ahead's hands decades ago) to go to Arriva (157), Go-Ahead (152) and Quality Line (413). The 413 has only been with Quality Line for 4 years from 1997 through to 2001. Now a comeback for a 5-7 year contract until 2021-3! Anyways this post as mentioned in the title is focused on 157 so don't expect me to rant about the other two routes. Meanwhile, tenders came out and the results are below.

The old look.
Abellio's 9021 (BX55XLS) in Crystal Palace Bus Station
serving it's first stop en-route Morden
Part of the ex-Walworth (WL) batch route 157 received did
indeed receive smartblinds along with an interior overhaul
Route 157, a long trunk route allocated the 'crap' Volvo B7TLs, or so drivers talk about now and then of which struggle the hill up Anerley Hill, are 9021-33, 9067/8 and 9071-3. The first two are from Walworth (WL) during in exchange with 9756-72 back in 2011 during it's new contract, with refurbished Volvo's off the 188. Route 3 receiving a full allocation of new E40Hs (2414-37) thus allowing 9739-55 to shift and the 188 received 13 new E40Hs, 2401-13 which allowed the shifting of it's V's (former code) to be easier. However some of the Tridents along with 9813 from Battersea (QB) returned during these same Volvo's refurbishment (some were due a refurb since their contract in around 2012). More about 157's past can be seen below.

First things first, for those who haven't done the route I shall explain the route as detailed but least contamination of words as I possibly can. In the mean time, watch my video of 2512 (YY64TZM) on route 157 on it's last day with Abellio.

Abellio 9032 (BX55XME) in Morden
at the first stop en-route Crystal
Starting at Morden, a crowd gets on the route as per typical trunk route, you leave the people-full Morden Station to go on Morden Hall Road which is a four-lane dual carriageway with houses on opposite sides as well as minor greenery. We then approach Rose Hill Roundabout and take a turn onto Wrythe Lane which is two-lane with moderate houses either sides too, until we meet the large and appealing St Helier's Hospital which has a greenery opposite it. We continue the typical-ness until we pass Carshalton Station and hit Carshalton Pond, full of swans swimming about, and then the approach to Carshalton High Street is a bit narrow for two buses to pass but we made it.

After that we instantly hit on a narrower quiet residential road to direct ourselves straight to Wallington which takes faster than you think it would've, once we pass under Wallington Station, we turn to Stafford Road, last main road we hit on our way to Croydon, of which we pass many sorts of houses and shops. A few minutes later, the junction of Purley Way/Stafford Road approaches and we pass there, it starts to become less appealing, oh and by the way, to your left you can see the rail tracks as if the train line wants to share with the road or make itself visible, in any case it's mainly seen until you happen to know Croydon, an entrance from the middle of nothingness into a town centre, is pretty strange....

Morden to West Croydon takes 40 minutes on a good day, now for the Crystal Palace section which took an extra 50 minutes due to the interference with school rush hours and stupendous traffic. The 157 tries it's best to leave Croydon and head for Crystal Palace as fast as it could by serving Whitehorse Road, Northcote Road (again a narrow residential road) and then Selhurst Road (regular residential road which sees estate blocks and shops) as well as passing Selhurst Station of which one of the platforms for trains terminating is very very close to the road.

Traffic builds up as we reach Norwood's a schoolchildren's headquarters...anyways, the 157 makes it's best efforts to get to Anerley before reaching the burnt-down so-called 'Crystal Palace'. We continue on Croydon Road until we make a left turn onto Anerley Road which is less traffic-infested and has cars parked halfway on the pavement and road, at first the road isn't much to note about bar the slight incline and moderate houses, as we approach Anerley Station it builds up more with 249/410/432 coming in, then as we reach Crystal Palace, more traffic builds up and even a bigger incline than we've ever had on our journey.....Anerley Hill. Whilst climbing, yet again moderate looking houses doesn't cease to bore us and neither does the cars with awkward parking positions to maximise traffic potential to sway past without error, once we finished climbing up, we reached Crystal Palace Park of which the next stop would be the Green 'Palace' known as Crystal Palace to many.

2512 (YY64YZM) in Morden at the
first stop en-route Crystal Palace
We now turn to it's history which dates back to 1934, when police started to record service changes. It was Morden to Wallington Station using the STL type. Over the months a reroute via Wrythe Lane (instead of Sutton) and an extension to Raynes Park have been issued. Allocation change to D-type Daimlers from Merton (AL) on the 10/10/45 with a PVR of 11. And the start of a new era, with new RT-type Regent III's.

On 4 March 59, it was given a large extension to Crystal Palace replacing the trolleybus 654 via pretty much the same routing today. Croydon (CN) assisted the route (PVR of 22). Five years later, CN closed in favour of Elmers End (ED) with Sutton (A) dealing with most of the PVR.
In Autumn 70, the Rayners Park end was cut to Morden on Sundays excluding evenings but that returned at the start of 1973 plus a conversion to One-Person-Operation.
Thus it was the 26th November 1988 where the route shrunk permanently to Morden Station (with a PVR of 13, low compared to now). Allocation was Daimler Fleetlines (DMS-class). However, replaced by the M-type, MCW Metrobus, during 1993. A further fact, the 157 had 413's current running number sequence, #51+. Then on the 26th July 97, new Volvo Olympians on the Northern Counties Palatine I body were brought to life.

Connex took over the route on the 1st December 2001 with 17 new Tridents (which very barely made it for the 51-reg deadline!), coded TA56-72 with a PVR increase to 16 and a running number sequence of #201+. Obviously running from Beddington Cross (BC). The sequence changed to #101+ on contract renewal in 2006, of which #201+ is now adopted by route 201.

Abellio 9032 (BX55XME) on stand
in a deserted Crystal Palace
The contract renewal in 2011 called for Volvo's from Walworth (WL), routes 188/381. The refurbishment featured the addition of smart-blinds, or automatic blinds one may call them. Abellio did this with the 56/07-plate Enviro400s and 9466, including the ex-Armchair 9830-43, the Nimbuses, and MPD (Mini Pointer Dart)s for route H26/U9. And exactly 2 years later, a sequence change to #1+ (vacant when 3/N3 left to Battersea [QB]).

And as a fact, it seems Abellio, sorry, I mean Travel London loaned the KN52's that were on route 237 during iBus installment (for 157) which some are on route 172 as of now.

Route 109's 2512 was the last Enviro400 MMC to serve 157 and predictions for actual last...9028 which should finish service at 2:38 following morning.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and as always, enjoy yourselves!

If you're here to read this then I'm surprised. Tenders came out today and it seems the following..

SD = Single Deck     DD = Double Deck
70 Contract awarded to London United from Tower Transit. PVR 18>19. To be confirmed. 24/6/17.
120 Contract awarded to Metroline from London United. PVR 17. New Euro6 hybrid DD. 24/6/17.
C1 Contract retained by London United. PVR 15. To be confirmed. 1/7/17.
R68 Contract retained by Abellio West London. PVR 10. New Euro6 diesel SD. 24/6/17.
R70 Contract retained by Abellio West London. PVR 11. New Euro6 diesel SD. 24/6/17.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Central London bus consultation

Hello people and welcome to a consultation by TfL that was rumoured long ago, when Oxford Street was in the pipelines of being closed, a consultation about Central London changes started to trend. Then on route 242's contract award which stated a possible curtailment to St Paul's, something turned fishy. Before that, speculations of 25 getting split to run Ilford to Aldgate and Stratford to Oxford Circus or so, now without further ado let's see the changes involved.

If you'd like me not to spoil it for you or want to read it on your own, link is here. However if you don't care, then read as follows.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Tender results 7 November + 298 consultation

Just in case you're not aware out there...

A consultation has come out for route 298, details are that TfL plan to withdraw the Cranborne Road Industrial Estate-Potters Bar Station section (which is currently only Monday-Fridays before evenings).

Friday, 28 October 2016

Tender results 28 October 2016

Tenders have been announced people!

SD = Single Deck
DD = Double Deck

Tranche 553
617/629 Contract awarded to Sullivan Buses from Arriva London North with 2010 existing DD. PVR 2 (both) 1/4/17.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Three new consultations from TfL!

Three consultations have been launched by TfL, these effect routes 11 23 42 78 100 133 153 214 350 388 U5 N11 and N133.