Edited by John Podgorski BA Hons, MSc, CMILT.
Welcome to the February, 2015 Busmopolitan Blog.
The march of ‘Borismasters’ across east London continues, with the conversion of route 55 followed by the introduction of the type to service 15; a high profile corridor which received new hybrid buses not all that long ago. These are to be cascaded to other work – and will help to replace some of the unloved double deck Scania Omnicities of Stagecoach London, withdrawal of which has now commenced.
“Up state”, some “clean” buses have appeared with First in Colchester.
Immediately identifiable by distinctive green lining to their already Refreshed livery, these Wright bodied Volvo B7RLEs have been fitted with exhaust particulate traps, as part of a low emissions project in Britain’s oldest recorded town.
In Braintree, one of First’s local drivers was hailed a hero in early February, when he used his bus to help in a dramatic escape from a blaze on the High Street. More on this further down the page.
Progress on Crossrail is now becoming evident in Essex with visible works starting at Brentwood and Shenfield. In addition, one of the veteran Class 315 trains in the area has received “vanilla” style white/blue colours, which is a prelude to the transfer of Metro operations from Abellio to MTR in a few months time.
And the ‘Pretendalino’ carriage set has been a regular sight up and down the Great Eastern Main Line (between Norwich and London Liverpool Street). This is basically MKIII coaches made up to Pendalino appearance. They were used as a “test bed” on the West Coast Main Line by Virgin trains, in advance of the real Class 390 electric multiple unit Pendalino tilting trains entering service, and following the end of their useful lives between Euston and Glasgow, passed (via their leasing company) to Abellio Greater Anglia, as cover for their MkIII stock refresh programme.
Trials of the Independantly Powered (battery) Class 379 EMU concluded in mid February, and appear to have been a success.
ABELLIO GREATER ANGLIA.
The trial of IPEMU 379013 on the Harwich branch ended on 13/2/2015 and the train was returned to Bombardier at Derby, for conversion back to its original “pure” EMU spec. It will then return to its original duties on the AGA West Anglia section.
315837 has appeared in a Transport for London “neutral” livery, of white with a blue skirt (similar to London Underground), ahead of MTR taking over the Liverpool Street to Shenfield route from the end of May 2015; and effectively starting the transition to Crossrail.
Blue coloured electric loco 90034 has been received, on hire from DBS.
360116 has (surprisingly) lost its new style Abellio Greater Anglia fleet names. The 360s had only recently been rebranded as such.
The ‘Pretendalino’ set has been at work; sandwiched between loco 90001 and DVT 82105.
Now in the new Abellio livery are electric loco 90012; EMUs 317501/7 and MKIII carriages 10401, 11099.
Above: The ‘Pretendalino’ at Colchester on 18/2/15; on a Norwich to London Liverpool Street service.
ACME BUS, MOLEHILL GREEN.
All Leyland Olympian G299 UYK has been acquired from Lodge of High Easter.
YS03 ZKZ is a Scania K114/Irizar, acquired from Meek of Cannock.
BMC1100 BX07 OPH has been sold to Lee of Holywell, North Wales.
ARRIVA KENT THAMESIDE SOUTHEND.
Ex Arriva Guildford and West Surrey is DAF SB120/Wright Cadet 3935 (GK52 YUY).
Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Super Pointer 3324 (T824 NMJ) has been returned, off loan from Arriva Guildford and West Surrey.
Withdrawn is DAF SB220L/Plaxton Prestige 3915 (T915 KKM).
ARRIVA LONDON NORTH.
Further ex Arriva London South Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400s at Barking (DX) are VLA107/8 (LJ05 BLK/N).
ARRIVA ORIGINAL LONDON SIGHTSEEING TOUR.
Open top tri-axle Metrobus UAR 250Y is now with Vintage Event Catering of Bournemouth, via Ensign.
Leyland Olympian/Alexander RH open topper OA319 (J319 BSH), is sold.
Re-registrations are of Ford Transit minibus HY58 XXK to AR08 OWS, and Mercedes Sprinter AR60 OWS to VF61 AVO.
In from Docklands Buses are Scania N230UD/Optare Olympuses 886/94/5 (PO09 ENC, PO59 KFW/X). Ex London Central is Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini WVL72 (LF52 ZPB). WVL75 (LF52ZPE) and WVL98 (LF52 ZNL) have gone to London General.
CHARIOTS OF STANFORD LE HOPE.
Volvo B10M/Plaxton Premiere J3 KCT has passed to Thorn of Rayleigh.
Also sold is LDV Convoy DK03 OYT.
Works have begun at Brentwood and Shenfield stations.
At Brentwood, the platforms are being extended, while at Shenfield, a new bay platform is being constructed on the north (“down”) side of the station, at the London end.
Above: The platform works at Shenfield on 21/2/15.
The latest TfL tender awards have seen school route 675 (Walthamstow-Woodford) lost to London General North, from 17/10/15.
DIRECT RAIL SERVICES.
It has been announced that the Class 47 diesel locomotives will be withdrawn by the end of 2015. They are a familiar sight along the Great Eastern Main Line; especially on ‘Thunderbird’ and RHTT duties, and also on the Norwich-Yarmouth line further north. They will be replaced by Class 37s.
The ’47s are “non standard” for DRS’s fleet strategy, and in fact each loco constitutes its own “sub class”, due to individual modifications made to them over the years. The ’47s also lack push pull capability.
Above: Back in September 2004, 47818 was in ONE livery for ‘Thunderbird’ work. It was pictured at Colchester depot.
EAST THAMES BUSES.
DAF SB120/Wright Cadet DW6 (LF52 TJX), has been resold by Ensign to Western Greyhound.
ELITE TRUCK TRAINING, UPMINSTER.
Has Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer KX53 SDV – via Ensign.
ENIGMA TRAVEL, COLCHESTER.
Now has MAN18.310/Noge V323 EAL; ex City Travel of Cullingworth, West Yorkshire.
In temporary operational use were ex Burnley and Pendle Optare Versas 266/8/9 (YJ57 XWD/F/G) and ex Western Greyhound Optare Solos 983/4/5 (WK11 APO/U/V). They were used as extras during industrial action by some TfL contractors .
Dart SLF/ALX200 780 (LX51 FGK) has been on loan to Buses Etc at Merstham.
AEC Swift/Marshall dual door EDJ 238J has passed to Aintree Coaches; and returned to its Merseyside roots as it was new to St Helens Corporation Transport.
Now in Refreshed livery with ‘Essex’ fleet names, ex Barbie 2 are Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Nimber 41513 (LK03 NGF); Scania L94UB/Wright Solar 65667 (SN51 UXZ) and Volvo B7RLE/Wright 66816 (MX05 CDY). Sisters 66800/1/3/4/7/9/10/16/28 (MX05 CCF/J/N/O/Y, CDE/F/Y, CFE) are Refreshed with ‘green flashes and stripes’ – which is a “semi hybrid” livery, to do with Low Emissions/CRT trap fitment. This is for the Colchester centred CLEG project.
Above: CRT fitted B7RLE 66804 awaits commissioning at Colchester on 16/2/15. Alongside is withdrawn Scania L94UB 65576.
Volvo B7RLE/Wright 69429 (AU58 FFR) has lost its ‘Ipswich’ fleet names.
Delicensed are Scania L94/Wrights 65651/2 (T651/2 SSF).
Scania L113/Wrights 61054 (R434 GSF) and 65551 (R551 CNG) have been removed from Clacton for scrap.
Alpha Recovery, Crmalington, has taken for scrap Oprate Solo 4008 (T161 BBF); Volvo B10B/Wright trainer 60305 (M510 PNA); B10BLE/Wrights 60810/1 (S661/2 RNA); Scania L113/Wright 65532 (R152 GSF).
Scania L113/Wright 65551 (R551 CNG) has had a better fate however; being acquired by a preservationist.
Braintree based First Essex driver Andy Waterman, has been commended for helping to rescue a man from a burning building – using his double deck bus.
48 year old Mr Waterman was returning light to the Sringwood Drive depot on the evening of 11/2/15, when he came across the blaze on Braintree High Street. He drew the Dennis Trident – 32856 (V856 HBY) alongside, to allow a man trapped on the 2nd floor to jump to safety – onto the roof of the bus; still a 10 foot drop.
On 26/2/15, at a ceremony at Braintree bus garage, Andy was awarded by the Chief Fire Officer of Essex for his bravery. He received a certificate and glass trophy, and met with the gentleman whom he saved, Mitchell ‘Mitch’ Cook.
66414 is now in the new ‘Powerhaul’ livery; ex DRS blue.
GALLEON TRAVEL, HARLOW.
From London United is Volvo Olympian/Alexander RH N138YRW.
GOLDEN BOY COACHES, HODDESDON.
XO64 BOY is a new Irizar i6 integral 12.9 metre 53 seat coach.
Volvo B10BLE/Wright 485 (R232 HCD) is now in service from Clacton (CN), having been delicensed for some time.
Dart SLF/MPD 282 (W339 VGX) has gone to Panther Travel.
Above: No 282 being prepared for service at Kelvedon depot in December 2012. Originally numbered L403, it served at Kelvedon, Tollesbury and Clacton. Traces of its previous Brighton and Hove life were evident in this photo.
BMC YJ59 HLX is now here; for use at Stansted Airport.
S7 Stock unit 21445/6 is now in an overall advert for “SSR Upgrade – this is one of 191 new trains”.
More D78s withdrawn are 7067 + 17067 + 8067; 7081 + 17081 + 8081; 7128 + 17128 + 8128.
7067/17067, 7128/17128 have passed to Vivarail at Long Marston, for DEMU conversion.
Booth Roe, Rotherham has taken 8067/128 for scrap.
A timetable change has seen limited operation of Hammersmith and City (H and C) Line trains, beyond Barking to Upminster. However this is limited to 2 early morning and 2 late evening journeys only.
The H and C trains stable overnight at Upminster, and are worked by District Line crews. S stock is used. Back in 2000, C stock was briefly used for a similar operation; which was not successful due to clearance problems.
Above: D78 double ended unit 7129 + 17129 + 8129 at Upminster in June 2004; forming the rear of a Wimbledon service.
MILESTONE TRAVEL, CANVEY.
Ex Wifreda Beehive of Ardwick Le Street MAN18.400/Beaulas RE07 ANN is now here.
This is the new operator for Crossrail, who will take over the ‘Metro’ Liverpool Street to Shenfield services from Abellio Greater Anglia in May 2015.
MTR has begun a recruitment drive for operational staff.
NATIONAL EXPRESS OPERATIONS.
Volvo B9R/Caetano Levantes SR113/14 (FJ60 HXV/X) have passed to Edwards, Pontypridd.
From 1/2/15, Essex CC Sunday services 66 (West Bergholt-Old Heath) and 67B (Colchester-West Mersea) no longer served Colchester bus station when running southbound.
Commercial service 6 (Town Centre-Old Heath), ceased from 2/2/15.
From the same date, route 2 (Horkesley Heath-Highhwoods) no longer served Severalls Park, but instead ran direct to a new terminus at Jovian Way (via Gavin Way), and journeys on service 4 (Head Street-Tollgate) were reduced from 5 to 3 round trips. On route 8 (Monkwick-Highwoods Tesco), the 10 minute daytime frequency was restored.
From 9/2/15, service 4 went over to double deck operation; interworking with the Grampian Foods 801/2 works contracts. Observations however, suggest this applies to school terms only. The picture shows Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini 6131 at St Johns Street on 16/2/15.
Dart SLF/Super Pointer 3421 (AY54 FPZ), Scania Omnidekka 5372 (AY55 DKA) and Volvo B7TL/Wright Gemini 6131 (LF02 PLO) have received Arriva Kent Thameside legals. Operations are to pass to AKT in March 2015.
Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus 1563 is delicensed.
SLF/Super Pointer Y661 NLO was back in use during late February; running with slipboards.
Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer S303 JUA is delicensed.
More ex Metroline Volvo B7TL/Plaxton Presidents sourced through Ensign are LK51 XGM/R.
STAGECOACH EAST LONDON.
Above: Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 no 17794 on TfL55 at Leyton Garage in October 2004. After a spell with Selkent, this bus is now part of the 47 pool – see text below.
The New Routemasters for TfL55 (Leyton Green-Oxford Circus) are LT312-6, 357-90 (LTZ 1312 etc). LT360 was damaged in a shunting accident, and went to ADL at Harlow for repairs.
From 28/2/15, TfL15 (Blackwall-Oxford Circus) was due to be progressively converted to LT operation, ex ADL/E40H hybrids, while TfL488 (Bromley by Bow-Clapton) passed to Tower Transit on retender.
Received from Selkent are Tridents 17478 (LX51 FLP), 17794 (LX03 BWH), 17833/42/3 (LX03 BYH/U/V), 17955/6/62 (LX53 JYV/W, JZE).
Moved to Selkent are Tridents 17851/98-900/50 (LX03 BZE, ORN/P/S, LX53 JYO) and SLF/Pointer 34380 (LX03 BZM).
Trident 17506 (LX51 FNJ) has transferred from Rainham (RM) to West Ham (WH) (and back to pcv use ex trainer); 17551 (LY02 OBC) Barking (BK) to WH; 17858 (LX03 NFC) BK to Romford North Street (NS).
Trident 18208 (LX04 FWU) has moved from Leyton (T) to BK, while 17745 (LY52 ZFD), 18249 (LX04 FYS) are now at NS ex T.
Presumably these have been displaced by the new LTs on TfL55.
ADL/Enviro 200 36276 (LX11 AWO) has reallocated from WH to BK.
Trident 17427 (LX51 FKA) has become a driver trainer.
Tridents 17478 (LX51 FLP), 17503/6/30/56/7/74 (LX51 FNF/J, FOP, LY02 OBH/J, LV52 HFF), 17794 (LX03 BWH), 17833/42/3 (LX03 BYH/U/V) form a pool providing extra buses on 47 (Shoreditch-Catford Garage) in connection with Crossrail works.
In Reserve are Tridents 17441/66, (Y441 NHK, LX51 FLC), 17505/45 /51/9/88/9 (LX51 FNH, LY02 OAU, OBC/L, LV52 HFX/Y). Withdrawn is 17580 (LV52 HFN).
Trident 17487 (LX51 FMF) has gone to Stagecoach East Midland; while 17509/26/86 (LX51 FNM, FOJ, LV52 HFU) have passed to Lister PSV (dealer).
Tridents 17454 (Y454 NHK), 17571 (LV52 HFC) have gone for scrap after cannibalisation by Ensign. Sister 17570 (LV52 HFB) has also gone for scrap. One time SLF/Pointer 34132 (V132 MVX), latterly with Stagecoach Wales, has been resold through Ensign to Renown of Bexhill.
The withdrawal of the Scania Omnicity double deckers has commenced, with 15147/8/54/5/6/60 (LX59 CNY/Z, CPF/K) being returned to their lessors Scania at Worksop; and replaced in part by new LTs on TfL55. More will be released by ADL/E40H hybrids released from 15 going onto TfL56.
Above: Scania Omnicity no 15125 at Yardley Lane, Chingford terminus in March 2010; shortly after Stagecoach had gained the TfL contact for 215 from First.
The bus is in Greater London, but the trees in the background are in Essex.
ADL/E40H 12134 (LX61 DFL) is back in fleet livery, ex Candy Crush overall advert.
From 25/2/15, Services 506 (Maldon-Colchester schools) and 3 (Colchester Head Street-Hythe Tesco) were converted to saloon operation, ex double deck.
TfL school routes 692, 699 (Potters Bar-Southgate) have been won from London General North on retender, from 21/11/15.
Accident damaged Scania K410EB6/Irizar YN64 AMX has gone for repairs.
THORNES OF RAYLEIGH.
Sold is Bove FLD L120 OWF. It is now with Khokhar of Smethwick, West Midlands.
Has had an intake of new buses for new TfL contracts.
Volvo B5LH/Wright Gemini2 hybrids VN38101-11 (BF15 KFV, BL64 MHE/F/J/K/M/N, BF15 KFU, BL64 MHU/V/X) are for 212 (Walthamstow St James Street-Chingford); Streetlites WV46101-11 (SN64 CVS/F-H/J-M/O/P/R) are for 444 (Chingford-Turnpike Lane) – both starting March 2015 and ADL/Enviro E20Ds DMV 45101-11 (YY64 YKL-P/R-W) for 488 (Bromley by Bow-Dalston) – commencing 28/2/15. 212 and 444 will be run from a new depot at Ponders End.
Above: Arriva London North Dennis Dart SLF 10.8m/Alexander ALX200 ADL8, on the 444 at Chingford Mount in October 2006.
Has ex Stagecoach South, originally Stagecoach London “short” Dart SLF/Alexander ALX200 Y239 FJN, and ex Stagecoach Wales Volvo B10M/Alexander PS M765 RAX – both via Ensign.
SLF/Plaxton Mini Pointers PDS17, 18 (TNZ 1186, 1252) have been resold via Ensign to Western Greyhound.
VICEROY OF ESSEX, SAFFRON WALDEN.
Has had its O licence revoked. Operations continue while a new O licence is applied for. Optare Solo M850 KX51 UCU has passed to Diamond of Garforth, West Yorkshire.