Edited by John Podgorski BA Hons, MSc, CMILT.
Welcome to the September 2019 edition of Busmopolitan.
This time of the year sees the new vehicle registration number; 69 in this case. The first buses to bear this are with TfL contractors.
And it’s the start of the new school year, which means changes to some contracts.
Double deckers have returned to Arriva Colchester, after some three years.
On the rails, the first stock to depart Greater Anglia as a result of the new Stadler ‘Flirt’ are the Class 170 Turbostar DMUs. They will all go to Transport for Wales.
Two well known names ceased trading in September. Wrightbus, the manufacturer of the “Borismaster”, StreetLite buses and the Gemini and Solar bus bodies; plus (in the air), the iconic travel agent Thomas Cook, who had a significant presence at Stansted.
EPPING ONGAR RAILWAY RT/RF BUS RALLY ON 8th SEPTEMBER 2019.
(By LOUISE COCKER).
Above: RT1, RT8 and RT113 at the rally. (Louise Cocker).
This year marks 80 years since RT1 first entered service and 40 years since the withdrawal of the RT and RF types from service with London Transport (LT). With these two significant anniversaries this year, an event which may never be repeated anywhere again because of the age of the buses was organised and very well attended.
The day started early with lots of activity getting the buses ready and into position to travel to North Weald Station. It was great to see so many lovely old buses and so many enthusiastic bus crews.
We had over 30 buses in attendance at North Weald Station and several stals selling books, model buses, bus photos and other bus related items.
There were bus rides around the local area to Chingford, High Beach, Loughton, Theydon Bois and Waltham Abbey. There was also a special bus service to Lodge’s Coaches depot at High Easter for their Bus and Car show. Lodge’s has a fleet of preserved coaches. The regular 339 and 381 services were also operated with RT and RF vehicles.
I was lucky enough to drive Leyland RTL1076 in service to Waltham Abbey.
I parked up when we arrived at Waltham Abbey to allow for photos to be taken of RTL1076 with the Abbey Church in the background. I also drove RF401.
Above: RTL1076 at Waltham Abbey. (Louise Cocker).
Of the many buses attending today was RT1 which entered service in 1939, the first of nearly 7000 RT buses that London Transport operated. RT1 has been beautifully restored by the London Bus Museum in Surrey, where it is kept. RT8 and RT113, biult in 1940 were also in attendance, all in lovely condition and still running around as if they were new. You wouldn’t have thought they were all in their 8th decade. There were also many post war built RT and RF buses in attendance.
Production of the RT stopped during the War and resumed afterwards. Most London Transport RT buses were built by AEC, but there were also some built by Leyland. Today, there were examples of AEC and Leyland RT buses as well as RF buses, of which RF136 was “the star of the show”.
“Star of the show” RF136 entered Green Line service in 1952. The RF buses were so reliable that by the mid 1960’s LT decided to refurbish them rather than replace them. By 1966 RT136 had been refurbished to give it a more “modern” look, but what made RT136 a one off was that it was the only RF to have the pale pearlescent grey with a broad green stripe bearing the Green Line fleet name livery that you see it in today. The rest of the Green Line RF fleet was painted in the same green livery which RF180 wears today. Until today, only one colour photo taken in 1966 existed of RF136. We can now see RF136 in its full glory beautifully restored.
Towards the end of the day a road run took place from North Weald Station to the airfield where a cavalcade of RT and RF buses did several circuits so that people could ride on them and some people were at the roadside taking photos. We then all drove to Harlow Garden Centre and parked up for one last display of these wonderful buses. A fantastic day was had by all, visitors and bus crews alike.
Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this another very successful Epping Ongar Bus Rally and to all the bus owners for bringing their wonderful buses to the rally.
The next bus rally is Sunday 23rd February 2020, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the formation of London Country Buses. Don’t miss it !
Above: RF136 and RF180. (Lousie Cocker).
A and U TRANSPORTS, ILFORD.
Above: Has the contract for Colchester High School, previously held by AJK Travel of Ilford. Mb Sprinter Transfer 18 seater BV19 YKM is used. Pictured at Colchester on 4/9/19. (John Podgorski).
YN08 OCB is an acquired Scania/Irizar.
AJK TRAVEL, ILFORD.
Above: Mb Tourismo BK15 UOL is used on a contract for Colchester High School. Seen at Colchester on 24/9/19. (John Podgorski).
ARRIVA KENT THAMESIDE (NETWORK COLCHESTER).
Above: 3779 at Osbourne Street, Colchester on 10/9/19. (Simon Austin).
Southend VDL200/Wright 3779 (KX09 KDU) was here in early September. it is on loan to cover vehicles undergoing Euro6 upgrade.
Also from Southend is VDL SB300/Wright Gemini2 4459 (MX61 AXW), reintroducing double deckers here. Volvo B7RLE/Wright 3825 (GN07 AVO) went in exchange. Then DAF DB250LF/EL 6259 (FD02 UKO) arrived from Southend on 30th September.
Odd sightings: 5/9/19: Short Dart SLF/Caetano 1563 (RX07 KPJ) on 8; Route 133 StreetLite 4324 (SK68 TWV) on 1. 9/9/19: Short SLF/Caetano 1562 (RX07 KPG) on 8; P and R ADL/E200 4073 (SK15 GXT) on 900. 16/9/19: Route 133 StreetLite 4324 on 1. 19/9/19: Volvo B7RLE/Wright 3817 on 1. 24/9/19: StreetLite 4261 (GN64 DXR) on 1.
ARRIVA KENT THAMESIDE (HARLOW).
New liveried Volvo B7RLE/Wright 3824 (GN07 AVM) is from Stevenage. Ex Watford is Optare Versa 4191 (KX62 JPY).
Mb Sprinter 1010 (BF67 WGE) has returned to service, but 1015 is no longer used.
ARRIVA LONDON NORTH.
Further Volvo B7TL/ALX400s withdrawn are VLA137/38.
AVON COACHES/GATWICK FLYER, ROMFORD.
Sold are Ford Transit 16 seaters BN64 HUZ, HX65 WGA.
Some Cornard Upper School runs have been gained from Chambers.
The Ipswich-Colchester Schools have been lost to Ipswich Buses and Panther Travel.
Commercial Southend Seafront service 68, finished for the season on 1/9/19.
Ex London Central New Routemaster LT452 is now here.
Odd sightings: 7/9/19: ADL/E400 E70 on 5.
BOB’S, GREAT OAKLEY.
Has ceased trading.
Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President 562 (V303 LGC), 564 (W409 WGH) are stored at Konect, New Rackheath depot, near Norwich. 566 (W428 WGH) is stored at Chambers Sudbury depot.
16/9/19: 37116 tnt 37057 on 1Q90 Derby-Ferme Park via Broxbourne and Liverpool Street.
17/9/19: 1Q95 Ferme Park-Ripple Lane. 1Q96 Ripple Lane-Ferme Park.
18/9/19: 1Q97 Ferme Park-Cambridge via Harwich Town, Clacton, Southend Victoria.
19/9/19; 1Q98 Cambridge-Cambridge via Gt Yarmouth, Lowestoft.
20/9/19; 1Q99 Cambridge-March via Kings Lynn, Flelixstowe, Mistley.
21/9/19: 1Q86 March-Derby via Lincoln, Doncaster.
1/9/19: 59101 at Harlow Mill.
2/9/19: Maritime 66047 on 4L45 Wakefield-Felixstowe.
24/9/19: 59205 on Acton-Chelmsford.
26-27/9/19: 59204 on Acton-Chelmsford.
This operator provides overseas “adventure exploration” tours.
Mercedes Axor 1824 WN60 AYG is a lorry chassis cab with an in house bus body fitted. It is named ‘Amelia’ and is for use in Africa. 329 AFK 93 is a French registered left hand drive Mercedes lorry chassis cab. It has been converted to a bus and is named ‘Eva’. It is for use in South America.
2/9/19: 57306 hauled GWR 378134 on 5Q50 Reading-Ilford ECS.
3/9/19: 37402 on York-Stowmarket RHTT wagon move.
19/9/19: 37402 with inspection saloon ‘Caroline’ on 2Z03 route learning tour of East Anglia and North London, from/to Brent sidings.
20/9/19: 66427 + 37407/1 on 0Z37 Crewe-Stowmarket RHTT convoy.
27/9/19: 66427/28 on “up” RHTT at Brantham.
30/9/19: 37401/5 on 3S60 Stowmarket via Shenfield and Wickford RHTT.
FIRST EASTERN COUNTIES (IPSWICH).
Above: Ipswich Reds Felixstowe Flyers VolvoB7RLE/Wright Soalr Eclipse 69424 at Crown Street on 15/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Above: Volvo B7TL/ALX400 32492 at Woodbridge Road, Rushmere on 15/9/19. (John Podgorski).
FELIX, LONG MELFORD.
Acquired from a preservationist, for heritage use, is 1950 vintage Bedford OB/Duople LJO 757.
From First West of England are 8.9m ADL/Enviro 200s 44908-10/13-15 (YX09 AFV/Y/Z, AGV/Z, AHA). 44908-10 are at Basildon, and the rest are for Chelmsford. This will see the end of more Dart SLF/Caetanos.
Above: 32064 at Derwent Road, Highwoods, Colchester on 3/9/19. It is on an afternoon peak double deck working of 65. (Daniel Pretty).
Above: 32629 at Maldon Road, Colchester on 3/9/19. (John Podgorski).
From First Eastern Counties at Great Yarmouth are Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400s 30954 (YJ51 RDO), 32064 (W224 XBD) and B7TL/Wright Gemini 32629 (KP 54 KAX) – all at Colchester. B7TL/ALX400 32480/81 (AU53 HJX/Y), 32651 (AU05 MUO) have gone to Eastern Counties at Ipswich. The swap was due to the need for more low height ‘deckers at Ipswich. Part of the depot at Ipswich is too low for full height ‘deckers. However, 32064 was taken out of use, later in September.
Trident/Presidents 33072/74/90 (LN51 GOC/H, GMX) have gone to First Bristol.
Dart SLF/Pointer 42483 (SN03 WLK) has moved from Hadleigh to Chelmsford and then to Basildon. 42485 (SN03 WMM) moved HH to CF. 42482/88 (SN03 WLD, SN53 KJX) are withdrawn.
Chelmsford to Colchester school services 524, 525 have had their “dead” runs registered as journeys on public bus service 71X.
Volvo B7RLE/Wrights 69520 (BJ11 ECW) is now repainted into Thamesway pink and yellow heritage livery, ex Park and Ride black.
Above: 69520 at Showbus on 29/9/19. (Daniel Pretty).
Dart SLF/Caetano 41494 (LK03 LLZ) has gone to Alpha for scrap.
Odd sightings: 2/9/19: Route 62 B9TL 37136 on 88/A. 10/9/19: Route 62 B9TL 37138 on 70. 11/9/19: Route 62 B9TL 37136 on 61. 12/9/19: Route 62 B9TL 37136 on 75. 14/9/19: Route 62 B9TL 37135 on 88A. 18/9/19: Route 62 B9TL 37138 on 75; Volvo B7RLE/Wright 66816 on 75; X30 E200MMCs 67168/70 on 71. 19/9/19: X30 E200 MMC 67169 on 70. 23/9/19: Route 62 37133 on 65; Route 62 37136 on 75; Scania L94UB/Solar 65681 on 1A. 25/9/19: Route 62 B9TL 37138 on 75B. 26/9/19: Scania L94UB/Solar 62408 on 75. 27/9/19: B7TL/ALX400 30954 on 62.
A double decker on the 174 (Colchester-Fingringhoe) in school terms in now more common.
3/9/19: 66528 ‘Madge Elliot MBE’ on 4E24 London Gateway-Leeds.
7/9/19: 66522 with intermodal wagon rake stabled in goods loop in Colchester yard with loco at London end.
14-15/9/19: 66598 on Whitemoor-East Tilbury engineers.
17/9/19: Pink 66587 on Whitemoor-Parkeston Quay light engine. 70005 on Felixstowe-Crewe.
24/9/19: 66552 on Ipswich-Lindsay oil tanks.
27/9/19: 70005 on FLX-Crewe.
2/9/19: 66761/31 on 0L33 Peterborough-Felixstowe light loco.
4/9/19: 66767 on North Walsham-Ipswich light loco.
5/9/19: Newell & Wright 66747 on 6L34 Hoo Junct-Whitemoor.
12/9/19: 66768 on N Walsham-Harwich tanks.
15-16/9/19: 66733 on 6T61 Whitemoor-East Tilbury engineers. 66764 on 6T62 Whitemoor-East Tilbury engineers.
16/9/19: 66708 on 6L37 Hoo Junct-Whitemoor. 66721 on 4M23 FLX-Hams Hall. 66768 on 4M29 FLX-Birch Coppice.
17/9/19: 66708 on 6L37. 66767 on 4M07 FLX-Birch Coppice.
19/9/19: 6708 on 6O36 Whitemoor-Hoo Junct.66761 on N Walsham-Harwich tanks.
21/9/19: LUL white 66721 on 4M23.
23/7/19: 66708 on 6L37. 66735 on 6O36.
25/9/19; Maritime blue 66727 on 0L37 Hoo Junct-Whitemoor. 66742 on 4L18 Trafford Park-FLX. 66782 on 4L14 Doncaster-FLX.
26/9/19: 66717 on 6L37.
27/9/19: 66727 on Chesterton-Wellingborough.
30/9/19: 66750/59 on 0L33. 66764 on N Walsham-Harwich tanks. 66788/32 on 6O36.
New are Stansted Express 745103; GA 755334-36.
170207 has transferred to Transport for Wales, being towed to Cardiff by a DRS diesel.
2/9/19: 156422 failed at Colchester, so replacement buses on Marks Tey-Sudbury.
3/9/19: 755415 on Norwich-Liverpool St test.
5/9/19: 745103 delivered.
7/9/19: 156422 on Marks Tey-Sudbury, rather than the usual ‘153 on a weekend.
12/9/19: 755334-36 delivered.
18/9/19: 317501 returned to GA.
23/9/19: 170272 transferred to Transport for Wales.
26/9/19: 755424 on 5Q42 Ipswich-Felixstowe test and 5Q43 return.
Above: Soon to be replaced 90011 at Ipswich on 22/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Above: Preserved Leyland Lynx 801 seen in Halstead on 10/9/19. (Chris Baines).
Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President 561 (V301 LGC) has been saved for preservation.
575 (W516 WGH) has been repaired and now has a new style wheelchair ramp – with string pull.
Above; Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President 575 on 903 and 574 on 902 at Kelvedon depot on 5/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Dart SLF/Mini Pointer 286 (HW54 BTY) has transferred from Sible Hedingham to Clacton. ADL/Enviro 200 261 (EY57 FZE) went CN to HD in exchange.
The Stanway School services ST1-ST4 are now registered bus routes 901 to 904.
901 (Mount Bures), 902 (Little Horkesley), 903 (Kelvedon, Birch, Hardys Green, Easthorpe, Copford, Marks Tey), 904 (Layer).
There were changes to the Plume School, Maldon services from the start of the Autumn term. This involved duty changes to alleviate capacity problems on 95A.
Scania Omnidekka movements: 19/9/19: 818 – CN-KN. 20/9/19: 802 – Chambers-KN; 810 – KN-Chambers. 23/9/19: 810 – Chambers-KN. 26/9/19: 818 – CN-KN.
Odd sightings: 2/9/19: Solo 910 on 50A. 24/9/19: Solo 911 on 50B + 83. 30/9/19: Omnidekka 818 on TLA B am.
Ensign has resold Trident/EL 727 (W827 NNJ) to Shelton Motors, Ely for scrap.
The end of Dart operation wasn’t 31/8/19 after all, as 84 (PJ53 OLC), 86 (PJ53 OLG), 135 (SN53 AVG), 137 (SN53 AVK) , along with Trident/President 25 (SN51 AXV) were reinstated for new school contracts in September – see below.
Gained is an Ipswich School to Colchester contract from Beestons. It is numbered 2C and usually uses DAF DB250LF/EL or Trident double deckers and Dart SLF saloons.
24/9/19: Dart SLF/SPD 135 (SN53 AVG) on 93.
Scania Omnicity saloon 71 (YN56 NVC) is now with Al’s Coaches, Birkenhead, via Ensign.
Above: 135 in Colchester on 24/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Volvo B10M/VH VVE 885 is now with ingleby, Acomb.
New is Scania Touring YN69 XNW.
LODGE, HIGH EASTER.
Ford Model T SV 6936 has been named ‘Lucy’.
New Aventra 710510 has been on test.
MTR TfL RAIL.
315822/23 are withdrawn.
26/9/19: 345029 seen on Liverpool St-Shenfields, ex “west side”.
30/9/19: 315831/42 went for scrap. Ilford to Wolverton. (Planned).
Above: 345012 at Hayes and Harlington on 7/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Above: Not all it appears. Volvo B11RT/Caetano Levante BV66 WRC is actually a training vehicle, based at Start Hill. Seen at Marks Tey (at the route 250 coach stop) on 9/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Additions to the fleet are ADL/Enviro 200 YX10 BGK and Scania K360ERB4/Plaxton Panther2 TF61 OXF.
Above: WV02 EUP at Ipswich on 15/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Volvo B12M/Plaxton Paragon WV02 EUP is now AB02 PAN.
Above: Dart SLF/Mini Pointer DC56 PAN on route 14 at Pier Avenue, Clacton on 27/7/19. (Chris Baines).
Commercial service 14 (Harwich-Clacton/Clacton-Clacton Common), was deregistered from 1/9/19 – the last operational day was 31/8/19. However, 6 new school contracts have been gained, to compensate. These are Ipswich School to Colchester – ex Beestons and Harlequin, Manningtree School – ex Hedingham and Ward’s. The Colchester outstation VA has been increased to 6 as a result.
The duplicates for Airport Bus Express have ceased. Great Dunmow outstation (at Don’s Coaches) is still available, but is no longer regularly used for parking.
There was further industrial action by pilots in early September.
STAGECOACH EAST LONDON.
Ensign has resold Trident/ALX400 17982 (LX53 KAU) to Shelton Motors, Ely for scrap.
Above: Route 247 branded Trident/ALX400 17979 (LX53 FAJ) is being stripped at Ensign. Pictured on 28/9/19, between ex Metroline Volvo B7TL/President LK03 GKN and ex Arriva London South Volvo B7TL/ALX400 LJ53 BFO. (John Podgorski).
Below: 17979 when still in service, at Romford on 1/9/18. (John Podgorski).
Above: One of the last Tridents in normal service with Stagecoach East London was 18209 (LX04 FWV). Pictured at Ensign on 28/9/19. (John Podgorski).
From 23/9/19, took over routes 59/590 (Audley End-Haverhill) from Viceroy of Saffron Walden.
Above: Volvo B12M coach 200 at Southway, Colchester on 5/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Stephensons has gained the Colchester High School contract from First Essex, who had used yellow BMCs. Stephensons has received Volvo B12M/Plaxton Paragon 200 (X400 MTT) back from Galloway of Mendlesham for this. It does home to school, with school activity runs in between.
SWALLOW, NORTH WEALD.
Ex EOS Scania Omnicity 700 (YR10 AZV) is now with Swissport, Dublin Airport. It has been disused since the closure of EOS.
Ceased trading at 0200 on 23/9/19. This travel agent was established in Leicester in 1841. The fleet of Airbus Aircraft A320 and A321 was grounded, with the last landing at Manchester. Stansted was a base for Thomas Cook and several planes are now grounded there, having been “seized” by the administrators. 150 000 UK holiday makers were left stranded abroad by the collapse of this company, and Stansted was one of the airport to which they were flown back using emergency hired aircraft. Titan Airways participated in flights to Stansted.
Above: Airbus A321-211 G-TCDA at Stansted on 21/5/16. (John Podgorski).
TONY GLEW, COLCHESTER.
Above: YN54 NYH is an acquired Scania/Irizar. Pictured at Southway, Colchester on 25/9/19. (John Podgorski).
Another ex RATP London Scania Omnicity ‘decker is YP59 OEM. Sister YP59 OET is now in red.blue ‘Central Connect’ livery, ex plain red.
This is the new title for Community Link, the passenger transport section of Essex County Council. New vehicles in Ugo purple livery are Mb Sprinters KE19 ZTM, LN69 NYX/Z, at Harlow, Clacton and Tiptree respectively.
ADL/Enviro 200 529 (YX67 UYC) is branded for new ‘Poppy’ route 17.
From 29/9/19, Herts CC Sunday/Holiday contracts on 304 (St Albans-Wheathampstead), 357 (St Albans-Rebourn), 404/5 (Welwyn Hatfield Circulars) were gained from Arriva.
Dart SLF/EL Esteems 510/12 (PE56 UFM/S) to MC Tractors, Ramsey for scrap, via Ensign.
VICEROY, SAFFRON WALDEN.
Ceased local bus operation after 21/9/19, with the cessetation of commercial services 59/590 (Audley End-Haverhill). They passed to Stephensons.
Volvo B12T/Berkhof R157 RJH is now with GDS 2016, Long Sutton.
With thanks to: Anglia gen, S Austin, C Baines, L Cocker, Ensign, HarlowRide, LOTS, C Nixon, D Pretty.