Wednesday, 5 November 2014

What's happened-October 2014

Sadly, posts will now be reduced to once a month, due to me being VERY busy at the moment. For more regular updates, see my flickr photostream. A link is given on the side of the page.The monthly posts will give a picture or two of service changes and will also give other observations. Here is the October/September one (I know it's a tad late):

                                         Part 1-changes:

                                             Route 49:

The 49's contract was lost from London United to Abellio from Battersea (QB) garage on 6th September 2014. The old 49's allocation consisted of Vyking's and Scania OmniCity's. Two of the Scania's transferred to Stamford Brook (V) garage, for use on the E3.

SP36 travels down Northfield Avenue.

  The new buses, which were Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Hybrids, arrived early, and were the first buses in London with 64-reg plates.

This is not a bus from the 49's batch, it is from an earlier batch of E400Hs delivered for the C3 in June. Appearances of these are daily.
2465 and 2466 were also part of the 49 batch, but they were delivered in August and carried '14' plates. They rarely appear on the 49, and here is 2465 on the 3:

 The 49's '64' plate buses are having days out on other Battersea routes, like the 344:

 Overall, the service has improved, and the buses are very bright inside and are as good as any other Abellio E400 Hybrid.

                                                             Route 112: 

The old 112 consisted of Dart Nimbuses, and it was run poorly by Abellio, from Hayes (WS) garage.
The contract was awarded to Metroline from Cricklewood (W) garage, with new 10.8m E200s. But, these buses were extremely late on arrival (three months late, in fact) so double deckers were temporarily used on the route.

TA649 swings round the roundabout at Ealing Broadway on the first day of Metroline operation on this route.
 Despite many people stating that the 112 should remain a double decker, as the route gets very busy and is traffic prone. However, TFL didn't listen at the end of October, new buses started appearing on the 112 and 232.

                          They are the only two route changes I have at the moment, mostly because of late buses. Having said that, there are some very interesting odd workings and new buses that have caught my eye, and here they are:

The rear of a rare appearance on route 219. An Optare Esteem works the route rather than the dedicated batch of Wright StreetLites that normally run the route.

Route 43 has received a temporary curtailment. The buses are now only going as far as Muswell Hill Broadway, but they would normally travel to Friern Barnet. I got this shot by pure coincidence, as I was catching the 43 to get to Archway.

Since the sad conversion of route 7 to Gemini 3 operation, Gemini 2's have become very common on this route. I am hoping to ride one soon, as the Gemini 3's that run the route completely ruined it.

London Vehicle Finder lied on Saturday 13th September 2014. It stated that a brand new bus (fleetnumber OC1) had entered service on route E11, which normally uses single door E200s. As the E11 is a local route, I decided to chase this bus, but I was fuming when I saw this. The bus wasn't OC1, it was SDE14, a reinstated E200 that was withdrawn from the E11 a few months ago. OC1 did enter service, but on route H98 in Hounslow.

The Nimbuses from route 112 transferred to the 235, Here is one at Brentford.

A very appearance sees a Dart Pointer from routes H18/19 have a day out on route 268. No one else has a picture of this, and I'm surprised I only have 4 faves for this on flickr, as this is extremely rare.

Since route 110 transferred to Hounslow (AV) garage, it has been possible for low height Scania DDs to appear on the route. Here is one at Busch Corner.

 Thanks for reading, and sorry it's so late!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

New Flickr Photostream Up And Running!

I have created a new flickr photostream! Here is the link:

You will get a sneak preview of pictures that will appear on my blog, and I'm sure you'll be satisfied with stuff like this:

Thanks for reading!

P.S: I am so sorry for the late posts, but once school is over, the posts will be coming (hopefully) almost every day! But for now, you'll have to cope with hardly any posts. In the mean time, you can explore the flickr page!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Useful Info For Tourists; Three Recommended Bus Routes In London

       Hello readers, this post will tell you about the top three recommended bus routes in London. This will be very handy for tourists, but also for people who want a greater understanding of how awesome London is. Some regular London bus routes are almost like sightseeing tours, and who would want to spend well over 40 or 50 pounds when some other London bus routes can show you everything for £1.45 a ride. Remember, you cannot pay cash on London's buses,  you have to use your oyster cards, travelcards, or contactless cards. On two door buses, board at the front and alight at the back. On three door buses, you can board and alight from any door. I wouldn't recommend using one door buses, as they are mainly used for bus routes that go round tight turns in housing estates in greater London.
        If boarding a double decker bus, go upstairs and try to get the seats right at the front, so you can enjoy fantastic views of London. If the sun goes into your eyes too much in those seats, three from the front on the left and the seats directly behind the stairwell are also good for views. If you are unable to go upstairs, try and grab a seat near the front of the bus or the raised seats near the back, for some pretty good views as well. Some buses have seats right at the front downstairs, and they give brilliant views too! On a single decker bus, try and either sit near the front (but not the sideways seats) or on the raised seats near the back. If the bus is so full and nearly no seats are available, catch the next one. The bus service on most London bus routes is outstanding compared to other cities. Also, if you're from another country and you are struggling to read this, find our translate button on the right hand side of the blog. There are lots of languages to choose from! Now, all the basic stuff is over, we can move onto the three brilliant bus routes. And just to let you know, you don't just have to ride all the bus routes that I recommend, and you don't have to ride these either, you can decide which ones you think are the best and just ride those instead!

                                               Bus Route 11:

LT66 at Trafalgar Square.
I personally don't like these buses, due to the ridiculously small windows on the upper deck. Still, if you follow my wise instructions you should be able to enjoy some fabulous views. Thanks to London's fabulous iBus system and tube, you can know where to get off and on, as the buses announce the stop names and where the bus is going, and there is also a screen displaying what the next stop is and where the bus is going.

iBus screen on bus route 11, stating the bus is terminating at Liverpool Street.
 I would suggest getting on the bus at the very start of the route at Liverpool Street Bus Station. Catch the bus towards Fulham Broadway. Try and be the first in the queue, board at the front doors and try to get up the stairs as quickly as possible. If you are staying downstairs, try and sit in the best seats possible. You should do this for every bus route you board, unless it is a single decker. The 11 is a double decker, like most touristy bus routes in London. It passes many tourist attractions, including:

  • Liverpool Street Station,
  • Bank of England. 
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Fleet Street
  • Aldwych/The Strand
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Whitehall
  • Parliament Square (for Houses Of Parliament, Big Ben and London Eye).
        If you want to stay in Central London, I would suggest alighting at the stop "Westminster Station/Parliament Square." However, the bus does continue west and goes past Victoria, Sloane Square and Kings Road. But, by the time the bus is in Fulham, there is nothing to see and it'll be quite hard to get back into Central London again.

                                                   Bus Route 23:

    The buses on route 23 have quite large windows, which are perfect for viewing sights in London. This route also starts at Liverpool Street Bus Station, and it follows the 11 until Trafalgar Square. Catch the 23 towards Westbourne Park, and follow my seating instructions. This bus passes lots and lots of tourist attractions, and goes through some lovely areas of London.

BE WARNED: This bus route gets incredibly busy which is why I'm telling you to get on at the start of the route at Liverpool Street. This bus route also gets stuck in horrific traffic on Oxford Street and Regent Street, so try not to use this route in rush hour (7-9:30 am, 4-7:30 pm). It passes:

  • Liverpool Street Station
  • Bank of England
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • Fleet Street
  • Aldwych/The Strand
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Piccadilly Circus/Regent Street
  • Oxford Circus/Oxford Street
  • Marble Arch
  • Paddington Station
            If you happen to be riding the route on any day except Sunday and Thursday you can also explore the wonderful Portobello Road Market, by staying on further than Paddington Station and alighting at "Colville Road", the closest stop to the market.

                                     Bus Route 15(H):
I apologise for the fact I don't have a picture. But, a heritage shuttle service runs along the number 15 route between Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill, using old Routemasters!! This is the only bus route to use them on a daily basis, and it will certainly be a unique experience. They are so old they don't have the iBus screen/announcements on them, so I would just recommend riding the bus route right from one end to another.  It runs between 9:30am and 6:30pm, from Trafalgar Square-Tower Hill. It passes:

  • Trafalgar Square
  • Aldwych/The Strand
  • Fleet Street
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Tower Of London 
And, they're the top three routes for tourists! Thanks for reading, and I hope you get a better understanding of how awesome London is.

Postscript:  Other recommended bus routes: 88, 139, RV1, 24

 Another Postscript: Sorry there hasn't been an update for ages, but I've been so busy with schoolwork and stuff like that. Also, I've recently suffered from an illness which has prevented me from going out of the house. I should be playing catch up soon! Thanks for bearing with me, readers, I know you're probably fed up with these long gaps.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Notice/Random Obs 13th September 2014

Hello readers. Posts will now be very infrequent due to school work taking priority. Expect posts to be around once a week, and bus service contract change posts will prioritize. Expect posts to be late as well, but I will do my very best to keep them (kind of) on time. Anyway, here is a little Random Obs for you:

Massive logo on SEL764!

Transferred Scania on the 262.

Transferred Scania on the 473. They look so good with white blinds!

Routemaster outside Stockwell Bus Garage on 21st June 2014.

One of the most infrequent bus routes in London is the 481, which I used to get to Fulwell open day. It's a shame that it has to go through Whitton.

Ex-148 Scania on the 281.

Refurbished Enviro on the 607. I'm glad they've received a refurbishment, they needed it! They were dirty buses, and I'm surprised the extremely noisy Gemini 1's that also run the route haven't been refurbished.

K3 in the rain.

A K2 departs Cromwell Road Bus Station.

The K1 has now received a frequency increase, which means ageing Dart Pointer 8041 has had to cover for this. Here is one of the E200s that make up the main allocation.

The very circuitous route 371 runs from Richmond-Kingston. The 65 takes half the time this does to get between the two places.

Here is an ALX400 on the 131. At the moment, the 57 and the 131 have swapped allocation, so the ex-9 VLEs will now be pounding along Coombe Lane and Colliers Wood.

Unallocated G2 on the 85. This bus is supposed to work the 22, but has taken a greater liking to almost every other Putney double deck route.

 One of the regular Scania's that work the 111. 

Dart Pointer on the 216.

Mansfield Park is an estate near Chessington, not a novel made in the 1900s.

Minibus on the K5, which runs hourly. There are a lot of infrequent bus routes in Kingston!

A 295 Gemini 2 overtakes an 8 year old Enviro working the 211.

Wow, I didn't know the 9 had been diverted to terminate at Lancaster Gate! Nah, this bus was going through the 148 destinations while at Hammersmith Bus Station.
 Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

From Rattles To Smoothness, From One Good Type To Another

    The conversion of the best bus route in London was a very exciting but sad period. It used to be worked by Scania OmniCity's, which were very bumpy, but everything else about the type was superb, and they suited the route very much.

Note that these buses used to have yellow blinds, but they were substituted for white blinds, when these buses departed the 205, and found a new home (see at the end of the post).
    61-reg Enviro 400 Hybrid's from the 15 also appeared on the route before the conversion in early August. The 61-reg buses have a green interior, which I am very fond of, and I'm disappointed not to find it on any other Stagecoach hybrid.

       My experience on one of these buses was brilliant. The bus was bright, despite it being pretty full, and the view of many landmarks on City Road and Pentonville Road was brilliant. It was after this experience, when the 205 became my favourite route, and the 7 got dropped because of its horrible Gemini 3's that are dark and claustrophobic. Thankfully, it's returned to Russell Square! I'd only been on the 205 between Aldgate and Paddington, but I loved that part of the route so much, it became my favourite, despite me not knowing what lay between Aldgate East and Bow Bus Garage.
     The sole other type of bus to appear on the 205 was the Alexander Trident/ALX400. Now, this was one of my least favourite double deck types, probably because they can get extremely hot inside and the views from the front window are restricted because of a pole. I didn't get a chance to ride one of these buses on the 205, but I could tell that the Scania's and Enviro's suited the route better.

  Now that the new  Enviro Hybrids have been introduced, all ALX400s except for one have departed Bow. They used to be allocated to routes 8 and 277, but both routes now have newer buses on them. I was going to miss the Scania OmniCity's, but the Euro 6 Enviro 400 Hybrids the 205 was about to receive looked promising. Scania OmniCity's are still appearing on the route today, as they are still at Bow, but working a different route. The contract renewal did take place on Saturday 30th August 2014, but new buses started to enter service in mid-June. My blog assistant managed to catch up with 12308 at Paddington Station one Friday evening. The same bus broke down earlier in the week!

Here it is, at the Cleveland Terrace bus stand in Paddington. Can you see the Crossrail works on Eastbourne Terrace behind.

The rear.
   On Saturday 21st June, I decided to test out these new Hybrids between Aldgate and Paddington.

12305 arrives at Aldgate Station.

 The buses were bright inside, and the seats were extremely deep and comfortable. I forgot I was on a bus for one moment! As the bus completed the journey to Paddington, I was very impressed. The buses were clean, comfortable, and had extremely quick acceleration. Passing many areas of London I love, like Shoreditch, Old Street, Kings Cross and Marylebone, I was extremely impressed. It was definitely my favourite route, by quite a margin!

iBus on 12305.

One of the new Enviro's follows a Black Routemaster on the 8, another route to gain new buses at Bow. Behind the buses is the London Overground bridge in Shoreditch.
12306, in Old Street.
  On Thursday 28th August, I decided to ride the route end to end, to see what was between Aldgate and Bow Church.

Upstairs interior.

Downstairs rear interior.
My bus, was a new Enviro 400 Hybrid, although two 61-reg's and a Scania were also on the route that day. The new Enviro's were having a day out on routes 8, 15 and 277. The N205 has also received these new buses, so I'm sure late night clubbers will take care of them.
   After waiting a few minutes at Cleveland Terrace, I boarded 12317, and sat upstairs, at the front, on the left. The bus was on a diversion when I boarded, and it used both Westbourne and Eastbourne Terrace to get to Paddington Station. The bus sped along Eastbourne Terrace, passing the diggers working on Crossrail tunnels, taking advantage of not having any other means of transport on the road.
My bus, at Cleveland Terrace.

       The bus loaded up at Paddington Station, and then went down Praed Street to reach Edgware Road Station. 12317 got stuck behind a 27 at Edgware Road, but eventually ADH43 moved off and the Stagecoach Enviro chased it in hot pursuit. However, at Marylebone Station, the 205 detours to stop directly outside the station, whilst the 27 just continues straight down Marylebone Road to reach Baker Street. The 27 wasn't in sight once 12317 had left the station forecourt. Surprisingly, there wasn't much traffic on Marylebone Road, unlike in the evening peak, where the traffic can tail back all the way from Paddington-Kings Cross. Obviously, everyone was either on holiday, or visiting Madame Tussauds, where the queue was as horrible as ever. As the bus got to Great Portland Street Station, I watched a not in service Tower Transit Enviro 400 use the Euston Underpass as a shortcut to reach Euston. I wish the 205 could use it, but then it wouldn't stop at Warren Street, where I have boarded and alighted this route many times.
    After spending a long time at Euston Bus Station picking up passengers, the bus manoeuvred itself through Grafton Place, a very narrow street which many buses use to reach Kings Cross Station. The bus was very busy by that point, and remained this busy until Angel, where many people alighted for Chapel Market, and the Northern Line tube. City Road was empty, allowing the bus to omit stops and move pretty fast until Moorfields Eye Hospital, where the bus picked up more passengers. Weaving through the back streets of Shoreditch, an area which I love, the bus reached Liverpool Street, where nearly all the passengers got off. All the tall, curved buildings came into view and from the top deck and they looked beautiful. I love most bus routes that enter the City Of London, mostly because of the views of the buildings. Through Aldgate, and more narrow streets, our bus got stuck behind a 25, which is a very frequent but overcrowded route that follows the 205 from Aldgate to Bow Church. There wasn't much to see around Mile End, but as I'd never been to the area before, it was still fascinating. Mile End Road was deserted, and the bus sped through Whitechapel and Stepney Green before overtaking two 25s and the 205 I just misssed at Paddington. The bus was empty, with only one other passenger on the top deck that I didn't know. Surprisingly, Bow Church Station isn't the last stop, and I alighted at Bow Bus Garage, which the 205 uses to turn buses around. I love this route, and it will certainly remain the best for many years to come.

A Hybrid blinded for the 8 inside Bow Bus Garage.

A line up of buses at the garage.
  Footnote: So, what happened after the 205 gained its new Enviro Hybrid's? The Scania OmniCity's went to the 277, to replace all the ALX400s at Bow.

In Leamouth, is an ex-205 Scania OmniCity. There are some strange stop names in this area: Nutmeg Lane, Clove Crescent, Oregano Drive. And, they're all consecutive stops!

A line up of buses on stand. The sole ALX400 still at Bow is between them.
  Now that the Scania's have been re-blinded, they have also been appearing on the 15:

Here is one at Trafalgar Square. Appearances still remain quite rare, though.
 Thank you for reading, and sorry for another large gap between posts! Posts will be this infrequent now, sadly.