Saturday, 9 July 2016

Random Observations- July 2016

Random Observations has returned! I will aim to publish one of these posts every couple of months, with everything that isn't related to a Random Route or Busageddon post. For this edition, I will take out ten photos at random from my album and write about them underneath.

Go-Ahead London MHV14 at Clapham Junction.
Go-Ahead were brave enough to be the first operator to order MCV's new product, the EvoSeti, for route 40 which they won off Abellio. A new bus type got all bus enthusiasts hyped, but unfortunately I was unable to ride these vehicles on the first day they came out, so I made the trip to Clapham one month later. From my experience, I learned that the EvoSeti had potential to be a great bus, but the unnecessarily wide side panels at the front window and the extremely uncomfortable seats made the journey unpleasant, so this is another vehicle I will try to avoid using. Brilliant!

Arriva Southern Counties ENR1 at Ealing Broadway.
Back in 2014, the E10 was awarded to Tellings Golden Miller for a new contract. The base is Heathrow (HE) garage and a batch of "classic" Enviro 200s were ordered for the route. However, the strenuous dead runs up the Great West Road have meant that 3425-3433 have spent a lot of time off-road and TGM often had to rely on Arriva Southern Counties to donate a DAF Cadet from Dartford (DT) for the day. However, recently TGM decided to pull out of the contract, which means that Arriva Southern Counties (now Arriva London) are now maintaining and providing a service for a route that terminates in North West London. Even stranger, the route is controlled from Garston (GR) garage, which was run by Arriva the Shires until recently, when it merged with Arriva London. I thought the E10 contract would be given back to TFL, but it seems Arriva are coping fine with running the service for now.

London Sovereign SLE40622 at Trafalgar Square working route 13.
RATP  inherited a new manager recently (from Metroline), which means some major changes to the company have been taking place recently. The first is the replacement of the old "bubbles" moquette, with a new ugly one. Secondly, a renumbering system has taken place which means buses have similar codes to Tower Transit, with a whole three new digits being added in front of the original numbers. SLE22 became SLE40622 recently and most of the fleet have been updated on London Vehicle Finder already. To be honest, I'm not a a fan of the changes and Abellio have now become my favourite operator, with Stagecoach taking second place.

Stagecoach London 13098 at Shoreditch working route 47.
Back in January, the 47 inherited a new batch of Enviro 400 MMCs, to make the route fully hybrid. It is certainly an improvement from the old ALX400s and I thoroughly enjoyed my ride from Shoreditch-Canada Water. The old buses still work the route occasionally, for all you Trident lovers...

Go-Ahead London WVN47 at Whipps Cross, working route 357.
I don't really know much about the 357, but it uses Gemini 2's from Northumberland Park (NP) garage and terminates in Whipps Cross, which doesn't exactly make the route seem attractive, but I'll ride it one day...

St John Ambulance Dart Capital on Loveday Road, Ealing.
I was on a walk one Sunday where I found a bus in the middle of a quiet side road where no buses travel at all. I found out this vehicle is used for St John Ambulance for promotion and medical purposes and I feel very privileged to have this in my local area!

Go-Ahead London LDP280 at Camberwell Green, working route 42.
 The 42 is a single deck route running from Liverpool Street-Denmark Hill. In a recent consultation, TFL want to extend the service to East Dulwich, Sainsbury's to serve communities around there. I think it's a good idea and the removal of a bus on Sunray Avenue means that the route can use double deckers. A frequency increase would solve the crowding, but the routeing is fascinating and it would be much better on a double decker. After the ELS class buses were withdrawn earlier this year, Optare Esteem buses were supposed to take over, but they seem to be back on the 355 now so older Pointers are being used on the route, but if the double decker conversion does go-ahead then they won't be on the 42 for much longer.

Here is VP491 at the CELF Centre, which is allocated to route 4.
VP491 obviously had some sort of accident recently, which is why it was resting at the CELF Centre in this condition. However, Metroline decided to repair it and it's now back on Central London routes again.

Arriva London EMC9 at Norwood Junction, working route 312.
Back in 2015, the 312 tender result was published and it was a retain for Arriva, but a whole batch of Electric Optare MetroCities were ordered to make the route fully "electric". Having said that, there is at least one diesel on the route a day, seeing as EMC2 caught fire and TFL underestimated how long these buses can run without needing a re-charge. When I took a ride, I found that the London United OCE models were far superior in terms of comfort and ride quality, but they are still nice buses and much better than Enviro 200s.

Go-Ahead London WHV75 in Croydon Town Centre, working route 119 to Purley Way, Collonades.
All you Croydon residents better be happy, two pictures from there in one post! It took quite a lot of effort to get to the 119, especially as I decided to walk from Addington Village, which was a big mistake, as it felt like I was in the countryside and the constant smell of horse odor really didn't help. It was a big relief when, after 20 minutes of "rambling", the bus came immediately. The experience wasn't great, it was quite full and I do regret my decision on taking this bus. The 64 sounds much nicer.

That's it for now, I hope you enjoyed this Random Obs post, there'll be another one fairly soon.