Saturday, 24 September 2016

Busageddon: Harrow Edition

Bus enthusiasts have invaded the area of Harrow recently, as numerous routes there have been given brand new vehicles, and London's first new route in six years happens to serve there. Routes 114, 140 and 182 have all received Gemini 3 vehicles and the 340 has been given Streetdeck's. New route 483, running between Harrow and Ealing Hospital, has been the centre of attention for all bus enthusiasts this month, unless you're one of those people who doesn't care about a new route starting service. A much more detailed post of the 483 can be found here, if you want to find out more about how it's been coping recently.

Chronologically, the first change in Harrow was the 340, retained by Arriva The Shires with Wright's new integral vehicle, the Streetdeck.

Pictured during a blind change, SW7 on the 340 to "Queensbury Morrisons". Unfortunately all of my other 340 shots didn't come out too well, so this is the best I've got. Sorry.
What's odd is that these buses have blinds for "Harrow" and different ones for "Harrow Bus Station", but they mean exactly the same thing. Drivers did not stick to a particular one when I rode the route, so I saw a mix of blinds heading Westbound, which is slightly confusing. The 340 is Garston's flagship route, seeing as it's the only one that doesn't see single deckers frequently (the 142 from Brent Cross to Watford does, ironically), but I can see why as it gets very busy and has quite a lot of end to end riders, with the only other route between Harrow and Edgware being very unreliable (the 186). I didn't expect the 340 to be an amazing route, but the real test here was the buses, this being my first ride on a Streetdeck which had a diesel engine instead of the B5LH one (although they're Gemini 3's, it's very confusing).

After a fifteen minute wait my bus was off. The interior was very clean and everything was working properly as far as I could tell. From Harrow-Wealdstone the route is quite interesting, as it's really two town centres connected by a consistent high street. It's a bit like Lewisham and Catford, with Lewisham being Harrow with a large shopping centre and many streets full of clothes shops and places to eat and Wealdstone boasting only a few shops and the Wealdstone Centre. The only difference between there and Catford is the Catford Centre has a massive cat on top of it, which I've always found mildly amusing.

After stopping at Harrow and Wealdstone Station, the terminus of the grim section of the Bakerloo Line, the 340 stops outside Harrow Weald garage, owned by Metroline, who probably aren't particularly happy that two routes run by Arriva pass by, the 258 being the other one. To save heading out of London, the 340 takes a right turn into quite a rural area, with the centre being Uxbridge Road, which isn't the one that goes to Uxbridge. The next stop is Stanmore, which has a fairly substantial broadway and a clear market for Italian cuisine, with a Pizza Express and Prezzo minutes apart. However, the 340 isn't particularly useful if you need to visit the Jubilee Line station, as it takes a right turn onto Marsh Lane, where my driver decided it was the right time to absolutely floor the vehicle, easily hitting 40mph and not stopping anywhere until Canons Park, where the SW encountered traffic. The run to Edgware was laboriously slow and it would've been much quicker to walk, but the comfortable seats allowed me to relax after the exciting thrash earlier on.

Overall, I think the 340 is a nice route, much better than I expected it to be. It also has wonderful buses, that are comfortable, cool and are capable of a very high top speed, which will be useful on routes such as the 258 from Watford to Harrow.

Metroline VWH2214 on the 140, to Heathrow Airport.
 I think we all know that Metroline aren't very good at entering new vehicles into service on time and this point has been proven once again with the conversion of routes 140 and 182 to Hybrid operation, which has been painfully slow and still isn't complete, even though it started a month ago. However, it is a welcome service change and the vehicles themselves have been praised by enthusiasts, even though some of them do love the crusty old VPs that still work the route. The 140 definitely needed Hybrids and new buses, it is a trunk route and it enters Heathrow, which is very, very polluted for obvious reasons. I'm sure the passengers are grateful for the air con, comfortable seats and quieter journey, even if it does mean visibility is reduced because of the slim windows. However, no change can go without an oddity and this time it's down to the blinds again. All buses terminating at Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3 have stated Heathrow Central on the front, which is the correct name for the bus station. However, the 140's VPs and VWs (there were only six, they can now be found on the 483) always displayed Heathrow Airport, which is very vague as it does not serve Terminal 4 or Terminal 5. This has always been an issue and I was expecting it to be rectified, so when pictures emerged of new-style Heathrow Airport blinds I was very confused. Why does the 140 have this special treatment? Nobody knows...

VWH2217 showing the wrong blind on route 182 to Harrow Weald, Oxhey Lane.
 The other route that's been given new VWH-class buses from Harrow Weald (HD) garage is the 182, another trunk route running from Harrow Weald, Oxhey Lane to Brent Cross through Harrow, Wembley and Neasden. It's outdated VPs are in the process of being replaced and once again, I think this is a change for the best, as it significantly enhances the experience on board for non-bus enthusiasts, unless they like noise and heat, in which they will have to go on the 260 to look for VPs.

However, what's odd about the photo above is that the blind states Harrow Weald, which is the blind for route 140 rather than the 182. Unless this bus was curtailed, then the driver was showing the wrong blinds. To avoid confusion, I think the blinds should state Harrow Weald, Bus Garage for the 140 rather than just plain old Harrow Weald, it's more confusing than you think.
The correct blinds are shown here, on VWH2190.

The other new Gemini 3's in Harrow can be found on the 114, a win for Metroline from London Sovereign. It now runs from Uxbridge garage and has a full allocation of new buses, but an Enviro 400 from the 607 did stray recently. The 114 runs from Mill Hill Broadway to Ruislip, through South Harrow, Harrow Town Centre, Queensbury and Burnt Oak and it gets very busy. Unfortunately, the service under London Sovereign was pretty poor, with very large gaps of over 30 minutes being considered common, which really isn't ideal for a route such as this. However, the one thing which the route now lacks is variety, as you could find Plaxton President's, Vyking's, Scania OmniCity's and Gemini 2 B5LH's on the old 114. An E200 worked the route once. Although I'm grateful that the horrible service has stopped, it was a shame to see LS lose the 114 as they did give the route some character. I'm not sure if Uxbridge garage will be able to live up to BT's standards just yet.

VWH2180 on the 114 to Ruislip.
The first day was full of bunching, gaps and turns but now the service has vastly improved and is much better than it was before, even if the first day might've been even worse. Although I'm not particularly happy about Metroline stealing this route from London Sovereign, the terrible service couldn't be ignored and I'm happy for the residents along this route who can now live in peace, especially as they won't have to hear roaring Vyking's passing their houses at 1am. A welcome service change for them.

Even though I've now covered every thing in Harrow, this is a busageddon post after all and one major part of it was the 483 (written about in detail on a seperate post that I linked at the top), so here's a picture of one for clarity.

Metroline VW1774 on the 483 to Ealing Hospital.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and thank you very much for doing so!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Random Route: The 483

London's newest bus route since 2010 has arrived and it's called the 483. It runs between Ealing Hospital and Harrow, through Ealing Broadway, Alperton, Wembley Central and East Lane (North Wembley). The route was created to replace the 83 between Ealing Hospital and Alperton, which has been cut there to improve reliability between Golders Green and Alperton. After Wembley, the 483 goes through North Wembley to provide new links from there to the town centres of Wembley and Harrow. It's not very direct from Ealing to Harrow and the removal of the 83 over here was a major less, but I took it surprisingly well.

As this is a random route post (yes I've combined a contract change/random route post together because I have a huge backlog), there is a review further down, but I feel that I have to document how the first week has been, especially as I can monitor it very closely as this route runs in my local area.

Metroline VW1758 at West Ealing Broadway on the first day.
The first day was pretty quiet, with many confused passengers baffled by the number and destination change and wondering whether to board or not. However, some people used it between Ealing and Wembley Central as it is a direct replacement for the 83, but the section between Wembley Triangle and Harrow was very quiet, with some buses running around completely empty. However, I expect usage to soar once the locals over there are familiar with their new bus service.

The other new route that has been introduced is the N83, a service running from Ealing Hospital-Golders Green, which is basically the old 83, but as the 83 has been cut back a new number was needed. Usage on that route has been about the same as on the 83 by the looks of things. In the week, I noticed some 483's that were relatively busy at Ealing Broadway, which shows that people are aware of what's happened and are (sort of) eager to use the new service.

In terms of reliability, both routes have benefited from the changes, with the 83's service improving massively between Alperton and Golders Green and the 483 running reasonably well, despite passing through traffic hotspot areas Hanger Lane and Wembley. Most people think of the route as the 83 2.0, or the 83 with a 4 in front of it, but the 483 goes to Harrow instead of or as well as Golders Green, depending on the person, which is close enough for "civilians".

Overall, the changes have been successful and TFL have achieved the outcome that they wanted, which is a more reliable service for the Ealing-Alperton-Wembley-Hendon corridor. However, not every change can run perfectly and TFL still haven't updated countdown with maps or times for the 483 yet, meaning people have to just have to wait for the bus to show up, which really isn't ideal! Secondly, the iBus for route 83 is now incorrect, with the bus screen displaying "Alperton Sainsbury's" when the 83 doesn't serve there, it terminates at the bus garage. This needs to be sorted!
I took a ride on Sunday 11th September and this is what it was like.

Metroline VW1774 on route 483 to Ealing Hospital.
 Whilst waiting to cross the road at West Ealing Broadway I could see a 483 in the distance and after a sprint to the Leeland Road bus stop, I caught it and managed to grab the front seats, with only about 5 other people on board. I got a 59-reg VW, which is one of the buses that can be used on the 483/83, as well as some 12-reg drafted in from Harrow Weald and Holloway garages. My last bus journey had started with a 59-reg 83 and I sat in the same seats as before, so it was odd hearing the announcement "483 to Harrow" instead of the usual "83 to Golders Green". The journey to Ealing Broadway isn't particularly interesting, with the only sights along the Uxbridge Road being restaurants, police stations and budget hotels (a Premier Inn and Travelodge almost opposite each other) until you reach Ealing Broadway, where there are lots of shops and places to eat. Being 9.30 on a Sunday morning, the 483 travelled through it with ease and only picked up two people at Ealing Broadway, who obviously weren't shopping as everything was shut, apart from Pret A Manger, Costa and Starbucks (x2). After running alongside Ealing Common, the 483 turns left onto the A406.

Hanger Lane is a road notorious for traffic and if you do the 483, please make the effort to do it early/late, as it takes eight times longer in the rush hour. A journey which took 40 minutes at 5pm took 5 minutes on the Sunday, with some thrash alongside houses and multiple railway bridges. After swinging round Hanger Lane Gyratory, my 483 ran non-stop to Alperton Station, where a few people boarded in the hope of reaching various parts of Wembley. Only some were successful...

Ealing Road is interesting because there is a clear Asian community here and there are various shops that sell Indian suits, dresses, groceries and pretty much anything else you would expect on an Asian high street. Quite a few of these shops were open so the pavements were surprisingly busy for what time it was. The direct way from Wembley Central would be to go up to Sudbury and continue straight to Harrow, just like the 182 does, but the 483 turns right and serves all of Wembley High Street, which was closed. My 483 chose to wait time here and about half a dozen buses overtook VW1774 with five whole people on board. At Wembley Triangle, the bus driver kindly gave an announcement over the PA system, telling passengers for Wembley Park should alight here and wait for an 83. Three out of the five people did just that and I had the whole upstairs to myself.

VW1772 starts a journey from Harrow Bus Station to Ealing Hospital. The 12-reg buses are snakes and I still don't have a picture of one yet, sorry!
Something TFL are very proud of is that part of Wembley Hill Road now has a bus service for the first time and it is the only exclusive section of route 483, apart from 10m it has to itself for the bus stand at Ealing Hospital. What I learned is that is a very steep road and it would be useful for people if there were any stops along it. Instead, there is a huge gap between Wembley Triangle and East Lane where the 483 passes countless houses but fails to stop near any of them. North Wembley is an interesting area, with the roads all centered around the Bakerloo Line station and when the other passenger on board alighted here, the bus was mine! If you like greenery and staring at huge playing fields then the 483 is for you, as the area just South of Harrow Town Centre is full of them (the 182 also serves there), with nothing apart from a road which can be used for thrashing and Northwick Park Hospital to look at. After that, the 483 swings left into Kenton Road but quickly passes over the Met Line tracks before serving some of Harrow High Street and into Harrow Bus Station, the last stop on this route.

The 483 isn't as good as the old 83, but it's a fairly interesting route and I gave it 7/10. For people that like a variety of places to look at then the 483 is for you, passing through urban, rural and residential areas on the route. If you do the route at rush hour it will take about 80-90 minutes end to end, but it's possible to complete the route in just under an hour if you're very lucky. My experience was fairly enjoyable and the service is running well, so it's turned out well after all. Thanks for reading!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Farewell 83

From Saturday 10th September (tomorrow), the 83 will be cut from Ealing Hospital, meaning it will only run from Alperton-Golders Green, thus not calling at Hanger Lane, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing or Ealing Hospital anymore. A new route, numbered the 483, will take its place, running from Ealing Hospital-Wembley Stadium via the current 83 route and then up to Harrow via East Lane, North Wembley and Northwick Park Hospital. I am against these changes but unfortunately they are going ahead, but I'd like to give the 83 a good send off, so that's what I'm going to do here.

Back when First had the 83, LK59 CWF at Leeland Road in my early days of photography.
I started using the 83 when B7TL Plaxton Presidents and Gemini 1 Eclipse buses were the allocation. The Eclipse Gemini's were very nice buses and I enjoyed riding them on short journeys between Ealing Hospital and Ealing Broadway before they were replaced by B9TL Gemini 2's. The 83 was the first route in London that was given B9TL's and they eventually entered service in late 2009. They're not the best Gemini 2's, but they are decent buses and didn't change my views on the 83 at all.
The future.... VW1768 curtailed to Alperton.
 A couple of years after the B9TL's were introduced, I started to use the 83 a lot more, particularly on short trips to Ealing Hospital, but also on journeys up to Wembley and even Golders Green when the traffic wasn't too bad. The 83 also helps out the 207/427 between Hanwell and Ealing Broadway and it's saved me on numerous occasions. It was at this point when I started to really appreciate the 83 as a local route, particularly as it gets me quite far away from my local area. It goes to Golders Green, an area which I like visiting frequently and the routeing itself is very interesting, passing through Ealing Broadway, Alperton, Wembley, Kingsbury Green, Hendon and Golders Green.

Metroline VW1372 on the 83 to Ealing Hospital.
The 83 hadn't seen any odd workings for four years by the summer of 2013, with the 59-reg B9TL's being the only double deckers at Alperton and putting a single decker on the 83 would cause all sorts of problems. However, the conversion of route 24 to New Routemaster operation meant that the almost new 62-reg Gemini 2's transferred to Alperton (ON) garage for the double decking of the 245, running between Alperton Sainsbury's and Golders Green via Cricklewood and North Wembley. However, these buses frequently strayed onto the 83 and when they first arrived I decided to ride the route end to end.

It was a Friday afternoon and the journey took two hours, but I enjoyed my journey very much. The air-conditioning was working and it kept me cool whilst waiting in Hanger Lane traffic for 40 minutes. I hadn't ventured beyond Wembley on the 83 for a long time before I rode it with a 62-reg, so it was a great refresher and I got to know the route really well after. That was definitely my favourite ride on the 83, with some other good ones after that!
Metroline VW1765 on route 83 to Ealing Hospital.
The main reason why I've loved the 83 is because it takes me far away from my local area, unlike most of the buses here, which either go to Greenford or Westfield, with one link to Chiswick and another to Kingston. Ealing doesn't have a bus link to Central London, so nearly all of my journeys start with a train of some sort, unless I'm going to North London and I could treat myself to an 83 ride. However, when the 483 is introduced I won't be able to get any further North than Harrow, which is too far West for my liking and because of the roundabout route the 483 will be taking, I'll probably bail at Wembley and get a 182 instead.

Metroline VW1377 on the 83 to Golders Green.
The main reason why TFL have cut it back is because of reliability problems and the fact that additional driver breaks are required as the route is so long (taking over 2 hours end to end). I do understand that the service hasn't been brilliant ever since the contract was renewed in 2009, but for some reason it's always been there for me when I've needed it. With most of my local bus routes I can name several bad experiences whilst waiting for one, but I'm struggling to think of a time when I've had to wait ages for the 83 and it's turned up packed, because it hasn't. I've stood on packed 83's in rush hour before, but that's because the 207/427 had huge gaps in the service and the 83 came to the rescue. I get the feeling I'm not going to be so lucky with the 483.

An 83 heads through Northfields whilst on diversion due to the Ealing Half Marathon.
 I've always rated the 83. It's constantly been my second favourite local since I was introduced to the route. The only route that beats it is the 65 to Kingston and that's only because I find the routeing of the 65 more interesting, so it came as a shock when TFL released the consultation about cutting the 83 to Alperton and introducing the new route 483. After reading it I was absolutely gutted that I would be losing out on the 83 if the proposals went ahead and I desperately tried to object to the consultation as much as I could, but the tender result for the 483 was announced and I figured out I had less than a year of the 83 left. Nothing will ever make up for the 83 and no matter how good the 483 is, it will never make up for the memories I've had of it.

On Saturday 6th August, Perivale East (PV) garage reopened and the 245 transferred there with the 62-reg buses, meaning the 83 was fully 59-reg once more, for the last month of it going as far as Ealing, a bit like how it was in 2009. The news was disappointing, but it did mean I lost the 62-reg and the 83 separately, meaning it was more gradual than sudden. It would mean my last journey on the 83 would be on one of the original buses, not one of the B7TL's but one that I may have ridden back in 2009.

VW1767 stands at Golders Green, with a very large Metroline logo.
VW1767 won't be my last 83 ride ever, but it was my last Ealing Hospital-Golders Green journey on the route. Even if I ride the N83 (a new route running along the 483 from Ealing Hospital-Alperton and then via the 83 to Golders Green, replacing the current 24 hour service the 83 provides), it still won't be the same. I arrived at 9am on a Bank Holiday Monday, aiming for a traffic-free Hanger Lane. I managed to get a front row seat, which was perfect for the occasion and the bus was speeding along the Uxbridge Road to Ealing Broadway, possibly the fastest journey I'd had along that section. There was only one other person upstairs and seeing Ealing Broadway closed in the daytime was a nice experience.

VW1767 then turned left onto Hanger Lane, which was clear for once and I got to fully appreciate the section between Ealing Broadway and Alperton for the first time and I enjoyed it very much. It crosses several railway lines and the stops are quite far apart, offering some thrash early on a Monday morning. Something odd about the 83 is that there are two stops called "Audley Road", one in North Ealing and the other in Hendon. How confusing!

After navigating Hanger Lane Gyratory with success, I went through Alperton and Ealing Road, which was already buzzing despite it being 9:30 am and not a working weekday! At this point the bus got very busy and it stayed this way until Wembley Stadium. The view of Wembley Arena was lovely and the section from Alperton-Blackbird Cross is probably my favourite part of the route. The 483 turns off at Wembley Hill Road, meaning that I can't even take one bus to Wembley Park anymore....

The road from Wembley Park-Kingsbury Green is mostly residential, but the houses did not bore me and I was soon in Hendon, which was full of Northern Line replacements that day. My 83 got stuck behind a Sullivan Buses Vyking with it's rear blind stuck on 699! The section from Hendon-Golders Green is definitely the most interesting one, with a whole string of Kosher shops on the parade to Golders Green. My bus then arrived at the final stop, with only a wasp and I on board and I got off an 83, having ridden it from Ealing, for the last time. It is quite fitting that my last journey on the 83 was an end to end ride, but it's a shame that I'll never be able to ride the route from my local area ever again.

New blinds for the 83.
 Over the past couple of days (Thursday and Friday) all of the Gemini 2's at Alperton (ON) have received new style blinds in preparation for the introduction of the 483 and some of the 12-reg buses from Harrow Weald (HD) and Holloway (HT) have made appearances on the 83 in advance of the changeover tomorrow. The bus stops between Ealing Hospital and Alperton have already been changed to have 483 and N83 on them and the number 83 has vanished from them completely, which is a bit confusing for people still using the service.

Tomorrow will be an interesting and sad day, with many enthusiasts visiting the area of Ealing and trying out London's first brand new route since 2008 (the 433 is just a new number). I will be taking a ride on Sunday and I'm not exactly looking forward to it, but riding a route from Ealing to Harrow will certainly be an interesting experience.

I'm really going to miss the 83, but I guess you can't have everything and the changes are for the best in terms of reliability.

Farewell 83!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Where You Can Go To From Ealing Broadway

Ealing Broadway is a great place for tube/rail links, but when it comes to the buses, it's not brilliant. What I'll do is run you through each route that serves Ealing Broadway and where you can go, then afterwards I'll run through every area which doesn't have a link from Ealing that is close by.

London United VH45186 on route 65 to Ham.
The 65 is one of the more useful routes in Ealing, in that it's the only one that heads further South than Brentford, which is just 20 minutes away. You can get to the Watermans Centre, Kew Gardens, Richmond and Kingston using this route, which means it gets very crowded, having no support from other routes at all throughout it's journey. TFL did increase the frequency to every 6 minutes by adding four Gemini 3's to the PVR, but what the 65 really needs is another route that ventures South of the river from Ealing. That's why I use the 65 a lot, it's pretty useful.

A Gemini 2 with the unusally large logo on route 83.
The 83 is a long route from Ealing Hospital-Golders Green. It has the potential to be useful as it acts as a support route for the 207/427 from Ealing Hospital-Ealing Broadway and it serves Alperton, Wembley, Kingsbury Green, Hendon and Golders Green, but it also uses Hanger Lane to get to those places, a road infamous for its terrible traffic. The 83 sometimes takes 2 hours end to end, meaning that most people take the 297 to Wembley instead and then change buses. However, TFL have decided to cut back the 83 to Alperton, meaning that it won't serve Ealing anymore. A brand new route numbered the 483 will take its place, running from Ealing Hospital-Harrow via the current 83 routeing to Wembley Park and then up to Harrow via North Wembley.

When I first heard that Ealing was getting a link to Harrow, my first reaction was "brilliant, I can finally head North West without having to change buses". However, the 483 is going to use Hanger Lane and take the most indirect route possible to get to Harrow, meaning that most people will use the 297 and 182 instead. What we can learn from this is that the 483 will be useful from Ealing Hospital-Ealing Broadway and for people in North Wembley (who get another bus service without losing another), but if you want to head North from Ealing just take the 297 and thank me later.

Metroline DEL2069 at Ealing Broadway
The 112 is that route that tries to be useful but fails. There are only 4 reasons you might want to use it and even then some of them are questionable. The 112 spends most of its time on the North Circular Road, which can be full of traffic, although you can get some pretty fast journeys at night. One of the main attractions on the route is the Easy Food Store, a budget store where everything costs 29p and usage on the route as increased since it opened, bearing in mind it's the only route that stops outside. You can also use the 112 if you want to visit Stonebridge Park, not that there's much there. You're better off taking the 297 to Wembley... Another place the 112 serves is IKEA in Neasden (advertised as Wembley, but geographically it's not very close to there at all), but it's no good taking the bus if you have more than a couple of bags of shopping. The last destination on the 112 is Brent Cross, a shopping centre for people who think Ealing Broadway is too small but don't fancy getting lost in Westfield. However, the A406 puts people right off this route and that's exactly why I've only used it once.

When First London still had the 207....
The 207 is one of the busiest routes in London, running from Hayes By-Pass to White City through Southall, Hanwell, Ealing and Acton. It is a trunk route that used to have bendy buses, but now it has become extremely overcrowded, being the main route out of Ealing heading East or West. It's pretty useful, which is proven by the amount of people who use the service. I use it a lot and even if this route is not your local, I'm sure you've ended up on it at least once!

A rather unusual blind display on DE1641 working route 226 at Ealing Broadway.
The 226 will now be the only route from Ealing Broadway-Golders Green, with the removal of the 83 from the area. It's a busy route, linking Ealing Broadway with Park Royal, Central Middlesex Hospital, Harlesden and Cricklewood, which desperately needs double deckers or a frequency increase. The overcrowding makes this route unattractive for me and I try to avoid it as much as I can, but it's annoyingly useful in that it's the quickest route to lots of places in North West London and it will soon be the only route from Ealing-Golders Green, making it even busier. Hooray!

Metroline VW1207 on route 297 to Ealing Broadway

The 297 is a nice route from Ealing Broadway-Willesden, Bus Garage, mainly because it has double deckers. In terms of creating new links, it really isn't that useful, going to lots of places that the 83 and 226 already serve. However, it can be useful if you need to visit Perivale CELF Centre and it can be faster than the 83 to Wembley in the rush hour, because this route goes along residential streets instead of Hanger Lane. So yeah, not that useful but handy in some ways.

Metroline VW1820 on route 427 to Uxbridge.
The 427 creates no new links whatsoever, following the 207 and 607 for the entire journey, unless of course you live in Hillingdon and you can't be bothered to walk from the 607 stop. However, the 427 is a route I have to use frequently if the 207 is overcrowded, as this route does try and support it a lot of the time, even though it's unreliable and gets packed itself!

A 607 on diversion.
The 607 is the express version of the 207 and 427 and it's well used too, especially since Westfield opened in 2008. It's the fastest way to get to Westfield, Southall and Uxbridge and Ealing really couldn't do without it, despite it following two other routes for the whole journey.

Abellio London 2444 on the ridiculously short E1.
The E1 is one of six bus routes that go from Ealing-Greenford and it's the most useful one for getting between the two, as it's the quickest and it's fairly frequent. Despite it only taking 15 minutes end to end, it gets packed at rush hour as it's the only bus that takes people from Ealing Broadway to Drayton Green. The E11 doesn't count as it runs every 30 minutes and takes the long way round.

Metroline VW1213 on route E2 to Greenford Broadway
The E2 is fairly useful, because it's the quickest route from Ealing to Brentford High Street (the 65 only takes you to the Watermans Centre), it's the only route from Ealing Broadway to Northfields and it's more frequent than the E9, which is the other route that serves Pitshanger. It's very unreliable and gets crowded if a gap more than 12 minutes is present.

An E7 passes Greenford Lidl.
The E7 isn't very useful if you want to head to Greenford, but it does take you to West Ealing Station, Yeading White Hart and Ruislip, which is as far North as you can get from Ealing. It isn't overcrowded but it's consistently busy throughout the day, one for a frequency increase I think!

An E8 overtakes a 117 at West Thames College, Isleworth.
The E8 has been made very useful recently, with the double decking of the route and the extension of the route from Brentford, Commerce Road to Hounslow, Bell Corner, finally linking Ealing and Hounslow, two town centres so close but yet so far. It is well used as it links Ealing to Boston Manor and Hounslow, but the E2 is much quicker if you feel the need to visit Brentford. It still gets crowded at rush hour though, so get on at the first stop in Ealing!

An Enviro 400 takes a rest from duties on route E9.

The E9 is more of a relief route rather than one that creates new links, assisting the E2 up from Ealing to Greenford and then following the E7 up to Yeading, White Hart before doing a loop of the Barnhill Estate, where it terminates. TFL gave the route double deckers recently, as it can get very busy in the rush hour if the E2 fails to show up, but in the daytime you'll rarely see over 10 people on board so that's definitely the best time to do it!

Arriva TGM 3427 on route E10 to Northolt.

The E10 isn't very useful unless you live in Ferrymead and Smith's Farm, or you need to get to Northolt. It follows the 297 and E2 up to Greenford and then goes round-the-houses all the way up to Islip Manor, where it terminates. It's certainly not the most direct route to Northolt, but it'll get you there, unless you have to wait 60 minutes like I did once....

London United SDE11 on route E11 to Greenford Broadway.
The E11 really isn't useful unless you live on it. It runs every half an hour and is the longest route from Ealing-Greenford, taking you on a tour of many residential streets around Drayton Green and Elthorne Heights. Unless the E11 is the only route in the area, it is the slowest route to anywhere along its line of route, including Drayton Green, Greenford Avenue and Greenford Broadway. Avoid this route at all costs unless you live on it. If you do, you have my sympathy.

So, that's all of the day routes from Ealing Broadway. You're probably thinking 'you can get to lots of places from Ealing, what's he on about' but let's breakdown where you can get to and where you can't.

  • You can get to Brentford via the E2, but there are two other routes which can take you there too.
  • You can get to Hounslow via the E8, which is very useful.
  •  You can get to Richmond and Kingston via the 65, which is useful too.
  • You can get to Acton using the 207, but the 427 will take you there too. The 607 is only useful if you want to reach the Town Hall as it doesn't stop at Morrisons...
  • You can get to Uxbridge, Westfield and Southall using the 607, but there is another route that takes you to both of those places.
  • You can get to Greenford Broadway using the E1, but there are another five bus routes which do the same.
  • You can get to Yeading, White Hart using the E9, but the E7 takes you there too.
  • You can get to Northolt by using the E10.
  • You can get to Northfields using the E2.
  • You can get to South Ealing and Kew by using the 65.
  • You can get to Park Royal, Harlesden, Cricklewood and Golders Green by using the 226.
  • You can get to Brent Cross and Neasden by using the 112.
  • You can get to Alperton and Wembley by using the 83, but the 297 will take you there too.
  • You can get to Perivale by using the 297.
  • You can get to Ruilsip by using the E7.
                         Here is a list of everywhere you can't get to from Ealing in one bus:

  • There is no bus to Greenford Station, despite it being 5 minutes up the road from Greenford Broadway, with 6 routes going there. Extension of the E1 please!
  • There is no bus to Hayes and Harlington (where the train station is and where lots of shops are) despite there being 3 buses serving the other part of Hayes. Not everyone uses GWR!
  • There is no bus to Osterley, which has a retail park and a huge Tesco.
  • There is no bus to Chiswick Business Park, an area which needs a link to Ealing Broadway  Station, bearing in mind it has three lines! Extension of the E9 please!
  • There is no bus to Chiswick itself, perhaps the E9 could go here too.
  • There is no bus to Hammersmith, a very popular destination from Ealing. Not everyone uses the tube!
  • There is no bus to West, North or East Acton, despite Ealing Broadway being a popular shopping destination for people living there. The Central Line is busy enough thanks!
  • The only bus that will serve Harrow is stupidly indirect, therefore making it unattractive and forcing more people to either change buses or pay more to use the train.
That's my rant over, thanks for reading!