Sunday, 16 October 2016

Random Observations: October 2016

Yes, I have returned from my period of absence from the bus scene and I have finally caught up with what has happened over the past three weeks. I've been incredibly busy lately so I can't really document any of the recent service changes at the moment, but what I can put together is a Random Obs post, seeing as it is the most popular series on the blog, so I hope you enjoy it as much as the other ones!

LJ09CCF was chilling in Elephant & Castle yesterday, but a collision made sure it had to work for the day.
The 188 around Elephant & Castle was something of a joke yesterday, with buses leaving and entering service very quickly. It all started when 9440, a recently refurbished Enviro 400, collided with a Toyota Prius at Elephant & Castle roundabout. I happened to be on this vehicle and was forced off at the next stop, whilst another 188 kindly decided to overtake and leave the premises without picking up anyone who was on the E400. The next 188 wasn't due for 9 minutes, so I stood at the bus stop watching the bus driver talk to his friend about what had happened. Eventually, one of them noticed the spare bus, LJ09 CCF, that was lying around doing nothing for no apparent reason. One of the drivers decided to take it and decided that everyone for the 188 should get on. However, it took a good few minutes to get the iBus going on this worn out E400 and in this time another 188 overtook, heading straight for North Greenwich. A minute later, my bus left and didn't stop anywhere until I pressed the stop button to alight at Druid Street. What a mess...

Waterloo Bus Garage, at capacity.
This picture should give you an idea of what's happening at Waterloo Garage to the two Red Arrow routes that are run from there. The seven year old high capacity Mercedes Citaro buses are being replaced in favour of cleaner electric vehicles on an Enviro 200 MMC body, with BYD dealing with all of the electrical stuff. At the moment, the garage is full to bursting with buses coming in and going out every couple of days. There was also a random PVL there for some reason.

Stagecoach London 15118 working route 277 to Crossharbour.
The Isle Of Dogs has received a makeover in terms of changing the bus network, with the 108 and D8 swapping routeing between Poplar and Stratford and the D8 going double deck, the 135 being re-routed around Cubitt Town, the 277 being sent to Crossharbour via Westferry Road and the D3 going to Leamouth instead of Crossharbour. Showing off the new look of the 277 is a Scania OmniCity, which will soon be replaced by newer vehicles when the contract expires in 2017.

Abellio London 2536 working the 344 to Liverpool Street, contrary to what the blind states.
Battersea clearly felt left out when every other Abellio garage had introduced brand new E400 MMCs (the only exception being Fulwell, which doesn't run any DD routes at present), so they  decided to order some to upgrade the 344. They are nice buses and I've heard that they are speedy, although my journey wasn't particularly fast, partly due to the fact the bus left the stand 4 minutes early. Here is 2536 showing the destination of Wimbledon, the terminus of route 156, the other route that serves Battersea Power Station.

Metroline TEH1238 on route 32 to Kilburn Park.
The 189 has finally converted to New Routemaster operation and the Enviro 400 Hybrid buses that used to work the route have found a new home, in Edgware. The 32 used to run with ALX400 buses but now the route has been upgraded to Hybrid standard. TEH1238 demonstrates this at Edgware Bus Station on what could be a nice route. It's a shame that it has to go through Cricklewood to get to Kilburn though...

Little Park Gardens, Enfield.
Enfield didn't sound very promising when I planned to visit there in August, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the town centre was much more civilised than I thought, with a fairly large shopping centre, high street and an interesting Art Cafe, as well as lots of bus services which take you to places like Turnpike Lane, Waltham Cross and Crews Hill. The bus station is very small, but it's a nice place for taking pictures. Overall, a positive experience, see you again Enfield!

Great Western Railway 387 133 at Paddington Station.
I understand that this is not a bus, but my method of selecting photos at random means that anything transport related can show up. GWR can now make a guest appearance on my blog, showing off one of their new Electrostars they've introduced on the Thames Valley local services between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. They are 8 carriages long and are far more comfortable than the hot and cramped Turbo trains that still work the route. At present, they only run in the rush hour as connecting services to the Greenford branch line trains that only go as far as West Ealing, but this connection doesn't seem to be working very well as the trains don't wait for each other, meaning that Greenford-bound trains often leave West Ealing completely empty in the evening. Still, they are a nice addition to my local mainline and I can't wait for these trains to start running all day in January 2017.

Arriva London T73 on route 368 to Barking, Harts Lane.
The 368 was won by Arriva earlier this year, with an upgrade to double deckers instead of Enviro 200s. It looks like the route has been given a significant boost in capacity which will help in school run and peak hours, although the buses seem to be carrying air for most of the day. On my journey, no one else dared to climb the stairs to the upper deck for the entire journey to Chadwell Heath and it looks like the new timetable has given the route far too much running time, with my bus regulating for two minutes at what felt like every other stop. However, I'm glad that this route has double deckers now, as it made a fairly boring journey slightly more interesting.

Go-Ahead London WVL98 on route 185 to Victoria.
These buses won't be working the 185 for much longer, as brand new MCV EvoSeti vehicles are replacing them. If you like comfortable seats and front windows without huge side panels blocking the view, then ride this route as soon as possible, as riding a 90 minute long route on a EvoSeti really isn't good for you. I learned this after riding the 35 on an EvoSeti, but I do not have the time to ride the 185 at the moment, so I'm praying for odd workings to happen in the future. Seeing as Camberwell (Q) run it, the chances of other buses straying are very high, but I really shouldn't jinx it!

That's all for now, thanks for reading!