|Go-Ahead London SEN17 is seen at Southgate on route 299.|
One advantage of the 299 is its fairly short length, taking no more than 40 minutes to cover the six miles between Muswell Hill and Cockfosters. A modest 15 minute frequency is generally suitable for demand and the route soaks up seven buses at rush hour. Under Go-Ahead the 299 used dual door 2011-plate ADL Enviro 200s, which were inherited from First after they sold Northumberland Park (NP) garage, although occasionally other types including the endangered Marshall Capital would appear. Generally, there were no real complaints regarding the reliability or buses provided by Go-Ahead, with the loss being overshadowed by the gain achieved by Sullivan Buses ; the 299 is now their fourth mainstream TFL service and it prompted the first batch of Wrightbus Streetlites for the company.
|Sullivan Buses SL90 is seen along Alexandra Park Road on route 299 to Muswell Hill.|
|Sullivan Buses SL93 is seen near Muswell Hill on the 299 to Cockfosters.|
|Go-Ahead London SEN10 is seen at Wood Green on the W4.|
Before any sense of boredom became apparent, the W4 returns to a main road and travels right through the heart of Wood Green, something which is quite fun to do on a mini single decker - usually this route underneath the shopping centre is associated with important double deck routes like the 29, 123 and 141, so traversing it on a very different model was certainly an interesting experience. After this urban replenishment, the W4 becomes residential yet again, serving some extremely narrow streets in the West Green area, although arguably the most interesting section is here, where the W4 undertakes a one-way loop to serve the expansive Broadwater Farm Estate, being the only route to do so.
|Arriva London ENN41 is seen on the W4 to Oakthorpe Park.|
This is nowhere near as vast as Broadwater Farm and there is definitely evidence of this area being formerly industrial, although it's in a very odd location, marooned between the Greater Anglia rail line to Cambridge and the Tottenham reservoirs, so all the housing is contained in this very short space with no room whatsover to expand outwards. It's a very odd terminating point, being an isolated and quiet area which is so close to the thriving Tottenham Town Centre, although it feels as if it's one hundred miles away. Within the tranquility an unsettling tone was also created - perhaps the dire state of the construction site next to the train tracks partially contributes to this, along with the occasional lack of pavement if you choose to walk out of the estate. Yes, I have deviated significantly from the aspect of route changes, but hopefully I've been able to convey how much the W4 surprised me, being one of my favourite single decker routes of North London for offering such an enthralling insight into an area I thought I was familiar with, although this clearly isn't the case.
Go-Ahead London operated the W4 from Northumberland Park (NP) garage, using a batch of SEN-class ADL Enviro 200s which were almost identical to the 299 examples, apart from the lack of a second door with the W4 buses. Occasionally, Wrightbus Streetlites would appear on this route and even some of the longer vehicles ventured out onto the W4 from time to time, although how they navigated some of the tight turns in West Green is beyond me. A peak vehicle requirement of 14 buses satisfy the 10 minute frequency, which may sound quite high for a single deck route but is entirely inadequate for the W4 - almost every area it passes through has very high bus usage and this means that the short E200s are almost always filled up, with my bus being packed up to the driver's cab on the approach to Wood Green at 11:30 on a weekday. In terms of their service and vehicle provision, Go-Ahead weren't viewed as particularly awful on this route - the reliability was patchy but that is to be expected for a route like the W4, which serves traffic hotspots as well as tight residential streets where buses often get stuck. Enthusiasts were quite happy with Arriva taking over the operation of the W4, given that the change is a homecoming as this company ran the route before First took over a few years ago (which then became Go-Ahead after First sold the garage).
|Arriva London ENN39 is seen at Ferry Lane Estate at the end of a W4 journey.|
|Arriva London ENN43 is seen near Muswell Hill on route 184.|
|Arriva London ENS39 is seen at Southgate on route W6 to Edmonton Green.|
Thanks for reading and stay safe!