Transdev Yorkshire Coastliner continues to operate to the East coast via York, Malton and Leeds, with a youthful fleet of double deck Volvo/Wrights and a selection of Volvo saloons. From October 22nd 2015 Yorkshire Coastliner began trials with the first of two test buses..............................
The first vehicle in question is the much travelled Wrights integral Streetdeck SL15ZGP, which was first seen in May 2015 at the ALBUM conference in Wales. The bus then had trials with EYMS, Tryers Coaches, Arriva Merseyside, Reading and Blackpool Transport, before making a return to Transdev's Harrogate depot. By October 19th 2015 the bus was driven across to Malton, where the vehicle was prepped for service. After a few days of preparation the Streetdeck was officially given its first duty on the 11:24 from Malton to Leeds, then a visit to Whitby via Goathland on the 840. Your author was out during the afternoon to capture the first day in service, getting several photographs of the bus in various locations. Following the bus while its was on the Whitby service, the bus gave a swift and impressive turn of speed, especially on the faster roads. Your author was impressed with the bus, as it climbed out of Goathland on a pretty steep hill!
Across the weekend of October 24th & 25th the bus was used to visit Scarborough on the 843, for several turns. SL15ZGP was getting the interest across the internet, with various forms show peoples interest in Test Bus A. Pictures were springing up on facebook, flickr & twitter and bus enthusiasts were relishing the newish bus as it was used in service.
On Monday October 26th 2015, the 29th year of the 1985 Transport Act know as Deregulation, your author was planning a journey on the Wrights Streetdeck, as the Yorkshire Coastliner twitter announced that the bus would be on the 10:12 service from Thornton-le-dale to Leeds service 840. However due to the amount of traffic heading out of Harrogate and the bottle neck at York on the single carriage-way on the A64. Your author had to catch the Streetdeck at Stockton on the Forest, with the fare paid, the top deck front seats were free, as was the whole top deck. As the bus made its way through Stockton and Heworth before joining York's busy streets. It was becoming clear that due to the traffic on the A64 and in York, the 840 was running late, as a result the bus picked up plenty of passengers in York. Then with a good swift turn of speed the driver took the bus through Copmanthorpe and into Tadcaster bus station. After a slight delay with the bus, it was back onto the A64 and again the top speed allowed some time to be caught up, but it was still late. Your Author alighted at Seacroft Hospital, and took a quick lunch break as the vehicle ventured towards Leeds.
Above the clean and tidy interior of the demonstrator Streetdeck, with its interesting roof mounted windows and the glazed staircase. Your author then caught the Streetdeck this time the bus was heading for Bridlington on the 845, again on the faster sections the bus performed well. While in the estates the bus coped well with tight turns, parked cars and picking up passengers, no-one really questioned the lateness of the service. As the Streetdeck entered York, stopping times were reduced in order to assist with the service timings. It worked as the bus arrived in Malton for a driver change a few minutes late, this was thanks to the engine and gearbox working in harmony along the A64, running smoothly. The forward journey saw the bus venturing through Norton in Derwent, Filey, Reighton before arriving into Bridlington, for a few minutes break. But it was round 18 minutes late, this allowed the bus to set off on time for the 16:40 trip back to Malton. The late afternoon autumn sunshine made the trip towards Bridlington very pleasant, it also allowed your author to see plenty of areas for photography. The return trip was a much quieter affair then the family pack trip to Brid.
Overall impressions of the Streetdeck for my opinion was a pleasant trip on the 845, with an impressive turn of speed on the A64, and the interurban sections of each route. The vehicle must have had its engine tweaked before entering service, it seams much faster compared when with EYMS earlier in the year. Your author would like to thank the Yorkshire Coastliner twitter for giving details of the Streetdeck service times, the Coastliner drivers, without whom the buses would not run. The seats were comfortable and similar to the seating in the Coastliner double deckers, which your author sampled Volvo B9TL 420 for the trip back to pick up the car.
East Yorkshire has over the years purchased some very interesting vehicles, with MCV's latest double deck offering the Evoseti. Has the eastern promise arrived in Hull for the next generation of bus bodies.
The Evoseti arrived in the UK just in time for the annual Album conference held in May this year in Wexham, with other exciting vehicle options like the new NXWM E200MMC and the first demonstrator of the fully integral Wright StreetDeck with square Gemini3 body. The Evoseti certainly grabs the attention of the eye, with some simple yet stylish tones to the body shape, the addition of the EYMS livery improves the whole effect. In all honesty MCV have really looked into the design of the original double deck body, examples of which can be seen in London and Bristol, have reinvented a new shape. Which could potentially attract customers away from the standard offerings from both ADL and Wrights.
After Album the bus was sent around operators who wished to examine the new Evoseti body and the Volvo B5TL chassis, which is the Euro6 replacement for the established B9TL. By late July 2015 EYMS informed fellow enthusiasts and like minded people that the bus had arrived, now known as 793 BP15OLH. It was placed into the care of the EYMS fitters, who had the task of making 793 ready to receive its first passengers in early August. You can still access the photographs on EYMS Facebook pages, well worth a look if your interested in a few behind the scenes shots.
Your author found out that 793 was having a full days service on the X46 York-Market Weighton-Hull route during Saturday August 8th 2015. Plenty of bus enthusiasts were out and about photographing this very unique vehicle. With a day away from the usual working week, your author ventured into York not only photograph 793, but have a ride on the bus. Finding out what MCV have done with the new double decker and sample another Volvo B5TL in action.
Using one of the many Park & Ride site dotted around the outskirts of York, a bus journey into the city found many new changes to the local area, with plenty of EYMS vehicles out in service. However by simple luck the bus in question was already in York, having a break near the York Race course as I found out from the very helpful friendly driver. One has to admit that all of Peter Shipp's drivers are a credit to the standard anyone would expect from the bus industry, professional and informative, always offering assistance. Especially the drivers assigned to driving the demonstrators and several one-off purchases.
For the start of the journey on 793, your author picked up the service from Merchantgate in York, with chat and correct change for the fare and a sit on the front top deck nearside seat. 793 was placed into drive mode and off it ventured along the busy York streets as the 09:25 departure, underneath the Walmgate Bar and onto the Hull road. A standard bright grey interior greets the passenger as you board, with vivid red grab poles and a straight nine rise staircase leading to the upper saloon. For passenger comfort deep/high backed Lazzerini Parctico seats offer a nice place to sit, while the bus ambles through the less then even streets, the suspension coping very well with the odd raised manhole and shallow pothole. The Volvo B5TL with its Euro6 standard ERG and SCR emissions reduction units in place gaves a very admiral performance, with the ZF 6 speed Ecolife gearbox, which allowed the bus to reach its restricted top speed of around 44mph, with ease on the unrestricted roads. The acceleration was swift, smooth and effortless as 793 ventured towards Pocklington bus station. A view of which is illustrated by the above shot of the upper saloon front end.
While the bus was paused in Pocklington, it allowed a very pleasant chat with the driver, who found that this bus was very pleasant to drive. Your author commented about the more impressive turn of speed when compared to the recent integral StreetDeck (135 SL15ZGP). Overall the whole MCV Evoseti body was rattle free, even with the windows open on what was a very warm morning. The air cooling system was on offering cool air around the bus, but a selection of windows were open offering more of a breeze. MCV hope to offer a full TfL specification Evoseti for trials in the capital at some stage, it would be interesting comparing the air con system of both MCV and Wrights NRM. Before taking a seat in the lower saloon, a final few words on the upper saloon. There are five CCTV cameras around the upper saloon, with a recessed panel with additional LED lights on the staircase. Around twelve bell push buttons are dotted around, allowing nearly every seat within reach of a bell. The standard bus stopping sign was in the front end plastic/fiberglass surround, as full length lights for the saloon run along side the air cooling outlet grills. 45 seats are spaced out again giving ample legroom throughout the saloon.
For the remainder of the trip the lower saloon offers 30 seats, of which 17 were in the dedicated low floor area, which included 3 tip-up seats in the wheelchair/buggy zone. For this trip two families with unfolded buggies were on board, this still allowed good passenger flow for passengers alighting/boarding 793. The remaining 12 seats of the lower saloon were on raised sections, with plastic moldings for the four seat below the back to back wheel arch seats. A final row of five rear seats were placed across the back molded section leading to the rear engine powerpack. The staircase dominates the lower saloon, which if reduced in size with a square staircase could either offer more seats or another area for buggies, just after the stairs. Again there are plenty of hand grab rails with around ten bell push buttons, with a Bus Stopping sign on the staircase panel facing the saloon passengers.
At Market Weighton, your author alighted the vehicle, with a final few words to the driver, 793 made its way to Beverley then forward to Hull. Overall impressions of the MCV Evoseti were very favorable, the bus body was light and airy, with the addition of opening windows, allowing passengers the option to feel cooler air on a warm day. The EYMS Ship motif moquette seating was comfortable and pleasant to sit while on the bus. Passengers were happily chatting away about the new bus and everyday elements of life. There is also a neat luggage space over the nearside front wheel, with a newspaper rail too, which is a nice touch. Also mention should be made of an additional pole which acts as a bell push for the wheelchair passenger.
The EYMS vehicle is 10.40 meters long with a 5.40 meter wheelbase, its 4.20 meters high and standard 2.55 meters in width. With a kerbside weight of around 11.200kgs, 793 is lighter then most double deckers on the market. The 5.1 litre Volvo D5K engine is coupled to the ZF 6 speed Ecolife gearbox, which is fully automatic. Although 793 is restricted to a top speed of 50mph, other variations of the gearbox and differential offer the more speed variations. If you are in York and 793 pops up at the bus stop, I do recommend having a trip on this bus, it is different but 793 offers another choice for bus operators to experiment with. Volvo also offer the B5TL as an 11.5 meter vehicle which could seat around 83 passengers using the MCV Ecoseti body.
East Yorkshire Motor services have been running bus services all over the Humberside and East Riding of Yorkshire for over 70 plus years. Once part of the BAT (British Automotive Traction ) group, then part of the National Bus Company until 1986, then part of the AJS Holdings group until around the early 1990's. Now with Chairman Peter Shipp at the helm, so to speak, EYMS has become one of the most interesting companies in the Yorkshire county. In 2014 Channel 5 filmed and broadcast the 'On Yorkshire's Buses' documentary programme, which saw boosted numbers at the 'Big Bus Show' in 2014.
During the last couple of years EYMS have had some interesting demonstrator buses on loan, mostly operating the X4 X46 services. The Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 was used on the X4 service based at the Elloughton depot, eventually this bus became EYMS 779 still in the ADL demo colours. The ADL E400MMC (YX64VOO) was around for the 'Big Bus Show' in August 2014, which later led the bus to be on Loan to EYMS noted on 57 and X46 routes in April 2015, this one was in a sliver overall livery. Then in May 2015 EYMS had purchased one of the first new MCV EvoSeti bodies placed upon a Euro6 Volvo B5TL chassis, which looks very smart in the EYMS livery. It is hoped that this bus will join the company soon, after some more proving at the Millbrook track and other operators having a look.
Then on the 8th of June 2015 the EYMS twitter announced the arrival of another demonstrator vehicle, this time a complete integral Wrights StreetDeck vehicle. Featuring the new grey, blue, red and white livery as seen in the above picture of the bus in York on the X46 service. Your author had a chance to venture into York to try and photograph this new vehicle, with timetable in hand and working out with a little serendipity EYMS 135 (SL15ZGP) turned up at the right time. After several more pictures taken of the bus, it ventured off towards Market Weighton and then Hull.
On June 24th 2015 again your author returned to York with the soul purpose to have a ride on this integral vehicle, sure enough EYMS 135 turned up to do the 10:15 York departure on the X46, costing £7.60 for a return trip to Market Weighton, which is pretty good value.
First impressions of the demonstrator were of a fresh, clean and well presented bus, with a bright blue/grey interior colour scheme the bus was very smart. The upper deck has 45 very comfortable seats with deep base squabs and high backs all in a blue base moquette pattern. In 135 the seats allowed good leg room for a six foot tall author to enjoy the journey from York to Market Weighton. There were 4 CCTV cameras in the upper saloon, with a large bus stopping sign above the front window. The upper saloon side windows were small and thinner thus allowing for the weight saving credentials to the StreetDeck vehicle. For your author, still the biggest problem is the size and length of the staircase, rear assending with nine steps, surely a neat and compact square staircase could be sufficient for passengers. This could also allow for more improved leg room in the upper saloon and more seats in the lower saloon too. The most unique feature of this demonstrator was the inclusion of two skylights for extra natural light into the upper saloon, as seen above.
This particular StreetDeck vehicle still has the Euro6 5.1litre OM934 Mercedes 4 cylinder engine rated at 231bhp with an output of 1400rpm. The Voith Diwa.6 4 speed gearbox was coupled to the engine in 135. Other gearbox options are a Daimler G90AMT unit or the more well known ZF Ecolife 6 speed unit, which could have been better fitted in this EYMS example. Within York's city streets the bus coped well with stopping/starting and the traffic, with not much noise from the engine. By the time 135 reached the interurban sections of the route, the vehicles acceleration was smooth and swift but it really need the extra push of two more gears. One would imagine that the Streetdeck would be limited to around 50mph, which is not to bad for a modern double decker. While in the upper saloon the ride was smooth and enjoyable, with the Yorkshire Wolds forming the scenic vistas as 135 headed towards Pocklington station for a brief few minutes stop.
After stopping at Pocklington and having a chat to the driver about the various elements to the StreetDeck and the new ADL E400MMC, the bus was moved on now its was heading for Market Weighton. For this part of the journey your author sat in the lower saloon, with an uncluttered feel to the enviros of the wheelchair and buggy zone, all mixing with the stair case, as can be see with the above photo. The remaining part of the lower deck saw two sets of seats on the low floor part of the bus, with the remaining seats on raised platforms or over the rear wheel arches. The rear area of the lower saloon included a window, which a lot of passengers have missed with companies using full rear end advertisements of products or company promotions. Again the engine noise was not intrusive and the ride pleasant enough. The lower deck had larger windows and of course the extra light from the glazed staircase, which is still an option on the StreetDeck model.
Overall the EYMS bus company have looked after 135, as if the bus was there own. There is little indication that this bus has been on loan for three weeks, which comes to an end on Friday June 26th 2015 at some stage, lets hope it gets a final run out on Friday before the bus is returned to Wrights. The seating arrangement for the lower saloon is 29 seats including 6 flip-up seats in the Wheel/Buggy zones, with the same deep based bottoms and high backs all finished with an E-leather head rest.
The ample leg room for passengers is very pleasing to see, as is the fact that EYMS have continued to used thicker seat based on all their buses in the fleet. I for one would be really interested in seeing a StreetDeck vehicle in full EYMS livery/interior and plush seats with WI-Fi and plug sockets. In all this journey on 135 was very pleasant, with a very friendly driver and a good clean interior. Having alighted 135 in Market Weighton and saw the bus leave, it was time for some more photography, which included 779 on the X4 and Fish & Chips!
On the subject of new vehicles, I'm sure that I'm not alone in awaiting the arrival of the new Volvo B5TL MCV EvoSeti bus, it looks smart from the pictures I have seen. I wonder if it too might end up on the X46 service, now that would be good.
I would like to thank the driver of 135 on the morning 10:15 York-Market Weighton section of the route X46 and the EYMS Twitter people, who were as ever very helpful in passing on information about 135 on the X46 service.
During early December 2014 Arriva Yorkshire was given Alexander Dennis demonstrator vehicle YX64VOO, an E400 MMC (Major Model Change) chassis and newly improved bodywork, featuring some 200 plus changes and modifications. This bus was used by Reading Transport pending delivery of their batch of ADL E400MMC buses, also being used during the November 2014 Euro Bus Expo held at the NEC in Birmingham.
Your author had a good look around one demonstrator of the new ADL E400MMC, while the bus was displayed as part of the 'EYMS Big Bus Day' 2014. The interior was pleasant and roomy, with plenty of leg room for taller passengers. The seats are made from e-leather and are grey with red patches, very comfortable, coach seat style, apart from the thinner seats placed upon the moulded sections. Today December 17th 2014, the author managed to sample the new look ADL product, finding it working the high profile Arriva service 110 Leeds-Wakefield-Kettlethorpe-Hall Green. One feature which is worthwhile was the demisting/air blowers on the upper saloon front windows, a must during the winter months. The ride was pleasant and comfortable, with compared to the Wright/DAF DL2s there were considerable less rattles in the saloon. Unless the bus was driven over some of the uneven roads along the journey from Kettlethorpe terminus to Wakefield. There was no rattle/vibration from the new look windows, which ordinary passengers didn't notice how the windows are attached to the vehicle. The engine noise was not an issue in the upper saloon, the staircase has also been reduced in size, giving enough room for a few more seats. The steps were two up, five rising and one meeting the upper saloon floor. ADL have continued with the use of formed fibre-glass and plastic mouldings for the standard sections of the E400MMC body, which gives extra stability for the body, without adding to much weight. Braking wise the bus was smooth and juddering, the doors opened without much noise, the stopping bell sound was, well rubbish. The interior lights were bright and enclosed within the ceiling coving panels as were the grab rails, which made little noise. Some of the seats also had under seat lighting using red LEDs, which added to the saloon décor.
Photographing this impressive vehicles was straight forward, just standing in a few fave spots in Wakefield city centre, and a few shots taken at Kettlethorpe. Arriva Yorkshire have some 32 ADL E400MMC buses on order, for delivery during the early part of 2015, for the 110 service. These will either be in the MAX livery and standard or hopefully the high specification Sapphire livery brand.
Volvo hybrid tech and alternative power
One of the most interesting displays at the 2014 Euro Bus Expo was the Volvo stand with a B5TL chassis, a 9700 coach and the latest 7900 Hybrid Volvo saloon. All these vehicles had Euro6 engines further reducing emissions, the B7RLE is also being replace by a Euro6 standard B8RLE with Wrights and MCV bodywork.
Lothian Transport has purchased two batches of the new stylish 7900H saloons, at the start of the show on November 4th, another 40 are on order. Like the Arriva Shires has a batch of induction boosted Wrights StreetLites, these are given power at terminus. The induction plates rise from the ground and connect with the minibus giving additional boost of power. The 7900H also gains a power boost, again by using an induction method, this time from above. Volvo and Edinburgh council are working together to ensure that the new look buses are ready for service. The route will have power points to ensure an extra boost, but it will be at the terminus were the power will be given. When the bus is stationary power will be given via a pantograph which connects with the bus, via an interesting piece of street furniture. Edinburgh council is working with Lothian Transport to build the structures in time for delivery, it will interesting to see if other operators/councils will embrace the new induction tech.
Plaxton Coaches on parade
Plaxton still continues to provide stylish coaches for the industry, with Euro6 examples now being built for delivery. The Panther has the current styling form the Elite and Elitei coaches, which are mounted on the Volvo range of coach chassis with three lengths 12.6, 12.8 and 15m. The Leopard body is a new 12.8m body for the mid range coach travel, which has gained some interesting purchases, with Steels of Addingham getting the first one. Anderson Travel had the Leopard on display, while Mayne had a stylish Panther. The Elitei on display is for Acklam's the East Yorkshire coach operator, N.A.T and Stagecoach Megabus operate the Elitei. The Elitei arrived with interest in late 2012/13 on the Volvo B11R chassis for Stagecoach Megabus.
Alexander Dennis MMC and Virtual Electric models
Having successfully launched the much anticipated Major Model Change (MMC) Enviro 400 earlier in 2014, it was time to unveil the new look Enviro 200. Which in turn matched the success of the original Dennis Dart, the new look version will be available in various sizes from 8.9M to 11M. Allowing a great customer choice, layout and with many features from the E400MMC also used on the new look vehicle. This new look Enviro 200 was revealed to the trade on the first morning of the 2014 Euro Bus Expo, with a fresh approach to style and in some versions more seats. Inside the new E200 the initial view is of a well laid out seating arrangement, with a dedicated wheelchair zone, better seats and improved hand rails. Passengers flow is made easier with the full 2.55M (8.55foot) width and increased space inside the saloon for the taller passenger. LED lighting gives a brighter view on the vehicle, coupled with the light grey colour scheme for a fresh crisp appeal. ADL has also settled into using an overall base colour for each demonstration model, which is fresh and simple. Front end styling is unique to the E200, with the rear aspect following the style set by the E400MMC. Engine wise the whole MMC class are using the much cleaner Euro6 spec engines, the Cummis ISBe series are popular within ADL chassis designs.
Next to the new Enviro 200 was the next innovation of the show the new Enviro 350VE, with some new features. The E350VE (Virtual Electric) allows improved designs to current hybrid drive systems, which can give up 80% service in full electric mode. Useful in London and Oxford, cities which have Low Emission Zones (LEZ). By using GPS tech the engine is automatically switched off in LEZ areas for electric operation, with the diesel/hybrid mode used outside such zones. ADL have carried forward the E350 styling with the addition of a front end roof pod, with a smart interior using e-leather seating, bright colours and LED lighting the E350VE could become a class leading design. First are to operate five of the E350VE in Scotland as part of an 83 GBF low carbon vehicle purchase across nine bus operators for delivery during 2015.
Optare developing the family
Optare has kept the range small for this year's NEC show, with three vehicles, the Metrocity saloon, the Solo and the lightest modern double decker the Metrodecker. All three are powered by the Mercedes Benz OM934 engine range, using the Alison gearbox for the Solo and Metrocity and a ZF 6-speed gearbox for the Metrodecker. Each Optare vehicle was painted into a bright orange overall livery, with an environmental theme. At the show the Metrocity had a single door layout retaining the small rear window, e-leather seating, LED lights and DDA compliant wheelchair and buggy zones. The Solo also had a high spec interior with a single door layout. The real star on the Optare stand has to be the new fresh looking Metrodecker, this time with a single door layout. This Euro6 Mercedes OM934LA 4 cylinder engine coupled to a ZF ecolite 6 speed gearbox all neatly packed into the rear section of the bus, with a possible exchange to the EV-electric power park. E-leather seating and bright LED lights with a fancy halo light at the entrance to the vehicle. Then a surprise on the near side of the show vehicle, an emergency exit, were the TfL central door would go. Also the Metrodecker also came with DDA compliant Wheelchair and Buggy zones. The initial TfL spec Metrodecker was also parked outside for display beside the SoloEV demonstrator minibus.
wright buses at the wright time
The first new look Streetdeck offering from Wrights gained its first public outing at the 2014 Euro Bus Expo in hall 5 at the NEC. The Streetdeck is fully designed and built in Northern Ireland, the chassis is made at the EN-Drive factory in Antrim while the body is built at the main Ballymena plant. The Gemini three revised styling is the same as the Streetdeck too. Power for the Streetdeck is provided by the Daimler OM934 5.1 litre 4-cylinder engine with three gearbox options Voith four speed, ZF eoclife 6 speed or the new Daimler G90AMT. Tech and designs from the New Routemaster TfL LT class is used on the Streetdeck, such as the axles, cooling system, steering, brakes and suspension units. The bus its self has been extensively tested, giving some 15% better fuel savings compared to other models, it boosts the glazed stairwell, a rounded roof profile carried forward from the initial Gemini 3 bodywork. Bonded glazing for most of the bus and a double curve windscreen, give the frontal area a bold and stunning new look. The finished Streetdeck is built to the European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) specification. It was quite a surprise to see the Arriva Sapphire livery on this new look body, which suited the Sapphire colours well.
Wrights also had on display the Streetlite Door Forward (DF) and Wheel Forward (WF) versions, of this now popular series of mini/midi bus styles, of which over 420 examples are currently in service around the UK. The Streetlite was displayed in the stylish First Potteries local identity livery, while the Volvo B5TL built for Translink Metro also had the new revised Gemini 3 bodywork. It seems that Euro6 has brought out the latest and more stylish designs from Wrights, but keeping in with the traditional format of the company. Together with improved Hybrid tech and Eco friendly engines, it looks like the Wrights style is here to continue from its humble beginnings to how the company competes today.
2014 is the 'Year of the Bus' according to London Mayor Boris Johnson, who in February this year presented the special sliver and red liveried LT150 at City Hall. With the press and a protest all grabbing the attention of all whom attended this unveiling of the celebration of London's buses, its was an interesting morning. LT150 was driven around London, before Settling down on the 9 Hammersmith to Aldwych service later moving to the 10 Hammersmith to King's Cross. During the summer of 2014 another ten sliver liveried LT's started to arrive in London a couple were placed onto the Stagecoach ran 8 Tottenham Court Road to Bow Church route, with two on the 38 Victoria to Clapton Pond. Other routes with the New Routemasters will gain a couple of these sliver liveried vehicles. LT150 above was seen in mid February 2014, arriving into Hammersmith on the 9 service.
During the spring of 2014 several newly delivered NRM buses were seen in Bus&Coach World in Blackburn, this company has made a name for it's self as a specialist bus refurbishment plant. Arriva, First, Stagecoach and Transdev have all placed vehicles into Bus&Coach World for overhaul and refurbishment. Then a number of the 32 New Routemasters were repainted from red into black, with then additions of various vinals for Adidas football boots, with pictures of players who were in the Brazil 2014 competition. 20 Arrived at Arriva's Ash Grove depot for use on the 38 Clapton Pond route, these were catching the eye of everyone who either lived or were visiting London. Next to arrive were the 12 for operation on the Stagecoach 8 Bow Church to Tottenham Court Road service, these had arrived just as Stagecoach was filtering in the NRM's upon the 8 service. Above is LT268 seen early on Saturday morning July 12th 2014 working its way to Bow Church.
London has become a test bed for new bus technology which includes the Hybrids and Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. However two BYD china built electric buses are being evaluated on the former red arrow routes 507 Victoria-Waterloo and the 521 Waterloo-London Bridge. Both EB1 and EB2 were showcased at the Go-Ahead London's Waterloo depot, with invited press and guests. On December 22nd EB1 was spotted out near Waterloo just off from Westminster Bridge, working the 507 service. When the trial starts both EB1 and EB2 will be out on the 507 and 521 routes, one on each duty card/diagram. These buses are standee type with seating towards the rear, with a blue interior and DDA compliant passenger friendly equipment. From Victoria station the buses head towards Waterloo via Lambeth Bridge and Lambeth Palace before working its way to Waterloo rail station. I tried EB2 while in London on February 12th 2014, for a return trip on the 507, I found the acceleration very swift, and the ride comfortable, you could hear the generator work as the bus moved along. Four more BYD eBus9 are to join the two with Go-Ahead and another company during February 2014.
............................................LT1, 3-8 joined LT2 on the 38 but it would June 22nd 2013 that 24 would be the next NBfL first full route conversion. LT9-40 would work from Holloway depot owned by Metroline. The 24 passed through Westminster and Trafalgar Square while heading for the quite Hampstead Heath area or Pimlico. Next to follow would be the 11 Aldwych to Liverpool Street service run by Go-Ahead London, using LT41-68 and LT118 with LT119. This happened on September 21st 2013, as the NBfLs were slowly filtered into service. LT69-94 were dispatched for use on the 9 Aldwych to Hammersmith service operated by London United, which passes along Kensington High Street and the Royal Albert Hall. The 9 conversion happen on October 26th 2013, which is the same date as the 1986 deregulation day for non London bus operators. Finally for 2013 the 390 Archway to Notting Hill Gate was converted to the re-named 'New Routemasters', here Metroline used LT95-117. As the new year arrived 2014 would see some 250 New Routemasters enter into service, starting with London United 148 White City to Camberwell Green. Here LT120-147 would be used on this route, some making an unusual turn on the 148 when the February 5th-7th Underground 48 hour strike was in action. Reporting for duty were LT 124,127, 134,139, 142 and 144 used on the first night of disruption, form then on LT128, 130, 131 also joined in the slow filtering of New Routemasters on the 148. February 15th saw the remaining LTs from LT120-147 enter service on the 148, as LT150 in 2014 Year of The Bus reported for duty on the London United 9s until the reported 26th April conversion of route 10 King's Cross to Hammersmith would happen..........................................................................................................................................
..................................................All the best laid plans can and do suffer form the occasional set back, and the 20th of February came and went. However news arrived that the NBfL would debut on February 27th at round 10:30am, at Graham Road, Hackney London. Cue the press, public and bus enthusiasts who gathered on Graham Road, then from Ash Grove depot LT2 LT61BHT arrived into view. Then followed a rather lengthy journey into Victoria, pausing at Angel, Islington for few minutes to sort out the rear doors. LT2 had company with a TfL surface van sandwiched between an anti Boris Bus Routemaster, all was not lost. By the time the maiden voyage landed at Victoria the crowds had gathered, and what a crowd the world press, BBC, ITV and everyone else trying to capture this moment. After some time to try and resolve issues with the cooling system noise and the rear doors, LT2 completed her first day.! Then across the next few weeks LT2 became the most photographed bus of 2012, everyone including myself wanted a trip on LT2. On March 14th 2012, finally my chance arrived, at 09:30 LT2 arrived at Victoria and still drew plenty of attention. With ticket purchased before boarding I managed to grab the front top deck seat and rested to enjoy the journey. I chatted with the driver, host and a IT fellow who was using his laptop on the bus. With proper thick bus seats LT2 provided a very comfortable journey through the London streets, still with the public turning heads. With a specific timetable printed of from the internet, LT2 arrived on time at Hackney Central, were the bus terminated its journey. After a break LT2 returned to Graham Road, and I returned to Victoria also meeting up with a fellow enthusiast, who joined me at Angel.................................................................................
In 2010 the Mayor of London the very charismatic Boris Johnson announced to the world a competition. To design a New Bus for London, with over 700 designs sent in it became a popular competition. The joint winners shared the £50,000 prize money, Austin Martin and Capoco had interesting and green credentials to there designs. The next move was for the manufactures to be invited to build the NBfL design and breathe life into this concept bus. Wrights of Ballymena Northern Ireland won the bidding and along with Heatherwick studios the new bus took shape. 2011 became a very busy year for the project, as a prototype vehicle was built and extensively tested, a mock up dispatched to the London Transport museum in Covent Garden. The Millbrook testing track saw the first bus undergo testing, with press and industry leaders invited by TfL and Boris Johnson who along with Sir Peter Hendy and Leon Daniels answered all questions. The real debate arose form the initial financial plan of around £8,700,000 which saw five prototypes, test vehicle and mock up built. Ensuring that all the production back British manufacturing also assisted with the New Bus for London, from the glass, seats, engine, hybrid power and the destination blinds all from UK based businesses. Londoners got there first sip of the NBfL when on December 16th 2011 LT1 arrived at Trafalgar Square in London on a rather damp day, driven by Sir Peter Hendy. It drew in the crowds, with questions and able to climb aboard and try out this fine looking head turning vehicle. Then followed in early 2012 the London Borough tour with ten areas visited, one in the morning the other in the afternoon, these proved very popular. The first NBfL would enter into service on the Arriva North London 38 Hackney-Victoria service on February 20th 2012...................................................................................................