Know Your Routes: Route 332

The bus route 332 celebrates its sixth birthday today, hence today's Know Your Routes article focusing on the Metroline Travel operated route.

Route 332: London's first fully allocated Alexander Dennis Enviro400 route.
Bishop's Bridge, Paddington. ©London Bus Breh.
Based at Cricklewood (W), route 332 commenced service diverted at Paddington end due to road closures on the left turn of Praed Street. After completing the start of its route along Eastbourne Terrace and past Paddington Station, the 332 was forced to continue straight down  to Edgware Road Station (for the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines), following routes 27 and 205 before momentarily joining the Old Marylebone Road to take a left onto the Marylebone A40 (those routes take a right towards Marylebone). To rejoin its proposed route, the 332 would then take a right turn onto Edgware Road en route Maida Vale. (Its normal route would have sufficed five minutes.)
 
Paralleling route 16 to Cricklewood Bus Garage via Kilburn, route 332 seemingly continues down Cricklewood Broadway to parallel route 32 before taking an unexpected left turn, entering the suburbs of Neasden and thus fulfilling the purpose of the introduction of the 332 by taking over the withdrawn section of route 316 en route to Brent Park Superstores.
 
The Praed Street left turn was soon reopened after the route's introduction, and route 332 could begin to operate properly ... until crossrail introduction on Paddington's famous Eastbourne Terrace around four and a half years later - meaning the route has not been allowed to be operate normally for more than half of its time in service.

Route 332, along with all other Paddington routes, is diverted from Eastbourne Terrace to Westbourne Terrace towards Paddington Station. Also, with the Eastbourne Terrace bus stand abolished until further notice, route 332 now has its own bus stand on Bishop's Bridge where it terminates and begins on its returns to Brent Park Superstores.

The choice of numbering the route '332' has been stated to not be obvious. However, routes numbered '300+' are generally routes introduced to be a replacement or an addition to another route, so one can always conjecture that route 332 was numbered so because it does what route 16 does from Edgware Road to Cricklewood ... and doubled (for those who struggle with Maths, double 16 is 32, then add that extra 3 at the beginning to show it is an addition to another route - a 300+ route).

Another guess could be that it is an extra route 32 service for the Neasden area whilst the normal 32 service runs in a (rather lazy) straight line for most of its run to Edgware, and the extra '3' to make '332' a residue from what was withdrawn from route 316 to extend that route westbound to White City to serve the then new Westfield Shopping Centre bus complex (route 316 having previously ran from Neasden IKEA to North Kensington).
 
TE882 (LK08 DXU), an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 allocated
to route 332. True dedication: photography in hailstone.
Bishop's Bridge, Paddington. ©London Bus Breh.
TE1310 (LK12 AVT), an Alexander Dennis Enviro400
allocated to route 32. Being a more prominent route, the 332
tends to be the more frequent user of the newer 12-reg TEs.
Little Venice, Edgware Road. ©London Bus Breh.
Route 332 was the first London bus route to be fully allocated to the Alexander Dennis Enviro400, as well as the first route in London to be conceived by that bus - it was certainly the first route I saw using the model. The 332 began operating with 57-reg Enviro400s followed by the order of 08-reg Enviro400s. Metroline later purchased 59-reg, 10-reg and 60-reg vehicles in favour of the 332, allowing the initial Enviro400s to commence gradual transfer to Edgware (EW).
 
Newer vehicles of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodywork were purchased last year (TE1307-1317) for route 32. However, this not being much of a high profile route compared to routes 189 and 332, these vehicles have served these routes more frequently than their actual allocated route. Now, route 332 is the most favoured route for these newer Enviro400s since purchase of 13-reg Enviro400 hybrids for a full conversion of route 189.

TP430 (LK03 GFV), an Alexander Dennis President
with Dennis Trident 2 chassis - currently unallocated in
fleet, thus used as a logistical spare. It is the last of the
model from its garage. This is the 332's oddest working.
Brent Park Superstores. ©London Bus Breh.
TA649 (LK05 GGU), an Alexander ALX400
with Dennis Trident 2 chassis - currently unallocated in
fleet, thus used as a logistical spare. Can be regularly
seen serving routes 210 and 332 (pictured).
Church Street, Edgware Road. ©London Bus Breh.
 
Odd-workings used to be extremely rare on the 332 with a couple appearances of the Plaxton President (TP) and Alexander ALX400 (TA) buses, both based on the Dennis Trident 2 chassis, not forgetting a couple more modern bus appearances from the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 hybrids (TEH).
 
This was until early this year, when Alexander ALX400s became a more frequent solitary, duo and even trio unallocated working(s) on the route. The same can be said for the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 hybrids, in which both existing (60- and 61-reg) and the newer (13-reg) hybrids can make appearances as duo unallocated workings on the route as hybrid routes 16, 139 and now 189 do not require all hybrids in fleet to be up to peak vehicle requirement, hence the spares straying. However, don't expect to see any Plaxton Presidents on the route and note the hybrid prototypes (TEH915-919) are still extremely rare to sight on the route - there have only ever been two hybrid prototype services on the 332.
 
TEH919 (LK58 CPV), an Alexander Dennis Enviro400
hybrid prototype allocated to route 16. Extremely uncommon
to see a hybrid prototype allocated to service on the 332.
Bishop's Bridge, Paddington. ©London Bus Breh.
TEH1232 (LK61 BKU), an Alexander Dennis Enviro400
hybrid allocated to routes 16 and 139. This became the first
hybrid appearance on route 332 back in April 2012.
Praed Street, Paddington. ©London Bus Breh.













TEH1449 (LK13 BGE), an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 hybrid
allocated to route 189. Fleet numbering print came out as TE1449,
but has since been rectified. Makes more appearances on the 332
than any other hybrid - momentarily assumed it was an allocation.
Brent Park Superstores, Neasden. ©London Bus Breh.

Is the 332 a local route? What do you think about the popular Paddington to Maida Vale and Neasden connector? Comment your feelings below and feel free to leave a Reaction before your departure.

2 comments:

  1. Why does this bus always stop at Bishop's Bridge, turn off its engines and stand for up to 5 minutes at a time? I've seen drivers eating and even sitting idily on the second level.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the end of the route, so drivers are allowed to take a break and eat a small snack or read something whilst they wait for thenext trip.

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