Know Your Routes: Route 79

Today (26th November 2013) marks two years of route 79 being in service with Metroline Travel. We tell you the recent history of this bus route, from the streets of North West London.

LK61 BNB/ VW1210 on route 79 to Alperton, Sainsbury's.
(C) LondonBuses72

Route 79 operates between Alperton, Sainsbury's (Glacier Way) and Edgware Bus Station via (From Alperton), Alperton Station, where it makes it's way down Ealing Road to reach Wembley Central Station. But just one stop after Wembley Central Station, the bus turns into Park Lane, with fellow routes 204 and 297, before ditching the 297 and paralleling route 204 up the Streets of Preston Road (And Preston Road itself!) before making it's way around The Mall in Kingsbury, where the JFS is (Mentioned in School & Mobility Routes Spectacular). Just 2 minutes later, it reaches Kingsbury Circle for Kingsbury Station although doesn't stop at the station itself. The 79 speeds down Honeypot Lane until Queensbury Morrisons, where it waddles into the "Queensbury Station Loop" and returns to the Morrisons and continues north along Honeypot Lane via Queensbury Circle and goes to the end of Honeypot Lane, where at the junction of Wemborough Road/ Marsh Lane, it turns towards Canons Park Station and heads straight for the rest of the journey towards Edgware Station, where it terminates. All of this takes about 40 minutes, and is 9 miles long.

Route 79 is 9 miles long (Mentioned above) and is operated by Metroline Travel (Also stated above) using a mix of 11 and 61reg VW's from Perivale West (PA) garage/ CELF centre.

LK11 CYE/ VW1191 on route 79 to Edgware Station.
(C) LondonBuses72

Recent history takes us back to 1987, when the 79 was (not first, actually), "Secondly introduced". An older version of the route, also called the 79, ran from Colindale to Perivale Dawlish Avenue (Currently Perivale Tesco, near station) but was withdrawn in 1984. 3 years later, today's 79 started service, running between Alperton Station and Edgware Station from  Aplerton (ON) garage with a PVR of 5. One bus every 20 minutes? 

Shortly in 1991, the 79 was extended one stop from Alperton Station to the local Sainsbury's superstore where the route terminates today. Ever since, the route actually hasn't changed at all and has remained this routing for 22 years. What has changed is the vehicles allocated to the route though, which by now was running with Leyland Olympians. The peak vehicle requirement still 5.

In 1996, the route was awarded to Metroline, and was interestingly single-decked with Plaxton Pointer 1's. The PVR was raised to 9 due to this, and was operated from today's Park Royal (PK) garage although at the time was called North Acton (NA). A Sunday service was introduced at the same time. First Centrewest however still ran the school journeys. 

The year is now 1999, and 79 has had it's main allocation, along with the buses, moved to the now defunct North Wembley (NW) base with the changeover point at Preston Road East Lane. 

But First bidded hard, cold cash to earn themselves the 79 again from Alperton (ON) as before with brand new TN's (Trident Presidents), with the M-F service needing 10 buses, Saturday service 9 buses and Sunday 7 buses.  However, in 2006, First decided to allocate the 79 with Wright Eclipse Gemini 1's mounted on a Volvo B7TL chassis with ZF gearboxes (VNW). VNZ's were often used in practice as well, allocated to routes 83 and 92 at the time.
LK61 BMV/ VW1205 is seen at Alperton Sainsbury's on route 79.
(C) Lewis JN

On the November 26th 2011, the fight between Metroline and First got even more interesting. THIS time, Metroline won the route and upgraded the allocation to 12 Wright Gemini Eclipse 2's mounted on a Volvo B9TL allocation from Perivale East (PV). 

In 2012, Metroline announced that Perivale East (PV) was to close and that route 79 along with other routes was to transfer to different garages. Metroline allocated route 79 to Perivale West (PA).

That brings us to today, Metroline now shove 11reg VW's alloacted to route 105 and 297 onto 79 daily, taking up most of the allocation. 

Odd workings occur on route 79 too, being in the form of Scania N230UD/ East Lancs Olympus normally allocated to routes 7, N7 and 297 (Part). Here it is shown below:
LK07 BCF/ SEL756 on route 79 to Edgware Station. Sorry for poor photo, camera absent at time.
(C) LondonBuses72

The rear of SEL756.
(C) LondonBuses72

And the fleetlist:

LK11 CXJ - VW1175
LK11 CXL - VW1176
LK11 CXM - VW1177
LK11 CXN - VW1178
LK11 CXO - VW1179
LK11 CXP - VW1180
LK11 CXR - VW1181
LK11 CXS - VW1182
LK11 CXT - VW1183
LK11 CXU - VW1184
LK11 CXV - VW1185
LK11 CXW - VW1186
LK11 CXX - VW1187
LK11 CXY - VW1188
LK11 CXZ - VW1189
LK11 CYA - VW1190
LK11 CYE - VW1191
LK11 CYF - VW1192
LK11 CYH - VW1193
LK11 CYJ - VW1194
LK11 CYL - VW1195
LK11 CYO - VW1196
LK11 CYP - VW1197
LK11 CYS - VW1198
LK11 CYT - VW1199
LK11 CYU - VW1200
LK11 CYV - VW1201

LK11 CXJ/ VW1175 is seen at Edgware Bus Station.
©London Bus Breh.
These 3 buses below are actually a rare sight on the 79, although built to same specification and part of the 11reg batch, are strictly allocated to 105 and 297. The reason for this is unknown.

LK61 BJE - VW1202
LK61 BJF - VW1203
LK61 BJJ - VW1204

This is the batch actually allocated and built for route 79, although now mixed:

LK61 BMU - VW1205
LK61 BMV - VW1206
LK61 BMY - VW1207
LK61 BMZ - VW1208
LK61 BNA - VW1209
LK61 BNB - VW1210
LK61 BNE - VW1211
LK61 BNF - VW1212
LK61 BNJ - VW1213
LK61 BNL - VW1214
LK61 BNN - VW1215
LK61 BNO - VW1216

And finally, the 79 iBus for both Alperton, Sainsbury's & Edgware Station:

Route 79 to Edgware Station. (C) LondonBuses72

Route 79 to Alperton Sainsbury's iBus

A unique thing to note down is that route 79's iBus is unique. For unknown reasons, it says "79 to Edgware Station" instead of "79 to Edgware". All other Edgware-bound routes do say "--- to Edgware".

That brings us to the end of another interesting Know Your Routes post. A question I could ask is either way if route 79 stayed with First at Alperton (ON) after the 2011 tender, do you think new buses would be ordered for route 79 or buses drafted from elsewhere? 

Another question is would you prefer route 79 stayed with First (ON), and transfer to Metroline West or be with Metroline Travel. Either way, it had to go back to Metroline somehow....  Answer in the poll before the 10th Decmeber 2013 (if accessible) or drop a comment below this post about your thoughts of the post and this question.

Stay safe and I hope you enjoyed reading the post!

1 comment:

  1. It was MTL that won the tender in 96 which metroline bought in 98. NA is not the same garage as PK