Metroline's Domino Effect: Part 3; New Streets Ahead

Exactly six years after Metroline lost route 24 to the hands of Go-Ahead London, Metroline
regained it in 2012 opting for a new breed of hybrid: Volvo B5LH with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork (VWH). 5 of these were purchased for route 24 between Hampstead Heath & Pimlico at contract renewal in November 2012. But just two months later, it was announced 24 would be the first ever Borismaster route which meant the VW's and VWH's would be redundant. We have made a post for the VW's, but now let's focus on the VWH. 
The original plan was for the buses to be allocated to route 4, but at last minute it was revealed that these would join the latter sisters at Willesden (AC) garage on the 52, and release VW1393-7 to finish off the conversion for route 245.

But before that happened, for about two months, the buses (VWH1360-4) were allocated to route 390 (Notting Hill Gate Station - Archway Station), so here we show them in their last days at HT before moving onto slightly more suburban life.

VWH1362 (LK62 DJY), a Volvo B5L hybrid on the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork.
Cumberland Gate, Marble Arch. ©London Bus Breh.
What would and did happen is that the VWH's were sent off to Willesden (AC) to "increase hybrid population" on 24-hour route 52. This in turn allowed VW1393-7 to be sent to Alperton as stated above, and VW1249 and VW1251 to be sent off as well. 6 VW's were also sent to route E8 at Brentford to replace the Optare Tempo's (OTH) that have actually left the fleet in September/ October 2013. 

The fleetlist for these Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B5LH is:

LK62 DHX - VWH1360
LK62 DHZ - VWH1361
LK62 DJY - VWH1362
LK62 DJZ - VWH1363
LK62 DKE - VWH1364

Weirdly, these buses are rarely placed on E8 for some reason or another, so instead are allocated to routes E2 and Brentford's flagship route 237. Some have also made it to route 190. In turn, 10/ 60reg VW's are placed on route E8 instead.

Despite allocations written on paper stating they were to be for Holloway (HT)'s 390, these 5 buses made it's way onto other routes such as routes W7, 43, 134 and 91! Here, the London Bus Breh shows VWH1363 (LK62 DJZ) on route 134 heading northbound to North Finchley.

VWH1363 (LK62 DJZ), a Volvo B5L hybrid on the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork.
Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, Camden Town. ©London Bus Breh.
September 2013 finally rolled around, and at last the buses had moved houses. They were temporarily withdrawn on route 390 and were sitting in Willesden (AC). These buses used displaced powerblinds from VW1393-7 hence why they don't have white blinds installed. Small rumours did pop up saying that they might move to Willesden (For both VW1393-7 and VWH1360-4) and that one batch would move. However, this proved not to be the case.

So illustrated below is VWH1361 now allocated to route 52, at Pound Lane, just opposite the rear of Willesden Bus Garage. 

VWH1361 (LK62 DHZ), a Volvo B5L hybrid on the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork.
Pound Lane, Willesden. ©London Bus Breh.
Rumours did occur that these vehicles will turn their faces to Brentford (AH) to introduce more hybrids as it was a hybrid operating garage (The OTH's are now withdrawn). The most sensible thing to do was to standardize, and keep all the VWH's in one roof.

Now, these buses may be allocated to the 52, but do expect them to stray occasionally onto central London routes 6 and 98, as well as two VW's wrapped in "Simply Saxony" adverts one of which entered service in livery on the 98. So these buses have hit the streets of Maida Vale and Oxford Circus too - Let's see them to round off the post.

VWH1363 (LK62 DJZ), a Volvo B5L hybrid on the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork.
New Oxford Street. ©London Bus Breh.
VW1399 (LK62 DVJ), a Volvo B9TL on the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork.
An exclusive photo which will reappear in a Simply Saxony related article.
Bond Street / Old Cavendish Street, Oxford Street. ©London Bus Breh.

Remember you can still view our photos, all courtesy of ©London Bus Breh, by pressing on them for clearer view in the article's gallery! That's the end, stay safe and we hope you enjoyed the post!


  1. The new VW's on the E2 are very common. The E2 is my local route and 50% of the time I get on a new VW.

  2. And there are actually 6 ex-Holloway VW's on the e2/e8

    1. Thanks for the correction. Never realised. ;) They need one spare just in case, the more the better I think. Those 10/60reg VW's are ever so awful. I dislike them, the 12reg are better.

    2. The older Gemini's frankly weren't built properly;I use them at least three times a week on my local route! At least the 12reg buses our comfortable and aren't made from plastic. The E8 still only sees one VW a day, it's the 190 where those pesky five 10/60reg remaining VW's are going. It's 8 months after they started appearing at Brentford, it's about time they actually get on the E8! Sorry for the late reply, LBOTG :)

  3. So what's happened to the Tempo's? Hardly see them anymore

    1. Unfortunately, they have been withdrawn.

    2. In response to that, they are withdrawn as mentioned above and are on sale at EnsignBus.