E-Preview: The New Chapter - the 10

Last year it surprised many enthusiasts that route E10 (Northolt - Ealing) was announced to pass from Metroline West to Tellings Golden Miller in Heathrow. The order consisted of 9 new Enviro200s built to normal Arriva specification but with a special new ZF gearbox which was used to reduce fuel. The order carries numbers 3425 - 3433 from Arriva Southern Counties (which TGM are a part of) which appears to follow on from a batch of Darts found in service in Southend.

This one was curtailed to Scotch
Common because of late-running
The route is a strange and interesting one - skipping the busy hub of Northolt by instead using the Islip Manor estate. Then the route heads down by Smiths Farm diverting around the awkward but rather appropriately-named Horseshoe Crescent before reaching the main Ruislip Road. The bus says we're going to Ealing Broadway - so it's direct from here on in? Oh, no, next we're diving off into more estates around the narrow Ferrymead Avenue before heading down Oldfield Lane South and then returning to the old Ruislip Road. From here on in it's straight to Ealing, running alongside the much bigger 297 for the majority of the way past Scotch Common and into Ealing Broadway's Haven Green array of bus stands.

I think that the word to describe the service on the 31st of last month was 'chaos', which it was. Most of the drivers were, whilst they knew how to drive the buses and where to go, unable to work the vast array of technology required by TFL - primarily the smartblind and the iBus. I myself had to help out a driver with both bits of tech - the smartblind was apparently 'broken' after a few other drivers and a controller all failed to get it working, but in fact it's just the annoying new Mobitec system which requires a little more patience and a little more button-pushing to get the desired result.

The route was operated by First Centrewest for much of its life, before the contract was shifted to Metroline West along with most other Centrewest routes in June 2013. It was operated by Metroline West for just under a year with the Enviro200s transferred from First (re-coded DES) - these will be return off-lease now that they are redundant.

So, onto the new TGM era - many enthusiasts have been excited that this company has returned to the London scene - with the loss of First, the area is very much Metroline-dominated now and it's always nice to have some variety. Unfortunately for some, the buses have all been Arriva-branded (since TGM is owned by them), but the drivers all wear TGM uniforms and the legals do say TGM so there is some display of the good old TGM name, however small.

The buses are very interesting - the first in a line of Euro VI buses with new engine / gearbox combinations. Many passengers were commenting on the smart new buses, which is always nice to see and I'm sure they will do well for the coming contract.

Here's to TGM for the next 5 years!


  1. There is a problem with the wheelchair ramp on these buses

    1. you name it and it's a problem with these buses, the driver in some of the pictures didn't last long either, one of them quit on his first trip out