E-Preview: The New Chapter - the 3

It's interesting that the E3, between Chiswick Edensor Road and Greenford was awarded to London United on 31 May.
This route was formerly operated by First Centrewest until they pulled out of London meaning several routes, one of them the E3, which shifted to Metroline on the 22nd June last year. Jacob digs through some of the more finer memories on route E3.

Somewhat a mixed reaction when I heard E3 was lost to London United. The E3 is a fun route, and is definitely one I recommend you to do end to end. Starting from it's original home in Greenford, then being one of three routes, the others E1 (Ealing Broadway - Greenford Broadway) and E11 (Ealing Common, Warwick Dene - Greenford Broadway) to dive straight into Greenford Avenue. Once reaching the end of Greenford Avenue, by now Church Road in Hanwell, the route uses West Ealing Broadway before turning into Northfield Avenue. Now taking residential streets with route E2 to navigate around Northfields and South Ealing before making it onto the central of the route on Pope's Lane. The bus quickly speeds out of Pope's Lane and makes it into Acton Town, before diving back onto the A4020, this part Acton High Street before making 3 tight turns consecutively to come into Bedford Park, Southfield Road and then Turnham Green, before making the final leg to Edensor Road Riverside. This route is rather long, taking about 1 hour and 15 minutes with a total of about 45 stops to run through. As hard as it is to believe, with 45 stops, an entire third of the E3 is actually in Chiswick, 15 of these stops are located in Chiswick as the E3 zigzags from one side of Chiswick to the other.

The format of this post is an unusual one, I'll recite the memories by going in order of their fleetnumbers, which ranges from DN33575 to DN33611, or now as Metroline buses TE1715 to TE1751. 

SN09 CDU (TE1715/ DN33575):
I can't remember any particular memories about this bus, this one just being an average Enviro 400. I remember it was quite speedy one time on Popes Lane, and was quite beastly. However, nothing special to note about this bus, it wasn't one I caught frequently anyway.

SN09 CDV (TE1716/ DN33576):
I remember this bus, being on the E1, 92 and E3 frequently, was so worn out some seats were actually re-done. I know that one of the seats near the centre door has a new seat cover hence why it is more purple than the other seats. 

This bus also hosted my last Centrewest journey on the E3, with a very friendly driver as he worked wonders behind the wheel as he navigated through Acton and Chiswick. Some may remember a photo I took here, which is seen below in a rather Green Chiswick.

SN09 CDX (TE1717/ DN33577):
This bus is a bit like DN33575. Nothing much happened on this bus, it's just an average Joe to be honest, nothing really stands out on this particular Enviro 400. 

SN09 CDY (TE1718/ DN33578):
I didn't actually see this bus that much on the E3, this particular one was always on the E1 however as this post is on the E3 solely, I'll leave those stories for another time. If 33578 wasn't on the E1, it was on the 427 for that matter. If any of you travel on or use the 427 route, which is operated out of Hayes (HZ), not Greenford (G), you would happen to know how unreliable and faulty the VNs/ VWs the buses are on route 427. So many are out of service that Greenford often have to loan Enviro 400s (09'reg, although I have actually seen SN12 EGY on the 427 before) to Hayes whilst the buses are in maintenance. I did actually happen to see DN33578 on route 427 photographed below, and I would imagine the ride quality was a lot better. 

SN09 CDZ (TE1719/ DN33579):
This bus was a weird one in terms of engine noise. This bus sounds like a regular Enviro 400, but then sounds like it has a bagpipe stuck under the engine and that's why I've always nicknamed it the 'Bagpipe bus'. Not saying it's a problem, I've always been a fan of oddities in a bus fleet, otherwise it's relatively boring (That batch). Not sure if Metroline ironed out the problem, although I'd imagine they would during the refurbishment somepoint this year before use on routes 282 and U4. Rumours has it that the 282 may get a PVR boost of one bus or another due to it's reliability problems, but the way I see it, Metroline will lose the route in due course as one too many complaints have been risen about that route voting it one of the top 10 of most unreliable bus routes in London in 2010.

It was also generally weird for being a bus that has several 'half seats' with split old First moquette and new style, something you don't get often but this batch has quite a few, but 33579 had the most - I'm pretty sure there is one upstairs on the upper deck at the front. 

                                                                                    SN09 CEA (TE1720/ DN33580):
At the end of the Centrewest era, this bus was roaring extremely loud and had a passion of roaring. Due to this, it was extremely slow and moved at such slow speeds, I could tell drivers weren't impressed when they got this bus, and nor was I. 

SN09 CEF (TE1721/ DN33581):
SN09 CEF, one of the better buses in the batch. It wasn't one I caught frequently but when I did, it was handled fast and drove off extremely quickly with it's loud distinctive scream, and was also one of the less worn out buses, probably as it spent a lot of time on route E1 instead, a route that doesn't handle many passengers except during school opening and closing times. This bus was also distinctive for it's patchwork style paint - Note how many shades of red there are on the front of this bus, and the weird fleetnumber font. 

SN09 CEJ (TE1722/ DN33582):
This one was the one with the late night crime activity. Coming back late one night with DN33582 when a group of 20 or so 'Acton Thugs' came on the bus, chasing a poor boy up the stairs. Luckily, the brave female driver stopped then from going upstairs and started to call the police via Centrecomm before moving off 15 minutes later. A friendly driver she was, and is definitely one people will miss on the E3, remembering her bright, smiling face. It must've been a stressful night for her, having to right a report when she returned to Greenford, but the key thing was she managed to get the boy home safely and in one piece. The driver is the same driver driving DN33602 pictured further down the post.

SN09 CEK (TE1723/ DN33583):
This one I caught infrequently but something I always noted was it's faulty iBus. It was always one stop behind, say for example, you're on the bus at Edensor Road/ New Chiswick Pool, it'll tell you the bus is at Cavendish School and as you move off towards Alexandra Avenue it'll tell you that you're at Edensor Road. A bit annoying that was but other than that, another average Joe to note.

SN09 CEO (TE1724/ DN33584):
This bus was an awesome one, some referred to it as the 'boss bus' for it's registration plate 'CEO', in company terms Chief Excutive Officer. It was a sprinter on the routes E1, E3, 92 and 282. It was a beastly and drove extremely fast on any street, residential, dual carriageway, all sorts of roads. I remember this bus in Wembley Trading Estate on the 92, that area buses run like jaguars. Also note the weird font for the fleetnumbers.

SN09 CEU (TE1725/ DN33585):
This one I have more memories on the 92 than I did on the E3, all I can say is this one was a speedy one around Wembley Trading Estate, and no more. On the E3 it was like any average punter but served a good 5 years on the route, and at the end of the day, that's where your heart is set on: good service.

SN09 CEV (TE1726/ DN33586):
This one was a unique bus back in it's Centrewest days. Whilst all the buses on routes E1 and E3 had it's logo stickers in white, this bus had First's original colour back when they were golden/ yellow, something which is impossible to find now, but before First's departure this was few and far between. Now that this is gone, TE1726 looks the same as every other TE in that batch. Perhaps they'll look smarter when they are refurbished after their duties ended on routes E1 and E3 on the 30th May. 

This bus was the last ever Metroline E3, arriving at Clifton Road at 0136, on the 31st May 2014. This followed minutes after SN09 CFA (TE1729).

SN09 CEX (TE1727/ DN33587):
Aubrey of the WLTM blog  had a love for this bus and said it was the best bus of the batch. I guess there was a reason of some sort to it, however I'd, well he'd leave you to found that out for yourself! 

However, I don't have many memories of this bus, it was quite speedy and did have a mild roar towards the end of the Centrewest era and beginning of the Metroline era which lasted less than a year. However, it spent 30th May on route 282 instead.

SN09 CEY (TE1728/ DN33588):
This one was a beastly one, similar in some sense to the Trident Presidents on the U4, but was generally worn out. This had it's fan on for days on end in the Summer of 2012, so even a blind person could tell that this E1 or E3 bus was 33588 as it crawls around the corner to get to your bus stop. 

SN09 CFA (TE1729/ DN33589):
This one was my favourite one in the batch, definitely First (Well ex-First) Enviro 400 I knew. First treated this bus like it was a baby, it was the one that was in the best state out of the whole batch. Partially because this bus was so distinctive. 

I remember I was walking around to Edensor Road when I saw a fresh, spanking, new-looking DN run out of service on the E3 route. It was DN33589. SN09 CFA. This bus has a very clean, repainted back with no advert frames. It sped down Edensor Road before making a light run back to it's home in Greenford. I'm not sure why it had a repaint. I remember there was two buses that had an all-over-rear advert for a washing detergent, I think, and it had a picture of a male athlete participating in the Olympics, saying he uses it as well. Perhaps it was Persil, I can't remember. It was black and white. I remember clearly that SN09 CFM (33597) had this advert, but I don't remember the other bus. Perhaps it was 33589. But why did it get a repaint? Not that I'm complaining, it looks very smart, but even then how comes 33597 didn't?

Then I was lucky enough to ride it about a month or two later. And I fell in love with this bus. Noting at the time London Vehicle Finder (LVF) which is useful for tracking buses, wasn't created and launched at the time, so I had to find it on my own. Wow, my mind was blown away when I rode it. It was clean, fast, and beastly. The bus happened to be partially refurbished. Especially at the back, new seating was placed, being so plump and purple in colour. 

Then this bus came for me all the time. Best in the batch. And on the last day of Metroline service, TE1729 did Greenford Broadway - Chiswick, Edensor Road within 27 minutes! This bus was the last bus to leave Greenford Broadway for Chiswick on the 30th May 2014, and was the penultimate bus ever on the Metroline West E3.

SN09 CFD (DN33590/ TE1730):
This bus was an average, not really anything I could actually find about it although I do have a lovely photo of it, in Chiswick, Spring 2013 after some light flurries. 

SN09 CFE (DN33591/ TE1731):
This one's distinctive - Over the years blinds on buses begin to wear out over time. With Dayglo blinds, by the time 5 of your birthdays have come around, Dayglo will be brown. Most buses on the E3, especially with their rear blinds, had this affect including 33591, but for some reason with the route number blind on 33591, it's still completely green, it looks almost brand new. There's distinction between every bus in a fleet, whether of 2 buses or 72 buses.

SN09 CFF (DN33592/ TE1732):
This bus seems to have done a lot of kickdown lately. And when buses do kickdown, usually severe ones, then they start to roar. The more they do it, the louder and stronger the roar and the slower the bus gets. It has seemed to become so slow that Metroline seemed to avoid putting it on route E3, and instead of 10 times shorter route E1.

SN09 CFG (DN33593/ TE1733):
This bus was distinctive too. This one you had to hear, not see. I'm not sure what it was, or where the sound was coming from, but every time this bus stopped, whether at a bus stop or traffic light or pedestrian crossing, it always made this unusual sound. This sound I've only heard on this bus and not on any other bus in fleet. This was in the First era, but I have no clue to if it still makes that sound today. Next time you see it stop, listen for the sound. If you hear nothing, then Metroline might have 'ironed out the problem', if it was even one in the first place.

SN09 CFJ (DN33594/ TE1734):
This one always seemed to have an obsession about Edensor Road and would always be at Edensor Road, taking long breaks, being a substitute bus, route learning, driver training, shuttle bus, you name it. It just used to blink it's indicator onn hazard (both lights on) and stand in front of the bus stop. I mean, even on Google Maps (!) streetview, 33594 is seen blinking it's indicators at Edensor Road! 

SN09 CFK (DN33595/ TE1735):
This bus was on the 92 on the 29th May 2014, and it was late and I happened to snap it. Nothing more to this short story.

SN09 CFL (DN33596/ TE1736):
33596 was average, nothing to note about this buses although this bus was alright. Although I think before LVF, this must've been the last bus in the batch I discovered, besides DN33503 (LK08 FNE) which was an oddity in the Greenford fleet before it was moved over to Uxbridge (UX) for route 607. 

SN09 CFM (DN33597/ TE1737):
To be honest, I didn't like this one that much. It followed me around everywhere for a period of time in 2013, and nothing really stood out in this bus. I mean, the seats were hard and uncomfortable, the engine sounded quite unhealthy and part of the masking on the rear was ripped! This made it look quite tacky.

SN09 CFO (DN33598/ TE1738):
One time last Spring there was a really nice driver on the E3. I remember he was driving DN33598, and I did a whole loop around Edensor Road. A polite driver is something that always smacks a smile on my face. When you say thank you to the driver, it's always nice to see them smile, or give a thumbs up. Some drivers are actually incredibly rude, and just give a dirty look to you - I mean, I'm giving you respect and you're giving me grief? What's that about?

SN09 CFP (DN33599/ TE1739):
This bus hosted my last Metroline E3 journey on the 29th May 2014. I rode it from The Lido to the end of the route, Clifton Road (In Greenford, by Greenford Broadway). I sat at the back of the bottom deck where the half (the base) of the seats had the old First moquette! 

Considering a rather packed TE1740 was in front, I luckily had missed this bus - Even if I was drenched in the typical British rain. TE1739 and TE1741 came together about another 4 or 5 minutes later, and I chose to take TE1739 as that was behind TE1741, because usually the bus behind tend to be empty in most cases. 

It's pretty clear that this bus has seen Metroline treatment, because it's evident in the way the rear doors open and close. The doors open extremely fast and then end up hitting (Quite hard as well) on the body of the bus, leaving little dents each time. I see that First operate the E3 and kept it's buses in better condition than Metroline does.

In the picture on the right, you can see TE1739 (SN09 CFP) on stand at Greenford Broadway, taking part in a shot entitled 'The Penultimate Day', of which the stands had absence of the E1 and E11, although TE1741 was parked around the corner and there was an E2, in the form of recent transfer from Potters Bar (PB), TP453. 

SN09 CFU (DN33600/ TE1740):
This one had a roaring fever. So slow I honestly disliked it, the ADL designed seats were ripped and snails moved faster than this bus. Time to put it to a temporary rest before putting it to the test on route U4 or 282.

SN09 CFV (DN33601/ TE1741):
SN09 CFP was following this bus on the second to last day of operation, and when I heard this bus, I found out Metroline haven't cleaned out the engine in ages, it sounds like Arriva Shires 5448 (SN08 AAE). I wish I took a ride on this bus instead!

SN09 CFX (DN33602/ TE1742):
This bus was disturbing, the worst one in the batch. If you are eating or drinking something, you'd rather skip this paragraph and move to 33603. 

One time last year I came on this bus on the E3, and sat on the seat above the driver on the upper deck. The bus reeked of sick when I came in, and then I went upstairs to find out the trace of this smell. There was a large, blue bag of vomit where I wanted to sit. I immediately hopped off the bus at the next stop, to find 33604 behind, because if I hadn't, there'd be more vomit. 

Then I caught this bus another day - Same spot, I find a white bag full of vomit. Every time I caught this bus, there was a different coloured plastic bag full of vomit. The lack of hygiene was far beyond my disgust, so I just tried to avoid this bus but if I did have to catch the E3 urgently, then I'd stay on the bottom deck by the doors. The better, safer option.

This bus also had a DJ-ing iBus. The iBus would spit up random stops and then mix up the order of the words, say for example instead of 'E3 to Chiswick, Edensor Road' it'd be 'E3 Edensor Road, Chiswick, Old Acton Town, Hall Drive, 83, Chiswick Edensor Road E3' and would repeat this about 5 times. These so-called 'lyrics' were fresh out of the bag, and not the vomit bag upstairs. 

Good thing this bus is put to a long rest. The iBus issue has been fixed though, Metroline ironed out the problem when the bus came under their ownership.

SN09 CFY (DN33603/ TE1743):
Oh, this bus was alright. I do remember the relatively worn out blinds and the smoothness of this bus. There were also several different moquettes on this one like 33579. 

SN09 CFZ (DN33604/ TE1744):
This bus followed 33602, and was a good way to compensate for the bad smells and the..... bag. I caught this bus and it was empty - Nobody wanted to get on this bus so this bus went non-stop from South Ealing to Chiswick, didn't even open or close it's doors once until it was well inside Chiswick. That's called the X3, or XE3, whichever name/number you prefer best.

SN09 CGE (DN33605/ TE1745):
I didn't like this bus for a certain time, the engine wasn't cleaned out and so it sounded horrible - It and 33606 stalked me everywhere, too much. It sounded like a un-cleaned Trident ZF Euro 3 that just needed engineers' attention. I didn't like it, but it was fast. Luckily First cleaned out the problem and it sounds fine. This bus hosted my last Metroline E1 journey.

SN09 CGF (DN33606/ TE1746):
This bus followed me everywhere, sun, snow, rain, cloud, fog, you name it. In fact, my first ever photo of a bus was DN33606 running route E3! It was an average but the 'stalking' as you could call it was a bit too much for me at one point.

SN09 CGG (DN33607/ TE1747):
I saw this bus on the 92 today, twice in both directions, must say it was pretty speedy and looked clean. That's the service Greenford (G) gives. Hats off to them.

SN09 CGK (DN33608/ TE1748):
I took this bus on the diversion around Chiswick quite a lot now that I think about it. The diversion went around Bollo Bridge Road, Bollo Lane and Acton Lane to get back onto Southfield Road.

SN09 CGO (DN33609/ TE1749):
There was a week where every morning this bus came with the same driver, same bus, same time, same place. My life wasn't played 'On Demand' 5 times, was it?(!)

SN09 CGU (DN33610/ TE1750):
I can't remember this bus that much to be honest, I remember I liked it, probably for being comfortable and having a nice clean engine.

SN09 CGV (DN33611/ TE1751):
Second best bus in this bus has to be 33611, if you sit upstairs, there's this thing that a beastly and at the same time squealing sound that can't be heard on the lower deck every single time the bus moved accelerated forward, especially when it was on Pope's Lane on the E3. I like this bus.

I also caught some odds, such as TN33279 (LK03 NKZ) being on the route. Good times.

Other odds I caught was SN12 EGY (DN33774) when it was on diversion.

On the 31st May 2014, route E3 passed to London United RATP Group. The route was given Scania Omncities (SP) numbers 134 to 162, excluding 136. I took a trip down to Greenford Broadway to get in some of the action.

Here is the fleetlist before I give some of the observations:
YT59 PCU - SP134
YT59 PBU - SP135
YP59 ODS - SP136 - This bus is being transferred from AV after it is refurbished.
YP59 ODT - SP137
YP59 ODU - SP138
YP59 ODV - SP139
YP59 ODW - SP140
YP59 ODX - SP141
YP59 OEA  - SP142
YP59 OEB  - SP143
YP59 OEC  - SP144
YP59 OED - SP145
YP59 OEE  - SP146
YP59 OEF  - SP147
YP59 OEG  - SP148
YP59 OEH  - SP149
YP59 OEJ  - SP150
YP59 OEK  - SP151
YP59 OEL  - SP152
YP59 OEM  - SP153
YP59 OEN  - SP154
YP59 OEO  - SP155
YP59 OER - SP156
YP59 OES  - SP157
YP59 OET  - SP158
YP59 OEU  - SP159
YP59 OEW  - SP160
YP59 OEV  - SP161
YP59 OEX  - SP162

Pictured first here is YP59 OEW (SP161) at Greenford heading out of the stands on the 4th day of London United RATP Group service. Note the new side smartblinds 'E3 Chiswick, Edensor Road' instead of 'E3 via Northfields'. The buses have gained new white-on-black blinds, a refurbishment and a new London Buses roundel.

The next photo up is SP153 (YP59 OEM) on stand on Otter Road in Greenford. The drivers always have a nice chinwag with each other between breaks. The new drivers on route E3 are extremely friendly, but I'm not surprised! It's Stamford Brook garage, London's best garage let alone RATPs. The buses are in top shape, the drivers are friendly, even if it is just 4 routes there now: 9, 10, 27 and E3.

Here I've provided both front and rear shots. YT59 PBU (SP135) is actually a bus that use to run route 148, not route 10 but is also with YT59 PCU (SP134) on route E3. From what I have been told, they were covering YP59 OEA and YP59 OEB, but I know YP59 OEA has re-entered service at the time of writing. YP59 OEB is still either being delivered from or is still at Hants & Dorsets. I have no idea if they will stay, personally I think they should. They look smart, I like these two buses, even if there are 4 spare buses. But then, if the E3 was to ever have a diversion which is usually frequent in Chiswick, whether it's the Bedford Park diversion, the Acton Lane bridge closure or Sutton Court Road, it's always wise to bring out spare buses.

I don't want ADHs to be on the E3 very frequently, I want that working to stay rare as at the moment that IS the only possible odd working on route E3, unless you're telling me an LT can get onto route E3! But knowing Stamford Brook, they will stick to allocations, I mean, even the two batches of LTs are kept to their allocated routes. Below is a rear shot of SP135.

Wait, and a really kind driver on the E3 allowed me to take photos of SP159's interior. Here we start with the photos. The first interior photo is the bottom deck of the typical refurbished interior of the bottom deck. The buses were done at Hants & Dorsets Trim, with the new London United Moquette. The second shot shows a closer up view of the rear of the bus.

The second shot shows a view of the wheelchair area view facing forward.

The third shot shows the lower deck view, but facing the front.

The next few shots show the upper deck of the Scania OmniCity. 

But to get upstairs, you have to take the stairs........ Here they are on SP159.

The upper deck of SP159 is seen here, nice and clean. I have a strong liking to these Scania Omnicities and final question, where do drivers drive? In the cab of course. I was allowed into the cab, here's what it looks like. 

I spoke to the driver of SP159, he said he liked the Scanias, although the Enviro 400s are better to drive, he is a driver on the 27, as the Enviros are lighter therefore they go faster, however the Scanias are more reliable to his hand as it is a bulky bus. He, just like I, think E3 did better with the Enviros, however I have to agree with him the Omnicities are not bad at all, especially when they have been refurbished like this!

Last thing to say, well done to London United for a good service so far on route E3, even though Metroline/ First did well, I guess changes are for the better. So here's to another 5 years on route E3 with London United!

All photos taken by LondonBuses72, copyright protected. Please do not reproduce them without permission.