Unallocated Allocations 2014

The Notting Hill Carnival has always brought upon diversions and additions to bus services in the area and in more recent times, provided some great workings. The London Bus Breh caught up with all the big and new service changes.

The Notting Hill Carnival notably introduces four express routes to locals, attenders and commuters: routes 2X, 36X, 205X and 436X, operating only in the direction of the carnival during morning and early afternoon service, vice versa during the late afternoon and evening service.

Route 2X runs from Norwood Bus Garage to Notting Hill Gate. Similar in operation to its normal service, route 2, the extra service parallels the 2 to the top of Park Lane at Marble Arch before venturing towards Bayswater Road taking the route straight to Notting Hill Gate as route 2 continues to Marylebone. The 2X uses Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL (VLA) buses shared from the allocation of the 2, including a few Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (T) buses from route 133 that route 2 commonly uses for its evening service.

Route 36X runs from Peckham Bus Station to Harrow Road (Elgin Avenue). It uses Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (E) buses shared with the normal 36 and has detailed displays to state the extra service runs 'To and From Notting Hill Carnival'. However, a shortage of allocated buses on the 36 means a rarity of Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL (WVL) buses and the odd Alexander Dennis Enviro400 hybrid (EH) bus added to the 36. But some WVLs follow the same curtailed service that makes the 36X, despite displaying 36.

Route 436X runs from Peckham Bus Station to Notting Hill Gate. Route 436 stays a double-deck service with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (E) and Enviro400 hybrid (EH) buses whilst its extra service goes single-decker, reintroducing the same bus type the 436 started service with. Just as the 436 was introduced with Mercedes-Benz bendy-buses to assist the high demand of the 36, route 436X does similar except with rigid versions of the Citaro (MEC) bus type, borrowed from former Red Arrow routes 507 and 521.

Route 205X runs from Aldgate Bus Station to Harrow Road (Elgin Avenue). The last couple of years have seen route 205X primarily use Alexander Dennis Enviro400 hybrid buses from route 15. This year had the possibility of introducing 'New Routemaster' hybrid (LT) buses from route 8 to the extra service, displays having 205X however allegedly not 205, thus creating speculation. However, this was not the case and it was the new batch of hybrid buses at Bow (BW) that ran the 205X.

Worth paying attention to is route 52 in Edgware Road, double-decker operation on the 316 and more recently what lucky Atlas Road (AS ousted route(s) gets an odd-working.

Route 52 runs from Victoria Station to Willesden Bus Garage. The 52 uses Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 buses, both Volvo B9TL (VW) and B5L hybrid (VWH). Towards Willesden, route 52 takes Park Lane instead of Knightsbridge unless curtailed to Notting Hill Gate in which case routeing is unchanged. The diverted routeing then goes around Marble Arch and onto Edgware Road until Paddington Green where it parallels route 18 to Kilburn Lane to resume its normal routeing. The routeing is conversely completed towards Victoria.

Route 316 runs from Cricklewood Bus Garage to White City Bus Station. One of the most notable service changes of the Notting Hill Carnival, the 316 is an infamously very busy single-decker route that is prohibited from deserved double-deck operation due to low trees in North Kensington. Diverted from the area during the carnival, it has been quite a few years now where the 316 is instantly converted to double-deck operation, more recently using Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (TE) buses and a few lucky Enviro400 hybrid (TEH) buses.

Route 28 runs from Notting Hill Gate to Wandsworth's Southside Shopping Centre. A curtailed service northbound from the usual Kensal Rise terminus, route 28 uses its allocated Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL (VNW/VNZ) buses. Last year, we were stunned upon hearing an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (DN) made it onto the route, so high hopes were for the route this year. Instead of Enviro400s, however, this year the route added a few Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL (VN) buses to cover some duties.

Route 31 runs from White City Bus Station to Camden Town Station. It is allocated with VNWs, but with an increased frequency for the carnival, the route normally takes most of the Volvo B7TL fleet whilst routes 28 and 328 are forced a few extra buses. This year, all three routes had their fair share of allocated and unallocated buses, but route 31 in particular took us by surprise when not only did a few VNs go on the route, but the 31 had a duty covered by an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 hybrid (DNH) from route 23 for the first time!

Route 328 runs from Chelsea World's End to Golders Green. It is, like the 31, allocated with VNWs but also don't forget the Wright Gemini 2 bodied VDL DB300s (WN35001-35004). Route 328 had hybrid DB300 prototypes years ago, so you would think any rare working would grace it, VNs not being as rare as they are on the 31. So when an Enviro400 (DN) made its first appearance on the 328, it could be argued the latter was that bit better because it had a hybrid. Still, it was special see excellent new buses on routes I grew up with!

Meanwhile, route 7 quietly returned to its Russell Square terminus this weekend before the Notting Hill brought back diversions to the 7, the route going down Harrow Road. Also, route 18 was said to have finally broken its record allocation loyalty spell with a 62-reg Volvo B9TL (VW) from route 245 as route 295 also had a few hybrids on the route, a rare working off occasion.

This year was set to disappoint, most service changes being either expected or a less exciting version of what we anticipated. However, compensating was the rainy latter half of the strong persevering carnival vibes and enthusiasm to give us arguably the best workings yet.


  1. Thanks for your information.Coach Rental and Bus Charter Services Grow in Popularity as More People Value Travel

  2. The 316 is actually only normally a single decker because along Barlby Road there is an MP who is heavily against conversion.

    1. It has been said, but it is not the only reason; the main reason is mentioned in the article as stated on a notice at Cricklewood (W) and one of their service controllers of whom informed me double-deckers will only go on the 316 if they get 'desperate' with a shortage of buses.

  3. It is very informative post, thanks for your information.......
    Coach Rental and Bus Charter Services Grow in Popularity as More People Value Travel: http://www.europa-coaches-munich.com/

    Bus Charter Services Munich
    Bus Rental Munich