S4: 'S' for Stylish or Silly?

Only just over a month late, but here it is: Route S4 at the West London Bus Blog, from yours truly Lewis J.N.

8207, YY64GVX at Belmont Station
When route S4 was announced to shift from Quality Line to Abellio London, it wasn't a surprise to many simply because Abellio have had a rather large winning streak recently. However, since their summer break, Alexander Dennis have had some issues regarding the late supply of vehicles; we're still waiting on the batches for routes 201 and 407 as well as some of the 100's batch, all of which had their contracts renewed before the S4. So it came as a surprise when Abellio's new batch numbered 8201-8207 actually made service on the S4 on its first day with the new company.

The new vehicles are:
8201 - YY64GVP
8202 - YY64GVR
8203 - YY64GVT
8204 - YY64GVU
8205 - YY64GVV
8206 - YY64GVW
8207 - YY64GVX

8204, YY64GVU at Sutton Station
They are part of a brand new specification that we will probably have to get quickly accustomed to, which bins the old Allison specification and now makes use of a ZF AS-Tronic gearbox, similar to that which we've learned to love or hate in the Volvo B5LH. A quick ride on the vehicles presented me with a whole new concept of 'go', as the new gearbox had tiny gear ratios and much larger gaps as the gears were changed.

First gear is a hilarious struggle during which the bus gets moving, but only to about 5mph before needing to change. The engine and new cooling fan for the extremely hot Euro VI engines screams into life and will startle anyone whom is not fully aware of their surroundings! Second gear is not much better, getting the bus to about 10mph before changing again, but luckily once in third it's smooth sailing as the bus takes a much more steady approach to gaining speed and I imagine it will go on to a high top speed.
If you like hellfire then you'll love these new buses. They scream everywhere they go and they've got some real power to them too. If you're not ready for the ride, however, it can leave you feeling rather nauseated and woozy.
Until a few weeks ago, these buses had not strayed onto any other route. However, last Friday one appeared on mobility route 931, and earlier this week one also appeared on route P13 between Streatham and New Cross Gate:

8201, YY64GVP on route P13 at Streatham Station
8201 was late out of Streatham - was overtaken by its follower - and as such curtailed to Peckham on its next journey!

In conclusion, I rather like these new buses because there's actually something very new about them, and by jove do they go! STYLISH it is for me, but please put your own view in the comments section below.



  1. That's one good use for an otherwise HORRIBLE ZF!

    1. There's gonna be a lot more from where they came from!

  2. When will we see the first of the new E200s being ordered and in service (the MMC)?

    1. I don't know, but I would imagine that they would be all orders placed after the Euro Bus Expo (when the new design was first unveiled) in October. That said, there's always the possibility that the new buses for routes 201 and 407 are MMC - there's just no way of knowing yet.

    2. FYI 2488 and 2491 have arrived at BC.

  3. Really Stylish