The Forgotten Route Change

Arriva London DLA357 (LJ03 MKA) on route 125 at Finchley Central, near
journey's end. .
From what I know, and have seen, route 125 between Finchley Central and Winchmore Hill Green Dragon Lane seems to have had a quiet conversion, where no 'noise' was made about it when it left the hands of Arriva to go to Metroline on the 31st January 2015 for the primary reason that route 109, a much bigger route, became the first ever Enviro 400 MMC allocated route in London which resulted in so many enthusiasts flocked to that, leaving 125 out in the cold as it's limelight had been stolen.

I've tried my hardest to find any sort of media file (photo, video etc.) of route 125 in service at Metroline, but there's no photo I can find at all until about 3 weeks after the service change! All Metroline photos on this post are courtesy of Peter Horrex.

The earliest form of route 125 that we can find is from 1937, back when it was a relatively short and simple route. Running via today's routing between North Finchley, Tally Ho! and Southgate Station via Totteridge & Whetstone and Osidge. A short while later during World War II, the route was extended to Woodside Park Station at selected hours, however as this proved a popular link the route was eventually made to terminate at Woodside Park at all times by the time 1950 rolled around. At the same time, route 125 was operated with RTs, (AEC Regent III) vehicles, 7 of them on Monday-Fridays.

Just a year later, in 1951, route 125 was given an extension to Golders Green Station via a rather unique (yet longer) routeing. This was not via route 82/460/N13 using Finchley Lane, but instead via Lullington Garth (today's 221), Frith Lane to come to Mill Hill East Station, and then to follow route 240 to Hendon, Bell and making the approach to Golders Green using Golders Green Road. The PVR of the route was raised by 3 to make 10 vehicles running the route, all RT class.

This new extension to Golders Green was withdrawn outside of peak hours in 1958, however the route retained a PVR of 11 as an extension to the currently closed Highlands Hospital (defunct 1993 onwards, now are houses) was created in the early 1950s. However buses served here Monday-Fridays only, and on Sundays were diverted to terminate at Winchmore Hill instead.

In 1966, route 125's Saturday service was lost and was replaced with a new route 125A which instead of going to Winchmore Hill/ Highlands Hospital, from Southgate was diverted to Oakwood instead. This new route was short-lived and 125's Saturday service was re-instated in 1971. The service was single decked with Daimler Swift (SMS) vehicles.

By 1978, the full service was double decked again as crowds increased using Daimler Fleetlines (DMS) vehicles. The full service was withdrawn between North Finchley and Golders Green station.

Privatisation in the 1980s saw route 125 go to Grey Green, which made up a part of Arriva today. They ran the service with MCW Metrobus vehicles which lived on to see the 1990s and the extension in this time period to Finchley Central station.

Arriva London DLA365 in Osidge, on route 125.
In 2003, the route was converted to low-floor double deck operation using the DLP class vehicles. The route was transferred to Enfield (E) garage. In 2006, the service went to Palmers Green (AD) garage. Arriva retained the contract in 2010, using the DB250LF Presidents onto 2014. 

In Spring 2014, route 125 moved to Edmonton (EC) garage and was re-allocated the DLA class vehicles (ALX400 bodied DB250LF). The drivers were still from Palmers Green (AD) garage however, and the full service on Sunday was run from Palmers Green (AD) which saw DLPs and Ts frequently run the route.

However, it was announced in the summer of 2014 that Arriva had failed to retain the contract for route 125, and that the route had been awarded to one of their main rivals Metroline. Confirmed it would be passing on the 31st January 2015 from Metroline's Potters Bar (PB) garage, many enthusiasts were excited and surprised that a new type of vehicle was to operate from the garage: The brand new Wright Gemini 3 Hybrid (Volvo B5L) with bonnet numbers VWH2024-2061, as part of a mass order for route 34 which was also awarded from Arriva to Metroline. 

Arriva did their last duties in the early hours of 31/01/15, with DLA369 (LJ03 MWL) being their last ever vehicle in service. All the DLAs have been withdrawn and sold off to Southdown PSV. However, as mentioned above, route 109 had stolen all the limelight with many enthusiasts either not bothering or forgetting the service change on route 125. VWHs and TEs have made it to the route so far, although TEs seeming to be unallocated strays only.

Arriva DLA360 (LJ03 MKE) on route 125 at Osidge, in the Autumn of 2014.

Anyways, that's enough reading for you. Presented below is the fleetlist for the new vehicles on route 125:
LK64 EDC - VWH2024
LK64 EDF - VWH2025
LK64 EDJ - VWH2026
LK64 EDL - VWH2027
LK64 EDO - VWH2028
LK64 EDP - VWH2029
LK64 EDR - VWH2030
LK64 EDU - VWH2031
LK64 EDV - VWH2032
LK64 EDX - VWH2033
LK64 EHB - VWH2034
LK64 EHC - VWH2035
LK64 EHD - VWH2036
LK64 EHE - VWH2037
LK64 EHF - VWH2038
LK64 EHG - VWH2039
LK64 EHH - VWH2040
LK64 EHJ - VWH2041
LK64 EHL - VWH2042
LK64 EHM - VWH2043
LK64 EHN - VWH2044
LK64 EHO - VWH2045
LK64 EHP - VWH2046
LK64 EHR - VWH2047
LK64 EHS - VWH2048
LK64 EHT - VWH2049
LK64 EHU - VWH2050
LK64 EHV - VWH2051
LK64 EHW - VWH2052
LK64 EHX - VWH2053
LK64 EHY - VWH2054
LK64 EHZ - VWH2055
LK64 EJA - VWH2056
LK64 EJC - VWH2057
LK64 EJD - VWH2058
LK64 EJE - VWH2059
LK64 EJF - VWH2060
LK64 EJG- VWH2061

Let's round off the post with a few last photos, of both Arriva and Metroline on the route:

Arriva London DLA368 (LJ03 MWK) on route 125 at Finchley Central.

Arriva London DLA361 (LJ03 MKF) on route 125 at Finchley Central.
And now Metroline are on the route:

Metroline VWH2052 (LK64 EHW) is seen on route 125 in Whetstone, on a service towards Winchmore Hill.
©London Bus Breh

Seen here is Metroline VWH2041 (LK64 EHJ) on route 125 in Whetstone.
©London Bus Breh

Seen here is Metroline VWH2060 (LK64 EJF) on route 125 in Winchmore Hill.
©Peter Horrex

Metroline VWH2049 (LK64 EHT) is seen on route 125 in Winchmore Hill, on a service towards Finchley.
©Peter Horrex

Cheers to Metroline and 5 years of their service on route 125.
Thank you for reading this post, and please stay safe!


  1. Are you gonna do a post about the 109?

  2. Wow Golders Green and now it's being proposed to go to Colindale via Route 134/326/186