The 415's Upgrade

8434 on route 415 at Tulse Hill, 2515 I mean.
Route 415 was recently gained by Abellio London from their Walworth (WL) Garage with brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC Hybrids, the second batch to enter service in London and with Abellio. On the same day, it was extended to Old Kent Road Tesco to provide the additional capacity needed along the road.

The route was introduced with Arriva London in March 2008, running between Elephant & Castle and Tulse Hill Station via Kennington and Brixton - short, I know. It replaced the re-routed 333 between Kennington and Brixton, and operated with a PVR of 7 (8 on Saturdays). It was allocated existing VLAs and operated out of Norwood (N) Garage.

Now, the 415's not known to be the most interesting route, or busy, and it has previously been infamously dubbed one of London's most useless routes, but it does serve its purpose in the peaks; assisting routes 2 and 432 with loads from Brixton Station up to Tulse Hill.

DLA235 seen in Brixton
The tender for the 415 was announced in the summer of 2014, Abellio obviously being the victors. This announcement left only a handful of enthusiasts surprised, considering Arriva's inability to successfully retain routes at that point in time. Generally, when a route is awarded new buses, there's rumours about what buses are going to be ordered, not so much for the 415, as this was Abellio that had won the contract. Not long after the tender release, a mass order of Enviros was expected to be announced for their recent tender successes, and it was confirmed a short while later that an order of 45 new state-of-the-art Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC Hybrids had been placed: 27 for the 109 which was the first change; 8 for the 415 which was the second change, and 10 for the 350, the third and final change.

In autumn of 2014, rumours began to circulate about the 415 receiving a possible eastbound extension up Old Kent Road, to the Tesco, to help provide additional capacity along the overpopulating road. The rumours were later confirmed by a mandatory consultation on Transport for London's webpage (that wouldn't of really of had an effect on their choice anyway!). As a temporary measure, additional peak journeys on the 172 were set up, running between Old Kent Road Tesco and Elephant & Castle until the 415 was available for its extension. The 415's extension was to take place on the same day of its transfer to Abellio, the 7th of March.

2407, SN61DFY seen in Elephant & Castle
With its Arriva days numbers, reports were suggesting that the 415's new buses were to arrive a little bit late so it would begin its 5-year tenure with Abellio using the 61-reg Enviro400 Hybrids from the 188 'til all of its buses had arrived. This announcement meant that the hybrids on the 188 required new blinds for their temporary role on the 415.

On the 7th of March, the 415 transferred to Abellio. To many enthusiasts' surprise, 8434 and 8437 were allegedly 'on the route'; they weren't. They were actually brand new MMCs 2515 and 2517, respectively - which had arrived at a couple days beforehand, and then were 'prepped' and fitted with existing iBus equipment from 8434 and 8437 (hence the confusion) and entered service.

2400, YY64GXG in Brixton
The 415 was won from Arriva with a PVR of 7, so logically 8 buses were ordered for the route (2515-2522), but as the extension required two extra buses it was reported that two additional MMC hybrids were added to the order of original order of 45. Nearly two months after the 415 had joined Abellio's rising empire, the reported top up buses have yet to arrive and they have seemed to be replaced by two other MMCs already with Abellio: the diesel demonstrator, 2400, and the '407's school bus', 2514.

On the plus side, the route's usage during the days have started to pick up as it's now serving more of a purpose to passengers, the service is good and is gradually improving, and the buses are still in good condition - which is what everybody likes to hear.

Thank you for reading, we hope you have enjoyed this post.