Volvos cross the Meridian

It was back in 2008 when London first introduced an interesting combination of a Volvo and Alexander Dennis bus. 

© GloriousWater
They were Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodied B9TLs. Since then London has not had any such combinations. With the Enviro400 body only coming on the E40D chassis and the Volvo Chassis only coming on the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 and later Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 bodywork.

In late September 2014, It was announced by TFL that Stagecoach London had retained route 177 with brand new Hybrid buses. This sparked a bit of excitement among enthusiasts as earlier in the year Stagecoach had ordered some Volvo B5LH buses on the Gemini 3 bodywork, as well as some E40H buses on the Enviro400 bodywork, not to mention the fact Alexander Dennis had just unveiled a new model of the Enviro400 known as the Enviro400 MMC. 

As many people eagerly awaited to hear what Stagecoach would order, it was announced that they were going to be the first London company to order the Enviro400 MMC on a Volvo B5LH chassis. This was going to be pretty exciting for London, it was later announced that Go Ahead London were also ordering some for one of their routes. But that is coming up in a later post.

©London Bus Breh 2013.

© GloriousWater
Probably one of London's most rare allocations
Before we get onto the topic of the new buses, let me tell you a bit about route 177. The route today operates between Peckham Bus station and Thamesmead Town Centre running via Greenwich and Charlton and is operated from Plumstead Garage (PD) which is passes. The route was previously "allocated" with Scania Omnicity N230UD buses, I say "allocated" because they were never the norm on the route with Tridents and Enviro400s being pretty much the main allocation.  However in 2014 there was a huge intake of Enviro400 Hybrids for Plumstead (PD) and these started to become common on the 177 and on some days they even made up the majority of the allocation on the route. Nonetheless this was not a bad thing and did help with the routes nature of sitting in traffic jams.

©London Bus Breh 2014.
Enviro400 Hybrids became common on this route in the months prior to the new Volvo B5LH/Enviro400 MMC buses being introduced to the route.

The route's first MMCs arrived at West Ham garage (WH) on the 28th of May 2015, 13061 being the first arrival. The buses arrived logoless and were slowly transferred to Plumstead garage (PD) in order for driver training to take place.

On the 17th of June, the first MMC B5LHs entered service and the two buses being 13062 and 13061, making Stagecoach London the third London operator to have these buses in service. They were both joined by 13064 the next day. Blog Admin GloriousWater went out to get these new buses along with WSD1 on the 185. He managed to get a few pictures of the bus in service. 

© GloriousWater

As you can see here, the grey dashboard is standard across all of London's MMCs, and from the interior shot below. The grey paneling on the bus found on Metroline, Go Ahead London and Abellio's MMCs is also present here. 

Not a huge difference on the interior, however the rear seating layout is slightly different due to the positioning of the battery on the B5LHs, similar layout to Gemini 3s on the B5LH chassis.

© GloriousWater
In this picture you can see the distictive "half window" which is generally found on B5LHs due to their location of the Hybrid Battery.

As per usual with these blog posts, we like to give you a fleetlist of all the new buses to be introduced to the route.

13061 - BF15KGK
13062 - BF15KGN
13063 - BF15KGP
13064 - BF15KGU
13065 - BF15KGV
13066 - BF15KGX
13067 - BF15KGY
13068 - BF15KHZ
13069 - BF15KHB
13070 - BF15KHC
13071 - BF15KHD
13072 - BF15KHG
13073 - BF15KHH
13074 - BF15KHJ
13075 - BJ15TVZ
13076 - BJ15TWA
13077 - BF15KHA
13078 - BJ15TWC
13079 - BF15KGJ
13080 - BF15KGO
13081 - BF15KHE

GloriousWater traveled on this bus and raised three main points, from a passenger's perspective:
  •  - There isn't enough headroom on the lower deck rear
  •  - They are very fast faster than the 53s Gemini 3s
  •  - They are very comfortable buses.

A driver who works at Plumstead (PD) garage also raised a few points, but from a driver's perspective:
  •  - I see this new bus succeeding with its new concept of merging the Volvo B5LH     Chassis with an ADL body. I feel is is much more refined to drive tan a standard Gemini 3.
  •  - The build quality is of top notch, with the bus easily making sharp speed bumps
  •  - However, in terms of acceleration I do not feel that it is any better than the Gemini 3.

© GloriousWater

So what do you think of these buses? Do you think that they compare to the other Enviro400 MMCs in London? Please let us know what you think in the comments section.


  1. Nice design buses and I'm glad they don't just use the standard euro 6 cummins engine or hybrid
    I also believe that these bodies buses can also take scania chasis & engine as well
    So I like them

  2. I see a lot of them in Liverpool Street on 47