H-Ealing, St-Ealing and R-Ealing

The 28th May marked probably what was the first significant set of service changes for the bus network in West London this year, with new routings, new buses, new operators and new links.

Although not the main focus of the post, Hounslow route 110 was revised to operate in a reverse horseshoe, between Hounslow Bus Station and West Middlesex Hospital via Twickenham as opposed to Twickenham and West Middlesex Hospital via Isleworth. The operator still is London United, using spare Pointers and Enviro 200s from their Hounslow (AV) garage as the main allocation.

Metroline didn't exactly have the best of days on the 28th May, as Greenford (G) garage had actually managed to lose all of their E-routes within the timespan of two years. The E1, E3 and E10 were lost in May 2014, whilst the remaining E5, E7 and E9 tagged along this year. The routes were awarded to different companies the last time round; with London United on the E3, Abellio on the E1 and Tellings Golden Miller (now Arriva London) on route E10.

This time round, Abellio have been back to their usual dirt cheap bids, forming a much bigger empire in the process. Unlike last time where the routes went to different operators, Hayes (WS) garage managed to bag all three routes leaving once a 120-vehicle operation to only about 40-50% of that at Greenford (G). 

Route E5 was awarded to Abellio using brand new 9m Enviro 200 MMCs, with bonnet numbers 8142-8154. The route runs between Perivale, Tesco and Southall, Toplocks Estate via Greenford Broadway and Dormers Wells. Those of you that know the E5 quite well probably know that there has been an attachment to the route in terms of how many complaints have been filed against it, particularly during the Centrewest days because the route was badly operated and the poor customer service was something else....

The E5 prior to 2009 was using Euro 2 Marshall Capitals, the DMS class buses (which were a nice ride). Some of them had managed to retain their 'Low floor access' branding throughout the years until the end - something that had been promoted from the early noughties to obviously promote the conversion of London Buses being step entrance buses to low floor in accordance with accessibility of the transport network. May 2009 called for brand new buses in the form of Alexander Dennis Enviro 200s, the short wheelbase variants 8.9m still coded DMS, not to be confused with the former allocation.

In 2013, the route was subject to a change of operators as FirstBus had left the London scene, a company that many do miss, although they make claims that with finances not being on their side, London was not a profitable operation at the time, and was better to sell off their contracts and garages to other companies. Obviously one of the garages up for grabs was Greenford (G), and who better to acquire this than the already successful Metroline? The DMS buses was renumbered DES1695-1714. Following the loss of E10, the latter part from the batch, 1708 upwards were subsequently withdrawn and have been acquired mainly by Go-Ahead from various garages in South London. 

After the loss, a quiet transfer of the odd DES bus from Travel's Potters Bar (PB) depot routes 383 and 384 made it to Greenford - with DES793 staying until the last day. The bus has since returned to Potters Bar (PB) bus garage for route 384. The 383 has since been lost to Uno.

The E7 and E9 was the second route lost by Greenford (G) garage. Running between Ealing Broadway and Ruislip Station (E7) or Yeading, Ayles Road (E9). 

Both routes have been inseparable for the last decade, both having each other's backs Scotch Common to White Hart, sharing the same allocation and running from the same depot. First Centrewest, the heart and soul of the E-network used Marshall Capitals for the noughties' decade, longer wheelbase two-door variants as opposed to the 'Easy Floor Access' ones on the E5 and E10. But otherwise there isn't anything else to note that wasn't different from E5's story. 

Except, that of course upon this new tender, TfL and/or Abellio (for whoever it is to blame for the silly idea) decked the wrong route. E9 has never had the need to warrant double deckers, however route E7 - a million passengers busier per annum - yet outrage was caused amongst enthusiasts, and I can imagine regular E7 users when they found out that the oh, so busy service was not given double decker buses but a route that could probably do well with a one-door 9m bus (excuse my exaggerations!) was given an extra 47 or something seats.

Interior of E7's buses.
8868 at Ruislip Station on route E7.

Well, on the 28th May, the deed was done. And, although originally I had doubts about the new services - they're actually quite nice to use, especially the E7. All the drivers are happy and friendly, and the timetable has not been made too lengthy (to say running time is too much). Frequency increases have been implemented on route E7, extra capacity on E9 and better customer service on E5.

And reeling (or r-Ealing) if the pun fits more passengers from a now larger catchment area is the extended E8 service from Hounslow, Bell Corner. The former single decker route which was a supplementary counterpart to route E2 via Boston Manor had originally terminated at Brentford (AH) garage where it operated, and still does operate from following a successful retention of the route.
Above: DE1908 on the E9, Below: DE1685 on the E7.

The EPTUG association had pleaded for better transport to Hounslow for years, indicating the E8 should go Hounslow and their prayers had been answered. With VWs from Holloway (HT) indirectly released from route 91, the route is now allocated VW1249-63 and some spare 61-plates. The route this time round was genuinely busy unlike the E9, especially as it is the only service going Boston Manor, and several commuters were inclined to use the route (the 195 isn't a service).

VW1262 on route E8 in Boston Manor.
©LondonBuses:OnTheGo - do not use this without his permission.

The first few days of the extension saw empty air being carried between Brentford and Hounslow, but as time has gone on, passengers took note of the new service and have slowly started to warm up to it. The MM class buses that used to run the route have now been withdrawn.

Now, for some photos: 

2529 (YX15 OWW) at Greenford Broadway on route E9.

9456 (LJ09 CDU) at Scotch Common.

Upper Deck Interior of E9's recently refurbished buses.

Lower Deck Interior of E9's recently refurbished buses.

The new face at Perivale Tesco.

Interior of 8.9m Enviro 200 MMC, route E5.
I'd like to apologise that this post is late - I have been incredibly busy and there is a lot of ongoing projects meaning blogging has had to take a small step down. Some posts that I had started writing (such as this one) were left fermenting and had to wait a period of time to finish.

All photos are copyrighted to LondonBuses72 unless stated. Please do not ask without his permission. 

Nonetheless, thanks for reading the post, let us know your thoughts and please do stay safe!


  1. Brilliant post, sums up all of the Ealing changes very nicely! Although I still think the E9 was the right route for Deckers (peak hours only) I agree with everything else and thanks for the copyright. ;)

  2. Excellent post. Will the be a bus news post

  3. what do you mean the 195 isnt a service I dont get it