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    Go Ahead have taken over operation on route 91 from Stockwell garage, read all about it here!

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The Stagecoach Liners

As electric buses start to enter London tick and fast, Stagecoach are part way through introducing a large batch of Wright Electroliners onto routes 86 and 199 out of North Street (NS), Lea Interchange (LI) and Catford (TL) garages. 

It's certainly been a long time coming for these buses and their entry into service, with the tender award for route 199 being in October 2022 and the tender award for the 86 being in November 2022. While we knew that brand new electrics were on the way for the retains, Stagecoach and other sources remained tight lipped for a few months until it was announced that both routes would be recipients of Stagecoach's first batch of Wright Electroliners, a departure from Stagecoach's usual orders from Alexander Dennis, but notably not their first order from Wright as they had previously placed an order for route 53

These buses were to be the first for Stagecoach that were going to be specified to 'high spec', and Stagecoach were also the last major operator which were to introduce the new spec. The buses were spotted on delivery towards the end of summer 2023 before eagle eyed enthusiasts noticed that the standard Stagecoach interior was not present on these buses, followed by the revelation that the interior present on the buses wasn't a Stagecoach themed interior at all but was actually the TfL specified interior that had been seen on Sullivan Buses, CT Plus' buses and Arriva's E40H Citys. Did this signify the end of the famous and much loved Beach Ball interior? Quite possibly. These buses were unique in being the only batch of buses in London specified to the new specification interior, but having blinds on the front of the buses as opposed to LED displays. 

I went out in November shortly after the buses made their debut on the 199 to take a ride on the vehicles to get an impression for them. Following a very long wait due to a protest in Lewisham an Electroliner eventually turned up and I made myself comfortable on the upper deck. The new specification for buses require a digital LCD screen displaying next stop information on both decks. TfL have a standard format that they use across all routes but it needs to be programmed. When I rode the bus Stagecoach and/or TfL had not managed to do this yet and the next stop information was being displayed on the standard McKenna Brothers software, which actually isn't much use as it can only display the final destination and not the next stop information. Thankfully this problem has since been fixed and the next stop is now displayed in the standard TfL format alongside the final destination on all routes that these buses operate. The floors on the vehicle are a wood effect -  laminated flooring and not actual wood and the seats have leather headrests with priority seats having a 'Priority seat' sign on them so that passengers know whether they are sitting in one or not. The new bus specification also required a rear facing iBus display so that passengers in the wheelchair area can see the next stop information without needing to turn around, although on Stagecoach's vehicles these are to a slightly lower quality than the forward facing screens. 

The rear facing display has the slightly annoying quirk of not being centred, and the righting is slightly offset towards the right. The display also does not have the ability to scroll text (yet), which means longer destinations and stops often get cut off. I would imagine this will get solved in a future software update, but at the time of writing this post that is yet to happen. The buses also have the standard bells and whistles of USB charging points and up lighters on the stairs. 

82006 seen at Canada Water Bus Station

As I alluded to earlier in the post, the 199 and 86s batches of buses were ordered as one big batch. With the 199 getting the earlier buses (82001-82014) and the 86 taking the later buses (82015-82048). The batch for the 86 suffered a bigger delay with getting into service due to Romford garage (NS) facing delays with its electrification and the introduction of a partial allocation at Lea Interchange (LI) as well to ensure that all the buses could be accommodated. It wasn't until 2024 that buses started entering service on the 86. While I'm writing this post, the full batch of buses is still yet to enter service on the 86 and it's a really slow process due to the various restrictions at the garages that the route is running from. The buses otherwise are identical to the batch that is found on the 199. 

Old and new at Ilford, 19807 and 82025

82045 seen at Stratford Bus Station

While these were Stagecoach's first order for Wright Electroliners, they certainly aren't the last. A second batch of Electroliners is currently in the process of delivery for the recent acquisition of route 242 from Arriva, this newer batch have even more features such as a sky light and LED destination blinds. Alongside this there are also brand new MCV bodied Volvo BZL single decker buses arriving for routes 276 and 314, some new MCV bodied Volvo BZL double decker buses for routes D7, 58 and 277 and Switch MetroCity EV buses arriving for route W11. There are certainly exciting times ahead for the company!

All photos used in this post are © EastLondoner and may not be reproduced without permission. Please email LondonTransportConnected @gmail.com for photo use queries

The Arriva Calamity

20th of January 2024 saw Arriva once again on the receiving end of a tender blow, with route 133 making its way to Transport UK (previously Abellio London) at Battersea (QB) and route 333 returning to Go Ahead operation at Stockwell (SW). 

Routes 133 and 333 both operate in South London. Route 133 operates between Streatham Station and Holborn Station and route 333 operates between Elephant & Castle and Tooting Broadway. Their previous contracts saw them both with Arriva London operating out of Brixton garage (BN) with route 333 being allocated Alexander Dennis E40H Citys and route 133 was allocated with a mix of E40H Citys and Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B5LHs. 

© EastLondoner
Route 133 has a long history from prior to 1934, originally operating between Croydon and Liverpool Street via Elephant & Castle, Brixton and Streatham. 1942 saw the route cut of the main day service from Croydon to Streatham, but evening variations of the route continuing to Croydon continued for a while alongside a short lived Hendon extension on Sundays. 1971 saw the route permanently cut to Streatham in the South while Liverpool Street continued to be the northern terminus. 1985 saw the route restructured to run between Tooting Broadway and Liverpool Street. 2003 saw the route cut back to Streatham, St Leonard's Church from Tooting with that section being replaced by brand new route 333. 2012 saw the route extended from St Leonard's Church to the new bus terminus at Streatham Station. Further change didn't come until April 2023 when route 133 was rerouted at Bank via route 8 to terminate at Holborn, taking it away from the Liverpool Street area for the first time in its history. 

Unlike the 133, route 333 does not have such a long history, as mentioned above it was introduced in 2003 to replace the 133's Tooting leg. The only change to its routing ever came in 2008 when it was rerouted between Brixton and Oval via Stockwell. 

 © EastLondoner

Both routes 133 and 333 were awarded to their new operators on the premise of using brand new electric buses. Go Ahead London opted for their mainstay, the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 City bodied BYD electrics while Transport UK chose their new standard, the Wright Electroliner. Needless to say that both routes at the time of writing do not have their allocation in place due to production delays of the vehicles alongside time required to prepare the garages they operate out of for electric operation. Route 133 in the meantime is using a mix of Electroliners from elsewhere in the fleet, New Routemasters and Alexander Dennis Enviro400H MMC buses while route 333 is using MCV EvoSeti buses.

© EastLondoner
I went out a few days after the new operators took over to grab a few rides. My ride on the 333 was MHV70, which judging by its state had a very rough morning with the passengers with litter all over the bus and a very weird smell on board, but other than that there wasn't much to report. My ride at midday meant that I pretty much had the entire bus to myself and had a relatively quiet journey with minimal traffic apart from at Brixton, I'll savour those when I get them as with the increasing presence of LTNs within the borough of Lambeth it won't be often we'll be getting fast journeys such as this. It certainly wasn't long until we reached the last stop on the route at Elephant and Castle. 

© EastLondoner

© EastLondoner
Upon disembarking I made my way to get the 133, hoping to get one of the Electroliners on the route that were borrowed from various other routes within the Transport UK fleet. Much to my luck I got 3034. The bus was to the new higher TfL specification, with high backed seats and an updated iBus display. The bus also had wood effect flooring and glass pillars at the front instead of the standard opaque ones. But journey wise this was the complete opposite to the 333 that I had earlier, we were travelling really slow and got caught up in traffic all over the place. We regulated for a while at London Bridge before slowly trundling through the City despite an obvious lack of traffic. One thing I was certainly glad for was the high backed and more padded seat, a small consolation in the grand scheme. 

© EastLondoner
After what felt like forever we eventually made it to Holborn Station where I was the only passenger left on the bus. My journey today had given me two completely different experiences, a mediocre bus that was worn down and desperately needed a clean, but a very fast and seamless journey which was then followed by a nearly brand new bus with all the bells and whistles that you'd want but accompanied by a really slow and painful journey. I'll leave it up to you, the reader, to decide what you'd prefer out of the pair but I can certainly say that when I want to get somewhere I'd much rather be there in a timely manner and maybe have a less comfortable journey rather than having a comfortable journey just to arrive with a higher than average blood pressure and later than you expected.

© EastLondoner

My rides showed the past and the future. Both routes will get their permanent allocations over the next few months. If you'd like a ride on the 133 and 333 before the electrics (fully) take over on the routes you will need to get a move on! The future is most certainly zero emission.

From Finchley to Walthamstow

Superloop is a scheme which incorporates new and existing express routes to form an orbital loop around London, with a few extras. On London Connected we will try our best to provide coverage on the new routes being introduced as part of the scheme. Today's post will focus on brand new route SL1 which has been recently introduced running express from North Finchley Bus Station to Walthamstow Central Bus Station. This route is operated by Arriva from their Palmers Green (AD) garage. But before I get into some details about the SL1 in particular I've listed the various routes below that will make up the complete scheme.

Route SL1 - North Finchley to Walthamstow Central via Arnos Grove (Arriva from Palmers Green AD)
Route SL2 - Walthamstow Central to North Woolwich via Gants Hill, Ilford and Barking (Arriva from Barking DX) - To be introduced early 2024
Route SL3 - Thamesmead to Bromley North via Bexleyheath (Stagecoach from Plumstead PD) - To be introduced early 2024
Route SL4 - Grove Park to Canary Wharf via Silvertown Tunnel (Go Ahead London from Henley Road DS) - To be introduced 2025
Route SL5 - Bromley North to Croydon (Arriva from Croydon TC) - To be introduced early 2024
Route SL6 (formerly X68) - Croydon to Russell Square (Go Ahead from Camberwell Q)

Route SL7 (formerly X26) - Croydon to Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 via Kingston (Go Ahead from Croydon C)

Route SL8 (formerly 607) - Uxbridge to White City via Ealing and Acton (Metroline from Greenford G)

Route SL9 (formerly X140) - Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 to Harrow, Bus Station via Hayes (RATP from Harrow SO)

Route SL10 Harrow, Bus Station to North Finchley via Kenton (RATP from Harrow SO)

All routes together will make up the Superloop network, an initiative to improve bus services in outer London. This will involve buses wearing a special livery to help distinguish them from standard bus services which will be calling at all stops.

Route SL1 was introduced on the 9th of December running express between North Finchley and Walthamstow Central, being the first route linking these two areas, the route predominantly follows the line of route of route 34, using the same route between Walthamstow and Arnos Grove before following route 232 to New Southgate, and then route 221 to North Finchley.

As mentioned earlier, the route is operated by Arriva from their Palmers Green (AD) garage, operating as a spin off on the existing 34 contract. The route uses E40H City buses that have been made free by the loss of route 78 a few weeks prior from Ash Grove as that moved to Go Ahead operation from Peckham (PM) south of the river. 

The iBus display for the SL1
I went down to Walthamstow Central on the 9th of December to try to ride the route, however faced with the prospect of a half an hour wait for 4 to turn up together I decided against riding the route and opted to come back another day. I went back on the 22nd of December, this time to North Finchley to have a second attempt at the route. Upon arrival I was lucky to see HA4 preparing to depart and it wasn't long until I was sat comfortably on the front right hand side of the upper deck. I was only one of two people who boarded at the first stop, but there were a few people at the second stop slightly further down on Woodhouse Road. It wasn't long until we were breezing down the road towards Friern Barnet and New Southgate, although we did get caught at some traffic on the approach to Betstyle Circus. Up until this point the bus had been relatively empty, however once we pulled up to the bus stop at Arnos Grove station we picked up quite a healthy load with only a few seats left on the bus to spare. 

New USB ports have been installed

After Arnos Grove, route SL1 uses the North Circular road to get to Walthamstow so I was expecting a fun ride. But before the fun ride could start we had to negotiate a long line of traffic spawning from the junction at Palmers Green. Just as we made that stop the dreaded announcement of a driver changeover went off on the iBus display and a unanimous groan came out of the mouths of many passengers - the first I've heard many people do this so loudly! To say it was quick would be a lie, during the time we were waiting we got overtaken by the all stops 34 before we could eventually make it on our way. Our new driver however was not hasty with the foot pedal, it wasn't very long until we caught up and overtook the 34 which had passed us during the driver changeover. One of the biggest benefits of the SL1 is that it can use flyovers and underpasses while the standard 34 has to exit at them to serve the various communities. We went through the underpass at the Great Cambridge roundabout before existing the North Circular Road to serve Angel Corner and Silver Street Station before we were back on the North Circular. We also had the luxury of using the flyover to go above Meridian Water and Ely's Estate before we could see the Sainsbury's at Crooked Billet, the sign that we were entering Walthamstow. 

All new Superloop buses have an interior map
Unfortunately this is where it all ended up going slightly pear shaped, severe traffic leading to the Crooked Billet ended up in us wasting 15 minutes on the entrance ramp, before we knew it another SL1 had caught us up behind (despite this bus was 20 minutes behind us as we had left North Finchley). Once we finally managed to break free from the traffic at the Crooked Billet, we were greeted by another line of cars with their brake lights on stemming from Bell Corner. After what felt like forever we finally pulled into Walthamstow Central Bus Station with the second SL1 right behind us, and just as I was walking to the station a third one pulled up too! What was a great journey, showing the strengths of express routes and their obvious place within our bus network was ruined at the end by excessive traffic and a lack of bus priority. I think many of us are in agreement that the public should be encouraged to use buses where they can, and that schemes such as the Superloop should be welcomed with open arms, but what's the point when they're subject to the same drawbacks as your standard bus services?

If you are interested in checking out the new SL1 route, below are the stops that the route will stop at. Remember it's an express bus service so will not stop at every bus stop that it passes.

North Finchley Bus Station

North Finchley High Road

Friern Barnet/Friern Barnet Lane

Beaconsfield Road/New Southgate Station

Arnos Grove Station

Palmerston Road

Angel Corner/Silver Street Station

Ely Trading Estate

Crooked Billet/Walthamstow Avenue

Walthamstow/Crooked Billet Roundabout

Forest Road/Bell Corner

Walthamstow Market

Walthamstow Bus Station

Have to say we've not been posting as much as we'd have liked to over the past few months, unfortunately all members of the London Connected Team have been very busy over the past few months. However you can always keep up with the latest on the London Connected Online Chat where we are frequently found 

South takes on North

10 years of this blog, who knew we'd still be here all this time later! It's been a while since the last post, but here's one today. We are focussing on route 91 and its recent move to Go Ahead London operating obscurely out of Stockwell (SW). 

Yes, the route that runs between Trafalgar Square and Crouch End is being operated out of a garage in South London. There's a multitude of reasons for this, however the most widely acknowledged one is the crippling driver shortage at Northumberland Park (NP) up in North London (which was the garage which actually won the route) meant they were not in a position to take over the route. Stockwell garage isn't suffering as badly so were able to take the route on for now. 

Go Ahead are a new operator to this route, but if we look back into history the original plan where the 91 was meant to operate out of Northumberland Park isn't a completely new idea. The route is a relatively young one, starting operation in October 1992 running between Crouch End and Trafalgar Square via Holloway, Kings Cross, Euston, Russell Square and Aldwych. This is the same route that is in operation today. In 1992 when the route was introduced, it ran out of Holloway (HT) garage, at the time part of London Northern (Later MTL, and later Metroline). 1997 saw the route move to Northumberland Park (NP) under Capital City's (later First London) and in 2009 the route returned to operating from Holloway (HT) where it remained until Go Ahead took on the contract recently. 

© LondonBuses72
The previous two contracts at Metroline saw the route have an interesting allocation with it being allocated Enviro400s, then New Routemasters which were removed due to a variety of incidents on the route before using a mix of Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 and MCV EvoSeti bodied Volvo B5LH. The Go Ahead contract was won using existing hybrids, and these were soon after confirmed to be the unique EHVs that were previously allocated to the 135. Unique in the sense they are the only Enviro400 MMC bodied Volvo B5LHs in the Go Ahead fleet, and are part of only three batches in London completely. After being relieved from their duties on the 135, the EHVs initially made their way to Merton (AL) to provide cover for some grounded Optare MetroDecker EVs on the 200. They were then found on other routes at Merton before making their way to Stockwell. 

© EastLondoner
The Enviro400 MMC as a type are iconic to say the least, being present in almost every area of London, and you're never far from one. But I had special interest in doing the 91 on its first day at Go Ahead as the EHVs were the first MMCs that I rode. I made my way to Crouch Hill then grabbed a ride on the W7 to Crouch End broadway. I had to run to the bus stop to make my bus, which was going to be EHV8. Internally the bus felt like new, the refurbishment had very clearly been carried out to a very high standard. The ride itself was nothing out of the ordinary, we didn't have much traffic throughout the journey but this did have the negative effect of needing to stop three times to regulate the service. I wasn't too bothered about the regulation, but there was a large portion of people who got off my 91 that when the regulation announcement went off rushed off the bus and piled onto the 259 behind. Before I knew it we were along the Strand, stuck in traffic from the inevitable weekend closure of Whitehall due to a protest. 

While EHVs are to be the mainstay of the 91s allocation for the foreseeable future, Stockwell do have a variety of Hybrids available that can run the route. The first day itself saw WHV50, a Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 make an appearance on the route. 

© EastLondoner

I believe the eventual intention will be to move the 91 to Northumberland Park (NP) when the circumstances permit, so you may be limited in your time if you'd like to ride the route while it's operating out of Stockwell (SW). 

Go Ahead have been managing alright on the route so far (it's only been 2 days!), hopefully the operation remains consistent under their operation, and matches the standard set by their predecessor for the next 7 years!

TfL's Central London Bus Review 2022

On the 1st June 2022, Transport for London (TfL) in light of the current financial climate announced a wide amount of changes to bus services across zones 1, 2 and 3 in London. This has wide impacts across the city as sixteen (yes, you read that right) bus routes around the city are being proposed for complete withdrawal, with around 75 others being subject to large scale re-routes, diversions and cut backs. We also will include for wider context, changes already confirmed to be happening to a number of routes in South and North London.

Route 205 is one of over 75 bus routes subject to change
The purpose of this post is to try and simplify the changes for you in an easier to understand way, to let you know how you can make your comments heard and to potentially better explain TfLs rationing behind these changes.

You can leave all your comments on the Transport for London website here. The consultation process is running until the 12th July with the aim of implementing service changes from the end of this year.

This list will be updated regularly throughout the coming days so keep refreshing and revisiting this page and feel free to post comments and share with those who may be interested.


Bus changes in Islington borough

Routes 4, 56 and 236

Route 4 is being proposed for complete withdrawal. It currently runs between Archway and Blackfriars, having been diverted from Waterloo in 2019. Metroline currently operate this from Holloway (HT) garage. The route operates via Whittington Hospital, Tufnell Park, Finsbury Park, Highbury, Islington, Barbican and Blackfriars. 

It is being proposed that the route is replaced on the northern end with single decker route 236 (currently Hackney Wick to Finsbury Park), which currently parallels the route between Highbury and Finsbury Park. Route 236 would be extended from Finsbury Park Station via the current route 4 to terminate at Archway Station. 

On the southern end, route 56 (currently St. Bartholomew's Hospital to Whipps Cross, near Walthamstow) would be extended to Blackfriars via current route 4. By doing this, it would allow for the links between Angel Islington and Blackfriars to be retained. Passengers needing to travel north of Islington would need to get a 19 (which follows the 4 to Finsbury Park), or the 43 to Holloway and Archway (albeit a different route). 

Current routes:
4 - Archway to Blackfriars
56 - St. Bartholomew's Hospital to Whipps Cross
236 - Hackney Wick to Finsbury Park

Proposed routes:
56 - Blackfriars to Whipps Cross
236 - Archway to Hackney Wick

This is expected to take place between the end of 2022 and the start of 2023.

Bus changes in Brent, Barnet and Camden boroughs

Routes 31, 113, 189 and N189

It is being proposed that route 31 is withdrawn. Route 31 currently is operated by Metroline from Willesden Junction (WJ) garage and operates between White City and Camden Town, via Notting Hill Gate, Westbourne Park, Kilburn, Swiss Cottage and Chalk Farm. The 31 has a 24-hour service between Camden Town and Notting Hill Gate numbered 'N31' which then continues onto Clapham Junction via Kensington. Both 31 and N31 would no longer run and would be replaced by restructured routes 113 and 189. Passengers on N31 would be required to use the N28 and change where necessary to continue onto Clapham Junction.

Route 113 currently operates between Edgware and Marble Arch, having been cut back from Oxford Circus a few months ago. The route follows the A41 Watford Way for much of its length, providing an 'express' route into Central London from the most suburban parts of the borough of Barnet. It is being proposed to restructure the route so that it operates between Edgware and Swiss Cottage as it does now, before being diverted via the current 31 route via Kilburn and Notting Hill to terminate at White City. Night service N113 would remain unaffected.

Those wishing to travel between Swiss Cottage and Marble Arch would need to use the 13 instead, changing anywhere along the section of Finchley Road that the 113 would continue to use.  

Proposals could see the 189 re-routed to Camden
Route 189 currently operates between Brent Cross and Marble Arch. The route would be cut back to operate between Brent Cross and Kilburn, before following the current 31 route to Camden Town via Swiss Cottage and Chalk Farm. This change would only apply to the day service, with the night service continuing to run into Marble Arch as now, but numbered N189. Passengers needing to go via Lisson Grove and Baker Street would need to change to the 139 at the eastern end of Quex Road. 

Current routes:
31 - White City to Camden Town
N31 - Clapham Junction to Camden Town
113 - Edgware to Marble Arch
189 - Brent Cross to Marble Arch

Proposed routes:
113 - Edgware to White City
189 - Brent Cross to Camden Town
N113 - Edgware to Trafalgar Square
N189 - Brent Cross to Camden Town

Our best guess is that these set of changes would most likely take place around the end of March 2023 when the current route 31 contract is set to expire.

Routes 6, 16, N16, 23, N32, 98 and N98

It is proposed that routes 16 and N16 are withdrawn. Route 16 currently operates between Cricklewood, Bus Garage and Victoria, with the night service starting from Edgware and following route 32 to Cricklewood before following its namesake into Victoria. Metroline currently operate the 16 and N16 (as one of their flagships) from the terminus at Cricklewood Bus Garage (W).

Routes 98 and N98, which mirrors the current routes 16 and N16 between Kilburn High Road and Marble Arch, would be diverted from Oxford Circus and Holborn to instead serve Hyde Park Corner and Victoria following the 16/N16 route. This means the 98/N98 would no longer service Oxford Street. This would make the 98 a Willesden, Bus Garage to Victoria route, and the N98 a Stanmore to Victoria route. 

24-hour route 6, which currently runs between Willesden, Bus Garage and Aldwych would be re-routed (again) to serve Oxford Street and the lost section of the 98 through to Holborn. This would partially reverse the changes of 2019, as route 6 used to go via Oxford Street and Regent Street prior to 2019. 

Route 23 would also see a partial reversal of the 2019 bus changes, with the route set to make a return to the West End to retain the links lost by the diversion of route 6 to Holborn. The 23, which currently operates between Westbourne Park and Hammersmith via Paddington, Marble Arch and High Street Kensington would be diverted after Hyde Park southbound via the current route 6 - taking in the sights of Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square before terminating at Aldwych. This is a 24 hour service.

New night route N32 would operate every night between Edgware and Oxford Circus, following the 32 to Kilburn High Road and following the current N98 to Oxford Circus. Day route 32 would remain unchanged.

Current routes:
6 - Willesden, Bus Garage to Aldwych
16 - Cricklewood, Bus Garage to Victoria
N16 - Edgware to Victoria
23 - Hammersmith to Westbourne Park
98 - Willesden, Bus Garage to Holborn
N98 - Stanmore to Holborn

Proposed routes:
6 - Willesden, Bus Garage to Holborn
23 - Aldwych to Westbourne Park
N32 - Edgware to Oxford Circus
98 - Willesden, Bus Garage to Victoria
N98 - Stanmore to Victoria

These set of changes is expected to take place between the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023.

Routes 24, 88, 205, 214, N88 and N205

It is proposed that stalwart route 24, between Hampstead Heath and Pimlico, Grosvenor Road would be withdrawn in its entirety. The route has operated for over 100 years using the exact same route, and as of late is operated by Abellio London from their Battersea (QB) depot using the first prototype batch of 'Boris Johnson' New Routemaster buses first introduced in 2013. 

The 24 runs 24 hours a day and currently links Hampstead, Camden, West End, Victoria and Pimlico. Route 29 parallels the 24 between Camden Town and Trafalgar Square. It is proposed to withdraw the 24, and replace it with a number of restructured routes in the Camden area.

Route 88 currently runs between Omnibus Clapham (Clapham Common) and Parliament Hill Fields 24 hours a day, via Stockwell, Vauxhall, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly, Regent Street, Oxford Circus, Regent's Park, Camden Town and Kentish Town. It is proposed that it would replace the leg of the 24 between the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead Heath and Trafalgar Square. Route N88 would run the same as the revised 88 but after Camden Town would go Parliament Hill Fields as is the case now, and will not serve Hampstead Heath. This would leave Hampstead Heath without a night bus.

This means the 88 would be withdrawn between Camden Town and Parliament Hill Fields (having been sent there in 2019 to replace the now-withdrawn C2) and diverted to Hampstead Heath. The 88 would also see a major re-route to follow the current 24 route between Camden and Westminster via Warren Street, Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square instead of going via Regent's Park and Regent Street. 

Route 214 would replace this section of the 88 and the southern part of the 205, no longer running between Camden Town and Moorgate and instead run via the current 88 route to Trafalgar Square before following the current 24 route to Pimlico via Westminster and Victoria.

Route 205 would replace the section of the 214 between King's Cross and Camden Town, and replace the 88 between Camden Town and Parliament Hill Fields. This means it would no longer run between King's Cross and Paddington. The 205 would also be cut back from Bow Church to terminate at Mile End. This would mean Liverpool Street loses its bus link to Euston, Baker Street and Paddington. Route N205 would also be diverted to terminate at Parliament Hill Fields.

Current routes:
24 - Hampstead Heath to Pimlico
88 - Parliament Hill Fields to Clapham Common
205 - Paddington to Bow Church
214 - Highgate Village to Moorgate, Finsbury Square
N205 - Paddington to Leyton, Drapers Field

Proposed routes:
88 - Hampstead Heath to Clapham Common
205 - Parliament Hill Fields to Bow Church
214 - Highgate Village to Pimlico, Grosvenor Road
N205 -  Parliament Hill Fields to Leyton, Drapers Field
N214 -  Highgate Village to Pimlico

These set of changes could take place as early as November 2022 but may be within the following few months after.

Bus routes in Tower Hamlets and Hackney boroughs and the City of London (Square Mile)

To keep it in one place, all route 205/N205 changes including the changes within Bow have been documented underneath Camden's entry.


Bus routes in Haringey and Enfield boroughs


Bus routes in Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Wandsworth boroughs


Bus routes in the City of Westminster


Bus routes in Lambeth and Southwark

The Scottish Tower

There are some routes that just can never stay with one operator. 7 years later we revisit route 135 which has yet again made a change of operator, this time moving from Go Ahead operation to Tower Transit operation at Lea Interchange. 

We have previously written about route 135 on this blog, although that was covering the change from Arriva to Go Ahead. A lot of the route's history can be found on that post, but since then the 135 has also had its fair few changes, but that can all be read about on a post that I wrote in 2016. For a short route it's no doubt had its fair share of history!

This post however will focus on the most recent change the route has undergone from Go Ahead London operation to Tower Transit operation. When the route's tender came up towards the end of 2021 it was probably given that having a relatively young allocation complaint with the Central London Ultra Low emission Zone would mean Go Ahead would have a comfortable time retaining it. At most Stagecoach and Arriva could potentially provide some competition, although it certainly took many people by surprise when Tower Transit were the operator that came out victorious. Bidding to run the route out of their Lea Interchange garage using buses that were previously found on route 328, but had made a quick stop at Stagecoach to cover for the delivery of late electrics in south London. Although prior to take up of route 135 they ran on temporary route 733 which operated between Oval and Moorgate to cover for the Northern Line closure (as seen in the above picture). 

A selection of vehicles which appeared on route 135 during Go Ahead's tenure

Go Ahead's time on the 135 ended pretty uneventfully in the early hours of the 21st of May, with EHV6 being the last bus to run on the route. Tower Transit picked up service the next morning. Tower Transit didn't have the smoothest start to operating the route, with extreme traffic down the A13 making gaps in the service and short turns very evident. I did go out later in the afternoon to experience the route, thankfully a quick gander on Google maps gave me adequate warning to avoid the Central London portion of the 135 and instead confine my trip predominantly within the Docklands. Upon arrival at Canary Wharf I didn't need to wait long to get a photo of VH38113 on its way into the City, proudly displaying the updated final destination of "Old Street, Provost Street" that TfL had now mandated. Whether this more specific destination is of use to anyone is another question considering many people don't seem to know where Provost Street even is. 

The journey was relatively unremarkable, those aware of my preferences know that the Volvo B5LH and Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC combination is one of my favourite bus types currently in operation in London, while I was sad to see them go from route 135, the newer Tower Transit vehicles are no doubt a worthy replacement. Amazing care from Tower Transit's engineering team at both Westbourne Park and Lea Interchange has resulted in these buses still looking and feeling brand new. 

VH38112 seen on stand at Crossharbour

Like many operator changes, there's not much else to say about the route...or is there? Usually at this point in the post I would make a comment about the future of the route but in this case we already know vaguely where the future is heading with this route. It was announced on Friday the 27th of May that Lea Interchange garage, along with all its routes and buses have been sold to the Scotland based Stagecoach group, and shall be absorbed into Stagecoach London's bus operations, all due to be finalised on the 24th of June 2022. This means that route 135 will be making yet another operator change hot on the heels of the last one and shall become a Stagecoach route, but this time will be staying at the same garage and keeping the same fleet of buses. 

Tower Transit haven't had the smoothest start, but no doubt there'll be room for improvement as time goes on. They don't have particularly long left on the route, with just a couple of weeks remaining. But hopefully the route has a bright future, both under the temporary Tower Transit reign and the more longer term Stagecoach reign on the route that is yet to come. 

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