Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Where’s the double deckers for route 66?

Route maps of route 66
Screenshot from Traveline

Route 66 is a London Buses route that uses the A12 Eastern Avenue road which links from Leytonstone to Romford Station. The route goes parallel to the Central Line stations between Leytonstone to Newbury Park, then it goes towards Romford station.

Original date of conversion

Originally there were plans to convert the route to double decks by late July, but a new date got moved to 30th August 2014 as what London Omnibus Traction Society (LOTS) reported.

Bus types would be used?

The route would use DW’s (VDL DB300 Wright Gemini 2) from Route 38 and 242 from Clapton(CT) garage. There were rumours that VLW’s (Volvo B7TL Wrightbus Gemini 1) were used to convert route 66. But don’t be mistaken with VLW53/6136 (LF02PSO) that appeared briefly on routes 66 and 370, it is used to replace 6118 which had not appeared since 27th June 2014 where it left service at 07:50 as what LondonVehicle Finder reported. You can see the video of the VLW53/6136 which I taken at Lakeside when it was on route 370.

Has Double decks been appearing briefly on route 66?

Since Arriva Grays Garage lost route 256, the route 256 is now operation under Stagecoach Thameside from Rainham Garage. Arriva Grays had been briefly been placing doubledeckers on route 256 to relieve the overcrowding. After the route loss, the garage had been briefly been placing VLA’s (Volvo B7TL Alexander Dennis ALX400) on route 66 which is usually for the route 370.

During Feburary of 2014, when the Tube Strikes went ahead causing disruption to millions of Commuters, Arriva Grays Garage used half of the 370 double deck fleet to relieve passengers with the capacity during the Tube Strikes. Meanwhile the route 370 Peak Vehicle Requirement had to use the single deckers to compensate the dutys as the double decks were used for the 66.

Going back in history, during the 2000’s when the route was contracted under Blue Triangle (from BE Rainham garage), the route briefly had double decks when they had their single deckers operating on the route.

Small history of the route

The route first established on the 1st January 1950 as a double deck crewed route. Then towards the 9th May 1976 it went to One Person Operation using the DMS vehicles (Daimler Fleetline.) Then in late 1979 the route uses Leyland Titans (T) till the 4th August 1990 when it got converted to single deckers using the Dennis Darts or Leyland Lynx’sunder tendered to Townlink bus operator.

On the 2nd August 1997, Grey Green won the route 66 contract using double deckers operating from the Barking (DX) garage whilst the Sunday service uses Low Floor ALX200 Darts. Then in 1998 Arriva London brought Grey Green bus operator which causes the Grey Green bus liveries to change to fully Red.

On the summer of 2003, the route changes hands to Blue Triangle using single deck Dennis Darts while they sometimes place double deckers spare from their operating fleet. Lastly the summer of 2010 the new contract commenced with Arriva Southend operating from Grays Garage.

More information on route 66 can be seen on the links below

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