Friday, 13 November 2015

10 Years of route 15H and also the "Enviro400H" City launch

Having returned from my trip now, I will update you on the latest bus news including the Route 15H anniversary. The following events are happening on 14th November 2015.

10 years of Heritage route 15
The contract of routes 15H and 9H started on 12th November 2005, but the official operation began on 14th November 2005.

The 'Heritage Routes' buses are AEC Routemaster buses which had been refurbished with new engines and lighting by Marshall back in 2001. This is why they sound like Dennis Darts, because of the refurbishment.

The main Route 15 had full operation of AEC Routemasters which started on the 1st April 1964 and ended on 30th August 2003. They were replaced by ALX400 Dennis Tridents as part of TFL’s policy to make 100% of bus services low floor and accessible. Before the mainstream withdrawal of AEC Routemasters the route also had preserved Routemaster buses such as the green RMC1461 (461CLT) which featured a rear door instead of an open platform.

Currently, Route 15H serves between Charing Cross/Trafalgar Square to Tower Hill (Outside the Tower of London); before the contract started, it was planned to start at Oxford Circus but that was rejected because of the congestion in that area. Ever since route 15H first operated it has remained unchanged, unlike the route 9H.

Here is the small fleet list of Route 15H; they are all AEC Routemasters Marshall refurbs.


Currently, the main route 15 operates between Charing Cross to Blackwall DLR station with Wrightbus New Routemaster vehicles. They operate in ‘One Person Operation’.

The service is now every 20 minutes following a consultation objecting the change. You can view the timetable from London Bus Routes website.

Below are some of the videos of the 15H that I produced for my Dailymotion channel:

Related articles (Which have more references)

History of the main route 15 can be viewed from London Buses website.

The launch of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400H City

Also on the same day (14th November 2015) we will be seeing the launch of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400H City on route 78. The route operates between Nunhead and Shoreditch High Street via Peckham and Tower Bridge. When Tower Bridge is closed (as the bridge lifts up) the buses are diverted non stop via London Bridge. After some brief research I found an article from Dezeen showing that Thomas Heatherwick approves the design as a "back-to-front" compliment.

From Dezeen

London is to get a new, smaller version of Thomas Heatherwick's New Routemaster bus – although the British designer has had nothing to do with this iteration (+ slideshow).

Bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited's new Enviro400H City Bus, which will be introduced to the capital later this year, features a diagonally glazed front staircase and curved rear windscreen similar to Heatherwick's design.

Colin Robertson, CEO of the bus maker, called the model "a spectacular, new-look vehicle" and described it as having a "London look".

"This is a spectacular, new-look vehicle that will bring a further dimension to transport in the suburbs and the city centre of London," he said.

"It builds on the 'London look' with a glazed stairwell, wrap-over rear saloon windscreen and a series of unique design features that reduce solar gain."

Heatherwick's design was unveiled in 2000 and is gradually being rolled out on central London routes. The ADL version, which is smaller and features just one staircase and two doors compared to the two staircases and three doors of the Heatherwick original, is designed for suburban use.

However the copyright for Heatherwick's design is owned by Transport for London (TFL), who have sanctioned the new ADL design.

"We wanted [Heatherwick's] New Routemaster to set a standard for future bus development in London, and are delighted that ADL has designed their new double deck bus with the capital's passengers in mind," said TFL director of buses Mike Weston.

He added: "London has long been at the cutting edge of bus design and technology, and we welcome any new vehicle that delivers benefits to our passengers, as well as reduced emissions that contribute to improving air quality."

The Enviro400H City Bus, which is a variant on ADL's best-selling Enviro400 hybrid double-decker, will be introduced on the 78 route between Shoreditch and Peckham.

Thomas Heatherwick welcomed the ADL design as a "back-to-front" compliment.

"In a back-to-front way the New Routemaster can take it as a compliment that it has influenced a 'London Look'," Heatherwick told Dezeen. "It confirms how it has become part of London's landscape and personality."

"Millions of us Londoners spend hundreds of hours of our lives on London's buses, and often those buses aren't as good as they could be," he added. "So the 78 route becoming more comfortable and efficient can only be a positive step."

ADL's Robertson said the Enviro400 "has a reputation second-to-none for fuel economy, reduced emissions, reliability and all-round performance".

Heatherwick said: "My studio's passion has always been the passengers' experience and if our New Routemaster has made people expect more from all busses then we're happy."

Last month, TfL revealed that it will fit opening windows on the upper decks of Heatherwick's buses as the designer originally intended, after passengers complained about the heat.

In other news we have recently seen the launch of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400MMC Virtual Electric buses for Route 69. They are different to hybrid buses because they use electric for most sections whereas diesel is used on the smaller sections of the routes. The 'Enviro400's recharge their batteries in a similar fashion to a Wrightbus New Routemaster.

LOTS have reported the following on their news page:

"The first of the three AD E40H/ E400MMC  ‘virtual electric’ buses (Tower Transit DH 38501) goes into service on Monday 9th November  on route 69.  It is working as a Monday to  Friday only Supplementary Schedule from Walthamstow Central  Bus Stn (dep. 0756, 1019, 1323) to Canning Town Bus Stn, returning at 0902. 1126. 1427.   The full electric charge should take place at the Bus Stations, although that at Canning Town may not be quite ready for the first days."

Hopefully, in a few years time, if it becomes successful, we may see the fleet of those buses increase.

In other news from LOTS:

"Deliveries of new LTs to Arriva for route 149 have slowed down with 21 (of the 42 due) now in service. It has enabled the move of more DWs (batch DW 401-423) to Enfield  to begin to replace earlier DWs and the oldest VLWs.   On the other hand, new LTs for Abellio, who take over route 159 from Arriva on 12th December,  have started to arrive in the past few days.  Nine are at Battersea to commence training but later deliveries are due to be stored temporarily elsewhere.

At Tower Transit, the loss of route 295 last weekend resulted in the withdrawal of all nine TALs,  all four DMCs and four of the VNZs.  The company’s new  E20Ds (DM 45115-120) entered service on route 339.    At Metroline, still just the nine (of 23 expected) new VWHs in use on the 295, supported by VWHs loaned from AC and PB and VWs from HT."

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