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Sunday, 6 December 2015

10 year Anniversary of Route 159 AEC Routemaster withdrawal

08/12/2015: Update is below 'image attributions'

Also farewell to the Volvos on route 159

We are now approaching the 10th anniversary of a fully accessible London Bus service which coincides with the anniversary of the route 159 Routemaster withdrawal to fully low floor buses. It also marks the end of Arriva London’s service on Route 159 as it's handed over to Abellio whose contract starts on 12th December 2015.



Route 159 heritage service 9th December 2015

Wednesday 9 December 2015 marks 10 years of a fully accessible bus network in London.  It also marks 10 years since the last front-line service by London’s world famous Routemaster buses, on route 159.

To mark the anniversary, the London Bus Museum is organising a free heritage operation on route 159 on 9 December.  The service will feature one of London’s first accessible double-deckers, Stagecoach TA1, now looked after by the London Bus Museum.  It will also feature a fleet of Routemasters and RT family buses, provided by a range of operators, recalling the mix on the ‘last Routemaster days’. Unfortunately, RM & RT buses running on this service are not wheelchair accessible.

The service will run alongside the current TfL service, operating between Marble Arch and Brixton Station via Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, from about noon into the early evening.  Buses will be scheduled to run about every 10 minutes between Marble Arch and Lambeth North, every 20 minutes to Brixton Station.

The Routemaster Association is organising a private road run over route 159 on Saturday 12 December 2015, also marking the anniversary.  The buses will not be in service on this day.

Background information;

·         The Routemaster bus first entered service in 1956, and was the last of London’s traditional open-platform double-deck buses, operated by a driver and a conductor.
·         Following replacement by one-person operated buses on all but central London trunk routes,  the remaining Routemasters were phased out between 2003 and 2005, with the last running on route 159 at lunch time on 9 December 2005.  The day before, and on the last day of previous route conversions, operations were joined by a variety of heritage buses in a series of impromptu ‘festivals’.
·         TfL route 159 runs between Marble Arch and Streatham Station.  It is currently operated by Arriva but operation changes on 12 December to Abellio, with the introduction of ‘New Routemasters’.
·         TfL continued to operate Routemasters on heritage services in central London, working alongside accessible buses.  The current operation is between Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill on a section of route 15.

You can view the timetable of Route 159's running day on the 9th December here.

LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) have reported:

“Wednesday 9 December: 10th anniversary of Route 159's conversion from Routemaster. Subject to availability, 5xRT, 1xRTL, 1xRTW, 7xRM, 2xRML, and TA1 should work free extras on the route. Perhaps one or two more if available, and there is no info about which vehicle works which journeys – this will likely be just done on the day.

Saturday 12 December: The Routemaster Association's commemorative road run using privately owned vehicles (mainly class V) over route 159 on the 10th anniversary of its conversion from Routemaster. Note that this is a private event with private vehicles, passengers only carried by arrangement with the vehicle owners. Buses gather at the Ace Cafe off the North Circular Road at Stonebridge (corner of Beresford Avenue) from 9am, departing from 11am for a full run to Thornton Heath and back. An evening 'Christmas Lights Tour' of central London is planned from 5pm. Fuller details are now available on www.routemaster.org.uk”


159 Routemaster Anniversary

With one month to go until the 159 Anniversary on the 12th December, our commemoration of the last day of general Routemaster operation in London, we can now confirm the venue for the start/end of the run will be The Ace Café on the North Circular, postcode NW10 7UD. Dating back to 1938, the Ace Café has a long association with transport history and being close to the old Park Royal Vehicles factory and the northern end of the old 159 route the venue is ideally situated to host our event.

We are asking owners to arrive from 9am at the Ace café and, after time for coffee and photos, the buses will be departing in pairs from 11am every 10 minutes for a return trip to Thornton Heath Pond.

Once all the buses are back at the Ace café we will be doing a Christmas Lights tour around central London from 5pm. Owners are more than welcome to participate in all or part of the days activities.

As space is going to be limited at the Ace Café we are going to limit bus numbers so an early confirmation of the attendance of your bus would be much appreciated. If you are coming along with your Routemaster, please contact us by clicking here to register your entry.

UPDATE 21st November:
With 3 weeks until the 159 Anniversary Run, we have the following Routemasters attending:
RMs 188, 291, 545, 548, 848, 1033, 1822, 2097.
RMLs 2276, 2364, 2366.

Also, another event will be the end of the Volvo B7TL ALX400 (Arriva Fleetcode VLA) and VDL DB250LF/DB300 Wright Pulsar Gemini (DW) for the route 159 service. The route service will be handed over to Abellio from Battersea (QB) garage with Wright New Routemaster buses. This means that the diesel emissions from route 159 will be eased by Euro 6 hybrid buses, although TFL could have invested in hydrogen double deck buses to further combat diesel emissions. I have nothing against the New Routemaster, no no, I am glad the design is being shared to other manufacturers such as Alexander Dennis with the Enviro400H City.

Incredibly, it has taken 10 years for route 159 to see their ‘new Routemaster’ replacement and it's happening on the anniversary of the withdrawal. The New Routemaster buses though will have no rear platform with second crew member, instead it will be a sliding rear door like they have on routes 149, 16 and 73.

The New Routemaster project was about reinstating the rear platform, but it has changed to a one person operation bus with open boarding like the old bendy buses use to provide. I have made a quick video about the New Routemasters fate…


Anyway, I'll finish the article with two news reports about the withdrawal of the Route 159 Routemaster bus.

BBC London News



Sky News



If you think the conversion of Route 159 to New Routemasters is a good thing then let me know in the comments section below.

Please follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

External links
Save the Routemaster website (from Archive Wayback Machine)

Image attribution
"Arriva London buses VLA157 (LJ55 BSU) & RM54 (LDS 279A), Whitehall, route 159, 9 December 2005" by Jon Bennett - Originally posted to Flickr as The last day of the RM. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arriva_London_buses_VLA157_(LJ55_BSU)_%26_RM54_(LDS_279A),_Whitehall,_route_159,_9_December_2005.jpg#/media/File:Arriva_London_buses_VLA157_(LJ55_BSU)_%26_RM54_(LDS_279A),_Whitehall,_route_159,_9_December_2005.jpg 

UPDATE: 8th December 2015

From London Bus Club

 
Wednesday 9 December 2015 marks 10 years of a fully accessible bus network in London.
It is also 10 years since Routemaster buses ceased operating on route 159, the last front-line service by London’s world famous bus.
In addition, Metroline will be running RML903 on route 139, the replacement route for the northern section of the old 159.

Route 159
To mark the anniversary, the London Bus Museum is organising a free heritage operation on route 159 on 9 December.  The service will feature one of London’s first accessible double-deckers, Stagecoach TA1, now looked after by the London Bus Museum.  It will also feature a fleet of Routemasters and RT family buses, provided by a range of operators, recalling the mix on the ‘last Routemaster days’. Unfortunately, RM & RT buses running on this service are not wheelchair accessible.
The service will run alongside the current TfL service, operating between Marble Arch and Brixton Station via Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, from about noon into the early evening.  Buses will be scheduled to run about every 10 minutes between Marble Arch and Lambeth North, every 20 minutes to Brixton Station.
In addition to twelve Routemasters, buses on the free service are scheduled to include five RTs, one RTL, one RTW and Dennis Trident TA1 “London’s first wheelchair accessible double-decker”.
The London Bus Museum will be providing, TA1, plus RML2760, RT3491 and RTL139 (with RMC1461 in reserve).

A copy of the timetable has also been posted in the Gallery section.

Route 139
In addition to the buses on route 159, Metroline will operate their Routemaster RML903 on route 139 (Trafalgar Square to West Hampstead) on 9 December.  Route 139 was the replacement for the former northern section of route 159 when the route was shortened in 1992.
The timetable for the four Routemaster rounders on the 139 are additional to the normal service, as follows:
West Hampstead     Trafalgar Square    West Hampstead
0850                           0940                         1027
1035                           1124                         1211
1331                           1420                         1508
1522                           1612                         1704

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