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In a quiet month so far, it has been reported that the seventh and final repaint of the Optare Versa class at Harlow, 4237 (KX13DHG), has now been completed. All are therefore in light blue.
New vehicle arrivals this update are:
Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 LJ07USU, until recently an Arriva London vehicle
Optare Solo M880 KX57KGA in a white plus navy blue skirt and rear (partial Central Connect?) livery.
Optare Solo M850SL SGZ2223 (previously WX05RUO) into Central Connect colours (previously First Barbie livery). Sister SGZ2221 (previously WX05RUC) seems to be work in progress, with blue skirt and rear in place but otherwise still in Barbie colours.
Of the 17 Scania Omniciti single decks that saw service from 2015 onwards, SGZ1087 (previously YN56NNE) has now left, meaning we are now down to the last example, being SGZ1098 (previously YN56NNG)
In other news:
Of course nothing is truly a strange visitor in Harlow operations, but double deck Scania Omniciti YP59OEN on town service 14 wasn't what I was expecting to see on 21st July.
Some of the HCC contract services gained on an emergency basis after Centrebus withdrew have turned out to be short-lived. Routes 308/380, 378/379 and C1 (all one bus) plus M2/3/4/5 move to Arriva whilst the 333 transfers to Vectare. These are not the only losses as the daytime 418 (Epping, St Margaret's Hospital to Loughton) moved to Stevensons from 26th July (evening and Sundays remains with Central Connect).
The last remnant of route 575 disappeared after Friday 27th August and with it the last link from Harlow to Romford and the presence of London General as an operator in Harlow. The 575 was operated as a spin-off from Debden to Chigwell school route 804. That service passes to Stephensons, who perhaps unsurprisingly, are not seeing value in continuing the 575. The service first reached Harlow on 19 November 2012 and at one time sported 5 return journeys (not all full length) on Mondays to Saturdays and featured summer extensions to Southend and Clacton. The final journey was provided by EN2 (SN58CDZ).
A new operator on the Harlow scene! Essex CC route 381 transfers from Ugobus to Vectare effective 26th July. Vectare operate in the East Midlands (and other parts of the UK) but have created a presence locally over the last year with a small but growing Essex operation on routes:
13/13A/S13 - Waltham Crosss to Epping (St Margaret's Hospital) via Upshire. Apx. hourly, Mon-Sat.
14 - Waltham Cross to Upshire (one journey on to Epping). Apx 5 return journrys, Mon-Sat.
19 - Ongar to Epping. Single return journey, Mon-Sat.
22 - Waltham Cross to Skillet Hill Farm. 4 return jpurneys, Mon-Sat
61/61A/61C - Brentwood to Blackmore, Apx. hourly, Mon-Sat
This seems to be a quality operation with a good website and service updates by Twitter. Vehicles on the 381 now sport destination indicators, and even though operation is with Mercedes Sprinters, this makes them look like service buses for all rather than the specialist community transport of its predecessor. One has to hope that tis might lead to some growth in ridership.
Further Versa repaints, this time 4231 (KX62JWF) and 4239 (KX13DHK) leaving only 4237 (KX13DHG) in inter-urban livery.
Some shuffling around of Volvo/Wrights between Ware and Harlow has continued. We believe 9 are now based at Harlow - see Arriva fleet page for details.
Actually arrived in late May, the first brand new vehicles to arrive with this operator are 2 Alexander-Dennis Enviro200MMCs. Registered CC21GAL and CE21GAL, they are most often seen on Hertfordshire County Council contract services. Solos RGZ7810 and RRZ5463 are reported to have gone for scrap.
Another 2 Versas repainted into light blue are 4232 (KX62JWG) and 4238 (KX13DHJ), making 4 in total now in this livery with 3 remaining to be done. The Volvo/Wrights do seem to move frequently between Ware and Harlow. Native 3873 (KE57EPA) being a returner this month.
A few unexpected appearances of former Harlow inmates this month:
- VDL SB120/Wright Cadet 2 3512 on loan from Ware was noted on the 508/9/10 services during the week of 26th May.
- Mercedes Citaro 3892 (BU06HSE) was seen on the 10 on 10th.
- Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 3820 (GN07AVG) seen during the week of 9th.
A third Alexander-Dennis E200 has been received. This time it's former Arriva London ENL20. It entered service with full London covid restriction stickers.
The Dennis Dart SLF/East Lancs Esteem reported in March has been in service. It carried the HereEast livery used on the odd London General vehicle for use on the shuttle.
LOTS report that Alexander-Dennis Enviro200MMC 4102 (YX17NYT) caught fire whilst in service on route 724.
Three of the original "route 510" batch of Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipe Urban vehicles are now back in service in Harlow and would seem to be being used as the school extras. The fleet numbers concerned are 3856, 3857 and 3858 (KE54LNR/LPC/LPF). Of these, 3858 carries the latest lighter blue livery.
The 2 Alexander-Dennis Enviro200s reported acquired last month have been treated to a full repaint and re-registration. Looking very smart and with colour LEDs , they are now CC54BUS and CC55BUS.
A couple more Optare Solos have arrived. Looking similar in blue and white of ASD Coaches, in fact CE52UWR is an M850 whilst FY52RZC is an M920. A few older examples have left the fleet, as have the Optare Versas shown under the November 2020 heading below.
Optare Versa 4230 (KX62JVW) is the first of the batch of 6 of that vintage to be repainted in light blue. It joins more recent stable-mate 4184 (YJ58VCC) which arrived in new livery.
The three Temsa Safari coaches (see report from September 2020 below) would seem to have left Harlow. Their place on school duties is typically filled by member of the large fleet of Enviro200MMCs
Firstly a couple of re-registrations:
Optare Solo WX05RUC is now SGZ2221
Optare Solo WX05RUO is now SGZ2223
Both retain First livery.
New vehicles noted this month:
Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200's LJ09KPG and KRE.
Reported acquired is Dennis Dart SLF/East Lancs Esteem PO56JFE.
There have been many reports in the press about driver safety during the pandemic including some who have lost their lives. Circumstances can be many and varied, but whatever the reason, Galleon lost 46-year old Serghei Stolca to the virus. In tribute, a cavalcade 35 vehicles rode from Harlow to Epping with suitable displays carried. Local media carried the story.
Essex Community Transport
In the midst of the pandemic and with almost no passengers being taken anywhere, a new vehicle enters service. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 514CDI EA70OSF is in silver Ugobus livery. Like most others in the fleet, no destination display equipment is carried.
All change on Green Line 724. The dedicated fleet of Mercedes Citaros, the mainstay of the fleet since 2006, has gone. In their place, a new batch of 8 Alexander-Dennis Enviro200MMCs transferred from Kent, identical to those on the 508/9/10.
A downturn in fortunes for Centrebus, who are closing their Stevenage depot, has resulted in a few gains for Central Connect in Herford. New HCC contract routes being taken on from 11th April 2021 will be:
308/308 - Hertford to Cuffley
333 - Hertford local service (Bengeo to Pinehurst Estate)
378/379 - Hertford to Stevenage
M1/M2/M3/M4/M4 - Ware and Wareside local services
Finally, a new addition noted on the ECC Ugobus fleet is Mercedes Sprinter KE19ZDT
Noted new to Central Connect are former First Optare Solo M850SLs WX05RUC and WX05RUO. These have entered service in First "Barbie" livery and with original registration numbers.
A native returning to Arriva is Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 3873 (KE57EPA). This last saw service in Harlow in 2017 and returns in Arriva's light blue scheme, which is the 4th livery it has carried after Arriva National, SX Connect and Inter-urban.
Arriva would seem to be rotating their Mercedes Sprinters around. Noted during the second week of November was 1012 (BF67WGJ) which has replaced 1007 (BF67WGA). It is used on staff ferry duties only.
The three Temsa coaches remain in use on school duties, 2 of which are the 308S and 510S.
First of a kind at Central Connect (which is how we'll now refer to what was Trusybus) on 17th November was Optare Versa YJ12PLF. It's all red with dual doors from its days in London with RAPT (London United/Quality Line) but has LED displays fitted. Similar vehicles YJ12PKX and YJ12PKY have also been purchased and these have appeared in livery, although without fleet names at this stage. These would seem to be in exchange for former Yellow Buses Optare Tempos YJ10MDE and YJ10MDU.
Further to last months reported acquisition of 2 Wrightbus Streetlites by Trustybus, both have now appeared in Central Connect livery with branding for route 386 (Bishops Stortford to Stevenage) and been re-registered. SN64CVR is now CC10BUS whilst SN64CVF is now CC11BUS.
Also in new livery, a Mercedes Sprinter with EVM conversion, acquired a couple of months back as GU19KKE and seen here on Hertford/Ware/Horns Mill local H4 after being re-registered CC04GAL.
The new school term has seen the entry into service of coaches locally. Noted so far are Temsa Safaris YJ69AAO, YJ69AAU and YJ69AAV. Conversely, the Mercedes Tourismo coaches that were scheduled to take up service on the planned 720 service have reported by LOTS as operating in Luton.
Trustybus/Central Connect new vehicle sightings:
Former Yellow Buses Optare Tempo X1200 YJ10MDE and YJ10MDU, both in yellow and with the route branding for Bournemouth routes 6 and 5 respectively. These fit very well alongside the former Epsom Buses vehicles. These really are very well appointed with leather seats and wood-effect flooring (see pictures above).
Another Solo has also arrived. YJ09MHO is an M880 and operating all in red. It originated from Epsom Buses/Quality Line.
Next there are re-registrations continued:
RGZ7805 has now lost it's green and white with poppies livery in favour of Central Connect red and blue but, like many, is without a fleet-name at present.
Reported acquired are 2 Wrightbus Streetlite DF 10.8m vehicles SN64CVF and SN64CVR, formerly of Tower Transit from London operations where they were dual-door. They have not yet been seen in service but assuming they do, they will become the youngest members of the bus fleet.
Trustybus/Central Connect Optare Solo YJ05XOR has appeared in service. It's in livery and one of five (so far, that we know about) that have been re-registered, as follows:
In addition the two remaining '56-registered Scania Omnicitis have also been reregistered:
Noted in service with Arriva Harlow, whether loan or transfer Wrightbus Streetlites 4275 (GN14DXT) and 4276 (GN14DXU). More surprising was the sighting of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 45 1016 (BF67WGO). This is not an example that has worked at Harlow before.
The Ugobus operations of ECC have recently featured 3 previously unreported Mercedes-Benz 514CDi Sprinters. Of these, those registered AY68VDD and AY68VDE are unusual in that the base colour is yellow, which may have something to do with the Chigwell Parish Council logo carried on VDE (at least). Both have been seen on the 392 service. Noteworthy also is that both vehicles carry the Epping Forest Community Transport name, rather than Ugobus. The third vehicle, KE19ZTC, wich has probably been in the fleet for some time, is silver with Ugobus branding.
Trustybus/Central Connect have received 2 additional Solos, being WX05RRY (M850) seen in service in the first week of June and YJ05XOR (M920) which is yet to be observed in service. These 15-year old vehicles were supplied by Ensignbus in replacement of 2 Darts SN55HSG and HW54BTZ, of similar vintage.
Network Harlow livery is no more! Arriva's Optare Solo 1454 (YJ06FXT) completed the programme of repaints that was started 5 years ago. To be fair, we have been down to the last one since October 2017.
Arriva buses locally have restricted passenger capacity in their buses as follows:
Optare Solos - 7
Optare Versas - 10
Volvo/Wrights - 11
Wrighbus Streetlites - 11
Mercedes Citaros - 11
Alexander-Dennis Enviros - 11
Two formerly Ware-based Optare Solos seem to have taken up residence at Arriva Harlow, for the time being at least, being 2484 (YK07BEO) and 2485 (YK07BEU). These are M950 variants.
A new-ish but recent new arrival with the ECC Ugobus operation is Mercedes-Benz 514CDi / Sprinter KE19ZSY.
Services operating during the Coronavirus outbreak seem to have evolved into a regular pattern, being:
Arriva town services 1, 2/3, 4, 6, 8 and 10 - every hour (every 2 hours evenings and Sundays).
ECC services 5, 14 418B (evenings and Sundays) 505 (Saturdays) operated by Trustybus - normal service.
Arriva 59 - every 2 hours, 7 days per week.
Arriva 86 - not running.
Arriva 87 - hourly service, Monday to Saturday.
Arriva 508/509/510 - hourly service on route 510 only, 7 days per week.
Trustybus 410 - approximately every 2 hours Monday to Saturday (reintroduced from 14 April).
Trustybus 420 - hourly with a few peak extras.
Go-Ahead 575 - running normally.
Arriva Greenline 724 - 8 journeys per day 7 days a week.
Ugo services - reduced services still operating.
The start of new Green Line 720 has been delayed. In an update to the report last month, it is now planned that, assuming the service starts, it will operate from a base near to Stansted Airport and as a consequence the 724 will remain operated by Harlow after all.
The evening and Sunday frequencies are as a result of ECC funding cuts and will remain at these frequencies once normality returns. This renders the town services as essentially being below in any way attractive to fare-paying passengers. Where this leads, we shall have to see.
On the vehicles front, Trustybus have acquired 3 additional Optare Solos. YJ05XNV, YJ55YGN and YJ57EJE are M880 models. The Central Connect branding is now being applied beyond the vehicles intended for the 420 service, despite it being the only route serving the Central Line.
March 2020 (work in progress)
New route 720, Stansted Airport to Liverpool Street, starts on 1st April 2020 and will be operated by Arriva Harlow with a brand new fleet of Temsa Safari HD coaches. An example of these, 7100 (YJ69AAO) from The Shires fleet at Luton has been noted in the garage and on driver familiarisation, as has similar YJ10DVA. At the same time as this starts, route 724 will transfer to Ware, who in turn are losing some HCC tendered work to Trustybus.
With regard to more local operations, Optare Versa 4184 (YJ58VCC) in new light blue, the only one of its type at Harlow to carry this livery, has been noted in service along with 4243 (KX13 DHN). Also seen is former natives Volvo B7RLE / Wright Eclipse Urban 3858 (KE54LPF) and Optare Versa 4198 (YJ58PFY)assumed to be back on loan, along with Optare Solo 2486 (VJ57EJF) and VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar 3751 (YJ08 DZA). All of this is taken to be due to issues with maintaining the home fleet.
First's operations at Harlow have come to an end once again with the last day of their ECC tendered operations on Sundays on route 59 ceasing after 22 March. Alexander Dennis Dart SLF / Pointer 2 42940 (MX56HXZ) performed the honours. Whilst Arriva may have gained the Sunday 59, they have lost the Sunday 418 to Trustybus.
At Trustybus, Optare Solo YJ07VPX has been repainted from Maylands Link Grey to Capital Connect colours. It also Capital Connect logo and so it can probably be assumed that the Trustybus name is no long for this world.
CORONAVIRUS SERVICE REDUCTIONS
Arriva town services reduced to hourly during daytimes, 86 not running, 87 unchanged.
Trustybus 410 suspended and 420 reduced to hourly end to end (no 420A).
New arrivals at Arriva in Harlow this month are:
DAF SB120/Wright Cadets 3531 (LF02PNL) and, returning after being loaned last year, 4536 (LJ03MYM). The former becomes the oldest operational vehicle in the town.
Also seen operating (from 12th February and for the next couple of weeks), whether or not on loan, is Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 3826 (GN07AVP).
Noted loitering in the town and in the depot, although not yet certainly in service, is Stevenage's VDL SB200 / Wright Pulsar 3777 (KX09KDN).
Trustybus have been in the news. HCC have announced their tender awards from April 1st and this includes a number of wins for the operator, recorded under the Central Connect name. This includes Hertford locals H1, H3 and H4 and Waltham Cross - Debden 66A (not the main commercial 66).
Presumably in connection with that, a couple of previously stood-down Solos, SF05NXD/E, have been revived. A new joiner adding to the fleet and the first M920 (the others are M850 or M950) is YJ07VPX. This former Arriva vehicle still carries a dedicated livery for Hemel Hempstead local Maylands Link service ML1.
And finally, on 23rd February, a show of preserved vehicles were noted in the area. XF1 never worked on the 805 or in Harlow and the 805 never worked to Tylers Green at all, but looks quite at home in this view nevertheless.
Two further Optare Tempos joining the Trustybus fleet are YJ11EHO and YJ11EHW. These examples, unlike earlier 3 acquisitions, carry the Central Connect livery.
A slight misfit seen operating at Arriva, initially without displays programmed, but now a regular and with working display, is Alexander-Dennis Enviro200 4008 (YX61FZN). It has been seen operating recently introduced Bishops Stortford local route 311.
Occasional loan to Harlow, Optare Solo 2485 (YK07BEU) has been observed operating again (31/01/2020).
A new arrival with Essex County Council for their now Ugobus-branded services is Renault Master / Stanford Coachworks HS19YNA. As always, no destination display is carried.
A further 2 Optare Tempos have entered service with Trustybus. YJ11EHG and YJ11EHH are from the same batch as the example shown last month and also in all-over red. Most of the remaining small assortment of Darts have now been stood down.
Noted in service with Arriva on 29th was Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200MMC 4113 (SN67WUA). Locally programmed LED displays are carried.
A new entry into service is Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 2 3889 (BG59FWP) from within the local Arriva company fleet. The light blue livery and slightly modified lower front panels (compare with the picture below) do give a more modern appearance.
Also sighted in service, just once so far, Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 3863 (KE05GOH) of the Arriva Midlands fleet.
At Trustybus something completely different. Former London United Optare Tempo YJ11EHS. It is shown above on town route 5 but has also worked on the 420/420A.
At Arriva Optare Versa's 4243 (KX13DHN) was noted in the garage, as was returning Volvo/Wright 3860 (KE54HHF). Both would have nicely fitted in with others from the same batch, but neither would seem to have entered local service. 3860 has gained the new light blue livery whilst away at Stevenage.
In Arriva news, Volvo/Wrights tend to come and go, but 3824 (GN07AVM) from Stevenage is the only one in the latest light blue, and it seems, this may be an exchange for one of the E200MMCs from the 508/9/10 batch, which has been seen operating in Stevenage and hence may be a temporary loan. Also joining the local fleet, Optare Versa 4191 (KX62JPY) which given that it's complete with branding for Watford local route 10, may also me a loan.
After a short period without operation, Mercedes Sprinter 1010 has again been in regular service. Sister 1015 has not seen further service.
Over at Trustybus, the 10th bus fleet Scania double deck has entered service in the form of YP59OER. Meanwhile YP59OET, which entered service in all-red back in June, is now in Central Connect livery.
A new entry into service with ECC Community Transport is Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 514CDi KE19ZTM. As a "19" reg, this is the newest vehicle to be seen in Harlow. Silver livery with "ugobus" logos is the presentation. As is usual, there are no route or destination displays.
Further arrivals into service at Trustybus include another Scania Omniciti double deck, being YP59OEM and bringing the total number in service of the new batch to 9. Additionally, another Optare Solo has arrived. Like the entry in July, it's also logo-less and in the new Central Connect colours. AE06TWN is an M850 model formerly of Stagecoach.
Meanwhile at Arriva, joining the local fleet is rather small and slim Optare Solo M780SE 2482 (YJ07VRF).
At Arriva, the 2 former Merseyside Cadets have been numbered. 2554 (DK55FYV) is now 3513 and 2525 (DK55FXL) is now 3512.
The former London United Scania Omnicitis continue to enter service on the 420/420A with Trustybus. Noted during the month are YP59OEN/OEO/OES/OET/OEU/OEV/OEW and OEX. What might seem like more of a standard arrival is Optare Solo M950 YJ07EGE. This, however, is in the same livery as the Central Connect Scania's, that is to say, without any yellow, so it seems that a general new livery will be sweeping through all the fleet in time. The vehicle also has no fleet name. Another change afoot?
London Hire Mercedes-Benz Sprinter / Mellor Coachcraft DK14AGV has been on the 381 Essex Community Transport service. Presumably it was hired.
Finally, with the summer holidays upon us, there is no sign this year of any seaside extensions to the 575, so this can be considered to have been withdrawn at the end of August 2018. In fact, there is very little mention of the 575 at all from London General. Perhaps it isn't planned to continue for much longer?
ECT have been seen operating brand new smart Mercedes-Benz Sprinter / Mellor Coachcraft Strata LN19TYA on the 381. The livery is silver with dark grey skirt. This addition would seem to have initiated the new "ugobus" brand name and provides links to a suitable website.
LCB Travel have ceased operating again. Last operations were on Thursday 6th June. The word locally is that this time it's for good, which would seem to be correct based on the outcome of a Traffic Commissioners recent decision.
Trustybus added another former London United Scania Omniciti N230UD to the fleet, appearing on 17 June. YP59OET is still in LT red, including the Buses roundel, but carries a programmed and working orange LED display. It was seen on the 420 service. This was then surpassed on 19th with the appearance of sister YP59OES which appeared with and new modified livery and full branding for Central Connect, the new name for the 420/420A service. A small amount of route branding in included above the upper-deck windows. Notably, the Trustybus logo is not shown at all, so far at least. Friday 28th saw the entry into service of YP59OEV in the same Central Connect colours.
The fleet of Scania N94UB Omnicitis is gradually being withdrawn as the new double-decks enter service. Many other of the old and withdrawn vehicles are also being cleared out.
Trustybus have added to their small collection of Mini Pointer Darts. KC03PGU is in service in all white.
Arriva have continued to borrow vehicles to top-up the local fleet from neighbouring Ware depot. VDL SB120/Wright Cadet has seen use on town services of late but seems now to have returned.
The LCB Travel recovery continues with the recommencement on 1 April of the LCB2 service alongside the ZIP. The same combination was also noted on 4th April. The LCB1 return then completed the picture, noted operating again on 16 April.
With Arriva, occasional loan from Ware, Optare Solo 2485 (YK07BEU) was noted in service on 9 April. Mercedes Sprinter 1019 has moved on, leaving the other 2. New arrivals are in the form of 2 former Liverpool VDL Bus SB120 / Wrightbus Cadet 2 buses. DK55FYV (3513) in the latest livery and DK55FXL in old standard were first noted on 29 April. These would seem to have replaced the DAF/Cadets mentioned in February and March
An unexpected arrival at Trustybus, former London United SP146 (YP59OEE), a Scania Omnicity N230UD. It is all-red, still with previous operator blinds and
LCB Travel stopped operating, for a short period of time. N&P's (dated 27 February, objections by 20 March) report that their license was revoked and route registrations cancelled. A short notice in the bus station advised passengers of the change. We suspect this took effect from approximately 8th March.
There was talk locally of them returning, although nothing official on government websites confirmed this. Then on 27 March the ZIP service was noted running again in the hands of regular branded Ford Transit CX60XCW.
At Arriva a third DAF SB120/Wright Cadet has arrived in 3521 (LJ03MYG). Presumably all 3 are for the long term, such as can be expected for 16-year old vehicles at least.
Another "third" is the appearance of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 45 minibus 1019 (BF67WGV).
Arriva buses at Harlow are now able to accept contactless payment, first noted from 11 February. By 18 February, the 2 loan buses mentioned last month would seem to have moved on, to be replaced, it seems, by once London Dennis/Alexander Mini Pointer Dart 1594 (LF52UOP) from neighboring Ware depot and DAF120/Wright Cadets 4536 (LJ03MYM) and 3520 (LJ03MZL), both also from within the Arriva Kent Thameside fleet and ex Arriva London South.
Trustybus have also added another Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Pointer to their fleet. The vehicle in question this time is former Yellow Buses (Bournemouth) SN55HSG, still in yellow, but with a silver front grill, roofline and blind masking which it had, oddly, in its former life. Added to that and even more in a class of it's own, Dennis Dart SLF/East Lancs Mylennium PE55WPP.
At LCB Travel, a new entrant on the town network is Ford Transit HJ60ONA in silver.
Essex Community Transport have introduced something new, smaller and probably more suitable to local service recently. Renault Traffic LY15USU is, as usual, in white base with Community Link branding but no route or destination display capability. Another new arrival of a more routine nature is Iveco Daily 45C15 GN59LFZ
A couple of new arrivals at Trustybus, adding to the fleet of Scania CN94UB Omniciti vehicles, are YN04GMV and YN04GMX. Unlike the former London examples, these are in single door configuration. Most striking though are the liveries. The former carries a heritage livery for West Yorkshire from NBC poppy red days, whilst the latter is in white and green Harrogate Bus Company colours. YN04GMV entered service with cherished registration 5480WY, although that was changed in the first week.
At Arriva, a couple of vehicles new in to support the local fleet are Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 3986 (GN07DLO) and Optare Solo M950 2485 (YK07BEU). Whether these are loans or transfers is not yet known.
Essex County Council have launched a consultation indicating reductions in subsidies for evening and Sunday services. The evening routes would effectively cease at 10pm. All Sunday services are shown but the extent of possible withdrawals is unclear.
November and December 2018
A very quiet end to the year. LCB have added a couple of new acquisitions to the fleet:
CX60XSW is a Ford Transit in a white-based livery with branding for the ZIP service.
AJ12ETK is a Ford Tourneo Trend in a dark gray base.
At Trustybus, the fleet of one-time Scania N94UB/East Lancs Vyking Myllenium vehicles have now finally all disappeared and are in the process of being scrapped.
Adding to the departures of emergency EOS replacement vehicles reported last month at Arriva, E200MMC 4167 (YX17NME) has also now left, leaving the fleet of that type of vehicle as just the native 508/9/10 membership of 12.
A new type sighted in service with Essex Community Transport is the Renault Master with Stanford Conversions M10L bodywork, represented by vehicle registration EU10ECD.
A slightly modified livery has appeared on Trustybus Mini Pointer Dart SN03YBS. The blue and yellow stripes at the rear follow the body contour rather than swooping up. At this stage the red is that inherited from Metrobus.
The services of LCB Travel remain largely a mystery, but a vehicle not previously reported is Ford Transit EN10YNW. It stands out from the crowd for a minibus in Harlow in being in red livery.
A new arrival at Arriva is Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200MMC YX17NME. Visually identical to the existing batch although fleet number 3106 is numbered in the Shires sequence rater than the Kent Thameside one, assuming it retains that number. It would seem that the former EOS route 66 is now being worked from Ware and with that change all of the various and mainly non-standard rushed-in vehicles have now left. This includes E200MMC 4124 (SN67WUO), Enviro200 1641 (GN57BOH), DAF /Wright Cadet 3523 (LJ03MYK) and Wright Streetlites 4282 and 4284 (GN14DYA/C). Coming the other way and probably a better fit with the local fleet is Optare Versa V1110 2990 (YJ09MKD).
An unusual sight running through Harlow was Wrightbus Streetlite Micro-Hybrid demonstrator SK17HHL, in service this month (noted 18th and 19th) with Trustybus in a white based livery with grey and red angular designs on. This was followed on 29th by all white Wright Streetlite DF 33-seat SK68TNF.
Due to legal issues (with the traffic commissioners) Arriva were not able to assume the 86 and 87 (along with the 66) on Wednesday 1st August as planned, accordingly EOS continued with a limited operation on 1st and 2nd August. Taken from their own twitter feed, this was stated to be as follows.
Wednesday 1st August
Announced on the evening of 31st, initially the 66 was to be covered by a complimentary shuttle bus between Waltham Abbey and Loughton every 45 minutes between 06:00 and 19:00 whilst the 86 and 87 would not operate.
By early morning on 1st it was announced that route 86 would run hourly between 10:00 and 19:00 and 87 would operating between Oakwood Hill and Debden Broadway only between 09:30 and 18:30 (no service Harlow to Debden) whilst the 66 would operate hourly Waltham Cross to Debden (taken to mean the whole route).
Thursday 2nd August
66 - An hourly service on the 66 from first till last bus.
86 - Normal service
87 - Hourly between Harlow and Epping from 0600 to 1900 and also hourly between Oakwood Hill and Debden Broadway.
Friday 3rd August
Arriva started their full service. In addition to the vehicles noted below, two further additions seen are:
4282 Wright Streetlite DF (GN14DYA)
4124 Alexander-Dennis Enviro200MMC (SN67WUO)
Meanwhile, the ECC contracted services which have been assumed by parent Swallow Coaches, have been treated to the establishment of bus division within that company, accompanied by a simple website, up and running at www.swallowbus.co.uk
Closing the month with some vehicle arrivals. Firstly at Arriva Mercedes Citaro 0530 fleet number 3909 (BD12DHV). This bus was a bit of a rally regular for some time. Part of a batch of 15 that was delivered to what was then TGM it is one of 2 which were B29F rather than B37F and for a while was dedicated to frequent Maidstone town service 82. Unlike the other Citaros at Harlow, it has bus rather than dual-purpose seats. Also at Arriva Harlow, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 45 fleet number 1010 (BF67WGE) has reappeared following a stint at Ware on the 251. This gave rise to the unusual sight of both Sprinters operating at once on 31st.
Moving on to Trustybus, two further Scania N94UB/East Lancs Esteem vehicles joining the two recent acquisitions. Again both ex-Metrobus, this time YM55SXB and YM55SXH.
Unexpectedly and at very short notice, EOS have decided to give up operating their services. Agreement was reached for Arriva to take over commercial routes 86 and 87 (plus 66 Waltham Cross to Loughton/Debden) from 1st September whilst subsidised operations outside of our area (13, 61, 66A, 133) would continue being operated by parent Swallow in the short term. The S1 is discontinued. Then, a further twist, EOS announced with only a week's notice that the last day of commercial operations would be Tuesday 31st July. Hurriedly Arriva have evidently started to assemble a small fleet in readiness for the change with the following noted on existing services in the lead up to the uptake of the new services:
4284 Wright Streetlite DF (GN14DYC)
4060 Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 (GN59FVB)
3994 Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 (GN07DMO)
1641 Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 (GN57BOH)
3523 DAF SB120 / Wright Cadet (LJ03MYK)
For the last day Ensign's RM371 operated certain journeys on the 66, 86 and 87.
Still at Arriva, Enviro200MMCs 4084/5/7, having operated in service without 508/9/10 branding since new, have now all been treated.
Another former Damory Mini Pointer Dart noted in service with Trustybus is HW54BUO. In the same fleet, a second Scania N94UB/East Lancs Esteem, this time YN06JXR, also former Metrobus, retaining London-spec dual doors.
In the Trustybus fleet, a new combination, being the Scania N94UB/East Lancs Esteem YM55SWU . It is ex Metrobus.
The presence of First in the town is limited to the 2-hourly 59 ECC Sunday service, but it was visually enhanced when 44662, an Alexander-Dennis Enviro200MMC, performed the duty.
EOS started major new 7-days per week service S1 to Stratford on 4 June. Former Go-ahead London Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 / MCV Evolutions in red livery are used and feature neat white on blue conventional blinds.
Of the 2 Mercedes Sprinters seen in service recently with Arriva, 1011 now seems to have left, replaced by 1015 (BF67WGN).
A brand new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter noted on ECT service 381 is LX18BYO. Livery was all white without logos when seen on 20th.
Noted back in service with Arriva is another Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban. This time it's Southend's 3815 (GN07AVB) last seen loaned a couple of years ago and still sporting some Southend branding. Another arrival is Transbus Mini-Pointer Dart 1614 (GN04UDH)
Joining the former Southampton (Blue Star, Damory) Transbus MPD's reported last month is SN03ECA. Noted in service with Trustybus in blue with stars. Also reported as acquired, although not yet seen in service, is Dennis Trident/Alexander X336NNO. This one time Stagecoach London vehicle was last operated by Golden Tours in a partial open-top condition.
Arriva have a problem. Attempts to introduce minibuses in 2 parts of the region have not proved popular and new homes are being sought for them. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 45's 1010 and 1011 (BF67WGE and BF67WGJ) have both been sighted on the 6/8 local service. Typically one or the other appears. Paper in windscreen suffices for a route number.
In more regular news, another Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban has been added to the fleet. 3820 (GN07AVG), uniquely for Harlow, carries Arriva MAX livery. Whilst it has mainly been seen on the 10, it did appear on the 724 on 13 April. Similar former native 3859 (KE54LPJ) has also been noted back in operation at Harlow. Whilst the Volvo stock was boosted for the expansion of route 9, other vehicles do appear on that route, including 508/9/10 branded E200MMC 4076 (YX17NGJ), also on 13 April.
Noted in service at Trustybus, 3 former Go-South Coast Mini Pointer Darts. SN03EBP and SN03EBU are in blue, the latter at least with Southampton local branding, and are badged as Transbus vehicles. From the same source is HW54BTZ, badged as Dennis/Alexander. The once 13-strong fleet of former Go-North East Volvo/Wright Renowns appear to have been all stood down from service and have been removed from the fleet list.
At EOS the expansion of the 87 has brought with it a new final destination in Debden, Epping Forest Shopping Park. Very neat white on black destination blinds have been fitted to some vehicles including former Docklands/Go-ahead E200/evolution LX07BYL, shown above. In the process, the two white Mercedes Sprinters would also seem to have been made surplus to requirements and are removed from the fleet list.
The march of the new vehicles continues at Trustybus, firstly with Wright Solar bodied NK53UNW and NK53UNY. The former at least is in full colours. Next, newer yet somehow far less dashing, is also newly arrived Alexander-Dennis Mini Pointer Dart HW54BUJ. Perhaps the blue livery of former operator, Damory, does it less justice. Finally, Optare Solo M850's SF05NXD & SF05NXE.
NIBS, an operator in Harlow on Sundays only, will cease to be so after 25 March. Their ECC supported 2-hourly 501 service will be replaced by an improved commercial service over the same route (Harlow to Ongar) by Trustybus.
EOS have acquired 4 Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 / MCV Evolution vehicles. All were purchased new by Docklands Buses for the take-up of TfL service 167 and subsequently transferred to the Goahead group upon the purchase of that company. Registration numbers are LX07BYK (formerly Docklands Buses fleet number ED19), LX07BYL (ED20), LX07BYN (ED22) & LX07BYT (ED27) and all are operating in TfL red with the conventional blind apertures still in place.
Visually very similar and from the same source, although more often used on the W19 or 193, Trustybus have acquired the earlier and also shorter B23D version in Alexander Dennis Dart SLF / MCV Evolution AE56OUP (ED16) & AE56OUS (ED17). Again they are in TfL red but with a front LED display fitted.
New additions to the Trustybus fleet:
- Scania L94UB/Wright Solars YN05WKD and WKE. These slot within the existing batch.
- Scania Omnicitis YN56NNE and NNG. These are the first of the type since the large fleet of former Metrobus vehicles entered service just over 2 years ago. These are former Stagecoach Midlands vehicles and unlike their predecessors, they are single door.
A new sighting at ECT on the 381 is Mercedes-Benz 515CDi / UV Modular WX07UHM.
Competition returns to Harlow! Even though there has been something of a breakout of peace on commercial routes since the demise of Townlink and Roadrunner, in fact it's never been too far away. Trusty's 410 might seem to have the road from Harlow through Stanstead Abbotts and onwards to itself, but it is doubtless an irritation to Arriva, who not long ago uprated the 310. The lucrative part of both routes will be the shared section between Hoddesdon and Waltham Cross. We cant say whether the two things are linked, but it must have been quite a shot across the broadside for Trusty to see Arriva recast local Potter Street route 9 with an extension to Epping and an upgrade in vehicles from Solos to full sized Volvos. Trusty have responded with something of a restructure of their own 419/420 to offer a more standardised high frequency on the core Harlow - Thornwood - Epping - North Weald section (the Ongar element continues largely as now). They have also registered a new competitive Church Langley local service (40/40A) from January. It looks as though 2018 will be an interesting year.
Regal bows out. In August we reported the near elimination of Regal from the Harlow and Waltham Abbey areas, places which had seen their presence for some 15 years or thereabouts. Not only has the end now come in Harlow with the deregistration of the 322 at the end of this school term, but also the second half of 2017 has been characterised by the progressive withdrawal of all remaining Regal bus services, the last in Essex ceasing in the lead-up to Christmas. Regal undoubtedly filled a gap in providing some useful commercial services and reasonably-priced tendered operations. The standard of vehicle and driver presentation, destination displays, passenger information and operational reliability varied considerably. The changing landscape for the support of bus services suggests that few parts of the once extensive network will be replaced. Regal will continue as a coach operator. It may be that they chose their time wisely.
In more routine news...
The expansion to Arriva route 9 has seen the return of a couple of the native Volvo/Wrights which only left for Stevenage in the summer. 3856 (KE54LNR) and 3874 (KE57EPC) are the vehicles in question. Also returning is native Optare Solo YJ57EJK. This is numbered 2488 due to having been at Ware when the others were renumbered to the 1xxx series.
We've added Mercedes-Benz Sprinter/Treka WR58LJL to the fleet of Essex Community Transport after it was noted on the 381.
A second Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City has entered service at EOS. Logically following on, it is registered BG63VUW and is in white livery. Logically this would be numbered 602.
PVL398 (LX54GZK) is a noted addition to the Go-ahead commercial services fleet and was noted on the 575 on 22 December. It carries the yellow/grey skirt and has LED displays but retains centre doors.
EOS sees the future of route 87 in the hands of rather small Mercedes-Benz City Sprinters. BG63VUV has been noted in service and carries fleet number 601.
Trustybus have added Transbus Mini Pointer Darts SN03YBK and SN03YBS along with blue-liveried Optare Solo M850 NM02DNU to the fleet.
At EOS school service 133, from Debden Park School to Chigwell, Grange Hill and Abridge is carrying loads which need a double decker. We assume that Volvo B7TL / East Lancs Vyking PJ02PZF as been acquired for this operation, although on 12th October it was seen in Harlow carrying displays for route 86. Meanwhile one the Enviro200's acquired last month, GX09AGZ, has been reregistered EOS711, a mark previously carried by a Toyota BB50R/Caetano Optimo C22F, which we assume is now gone.
The loan situation at Arriva would seen to be resolved. From those vehicles which saw use, 3312, Volvo B10BLE / Wright Renown PN02HVL, would seem to be a keeper. Meawhile, Optare Solo 1466 (KE55KTD) has been repainted out of Network Harlow blue into standard Arriva livery, leaving just one, 1454, remaining to be dealt with and representing the last memory of the era.
An unexpected windfall for Trustybus as Acme have suddenly pulled out of tendered bus work, meaning that Stansted local route 7 will pass to them. Whether related or not, all-red Alexander-Dennis Mini Pointer Dart SN54GPV has showed up in service. Trusty also gained in the recent tender rounds in picking up the Sumners Farm local route 5 (their existing Pinnacles section of route 5 was retained but renumbered 14) although there was a reduction on Harlow to Loughton route 418.
Also stepping-in as a Acme replacement, a reprieve, just, for Regal. School service 322 was never taken up and so seamlessly starts the new term without any change of operator.
A class to reappear with EOS is the Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200. All white liveried KX58BGY was sighted from 4th September. This vehicle once worked locally with Amber. Joining it is GX09AGZ.
Loans continue to appear with Arriva. Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown 3312 (PN02HVL) noted from 11 September.
Following the outward transfer of most of the Volvo/Wrights at Arriva in Harlow, it would seem that there is now something of a vehicle shortage, caused in part by a couple of accidents. Noted back in service, former Harlow resident Optare Versa 4228 (KX62JTV). Alongside this, bringing the class back to the town, Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer II 3285 (Y385HKE), then less usual VDL SB120/Wright Cadet 3528 (LF02PNE) and Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown 3313 (PN02HVM) along with VBL Bus SB200/Wrightbus Pulsar 2 3412 (KX09KDV). Other than the Versa, the other recent arrivals are assumed to be loans.
The influx of Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Pointers continues at EOS with KP02PWV noted in service in all red. Meanwhile Scania Omniciti YR10AZO has received fleet colours and fleet number 701 in the process. Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Pointer KU52YKS, reported as acquired below in June, is in service in fleet livery as fleet number 743.
Trustybus have added another 3 Scania L94UB/Wright Solar's to the 3 reported last month. Registrations this time are YN04GMG, YN04GMU and YN05WKK.
The annual round of ECC tenders has produced a few fairly significant departures from recent history. Noteworthy are that:
- The long-standing but unnecessarily disjointed evening and Sunday networks have been revised to follow the weekday patterns to the largest extent, with obscure numbers like 1B, 3A, 6A, 8A, 11 and 12 being replaced by appropriate weekday equivalents. The anomaly of Pear Tree Mead being served only in the evening years after the main service was withdrawn has gone, as is the effectively Sunday-only service to Edinburgh Way.
- Rural services provided by mainstream buses are now a thing of the past. The recent past had seen the 7 (Churchgate Street), 347 and 392 replaced with occasional community services whilst the 354, 391 and service to Hunsdon have been lost altogether. In this latest round the 47 and 381 also make a similar transition, although the 381 is at least still 6 days a week and at a reasonable frequency. Whilst I recognise that these community services fill something of a need, they are not attractive enough for most users, are barely recognisable as buses, and are hardly likely to attract any new custom. Their tenure must surely be very limited.
- Just outside of Harlow at Waltham Abbey, Regal-operated long-standing routes 211/2/3 also cease, as do the evening 250 and 251 together with Sunday 240/250 and 251. EOS have stepped in with some enhancements to commercial route 66 to fill some of the gaps. The combination of these changes removes Regal as an operator from the area.
At EOS, this time not white or red, but fleet orange with black skirt. Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Pointers KP02PUK & KM02HGE have been noted in service from 6th July. Also seen, "smart pack" demonstrator, black/grey/green Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 YX17NXA.
London General seem to have upgraded part of the commercial fleet which operates the 575. Noted in recent weeks have been Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini WVL250 (LX06EAP) and Alexander-Dennis's E135 (SN60BZG), E169 (SN61BGY) and single-door coach seated E281(YX14RTV).
Trustybus have added to their fleet of Scania's, but this time it's the L94UB/Wright Solar variety. Three have been acquired, registrations TN05WKG, YN05WKH and YN05WKK.
Major news at Arriva is that the 508/509/510 group has been upgraded with a fleet of 12 branded Alexander-Dennis Enviro200MMC's B45F. Fleet numbers are 4076-4087, registrations YX17 NGJ/N/O/U/V/Y/Z, NHA/B/C/D/E. They first examples were noted in service on 19th June and the whole fleet was operational by 28th June. At this stage all except 3 (4084/5/7) are route branded. The first noted stray of the new fleet was on 30th June when branded 4083 operated the 724 Harlow to Hertford shorts. The 11-registered Volvos are expected to be released. Optare Solo YJ06FXS (1453) has returned to Harlow after an absence.
EOS have had a few of new vehicles operating lately. Alexander-Dennis Dart SLF KX06LXG and LXH are in all white whilst similar KU52YKO is in red. KU52YKS is also reported to have been acquired.
It seems to be demonstrator season at the moment. Perhaps trumping them all in the something different stakes, Trustybus have operated a Yutong Bus and Coach ZK6128HGA Citybus during the first two weeks of May, registered YH66VMO.
At Arriva, native Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 3857 (KE54LPC) which has been away from the area for most of the last year has returned.
EOS are still in the demo game. Seen on a Swallow private service for Harlow College on 16th May and then on the 86 on 17th May was Mercedes-Benz 0530K Citaro demonstrator BV14TZY.
Regal have put out a wide variety of vehicles of late. Better from a comfort and size perspective on the 47 on 13th May was Mercedes-Benz 0814D / Plaxton Cheetah YN06RVP. Alas it fared no better for blinds than some of the other non-standard offerings. The vehicle is in a blue-based Regal explorer livery.
Previously unseen with Regal, former Go-ahead London Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini LF52ZSD was noted on the 147 on Wednesday 12th. Similar vehicle LF52ZTL is also reported acquired. This was followed on Saturday 29th by TGM-liveried former locally operated Arriva Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer II S303JUA.
EOS have used all-red 13-seater Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City minibus demonstrator BV66GYJ on services around Debden.
Seen in use at Trustybus, first noted on 20th February, Mercedes-Benz Citaro demonstrator BT66TZE. All-over deep blue livery is carried.
Competition in and around Harlow has been very much reduced since Townlink and Roadrunner ceased operations in early 2016. There had of late been a little from EOS on the Sumners/Katherines route, plus a little on the Epping via Epping Green corridor. On Tuesday 17th January things took a step-up a gear when EOS started operating a route 500 between Harlow and Epping via the Thornwood and the existing Trustybus 418 service, every 20 minutes, all day from early until late on Mondays to Saturdays. The service operated on the Tuesday and the Wednesday, but was no longer operating on Thursday. EOS advised that an agreement had been reached and that Trustybus would be accepting EOS tickets.
Not related to the cessation of the 500 service as far as we are aware, there was a reasonably serious accident at Thornwood on 18th January. EOS Transbus Trident II/Transbus President 9.9m 100 (LT02ZZV) plus 2 Trustybus vehicles, of which Volvo/Wright WNZ1103 was one and has since been reported as withdrawn.
Over at Arriva, the now Arriva-liveried Citaro fleet have been frequent visitors to town route 10, providing one or both of the allocation. 3898 (BK58URL), the one which has not been noted as repainted, has not been seen in service for some months.
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