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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
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.
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.
Noted 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.
In the Trustybus fleet, a new combination, being the Scania N94UB/East Lancs Esteem YM55SWU . It is ex Metrobus.
(more to follow - catch-up in process)
(more to follow - catch-up in process)
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
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. These are yet to be seen in service.
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.
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.
After a period of absence from Arriva Harlow, Solo 1508 (YN03NCF), once of Weavaway (Newbury), has reappeared in service, bringing the fleet size to 12.
The last Dart has departed from the Arriva fleet. Fleet no 1560 (EU56FTO) was a Mini Pointer Dart that arrived from TGM Stansted, having been taken over with the Excel Coaches business. It carried an all-white with blue skirt livery and no fleet name for much of it's life, meaning that it looked just like a Roadrunner or Townlink bus. Relatively recently repainted it has now left for Northfleet. The Dart started life at Harlow when under County Bus, a small fleet of high-floor Plaxton Pointers numbered DRL406 to DRL414 entered service in 1992 on the 392 (Old Harlow Churchgate Street to Hertford). The first low-floor darts were numbered 3230/1 and were used on town service 10 (Town Station to Church Langley, as now) from December 1999.
The number of Optare Solos at Harlow has been reducing for a while with a number of withdrawals and transfers having taken place during 2016. The remaining fleet size is 11, of which 2 remain in Network Harlow livery, suggesting that they may not be long for this world.
Finally at Arriva, the last of the "06" registered Citaro's has been repainted from Green Line livery to Green Line 724 branded Arriva livery. This leaves just 3898 (BU58URL) remaining in full Green Line livery.
At EOS Plaxton Primo 661 (BU08ACV) has at last been repainted to fleet livery, having operated in white for some time.
Further repaints from Green Line to standard livery at Arriva are Citaros 3892 (BU06HSE) and 3896 (BU06HSK) and 3893 (BU06HSF) bringing the number treated up to 6 and leaving just 2 remaining to be treated.
More repainting at NIBS where red and yellow has replaced white on Wright Streetlite WF MX61BCE.
Adding to the fleet of ex Go North East Volvo B10/Wright Renowns at Trustybus are W901/907WGR & X918/935WGR, all seen in service.
Meanwhile at EOS the Optare Solo mentioned in September turned out to be one of a pair, the other being YJ59GHG. Both have in any case been exchanged for 2 Scania N230UB Omnicitis registered YR10AZO and YR10AZV.
EOS route 87 started as planned on 1 September. Noted on the first day were existing fleet LK53FDE(756) together with LK53FDC(760) & LK53FDO(757). In addition to 757 and 760, five further similar vehicles would seem to have been acquired for the purpose and all of course fit perfectly with the existing fleet on the 66 service. Full details once sighted in service. Front displays are vinyls and so these may well be dedicated for the short term at least. Full fleet livery is carried.
Representing something completely different for EOS, Optare Solo M880SL YJ59GHB, still in Cheshire Connect livery and carrying fleet number SL17 has seen service.
A new arrival at Trustybus, adding two more examples to the fleet of ex Go North East Volvo B10/Wright Renowns are X492WGR and W902RBB.
At Arriva the former 310 Volvos are starting to have 310 route branding removed with 3875 and 3877 noted as dealt with. One further addition noted is 3883 (KX11PVE). The days of the Dart are almost over in this fleet now, only MPD 1560 (EU56FTO) remaining operational.
At Arriva in Ware the 310 has been upgraded with a fleet of brand new E400MMC's double decks. The consequence of this is that a number of the 5-year old Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urbans that were on the route have moved to Harlow, joining those in the existing fleet. Noted so far are 3875 (KX11PVN), 3876 (KX11PUK), 3877 (KX11PUJ), 3878 (KX11PVL), 3880 (KX11PVA), 3881 (KX11PZY), 3882 (KX11PVD). On entering service the 310 branding was still carried.
A second and third Mercedes Citaro have now been repainted from Green Line to standard livery, this time 3891 (BU06HSD) and 3894 (BU06HSG) are the vehicles concerned.
EOS have announced a new service by tweet:
"New service 87 from 1st September. Route 87 operating 7 days a week proving new links between west Harlow and Epping underground station".
"Route 87 will serve Harberts Road, Abercrombie Way, Staple Tye, Sumners and Katherine's, Epping Green, terminating at Epping Underground".
"Route 87 will operate from 0500 to 2030".
"[Route] 87 will also operate Sunday's and bank holidays and will serve Waltham Abbey and Waltham Cross on Sunday's providing a Sunday link to Harlow".
This is clearly a major initiative and restarts competition in the town, as well as providing often-requested links from the west part of Southern Way to Epping. The full timetable is on the EOS website.
Whilst staying at EOS, Dennis Trident/Plaxton President PN03ULY, acquired in April, has now been seen in service in full fleet livery. The vehicle is one-time London General and latterly CT Plus.
At Trustybus, 4 further Volvo B10/Wright Renowns have appeared. Three are additional whilst one is a replacement for WNZ1864 (previously X924WGR) which was widely reported in the local press as having come to grief between Epping and Ongar on the 420 on 8th August. Further re-registrations have taken place, see Trustybus fleet page for details.
An unusual sighting on EOS's 86 route was a Toyota BB50R with Caetano Optimo C22F body. Registered EOS711, we believe this may previously have been registered BX04BJF.
At Arriva a recently arrived Optare Solo M920 is 1508 (YN03NCF) now in action on Harlow services. This is the only M920 example, all others being either M880 or M950. It was once a Newbury and District vehicle and has seen service at a number of Arriva locations before Harlow. Volvo/Wright 3860 is back in service at Harlow.
At Trustybus all 7 of the Volvo B10/Wright Renown vehicles reported as acquired last month have now been seen in service. They have also started to received Northern Ireland registrations. Noted are WNZ1094, WNZ1480, WNZ1490 (was X913WGR) and WNZ1589. It's not yet clear to use which has changed to what in all cases.
A bit newer, and this time in full livery, neatly adapted to the body style of the vehicle, Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban YK53GXJ.
The old Roadrunner/Olympian premises at Pinnacles, latterly the operational site for both Townlink and Roadrunner/Olympian, is reported to be almost empty. It seems as though a recent operator license application in a similar name has come to nothing and the site is being cleared. For now at least.
The aggressive repaint programme at Arriva Harlow continues apace. During the first week alone 2 further Volvo/Wright's have lost SX connect livery in favour of standard livery, being 3856 (KE54LNR) and 3873 (KE57EPA). The last remaining vehicle of the batch at that time, 3860 (KE54HHF), has since been repainted but is presently on loan away from Harlow. With the Solo's not yet complete, totally unexpected was the repaint of Mercedes Citaro 3895 (BU06HSJ) from full Green Line livery to Arriva Interurban but retaining Green Line 724 branding above the windows.
Meanwhile at Trustybus a Trident/ALX400 has been noted with registration no PSU316, previously carried on a Galleon coach. This is a re-registration of LX03BVW, this being the single-doored example from the fleet.
A new type rapidly entering service with no less than 5 examples noted in service is the Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown. Former Go North East examples seen are W905RBB, W906RBB, X913WGR, X914WGR and X924WGR. Also reported acquired are W491SCU and W908RBB. Livery is all-over red.
NIBS buses put our a second Steetline on Sunday 12th June, again in white, registered MX61BCE. Also seen in recent times, and this time in the red and yellow livery and with the Niblet fleet name, Optare Solo M880SL MX08UZK
Regal's service X10 has been withdrawn as far as we can tell. This brings to an end a long history of Harlow to London coach services. Going way back Green Lines 718 and 720 and their predecessors provided regular services. These were replaced in the late 1970's by train feeder services 702 to Walthamstow and 703 to Waltham Cross. A short time afterwards the modern era of London commuter services started when the relatively new 711 Harlow to Redbridge service was extended to London. There then followed expansion, contraction, the evolution of the Stort Valley coaches network, takeover by Olympian and final 711 withdrawal. The X10 emerged from the immanent demise Olympian, but seems not to have gained enough support. Looking at the vast volume of Stansted-London coaches, you would have thought that diverting a few through Harlow was a solution just waiting to happen.
Further repaints at Arriva Harlow:
Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban 3817 (GN07AVD) was the first of its class to lose SX Connect livery in favour of standard Arriva (once known as inter-urban) livery. This was of course a logical choice to be dealt with first given that it was partially branded for route 133. Sister vehicle 3815 (GN07AVB) went directly to in full Arriva livery following both vehicles having been released from fastrack duties and livery south of the river. This was then followed by 3731 (GN54MYO), 3732 (GN54MYP) 3874 (KE57EPC) 3859 (KE54LPJ) 3857 (KE54LPC) and 3858 (KE54LPC).
As at the end of May we believe that SX Connect livery is still carried on 3 of the Volvo's, being 3856, 3860 and 3873. Network Harlow livery remains on 5 Solo's, being 1454, 1455, 1465, 1466 and 1473.
In the Arriva fleet, repaints to inter-urban livery include, significantly, Optare Versas 4198 and 4199 (YJ58PFY and YJ58RFZ). Significant because this indicates that the SX Connect livery is also being phased out in favour of Arriva standard.
Also subject to a livery change from Network Harlow colours are Optare Solos 1456 (YJ06FXV), 1457 (YJ06FXV) 1467 (KE55KTC) and 1460 (KE54OSV). This leaves just 5 vehicles remaining in Network Harlow livery, all Solo's, fleet numbers 1466, 1473, 1454, 1455 and 1465.
New-to-Harlow operator NIBS have started operations on their one vehicle per week commitment with Wright Streetlite WF/Wright MX11CZR on 11th April and then Alexander-Dennis Dart SLF/Pointer SN55DVR on 18th April.
Also a one-bus Sunday operation is of First on the 59. Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 YX13AKF was first to return the operator to the town since they lost the ECC 347 contract.
New service HSB01 from EFCT started as planned, Iveco minibus FJ10BWF inaugurating.
Meanwhile the first outing by Trustybus on route 5 was with loaned Nimbus KM51BFO mentioned last month. The recently acquired fleet of Scania/Myllenium vehicles would seem to be in the process of being re-registered. Former YR52VFH is now NNZ7336 and YR52VFM has become HXZ9926. New acquisitions are 2 further Scania Omniciti's from the same former Metrobus batch. YN53RXV and YN53RXO are in all-red at present and bring the fleet strength up to 13.
Regal Busways presented an unusual sight on the 47 on 5th April when blue Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 X263NNO performed.
At Trustybus, incoming loan vehicle KM51BFO is a Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus covering for Scania "RXF" which is under-going repair. Also noted as a new arrival is all-white dual-door Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2 KU02YTX. Finally, Optare Solo M850 V679FEL would seem to have been registered to UNZ8067. This operator now has an active website at www.trustybus.co.uk
Some significant changes to services operated by Arriva, Trustybus, and to ECC contracted services will come into effect from 10th April. See Route Changes page for details.
Noted in service locally with Arriva, presumably on loan given the Southend route branding, 3815 (GN07AVB) - Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban. Also seen is Optare Solo M950 1057 (YJ57EJN) and early low-floor Dart/Alexander ALX200 3335 (W471XKX), actually once part of the Arriva East Herts & Essex fleet serving TfL routes 397, W13 and W14. Now sporting Arriva standard livery are Solos 1458 (KE04PZG) and 1459 (KE54OSU).
THE BIG NEWS
The author of this site didn't think it would actually ever happen, but on Friday 26th February the operations of Townlink, Roadrunner and Olympian in all their various guises ended after almost 30 years of operations in the town. Gates are closed, vehicles parked away, and replacement services either in operation or set to go.
Harlow has gained a bit of a reputation due to the intensive competition that has been so long a feature, and some of the less orthodox practices that have come along with it. This author is willing to bet that:
- We haven't seen the last of those behind the former Townlink etc. operations.
- Others with an interest in providing services in the town will soon take their place and competition will continue.
Turning to vehicle news, Arriva Harlow have 2 new arrivals from with the Arriva Kent Thameside stable in the form of Optare Versas 4228 (KX62JTV) & 4232 (KX62JWG). This brings the local Versa fleet strength up to 10. 4232 entered service with Maidstone-Faversham route 333 branding. Dart/Pointer 3415 (SN54HXB), the one which had the front only painted in Arriva livery last November, leaving the sides in TGM livery, has now had the job finished. Also repainted is Mini Pointer Dart 1560 (EU56FTO); this is the one which was effectively in Roadrunner colours from its Excel Coaches days.
Meanwhile, Trustybus have now built a fleet of no less than 10 former London Scania N94UB/East Lancs Vyking Myllenium vehicles. Noted in totally are YU02GHG/GHH/GHJ/GHK/GHO & YR52VFH/VFJ/VFL/VFM/VFN, of which YR52VFH & YR52VFM have so far received the new corporate colours.
At EOS all-white Scania YN51MKZ has gone and is replaced with Transbus Trident/President LK03CEU (former Metroline TP405) in full EOS orange/black livery.
Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2 3293 (Y293TKJ) has been noted in service with Arriva Harlow.
Regal Busways have used coaches on local services of late. DAF SB4000 / Van Hool Alizee T9's YJ03PGZ and YJ03PKK noted on rural routes.
Trustybus are in the process of acquiring a fleet of for London Scania N94UB/East Lancs Vyking Myllenium vehicles. Noted so far, in London Red are: YR52VFJ, YU02GHK, YU02GHJ, YR52VFN. Also arriving with the same operator, Transbus Trident/ALX400 LX04FXL.
EOS have added to their fleet of Transbus Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus vehicles with LK03NLL and LK53FDE noted in full livery and with full white on black blinds.
Arriva have been using Optare Solo M780 YJ61JHV. The vehicle has the dark grey body and red roof livery used on NEXUS services in the North-East. At this point in time we're assuming it's temporary. Also noted, Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2 3330 (X522GGO), joining similar vehicles already in operation.
Further new vehicles noted in service with Trustybus include Scania Omnicity YN53RXR, RXU and RXZ, bringing the total fleet size up to the expected 11. Departing the fleet are Dart SLF/Pointer KX51UDG, the pink one, Dart SLF/ALX200 Y329FJN, the brown and white one, Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus MA02BLU and Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200's YX09FNG, BF58BFA and BX58BEY.
LCB have been using a silver Iveco 35C12/Excel M16 MX07LVG on their routes recently.
A further repaint to Arriva Inter-Urban livery is Dart SLF/Pointer 3417 (SN54HXD) replacing the Network Colchester TGM livery complete with Colchester route 1 branding that it has carried for years. 3415 (SN54HXB) on the other hand is operating with an Arriva Inter-Urban front whilst retaining TGM livery on the sides. Departing is VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar 2 3755 (YJ08DZE) which has been transferred to Guildford.
The new arrivals at Trustybus are beginning to see service. Reported so far are:
Scania Omnicity YN53RXF/RXG/RXH/RXJ/RXM/RXP/RXT and RXY.
Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 LX04FXV.
Transbus Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus KX03HZN, initially in London red, then quickly in to Trustybus livery.
Transbus Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus LK53FDP was noted as a short-term loan. Sister vehicle HV52WTJ is now in fleet livery.
Further vehicles on order are an additional 3 Scania Omniciti's, taking the total to 11, and 3 further Transbus Trident/ALX400's, joining the example above.
Departing are Dart SLF/Nimbus Y364HMY and Y374HMY whilst Vario MP7 (KV51KZD) and Mini Pointer Dart PDS33 (SHZ2691) have been withdrawn.
Arriva Dennis Trident/East Lancs Lolyne 5443 (T406SMV), Previously presumed departed for good, resurfaced on the Church Langley 10 service on 19th October. The 10 does have a couple of very heavily used peak journeys that divert via Passmores Acadamy and St Mark's school and this has been habitually double-deck worked for some time. Meanwhile Arriva livery has replaced TGM livery on Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Pointer 3413 (SN54HWY).
On the matter of loans, the situation has been a lot more settled of late, and we are now assuming that Dart/Pointer II's 3327/8/9 are in for the long-term, joining E200's 4062/3 and Pulsar 3755. The other vehicles mentioned as loans, including the Versa's, Steetlites and elderly MPD's have now all moved on. Our Arriva fleet list has been updated accordingly.
Over at Trustybus, Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus HV52WTJ has been seen in service. The vehicle formerly with Ensignbus, whose livery it still carries. Far more interesting, a fleet of 8 Scania Omniciti's previously used on London route 358 by Metrobus will be joining the fleet very shortly. All will be fitted with LED displays, carry a smart modified version of Trustybus livery and will retain dual doors.
The R1/R31 service is running again. It started on Monday 14th September, and we assume this is to the previous timetable at this stage. Operation is under Roadrunner (Olympus Bus and Coach) rather than Townlink control, turning around everything we said about Roadrunner in its various guises having effectively ceased as a bus operator in our August report. Having said that, this is now an unregistered operation, and so its tenure might be short.
EOS are running a former Megabus Volvo B12B/Plaxton Panther Coach. The vehicle is still in Megabus blue and has been used on peak journeys at Harlow College start/finish times.
Trustybus have been using Optare Solo M850 V679FEL.
The key news is that two operators ceased their presence in Harlow this month. Reductions in Hertfordshire County Council supported services saw off the Saturday 5/354 service through the Hunsdons and out to Puckeridge and Buntingford, and with it Uno's local involvement. Uno of course go from strength to strength elsewhere in Herts and the surrounding area. The final journeys were performed by Optare Solo 405 (YJ58PHO), preceded by former Quality Line Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200/East Lancs Esteem.
The demise of Roadrunner was another matter. The 255 (Debden to Waltham Cross) was the first to go as mentioned in our June report, the service having been a spasmodic operation since that time, but as this service was in any case duplicated by EOS 66, the only loss was for the short time until that route could be enhanced to fully compensate. It would seem that the remaining operations, principally the R1/R31 and 511/512, were latterly under the support of Townlink, the final end for the Roadrunner operations being spelt by registration of both of these services, plus the Sunday 311/312 (Waltham Cross to Hertford) by Townlink in their own right. Townlink did start the R1/R31 from 20th July, only to cease it during the day on 20th August; staff shortage and a replacement having been started by Arriva presumably driving that decision. Note that Trustybus, who had also registered a replacement, didn't in event take this up in the light of the two alternative registrations (Townlink and Arriva). Roadrunner vehicles continued with the 511, Townlink by then having cancelled it's own registration, but only until 17th August after which it too ceased. The Sunday 311/312 was seen to run on 16th August, but not on 23rd when we believe no service ran on this important corridor. Townlink's operations now focus on the same core group of routes which have been the mainstay of bus work for a few years now, being the 19/20/21 (Harlow to Brentwood), 524/A (Harlow to Hertford) and T15 (Potter Street and Brays Grove local). The Sunday 311/312 have been replaced by Trustybus who have introduced the 410 (Harlow to Waltham Cross) and 411 (Waltham Cross to Hertford) on that day from 30th August. Olympian, always operationally integrated with Roadrunner, continue with the London commuter service 741, although traveline suggests that this will be scaled back from 4 journeys between Bishops Stortford and London to 2 journeys between Harlow and London only.
The introduction of the 410 Sunday service seems to be part of a small but healthy trend and follows the start of a Sunday service on Townlink's 19 earlier this year, and the 59 not too much further back. Just outside of Harlow EOS have introduced a commercial Sunday service on route 66. With less Country Council support available, this suggests that the some economies to the 501, 541 & 240/250 would benefit all parties.
In other news, the situation with loans and acquisitions at Arriva continues. During this month, vehicles noted and not previously reported are:
Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer II's 3327 (X519GGO) 3328 (X471GGO) and 3329 (X521GGO).
Optare Versa 4213 (KX61FHN) complete with Sevenoaks area route 402 branding.
Assumed acquired for the longer-term are Optare Solos 1517 (YJ07VPY) and 1518 (YJ07VRC).
Continuing the repaint programme, Optare Solo 1453 (YJ06FXS) reappeared as the 2nd in the class to return to Arriva colours, having been repainted from Network Harlow blue.
LOTS report that Trident 5443 has left for disposal, and so it remains to be seen whether school service 901 will operate with a double deck vehicle in the coming new school term.
Leaving are three of the pre-existing Mini Pointer Darts, of which 1559 (EU56CVG) has transferred to Colchester whilst 3483 (W438YGS) and 1561 (BU51REG) are for scrap. Larger Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointers departing (some a little while since) are 1554/5 (V230/1HBH) and 3317 (S304JUA).
At EOS the number of Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus's in the fleet is now up to 4 with the arrival of HV02PDO (fleet no. 753), HV02PCY (752) and KX03HZW (754). All are in the fleet livery of orange and black. These would seem to focus on route 66 whilst on the 66A, following the short-term use of Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer SK02OKE, the regular vehicle now in operation is Scania L94UB/Wright Solar YN51MKZ. A one-off special summer operation saw Ensignbus's open-top Volvo Olympian/Alexander RH P493MBY in use on the 66A for the day on 5th August. Volvo/President X159FBB, has been returned off-hire, removing both of the type from operation, sister X158FBB being the one which suffered the low-bridge accident.
Trustybus have also taken a new type into stock, being DAF DB250/Alexander ALX400 X427FGP, once Arriva London DLA227.
The loan situation at Arriva expanded once again this month, additional vehicles noted being:
Optare Versas 4203 (YJ61CHY), 4204 (YJ61CHZ) and 4210 (YJ61CJX) from Southend.
Alexander-Dennis Enviro200 3995 (GN07DMU) from Northfleet, 4057 (GN09AXK), then 4061/2/3/5/7 (GN59FVC/D/E/G/J).
Wright Streetlite 4288 (GN14DYH) from Gillingham.
From this list, E200's 4062 and 4063 are expected to stay, as may 4058 reported as a loan last month.
New arrivals at Regal are firstly two Transbus Dart SLF/Pointers KP02PUH and KP02PVD, being former Metroline, previously Armchair, DP's 1018 and 1021. Both have been noted in all-white, retain dual doors, and have conventional blinds including a single piece front number. Also new are two Mini Pointer Darts, NA52AWF and NA52AWM.
EOS have placed Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus HV02OZX in service in fleet livery. Noted operating in all white on 7th July was Optare Solo M880 YJ59NNM, presumed to be a short-term loan.
Trustybus have also taken another Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus type into stock, this time MA02BLU, previously in service with Ensignbus whose livery it still carries. Also expected is Mercedes Vario KV51KZF.
The Arriva rebranding unexpectedly appeared on one of the former Network Harlow blue Solos, being 1474 (YJ56ATZ). New arrivals this month include elderly Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Mini Pointers 2217 (T47WUT) and 2132 (V425DGT). Also seen in service has been rather newer Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200 4058 (GN09AXM), complete with Medway Mainline branding on its Arriva National livery, which is understood be a loan.
The most recent arrival at EOS is all-white Optare Solo M880 YJ08PJX. The bus has full air conditioning. The Optare Excels (two service buses and one bought for spares) have now been removed from the fleet.
At Regal, white-liveried Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander ALX200 Y253FJN has been noted in service (2nd June). This vehicle was previously operating with Trustybus, and so this may be a loan.
ROADRUNNER. It appears that Dart/Pointer S316JUA has been acquired from the Townlink fleet, as the vehicle has been seen in regular service and now carries Roadrunner legals. Aside from that, there have been a series of unusual events of late. First was the appearance in some number of Townlink vehicles operating on Roadrunner routes during the first week of June, then on 8th June, routes R1/31 and 511/2 appeared to be being operated by Townlink with suitable labels in windows. Just 2 days later there was a complete reversal and the correct vehicles reappeared and all labels had gone. The assumption is that the Roadrunner operation is now controlled by Townlink, who have in any case now registered both services (as well as the Sunday 311/2) from July. In all this, the 255 (Waltham Cross to Debden), a service largely duplicated by EOS's 66, has been almost abandoned. The story in Harlow won't end there though, as both Trustybus and Arriva have now registered Sumners/Katherines services, numbered T1 (from 27th July) and 1 (from 17th August) respectively.
Staying at Trustybus, there are of course a number of Tridents with Plaxton President bodywork, but a recent sighting is of former Stagecoach London LX03BVW with Alexander ALX400 bodywork in all-over red. Volvo B10M-55/Alexander PS M765RAX has also been noted in all-over red, replacing Stagecoach non-London livery.
Recent new entrants to local service with Arriva are Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2 3322 (T822NMJ) carrying Southend logos, assumed to be a transfer, and rather newer VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar 2 3755 (YJ08DZE) arriving from Guildford, joining sister vehicle 3756 which arrived last month, which we understand has now left.
Roadrunner suffered the loss of Mini Pointer Dart X507WRG when it caught fire whilst in service on the 255 on 14th May.
New into service at Trustybus, no less than 3 Dennis Dart SLF/Caetano Nimbus's. Registered Y364HMY, Y366HMY and Y374HMY, all carry the blue "country" livery of former operator, Metrobus.
Recent new sightings noted on the one-bus 347 service run by Epping Forest Community Transport are VW Sprinter 513 Bluetecs LJ15FGX and LJ15FHB.
A new vehicle type at Arriva Harlow is the VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar 2, which is visually similar to the existing Volvo/Wright fleet which dominates the 509/510 service. Fleet number 3756 (YJ08DZF) is the vehicle in question, which has moved from Northfleet.
A shocking new arrival at Trustybus, Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2 KX51UDG is in all-over pink. It has been heard to be referred to locally as the Peppa Pig bus.
Noted on the Epping Forest Community Transport 347 was Volkswagen CR50TDI Crafter DX09KWO.
EOS London's new vehicles have emerged as Plaxton Primo KX58LGA in all white and Alexander-Dennis Enviro200 KX58GVC, presently on loan and in all yellow. The whole of the operational fleet now carries fleet numbers - please see the EOS page for details.
At Trustybus, new arrivals this month include 3 further Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander ALX200's Y253FJN is all white whilst Y239FJN started out in the yellow and black of Fleet Buzz. The third is Y243FJN. Like so many others operating locally, all are former Stagecoach East London vehicles.
MPD VJX3283, once X501WRG, has been withdrawn.
Tender success with HCC sees Trustybus take over the Sunday 242 (Waltham Cross to Potters Bar/Welwyn Garden City) from 29th March.
Widely reported is that Galleon Travel liveried Volvo/Plaxton President VPL149, (G11GTL, formerly X649LLX) had a low-bridge accident in Chertsey on 27th March.
Arriva have announced that it is to reintroduce itself as a local brand, Harlow now falling under the Kent Thameside operations. This will end and replace the TGM era, and it is suggested that the Network Harlow name will also be gradually eliminated. The operating license and route registrations changes have been recorded, and of course the recent intake of Versa's are in full Arriva colours. At this stage I expect that the SX Connect brand will remain for the 59 and 509/510 (and 133).
Talking of the heralding of "new" bus arrivals, the media was up to it's usual level of accuracy and competence, illustrating the announcement with an RT! Click here for the article.
Meanwhile at Trustybus, a couple of new arrivals noted:
M765RAX is a Volvo B10M-55/Alexander PS, still in Stagecoach livery and not yet seen in service.
N138YRW is a Volvo Olympian/Alexander RH, still in former owner London United livery and seen in service (since assumed to have been a loan).
EOS London have reported the acquisition of two 08-reg vehicles. More details when we hear of them.
The number of Volvo B6/Wright Crusader-2's at TGM is diminishing. With 3250 (V250HBH) having left for scrap, just 4 of the original 8 remain. These are expected to be replaced shortly. As expected replacements Optare Versa KX13DHG (4237) was seen on the Staple Tye 2/3 service on 8th January, followed on 10th by KX62JVW (4230), KX13DHK (4239) KX62JWF (4231) then KX13DHJ (4238) on 19th and finally KX13DHF (4236) on 27th. Full Arriva inter-urban livery, which might signify the start of an end to the Network Harlow blue.
Moved across from Colchester, and conveniently in SX Connect livery, Volvo/Wright 3817 (GN07AVD) has joined sister vehicles on the 509/510 from 5th January. Some of the branding from the 133 is still evident. Also in service on 5th Dart SLF/Pointer 3417 (SN54HXD) with Network Colchester Route 1 branding. This vehicle carried this insignia when operating for some time at Stansted in recent times.
At Regal, Trident/President 1402 (T122KLD) has suffered a fire. A replacement has been noted in Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 T697KPU in plain all-red livery, and this has seen service on the 391. The third of the short and slim Solo's, 203 (YJ56AOU) has followed the other two.
A third vehicle seen on the 347 with EFCT is Mercedes-Benz minibus YX03MZP.
At EOS Dart SLF 777 (W947 ETW) has been re-registered HSK177. A new arrival is a further President, this time The Trident version, and being slightly newer it carries the Transbus badge. LT02ZZV and is in full livery.
London General's 575 service to Romford, now just a one-a-day return, is regularly in the hands of Commercial Services department Scania Omnidekka 945, one time of Metrobus. This vehicle has an LED display fitted.
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