13/02/2014

2nd Year: Political Pawns.

 Year 2 

The WLTMTB has ticked on two years since a pigeon was hit by a train, but since then, the blog has gathered a team twice, and one notable, controversial bus has arrived on the London scene. It has many names: NBfL, Wright Streetmaster, Borismaster, New Routemaster etc. But the bus, introduced on 27th February 2012 on Route 38 as extras, has since spread to the 24, 11, 9, 390 and 148. It will also end up on the 10 and 8 later on this year. But as this bus spreads, due to 608 being ordered initially so far, it is a common sight on London's roads. As an icon per advertised, that remains to be seen...

Arriva London LT2 on Route 38 (X), 16/03/12
The first route to be partly converted, LT1, 2, 3 and 8 have since gone on tour around the world to promote Britain. These prototype NBfLs are heavier than their production counterparts.

 Arriva London LT4 (LTZ1004) on Route 38, Victoria
Since then, the special 'LTZ1xxx' number plates were applied across the LT fleet.
Arriva LT4 on Route 38, 04/01/14 

The first production vehicles rolled off the line at Wrightbus, Northern Ireland and soon, enough was gathered to convert the first route, 24, with detrimental consequences on reliability for the rest of the 22nd June.

The first LT working. Metroline LT32 on working HT414, Route 24, 22/06/13
Metroline LT32 on Route 24, Trafalgar Square, 22/06/12
This was the first ever NBfL on the 24, running with an 8 man crew and 20 minutes late. The rest of the service was about 20 minutes late, and the Hampstead Heath stand was known for overcrowding.

Metroline LT110 on Route 24, Trafalgar Square
Metroline LT110 on Route 24, Trafalgar Square, 04/12/13
Since then, Route 390 gained NBfLs and its buses are commonly used on the 24 as the fleets at HT are intermixed.

Then came the 11, which to this day is the only NBfL operated route crewed on weekends, which converted on 21/09/13, weirdly in stages:

London General LT42 on Route 11, Aldwych (broken down)
London General LT42 on Route 11, Aldwych, 21/09/13
This was the first crewed eastbound bus doing the full route. Or was supposed to, as the front right headlamp came loose (or rather broke). This rendered the bus out of service, but it was all smiles on the return back after it turned around.
Au, Josh, Tom and Lewis covered this

London General LT48 on Route 11, Sloane Square
London General LT48 on Route 11, Sloane Square, 02/02/14
The route has since settled down on NBfLs fully, after the infamous crash at Chelsea of LT62 being notable.

Then came the 9, probably the most predictable conversion, except for that it was known to be only crewed Monday-Friday daytimes. From the first bus running a few minutes late, the rest of the route ran on time. It converted on 26/10/13:

London United LT80 (LTZ1080) on Route 9, Hammersmith
London United LT80 on Route 9, Hammersmith, 26/10/14
This was the first working, again. However, it was the second round trip it was starting, and it curtailed at Trafalgar Square as it was one bus late. LT72 was pegging behind for most of the first trip.
The posts were in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2

London United LT150 on Route 9, Charing Cross
London United LT150 on Route 9, Charing Cross, 08/02/14
2014 is the Year of the Bus, and TfL decided to put a silver/chrome livery on LT150, a bus intended for the 10. It is temporarily allocated on the 9 until the rest of the batch converts the 10 in April.

The second Metroline conversion arrived on 07/12/13, with 390 from Holloway:

Metroline LT111 (LTZ1111) on Route 390, Marble Arch :D
Metroline LT111 on Route 390, Marble Arch, 07/12/13
111 being Au's lucky/favourite number (due to associated route), when LT111 popped up, it was lucky coincidence. Metroline decided to make the Comfort DelGro logo white for these buses, and subsequent new refurbishments/purchases. These buses are intermixed with those on the 24.
Au, Josh and Tom covered this

Metroline LT99 on Route 390, Notting Hill Gate
Metroline LT99 on Route 390, Notting Hill Gate, 09/02/14
Since then, the route has settled down with a mix of both it's own and 24's NBfLs.

The 148 hasn't converted officially yet, but due to the Tube Strike and early introductions, NBfLs are on the 148 already:

London United LT144 on Route 148, Marble Arch
London United LT144 on Route 148, Marble Arch, 05/02/14
Running as a Tube Strike extra, this bus was understandably impossible to get on and packed with people. It is due to convert on the 15th February. On a day where any bus was useful, NBfLs on the 148 would've been a sigh of relief as they were extra buses. Unless they were full

London United LT127 on Route 148, Shepherd's Bush Station
London United LT127 on Route 148, Shepherd's Bush Station, 12/02/14
Is the route a staged conversion instead? Instead of the Tube Strike again hitting London where it hurts most, it was called off but NBfLs found the route again.
There will be a post covering the 148 NBfL conversion, once the official date has gone past.

So it's a second year of WLTMTB. Or West London Time Masters Transport Blog, rather. Named after a novel concept which is being written as a novel. Thanks to all who have seen & spread the word of the blog and all the members who have helped WLTMTB become what it is today. It has since become a blog covering not just London any more, but Berkshire too.
Which leads to the WLTMTB wishing all a safe year ahead.

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