Bus Trips

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by THarris123, 17 Dec 2016.

  1. sk688

    sk688 Member

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    Hi all, not really a " bus trip " but did Hatch End to Hounslow , using one of the most circuitous routes possible , as I had to visit there on business , and got caught in horrendous traffic , and the Picaddily line failing completely , so enjoy this read of my North West - South West bus journey , which was unplanned , and done simply by reading the stop info at bus stops (a consequence of having used up mobile data )

    I begun at Hatch End , from Woodhall drive ,and took an H12 , operated by Metroline , to Harrow Weald . I was lucky to get a B5LH , although I didnt get the number


    I started at Harrow Weald bus garage , got on the 140 , operated by Metroline and Gemini 3 B5LH Hybrid , VWH 22004 , LK66DWW . Nice , quiet , but made an annoying sound as it accelerated ( like a tapping noise )

    I got off at Northolt , and onto a 90 . Also run ( terribly ) by Metroline , I had an Optare Olympus , SEL751 , LK07 BBU . This , despite being recently refurbed , was in a poor state . Engine roaring , poorly maintained inside , this was poor overall

    Got off at Hayes and Harlington , and onto H98 , operated by RATPdev London United . It was AD35 , YX62 ARZ , an E400 , which was fast clean and well maintained and I took it all the way to Hounslow

    On the way back I went differently . I caught the 222 to Uxbridge( from Hounslow ) , also RATPdev operated , on an E400 , ADE6 , YX12 FNM , an E400 . From Uxbridge I took a 607 to Ealing Broadway , using Ex First London te1743 , SN09 CFY . This was good , but the 607 is caught in horrendous traffic , and Metroline havent looked after the ( ex First ) buses well . The seats are incredibly faded , and all the purple worn out

    From Ealing Broadway , I took E10 , operated by TGM / Arriva , on EN34 , an E200 MMC , Nice but single door only . I got off at Northolt station , and took a 140 , this time LK66 EOJ , VWH2240 , to Harrow . From there I caught a H14 , operated by RATPdev Soveriegn , back home , on DE200040 , YX09 HKJ , which was a refurbished E200 , which was pleasant inside , but had very loud cooling fans ( not roaring ones , but AC ones )

    Apologies if this is dull , but hope you enjoyed this read , of Harrow to Hounslow , using some of the most circuitous routing possible

    Having said that , it was all free , so wasnt too bad , although Next time I visit Honsulow I will take the Piccadilly , far quicker , when it works

    I also realised , on my journey through West London , how dominant Metroline , and to a lesser extent , RATPdev and Abeillo are . Metroline pretty much rule West London , most of it given to them by First leaving .

    Why have Metroline been allowed to accur such a monopoly in NW London ? Arriva only have one garage ( Watford ) , which only has a few , relatively low frequency routes , RATPdev while more competitive in SW London , only have one double decker route in NW London , although they do rule the single deckers in Harrow . Stagecoach , Abeillo , Go Ahead . All these so called giants seem to avoid NW London . Why would this be ? I have limited experience of using their buses , only in Central , but does anyone know if they are better operators overall than Metroline ?
     
  2. Kuyoyo

    Kuyoyo Member

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    Few points to that:
    The part of the 17 you experienced is the long standing 17 section - the X6 route is the Ingleby Barwick area and onwards to Yarm and Eaglescliffe, baring the reduced frequency beyond Ingleby (X6 was every half hour, the 17 only runs hourly).
    The 15 extension to Ingleby Barwick in fact replaced the original 17 - when the X6 started back in 2006, it covered the areas of Ingleby presently covered by the 15, and then headed for Stockton via the then-newly-built Queen Elizabeth Way, with the Yarm route covered by the 17. The two swapped over about two years later with the 17 heading to Stockton and the X6 to Yarm and Eaglescliffe. In January 2013, the 17 group was culled back - the 17 reduced to a Middlesbrough-Thornaby service with the 15 taking its place round Ingleby Barwick (and its one-way loop means certain areas only have/had one-way links to or from parts of the estate) before the old 17B was extended to replace the X6 13 months later with the peak time X6 journeys retained as the X17 (with the 17/17B swapping numbers). Now, the short 17s serve one major part of the estate that previously only had the 15, leaving just The Rings area in the north of the estate as the only area with one-way links to Tesco.

    The 12 in Darlington is no longer an EcoCity route - since May last year, it was reduced beyond Darlington towards Middleton St George to hourly off peak (the Hurworth end remains half hourly) and added to the already interesting interworking diagram of the Bishop Auckland-Darlington routes 1/5/5a (which also includes the Darlington town service 19). Pulsars are the booked norm, EcoCitys being a rare occurance if there's any spare (there's one off the route at present as well known).

    As for the Stagecoach routes in Middlesbrough, your return from Coulby Newham will have been via Marton Road and the Marton Manor/Easterside area of the town - Stagecoach no longer serve the actual Marton area following the (somewhat controversial) withdrawal of funding for the long-standing Middlesbrough-Acklam-Coulby Newham-Marton-Middlesbrough circulars a year ago. The appearance of the MAN ALXs on that route is becoming a rare sight now - the former Enviros from the Metrocentre Shuttle are in the process of transferring to the area and are to be allocated to the route.
     
  3. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    Thanks for the clarifications. It had been some time since I'd been to Ingleby Barwick and the many changes to the routes had me a bit confused so thanks for clearing that up.

    You're right on the Marton Road/Marton Manor etc; I was being lazy by just saying Marton. Anything that passes the Blue Bell is Marton to me ;) However, I didn't appreciate that the 12 was no longer EcoCity operated. Bit of a shame and seems counterintuitive seeing those EcoCity vehicles heading to Richmond and other places rather than being local.

    Have to say that my observations on the fleet in the North East were that things were definitely in a decent place - very little old rubbish except the Cadet and I'd hope that those will be on borrowed time. The investment has been strong between 2009-2015 for Stagecoach and Arriva, hence the standardisation on e300 and Pulsar respectively.

    What has helped that age profile has been the reduction in the route network especially in Co Durham. Where Arriva and United once ran, services have been pared back so that a fairly skeletal network now exists. Instead, firms like Scarlet Band plus a raft of smaller independents have filled the void. Certainly reduces the range of the Explorer North East :(

    When I first travelled on an Explorer was in 1986 with lots of very basic LHs and Nationals; the rolling stock is better now but the services are less extensive now
     
    Last edited: 9 Apr 2017
  4. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Was surprised to see one of them Darts in Glasgow city centre today , thought they been long gone . Pretty sure the r reg ones have long gone
     
  5. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

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    Well I had a trip out today. I was originally intending to go off on the First bus depot tour of our region today, but I dreaded the thought of waking up early only to drive to meet them at 8am in Bristol. So instead I came up with a better idea - going on a very long bus ride, spending all of 5 minutes in my end destination and then heading all the way back on the same routes.

    So I started off the day on a very rattly 69446 on 8.40 126 to Weston. Luckily I had one of the best and lovely drivers in the depot, so it was a fun journey. It was quite well loaded (for once - usually when I use 8.40 126 I'm the only one on it from Wells). As it was such a stunningly beautiful day, it was easy to glance across to Glastonbury Tor and beyond with some stunning views all along the route. We met a few cyclists, which disturbed the journey, but apart from that it was fun. I then alighted at Weston and waited around for a late running 20 to Burnham at 10.10. This was in the hands of 33419. As it came into the centre of Weston, a couple of drunks thumbled off the bus, much to my and the drivers amusement. A couple of people got on at Uphill and then a stack at Brean. The Badgerline bus the depot tourers were on just passed us as we left Uphill. 33419 is by far one of the most annoying rattly buses I've been on - its lovely to ride of because of the comfort and power, but the rattles are now becoming very annoying. We past through Brean, which is still as horrid as the last time I passed through it. We arrived into Burnham just about on time and I swapped onto 69206 on 21. I couldn't tell if 69206 sounds like a tractor or a spitfire, but something certainly sounded wrong as we speeded through Bridgwater and into Taunton.

    In Taunton, I managed to meet up with the depot visiting team, and with the rest of the coach trip went to Greggs. I then headed off on the final leg of my trip and caught 13.00 28. I was planning to use this to either Watchet or Minehead. 67710 was a lovely machine to ride on, although another one which was a little rattly. By the time we had sat in traffic at Bishops Lydeard (and didn't serve the station either) we were running late. So I alighted at Watchet, as I knew due to the traffic on the way back I'd miss my connection onto 21. I walked around to the train station, purchased an ice cream had a look around for all of 5 minutes and then caught 67703 back to Taunton. As predicted, we arrived late into Taunton at 15.00. I went on my 6 monthly clothes shop and then caught the 15.52 21 (running just slightly late) out of Taunton again with 69206. We arrived into Bridgwater slightly late, after the driver had an argument with someone who parked in the bus stop at Bridgwater High Street (the driver of the car hurtling abuse and shouting at the driver, whilst she stood her ground and basically said you are illegally parked - she handled it very well).

    We then arrived back into Burnham again just slightly late and I waited for my connection back to Weston. After a 15 minute wait, 2 20s turned up heading to the holiday park. 33419 once again turned up to head to Weston, only 25 minutes late. We headed around the corner and stopped at the next stop, where an angry man got on demanding to have a free ticket as he had been waiting for a bus since 15.50 (about 2 hours). Before I could go down and say a few words, he paid over the money for a single. We packed up on passengers in Brean and dropped off a few too. We ended up in Weston only 15 minutes late, which was pretty good, although it had wrecked my plans for chips by the sea front in my half hour break. In the end I waited around for 15 minutes and caught the last 126 back to Wells at 19.00 with 69437. The driver left Weston a bit late, but we arrived early into Wells in the end. Quite a good load too. In the end it was a trip into Wetherspoons.

    Overall it was a nice trip out. I got to see some great views on all the journeys in the great weather, but the trip really was ruined by the timing on 28. The service is inadequately timed on Sundays and it would be really nice if it was timed to be able to make a connection with 21. I'm not sure whether it even fits in with connections for the railway station. It was a very long journey to do and I think if I was going to do that again, it would have to be on a Saturday with one way on the 29 and the other on 126/20/21.

    And a few obs from the day:-
    126 69446/69437
    20 33419/33569/Express yourself 56 E400
    21 69206/7/66745
    Bridgwater bus station 69012/69018
    Weston 3 44508
    Taunton depot 47542/69227/67600/44534/62238
    Bus station 44932, Streetlites in the compound
    28 67710/67703/67701/67708
    22 44923 - this one went out on 1, then came in and 44932 went out on 22
     
    Last edited: 9 Apr 2017
  6. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    The Explorer North East is now pretty much useless in rural areas, unfortunately. Gone are the days of thrashing down back lanes on a Metrorider or a Vario; the last Barney-Bish run at teatime used to give Alton Towers a run for its money, and the Consett-Hexham wasn't far behind. The independents don't accept the Explorer and, even if they did, the frequencies are shot to pieces. It's a real shame.

    As for the lack of old rubbish, that's more about the build quality of modern buses, much as people moan about modern buses being lightweight. Stagecoach's ALX300s are 14 years old now but they don't feel it. Teenage Nationals didn't feel that nice.
     
  7. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Established Member

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    There are still some decent runs, not least the Bellingham service that has come into the scope. I did the Hexham to Consett service on an MPD a few years back and what a trip that was.

    You're absolutely right. People do get misty eyed about the past but stuff like an ALX300 or an Omnicity is much, much better than the 10 year old Nationals that featured on my first Explorer trip many moons ago!
     
  8. Strathclyder

    Strathclyder Established Member

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    Was it on the 240 when you saw it? Rare as hen's teeth on any of the Glasgow-Lanarkshire services these days, with them usually being kept on Hamilton/Motherwell locals 99% of the time. They can still very rarely slip back into the city centre on the 240 et.al if the need arises, however.

    The last of the R-reg Darts have long since departed active service, the last pair (R637 DUS (40819)/R638 DUS (40820)) lasting until August 2014, with the latter entering preservation in October the same year upon withdrawal.
     
    Last edited: 11 Apr 2017
  9. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

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    I've changed this trip now. I'm heading to Cornwall for a few days in the first week and then will be heading up to Manchester on Saturday 17th/Sunday 18th June and will be doing the rest of my plan above for that week.

    If anyone wants to join me, please let me know.
     
  10. THarris123

    THarris123 Established Member

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    Please can the admins who have moved this thread please move it back under the "Buses and Coaches" section of the forum.
     

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