First West of England (Bristol, Bath & The West)

Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
36
Location
Shepton Mallet
Saw an unvinyled MendipXplorer Enviro 400 in Wells depot yesterday that wasn’t SN14 TSU whilst driving past. From what I could see one of the blue lines instead of being straight like it’s meant to be was very wonky and got thicker as it got closer to the back and it looked very odd indeed. I think it might have TSV, TRZ or TSZ. But remember I was driving past so I may have seen something wrong but it definitely did not look straight
 

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
14,325
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
Surprised to see 42955 go. Thought it had a bit of life left in it.
It's a fourteen year old Dart and it's a feature of that type that some younger ones tend to go early whilst older ones are more durable. Stagecoach have sold quite a few 55 plates whilst 53/04 plates still trundle about.

Interestingly, 44908/9 have moved on to First Eastern Counties at Ipswich. So another new OpCo for the most itinerant batch of vehicles (44905-21) going.
 

Private Baxter

Established Member
Joined
22 Sep 2013
Messages
1,497
It's a fourteen year old Dart and it's a feature of that type that some younger ones tend to go early whilst older ones are more durable. Stagecoach have sold quite a few 55 plates whilst 53/04 plates still trundle about.

Interestingly, 44908/9 have moved on to First Eastern Counties at Ipswich. So another new OpCo for the most itinerant batch of vehicles (44905-21) going.
You're right about the darts in general, though a lot of what is being withdrawn atm, ie 54/55 reg B7RLEs and 05reg darts, i had always thought had a bit more life left in them, as I'm sure some do. Of the original darts, 46225 (L225 VHU) was the survivor of that batch, whilst others succumbed far earlier, though I'm afraid I dont really have dates.

As for the e200s, yes, some of the most travelled in the country no doubt. So much so that I have completely lost track!
Think 37772 was out yesterday. 33943 was definitely out yesterday as it passed a rather tired cyclist (i.e. me) up Bristol Hill and going at a fair pace (unlike me :D )
Good effort with the cycling! I've never done that stretch (nor ever will!) :D
 

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
14,325
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
Give over! :lol:

I'd love to get out on my bike but every time I go to do it anxiety kicks in and I just get the train instead!
I was always keen on the bike pre Lockdown. It's great for my mental and physical wellbeing, and when lockdown was at its greatest, it was the only way to really escape the shackles of the house.

I can only wait for the day when non-essential bus travel is allowed - little did I realise that a trip on a First Worcester Streetlite at the end of February would be my last for so long.
 

D2007wsm

Member
Joined
26 Jul 2015
Messages
1,119
I was always keen on the bike pre Lockdown. It's great for my mental and physical wellbeing, and when lockdown was at its greatest, it was the only way to really escape the shackles of the house.

I can only wait for the day when non-essential bus travel is allowed - little did I realise that a trip on a First Worcester Streetlite at the end of February would be my last for so long.
I wouldn’t mind the Worcester bit, but as for the Street****e nah lol. I know the drivers don’t like driving them, but I don’t like travelling on them. It’s probably because 99% of the time I travel on an E400. They seem cramped and the emergency door never stops rattling. There one redeaming grace is they do tend to he warm in the winter. For some reason, probably because of the curved ceiling and the single strip of lights along the middle they remind me of a tube train.
 

Tommy Walters

Member
Joined
9 Nov 2017
Messages
415
Location
Bath, Siena, Stuttgart
I wouldn’t mind the Worcester bit, but as for the Street****e nah lol. I know the drivers don’t like driving them, but I don’t like travelling on them. It’s probably because 99% of the time I travel on an E400. They seem cramped and the emergency door never stops rattling. There one redeaming grace is they do tend to he warm in the winter. For some reason, probably because of the curved ceiling and the single strip of lights along the middle they remind me of a tube train.
It's the jerking that gets me, particularly on the brakes! I think that's the pet hate of most drivers as well!
 

D2007wsm

Member
Joined
26 Jul 2015
Messages
1,119
I haven’t noticed that, haven’t been on for a while when an E400 had a faulty destination screen and a Streetlite was brought out as a replacement.

You hear the Weston drivers whinging they don’t like them just because they’re sh@&e hence the nickname, but not specifically about the gearboxes. I think Weston had Voith out to sort them when they first arrived.

I think Weston have far more issues with the E400s now than these.
 

CD

Member
Joined
22 Jun 2014
Messages
798
Location
34004
I was always keen on the bike pre Lockdown. It's great for my mental and physical wellbeing, and when lockdown was at its greatest, it was the only way to really escape the shackles of the house.

I can only wait for the day when non-essential bus travel is allowed - little did I realise that a trip on a First Worcester Streetlite at the end of February would be my last for so long.
From this Saturday 4th July First Dorset are starting running the open top 501 service. Kernow start their Coasters on 13th July.
As these are tourist services and therefore non-essential I would say the " essential travel only " instruction is dead and buried.
 

Buses in Bath

Member
Joined
16 Feb 2020
Messages
119
Location
Weston, Bath
From this Saturday 4th July First Dorset are starting running the open top 501 service. Kernow start their Coasters on 13th July.
As these are tourist services and therefore non-essential I would say the " essential travel only " instruction is dead and buried.
Yes I think you're correct about the essential travels only message. Especially when you read the articles First have now put on their website for the service increases. However I'm still probably not going to go 'joyriding' for a while but I will start to use buses to go and see people and other purposeful things.
 

carlberry

Established Member
Joined
19 Dec 2014
Messages
2,312
From this Saturday 4th July First Dorset are starting running the open top 501 service. Kernow start their Coasters on 13th July.
As these are tourist services and therefore non-essential I would say the " essential travel only " instruction is dead and buried.
The government message in connection with the 4th July pub fest did change slightly to 'avoid public transport if possible'.
 

Streamr_MXP

Member
Joined
4 Jan 2020
Messages
62
Location
Paulton
I don't mind the Micro-Hybrid ones (the 14 & 64 plates). They are a little more nippy! It was the 13 plate Streetlite Maxes that were awful!
I'll have to agree with you on that, although I did have SM13 NBJ, 63076 whilst it was at Wells in its final days with First West of England. It didn't want to hang about, it flew along!

As for whoever mentioned about Enviro 400s being more unreliable than Streetlites, I definitely agree. Wells & Bath's mechanics are working endlessly to keep both the 12 plates and 14 plates on the road. At one point a few weeks back, a Streetdeck (35115) was sent out to replace an Enviro, and that is quite embarrassing for whoever said the Streetdecks were "hopelessly unreliable", considering the Streetdeck didn't have an issue, whilst working on routes 172, 173 and 174. 36232/3 have been also loan, both of which did break down, 36233 broke down because of a flat battery, I'm not sure about the 36232, though I do presume it was similar, as the batteries in those Gemini 2s are in need of replacement.
 

Whiteway215

Established Member
Joined
15 Sep 2015
Messages
1,357
Location
Bath
Light hearted comment / question. It wasn’t that long ago the likes of 30877 320xx and 322xx were sent to Wells to help out. Were the likes of these ’hopelessly unreliable’ or did these keep breaking down?
 

Streamr_MXP

Member
Joined
4 Jan 2020
Messages
62
Location
Paulton
Light hearted comment / question. It wasn’t that long ago the likes of 30877 320xx and 322xx were sent to Wells to help out. Were the likes of these ’hopelessly unreliable’ or did these keep breaking down?
They did alright, I don't recall any B7tls (other than 32688, 32669 & 32673) breaking down. B7tls did really well at Wells most of the time, especially the ALX400 bodied ones. The odd bus was slow and had a loud cooling fan, but overall, they weren't bad buses.
 
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
36
Location
Shepton Mallet
I wouldn’t say the 12 plates are that unreliable, they suit the 376 well. Each one has their own problems and faults. 33660 is currently off the road for whatever reason, 33660 is my favourite out of all the 12 plates as it has a loud screaming turbo and a nice engine whine. 33661 is just a standard Enviro and it picks up speed well. 33662 is really nice although does sound like it has a slight air release problem. 33664 has a nice turbo and is quite quick although it broke down Monday. 33665 is a good bus, never really has had problems. 33666 has recently became very slow but is now speeding up slowly again. 33667 is a nice one. 33754 I have never been on so cant comment on that one. 33658 is a nice one, not many problems. 33659 has been very slow recently and has had problems. The 14 plates are definitely worse, it’s clear they are used to city work. 33836 is slow, rattly and has awful suspension. 33835 I caught when it was on loan and it was slow, rattly and awful suspension. 33831 was the same. There is a reoccurring pattern here. Personally I think the Volvo B9TLs should stay at Wells.

Onto current Wells loans:
Due to a few essential journeys I have had the chance to catch a few of the Unibus MMCs. 33943 I have had a couple of times and it’s quite slow although it’s a comfortable ride. 33945 is very quick and excellent up hills and finally 33950 is quite slow and very rattly on the lower deck near the back.

please note all experiences on all buses are from a passenger experience, I’m not a driver so I can’t comment on the driving experience of the buses.
 

-Colly405-

Member
Joined
25 May 2018
Messages
305
Location
Stoke Gifford
A1 and A3 suspended until January.

 

TheGrandWazoo

Veteran Member
Joined
18 Feb 2013
Messages
14,325
Location
Somerset with international travel (e.g. across th
The Streetdecks were sadly not up to the task of running the 376 with its mix of city running, high speed country running and a few long climbs out of Pensford/Farrington or Bristol Hill (and some other still taxing though less severe such as out of Chewton Mendip). Seems that the Streetdeck just doesn't like that mix and is better suited to town work. The e400s are fine for the routes at least for a couple of years. ADL e400s manage everywhere else in the country with fleets of them running for First, Stagecoach and Arriva though perhaps the odd one will be a little temperamental after a few years.

It's the same with the B9s - generally good though a couple of those have a bit of downtime since they headed to Wells but in a couple of years, they will be like 32669 et al and hanging on being 14 years old. As for the ex Leeds B9s, I've been on a couple (can't recall which ones) but they seemed quite sluggish. Still, reading all the Leeds area adverts inside (6 months after transfer) took my mind off it. It's notable that they've been happy to send ex Leeds ones to Wells but not use them on the X39 where the native ones and the ex Bolton examples were usually there prior to the Scanias.

I would make a caveat about the 14 plate e400s and it's not simply because they've been on city work so they can't cope with fresh air. You've had vehicles that have been on loan to Diamond. They weren't going to spend big money on repairs for vehicles that weren't going to be theirs in the long run. In fact, they had major problems getting ADL parts so you may well be seeing the product of a backlog of defects. Not defects that would lead to a PG9 but a culture of make do and mend meaning that they did enough to get them out legally and not much more.

Of the B7TLs that went on loan, it's not very representative that just because a vehicle was down there for a week and it didn't break down that they were somehow more reliable. As we saw when they had the three permanently, they too were often poorly; not surprising for 14 year old vehicles!

It's the jerking that gets me, particularly on the brakes! I think that's the pet hate of most drivers as well!
That'll be down to the really strong retarder on them.
I myself don't mind Streetlites, they sound great though are a little on the slow side, and are terribly unreliable.
I think Weston had Voith out to sort them when they first arrived.
As with all things, Streetlites bother some people. The issues with brakes snatching is reported quite a bit though some of that is also down to the driver.

I've been on plenty of Streetlites and aside from a Rotala one in limp mode, I've not experienced a mechanical issue on any of them. I don't see them forever parked up on the roadside being attended to either, unlike the older B7RLEs that in summer 2018 were dropping like flies. The concern that FWoE had with them was as they exited warranty, a concern about how they might fare in middle age so hence sending them off to Scotland, Leicester, Wales etc.

There are undoubted issues and the gearbox mapping is one. Remember a 475** one of Bath depot on the 37 round Kelston and it was up and down (the gears) like a bride's nighty. However, Weston have seemed to sort theirs (and Hengrove too) and remember travelling on another 475** of Weston on the X5 and it was fine up and around Portishead and Gordano Valley. The ride quality is an issue as its not a heavyweight so you will feel more than an Eclipse. Generally, the construction isn't bad but I agree with @D2007wsm about the emergency door handle. A design problem that just wasn't sorted. Otherwise, they're quite light and airy but the ride is a problem, especially the shorter versions.
 
Joined
1 Mar 2020
Messages
36
Location
Shepton Mallet
The Streetdecks were sadly not up to the task of running the 376 with its mix of city running, high speed country running and a few long climbs out of Pensford/Farrington or Bristol Hill (and some other still taxing though less severe such as out of Chewton Mendip). Seems that the Streetdeck just doesn't like that mix and is better suited to town work. The e400s are fine for the routes at least for a couple of years. ADL e400s manage everywhere else in the country with fleets of them running for First, Stagecoach and Arriva though perhaps the odd one will be a little temperamental after a few years.

It's the same with the B9s - generally good though a couple of those have a bit of downtime since they headed to Wells but in a couple of years, they will be like 32669 et al and hanging on being 14 years old. As for the ex Leeds B9s, I've been on a couple (can't recall which ones) but they seemed quite sluggish. Still, reading all the Leeds area adverts inside (6 months after transfer) took my mind off it. It's notable that they've been happy to send ex Leeds ones to Wells but not use them on the X39 where the native ones and the ex Bolton examples were usually there prior to the Scanias.

I would make a caveat about the 14 plate e400s and it's not simply because they've been on city work so they can't cope with fresh air. You've had vehicles that have been on loan to Diamond. They weren't going to spend big money on repairs for vehicles that weren't going to be theirs in the long run. In fact, they had major problems getting ADL parts so you may well be seeing the product of a backlog of defects. Not defects that would lead to a PG9 but a culture of make do and mend meaning that they did enough to get them out legally and not much more.

Of the B7TLs that went on loan, it's not very representative that just because a vehicle was down there for a week and it didn't break down that they were somehow more reliable. As we saw when they had the three permanently, they too were often poorly; not surprising for 14 year old vehicles!





As with all things, Streetlites bother some people. The issues with brakes snatching is reported quite a bit though some of that is also down to the driver.

I've been on plenty of Streetlites and aside from a Rotala one in limp mode, I've not experienced a mechanical issue on any of them. I don't see them forever parked up on the roadside being attended to either, unlike the older B7RLEs that in summer 2018 were dropping like flies. The concern that FWoE had with them was as they exited warranty, a concern about how they might fare in middle age so hence sending them off to Scotland, Leicester, Wales etc.

There are undoubted issues and the gearbox mapping is one. Remember a 475** one of Bath depot on the 37 round Kelston and it was up and down (the gears) like a bride's nighty. However, Weston have seemed to sort theirs (and Hengrove too) and remember travelling on another 475** of Weston on the X5 and it was fine up and around Portishead and Gordano Valley. The ride quality is an issue as its not a heavyweight so you will feel more than an Eclipse. Generally, the construction isn't bad but I agree with @D2007wsm about the emergency door handle. A design problem that just wasn't sorted. Otherwise, they're quite light and airy but the ride is a problem, especially the shorter versions.
It would be better in my opinion if the Ex Leeds b9tls come to Wells, due to their power (even though some are quite sluggish) and their reliability. The 14 plate Enviro 400s would do ok in Bath on the town routes.
 

Top