Thursday 13 November 2014

London Travels

Last Thursday I achieved what might turn out to be quite a unique achievement. I managed to get from Rochester in Kent to Newcastle in Geordieland by public transport for nothing. Yes nothing. Originally it was going to cost me £1 on Megabus but after a truly awful journey up they kindly refunded my quid. However, before that nightmare began I had to get up to London. That meant an Arriva B7tl ALX400 to Bluewater (who thought lime green would be a decent interior colour), and then the 96 to Woolwich on one of Dartford garage's 09 reg Scania Omni City Deckers (is that right, Sam?).

Stagecoach 15067 Scania Omni City Decker LX09 AEN at Bluewater in August
I was intending to catch another of the impressive 14 reg Volvo B5 hybrids operating on the 53 from Woolwich to Whitehall, but instead got quite a surprise when a brand new 64 reg AD E400 Hybrid turned up. Since I'm always willing to give chance after chance I boarded, got in the comfortable front seat upstairs and waited with baited breath. Now first things first I still think in 6 months it will be rattling like anything, but not just yet. In fact it was probably the nicest ride I've had on an E400 and the most impressive part was the electric motor. Instead of getting you to 6mph then losing all momentum while the diesel engine cuts in, as those ghastly Volvo 9700's do, the E400 gets you to I would estimate around the 15 - 17mph mark and the transition to diesel is seemless.  I have to say I liked it a lot. Unfortunately the pic I took didn't come out as desired so here is one taken by Eddie on Flickr, whose photostream you can access here.

Stagecoach Selkent 12343 AD E400 Hybrid SN64 OGS   pic by Eddie
Then another surprise. I noticed some Borismasters on the 453, which runs parallel to the 53 between Depford and Whitehall before continuing to Marylebone. Whats more they were new Borismasters judging from the numbers so I got off on the Old Kent Road, and waited for one to arrive, which also gave a decent photo op for other things.

A shiny new Borismaster LT302 LTZ1302 on the 453 to Depford Bridge
Just because I know someone who is a Gemini fan here is what was behind my E400 on the 53's

Stagecoach 13019 Volvo B5 Hybrid BJ14 KSX on the Old Kent Rd
 And then my chariot arrived in the form of LT293. I'll be honest and say I have no idea exactly how long it has been on the road but my guess is not long as it was silent. The performance seemed better than the early vehicles, with really fast acceleration, and had someone told me my coach had broken down and the Borismaster was extending to Newcastle I would not have been disappointed. They are, without doubt my favourite modern double decker.

LT293 on the 453 to Marylebone
Once in Central London two more photo ops presented themselves. First of all the Borismaster has proved extremely suitable for all over ads, but until now most of them have eluded me. Then, in Buckingham Palace Rd, I spied this rather fetching example, and just managed to avoid getting run over while taking the pic.

LT54 showing off its YouTube ad in Buckingham Palace Rd
But I've saved the best till last. A couple of weeks ago one of my fellow bloggers posted what had to be the cheesiest pic of the year showing an E400 against the backdrop of the London Eye. What an amateur! I defy anyone to get more cheesy than this one I took last week of a Borismaster against the backdrop of St Stephen's Clock Tower (Big Ben is the bell, not the tower). Not only that but on the hour too. Beat that!

LT105 in Parliament Square at erm 2pm!


  1. Hi Steve, Excellent blog as always. Glad i'm not the only one who's a fan of the Borismaster.

    1. Thanks David. Yes I'm a fan and wish we had some around here to be honest.

  2. The 96 in run from Plumstead (PD) garage,

    1. Thanks Richard - I'm about 20 years out of date!

  3. Thanks Arun - I get a lot of pageviews from Croatia and it's good to know there are people out there interested in what i write.

  4. Wonderful blog & good post! I am really impressed, thanks for sharing..