Wednesday 19 August 2015

E I E I Ooooooh!

I had to go down to Sussex yesterday for yet another eye check up, and to say I had a day of contrasting buses is an understatement. I got my usual Borismaster fix - have I mentioned I rather like them - but also tried out two of the more unique vehicles running around in London.

However before we get to that I have an apology to make. I would like to make a full and public apology to all Plaxton Presidents, E400's, E200's, and any other vehicle I have criticised for being uncomfortable or rattly this year. Compared to the Metrobus Scania Omnidekka I had the misfortune to travel on yesterday you are all quiet, smooth, comfortable and a joy to travel on. There are not enough negative words in the english language to adequately desribe how awful this Omnidekka was. Suffice it to say that was arguably my worst bus journey this millenium. I expect it will be transferred to East Anglia soon! On that subject Robert Apppleton has sent me some pics of the ex Metrobus Omnidekkas now at Chambers and Hedingham and I'll be posting them tomorrow.

Metrobus Scania Omnidekka YN53 RYV on the 281 at Stone Quarry, East Grinstead
So let's move on to nicer things. Last year I rode and reviewed the Chinese built Build Your Dreams electric buses on trial in London, operating on the 507 between Waterloo and Victoria. My views weren't exactly glowing (see here). Yesterday I luckily, thanks to the proficiency of my hospital, had a couple of bours to kill in London and lo and behold waiting at Vicroria was one of the Iriza elecric buses currently on trial at the same garage and on the same route. An opportunity not to be missed.

EI1 Irizar I2e electric YP15 NLM bus at Victoria Station
If the bus is rare to have a chat with a London bus driver is even rarer! However the chap driving was extremely friendly and told me straightaway the Irizar was in a different league to the BYD and much more pleasant to drive. He was right. In fact the Irizar is everything the BYD wasn't. It is very quiet, except for a noise that I think was coming from the back axle when cruising. However I'm being a little churlish. Unlike hybrids when the electric motor cuts out at bus stops or traffic lights there is no judder. The bus pulls away silently, quickly and smoothly with no pause or judder when the motor cuts back in. It sounds rather like a very quiet tube train and I loved it. Don't be surprised to see more of these coming to London soon.

At Waterloo Station
A rather blurred interior shot - apologies
The rear view
I must apologised for the quality of some of the pics - it was not good light yesterday and despite some tinkering this is the best I can get! Anyway I walked onto Waterloo Bridge to head in the general direction of Liverpool St and realised that the RV1 stopped at the same stop. I have absolutely no idea what RV stands for, unless it's River, as the route runs from Covent Garden to Tower Gateway in Docklands. The reason I was pleased to have stumbled on the route was that earlier in the day en route from Liverpool St to Victoria I had spotted a hydrogen bus on the RV1, and as luck would have it the first RV1 to turn up on Waterloo Bridge was the very bus. LJ13 JZO is a Wright Pulsar bodied Hydrogen bus that has actually been around a couple of years now.

Tower Transit WSH 62998 Hydrogen bus LJ13 JZO on Waterloo Bridge
 Like the Irizar this bus is very quiet, although in my short journey I didn't find it as smooth. However, to be fair I was standing up not sitting as it was packed. There was time to notice, though, that the acceleration was very impressive. I think a longer ride is needed to really compare it fairly, but I simply can't understand why the emissions obsessed TfL haven't gone further down the hydrgen/gas bus road. However it was good to get on both those rare buses in the space of an hour.
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At Covent Garden
The rear view
Incidentally I have no idea what WSH in the fleet number stands for. I'm guessing Wright something Hydrogen but who knows. I saw a Metroline E400 yesterday that had the letters TEH in front of the fleet number. I'm assuming they don't stand for Terrible Envro Heap..........


  1. Andrew Kleissner20 August 2015 at 09:33

    TE is a standard Enviro 400 (don't know what the "T" stands for!)
    TEH is an Enviro 400 Hybrid.

  2. Thanks Andrew, I had guessed that although I prefer my version to be honest! I'm also reliably informed by Adam the the T stands for Trident so we have Trident Enviro Hybrid. Not quite as catchy although equally as factually correct!

  3. Andrew Kleissner20 August 2015 at 15:02

    Very little to do with the above: but there was a Routemaster in First's Ipswich depot at 1pm today, being prepared for a wedding. Unfortunately I didn't spot its number, but it had "First" destination blinds, so it was presumably one of theirs.

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