London September 13th 2009:
Dublinbusstuff found itself in London on the 13th September just for a few hours. The 13th, being unlucky for some, turned out its best punches at me as I found out as the day progressed that my camera doesn't like to focus on red. Out of over 50 photos I took in the short time I was in London, maybe 10 were even reasonable and you will see as the article progresses that my idea of reasonable is quite lenient.
Metroline's Alexander Dennis Enviro400 TE676 is seen on The Strand heading for Trafalgar Square on Route 91 on the 13th September 2009.
Only a bad workman blames his tools, and I'm not the most proficient in the art of photography but I was dissapointed with my day's spoils. However I can't recommend London more. It is a fascinating city, upon turning most corners you see some place familar, a hangover from all those days of watching British television I suppose. Such a place that I stumbled upon was the High Court and First London's Alexander Dennis Trident TNA33367 of 2003 vintage operates Route 23, a previous haunt of Routemasters up to 2003.
TNA33367 passes the High Court on Route 23 to Liverpool Street on the 13th September 2009.
The final day of Routemaster operation was on the 9th December 2005 due to the need to make the fleet fully accessible. However Routemasters never left the streets of London due to much media courage discouraging the icon's removal. Transport for London decided to keep two Routemaster routes, albeit short workings of existing services, augmenting rather than operating the scheduled route. These Routes are the 9H ( Royal Albert Hall to Aldwych - operated by First London) and 15H (Trafalgar Square to Tower Hill - operated by East London). These routes however just display the numbers 9 and 15 with the correct short destination listed, though the correct H number does appear on bus tickets issued.
RM2089 loads on The Strand with Trafalgar Square in the background for its departure to Tower Hill on Route 15H on the 13th September 2009.
The Routemaster is a welcomed site for the bus enthusiast trying to look inconspicuous. They attract so much attention especially by way of tourists photographing them continuously.
The 172 might be gone from Dublin's Streets but its still going strong in London, running every 7-10mins during the day. London General's PVL59 passes St. Paul's Cathedral on its way to Brokley Rise. The bus is even equipped with passengers, and its not a farewell run or anything.... London and Dublin are really poles apart.
Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL PVL59 passes St. Paul's Cathedral on Route 172 on the 13th September 2009.
Dublin's AW class articulated "bendy" buses have not been a great success. Spending much of their time on peak hour Euro duties, followed by an unsuccessful period of Route 10 with their current home of Route 4 being more suitable. However they are still not a mainstay of the city fleet and you would hardly see one at the weekends.
However it is London where you'll find true loathing for the bendy buses. One of the main policies of their recent elected Mayor Boris Johnson was to remove them from London's congested streets and many now believe that this is not being done fast enough. The buses have had unprecedented press attention and are a prime conversation piece on many an episode of Top Gear. Though who said "no publicity is bad publicity" however these buses really are on borrowed time.
Route 507 was the first to be relieved of bendy bus operation and it is in Victoria Station that Mercedes Citaro single-deck MEC32 awaits its departure to Waterloo Station on Sunday 13th September 2009.
Go Ahead London's Mercedes Citaro MEC32 at Victoria Station operating Route 507 to Waterloo on 13th September 2009.
However all but two of the original 11 bendy bus routes are still operated by the type with the projected withdrawal of the type set for end 2011. One such route still operated is the 12 from Oxford Circus to Dulwich Library. Mercedes Citaro articulated bus MAL75 is awaiting its time on Northumberland Avenue.
London Central's MAL75 operating Route 12 to Dulwich Library on the 13th September 2009.
London also has a busy Tour Bus market. Arriva London market themselves as "The Original Tour" and operate three routes encompassing all of Central London's most popular sites. However a 24hour ticket on these services will set you back a steep £24stg (about €26 with todays deflating sterling price). However it was still something I wished I had of had time to do. Maybe some other time with another camera.
Arriva London's open-top Plaxton President DLP205 was caught operating the Red Sightseeing Route T2 past St. Paul's Cathedral.
Arriva London's Plaxton President Bodied DAF SB250 DLP205 is operating Sightseeing Route T2 on the 13th September 2009.
Finally after an amount of settings screens I figured out that the auto-focus was just not going to work on red. Manually focus was used with its inherent problems in city bus photography. However results were slightly more favorable though the fading light meant most of the shots had the quintessential Dublinbusstuff fuzz.
Stagecoach East London's No. 17925 Dennis Trident with Alexander ALX400 bodywork is seen at Tower Hill awaiting its short working to Oxford Circus on the 13th September 2009.
First London's Plaxton President bodied Dennis Trident is approaching is unloading its final passengers on Minories before pulling into its terminal at Aldgate on the 13th September 2009.
Finally London now has an expanding fleet of Hybrid Double-Deckers. One route operated by them is Route 24 (Pimlico to Hampsted Heath). London General's Alexander Dennis Enviro400 Bybrid EH3 is seen having arrived at its terminus in Pimlico. It was one of only a couple of hydrids on Route 24 that Sunday.
EH3 awaits its departure from Pimlico on the 13th September 2009.
Interestingly directly across from its terminus is the famour Battersea Power Station. A group of Irish developers have purchased the site and surrounding land and have significant development ideas consituting what will be a city within a city. Whatever happens it is quite an impressive building, well shell of a building I suppose now.
Battersea Power Station as viewed directly opposite Route 24's Pimlico Terminus.