Two months on, rather a lot has been going on, so we'll start with the not so South Westerly news:
With the Low Emission Zone rules that come in to Oxford back in January, the 20 Dennis Trident / Alexander ALX400's that were delivered back in 1999 for the Park & Ride were imminently withdrawn as they're Euro 2 engined. To cover for these, Go-Ahead Oxford have loaned several of Go South Coast's (Southern Vectis , Morebus and Salisbury Reds) Alexander Dennis E40D's until new vehicles are delivered for Brookes Bus contracts later this year.
|Southern Vectis E40D HW63FHA in Oxford thanks to Elliott Farrell|
After the Dennis Trident's withdrawal, all of them (except the two which were at Thames Travel from much earlier on) were laid up at a compound in Oxford. One extra I believe has gone to Thames Travel, and some others went to Carousel Buses, presumably to oust out the ageing Olympians. I was fortunate enough to have a trip on Thames Travel 109 T109DBW back in March. They really are a nice batch of Tridents, they go well and the green interior certainly makes them different from most other buses of similar age!
Recently arrived from Thames Travel at Plymouth Citybus are East Lancs Esteem bodied Scania N94UB's PF06ENL , PF06ENM , PF06ENN & PF06ENO. These have received the standard "Swoop" livery, and will soon be out on the road alongside the "Blue Flash" Enviro 400s on new route 11 to Tavistock and Okehampton. The route will also extend to Barnstaple on a Sunday, as a 75B.
|A Blue Flash E40D is seen on route 12|
Route 5/5E Paignton - Foxhole Loop RENUMBERED "FOX"
Route HOP12 TIMETABLE CHANGE
Route 12A Torquay - Paignton - Roselands - South Devon College - Brixham WITHDRAWN
Route 12C Paignton - Cherrybrook Drive - South Devon College WITHDRAWN
Route 13 Will be introduced South Devon College - Brixham
Route 22/24 Brixham - Kingswear RENUMBERED 18/18A
Route 22 NEW ROUTE St Marychurch - Torquay - Paignton - Roselands - South Devon College (to replace Current 12A)
Route 23 NEW ROUTE Paignton - Cherrybrook Drive - South Devon College (To replace Current 12C)
Route X46 TIMETABLE CHANGE
GOLD; Torquay - Paignton -Totnes - Plymouth to run half hourly (as opposed to the current hourly service)
Torquay - Paignton - Totnes - Dartmouth (Will only run Totnes - Dartmouth on a less frequent basis)
Despite these changes happening in only two weeks time, there is absolutely no indication of this on Stagecoach's website, without manually searching on the journey planner. Obviously, those unlike myself who aren't aware of any changes wouldn't do this, so most passengers are currently unaware of any change. This is bad , given that so much is changing.
In order to accommodate the increased frequency on the GOLD route, an extra three Scania N230UD/Enviro 400's have been ordered. These will be numbered 15961-3.
|GOLD 15926 YN63BWW is seen in Plymouth|
|Soon to disappear - 34068 S468BWC is seen in Torquay on route 32|
|Bus of the future - Alexander Dennis E20D YN63ZWA is seen in Exeter St Davids on a 56|
Following with withdrawal of the last two Scania N113DRB/Alexander RH's J828/9HMC 15328/9 in the Stagecoach South West fleet, Transbus Trident 17701 ML02RWO has been sent away for open top conversion.
It's certainly sad to see these two beasts leaving the fleet, especially after they managed to outlive the Volvo Olympians which were some 6 years newer. Dennis Trident 17003 S803BWC was transferred back to Devon a couple of months ago, after departing for Wigan last June, with the intention of becoming the Scania N113's replacement. However, it was decided that it would be more suitable to convert a newer bus to Open Top so, thankfully, S803 remains as she is, thrashing around the Devon Countryside on the Exeter rural routes. Fingers crossed it gets transferred to Torbay, although this is unlikely as it seems that our remaining 4 Euro 2 Tridents 17055-8 T655-8KPU are on borrowed time.
Having recently seen a photo of Volvo Olympian 16137 R137EVX with Wirral firm Cass Coaches, that leaves 16062 R162VPU as Stagecoach South West's final Olympian. It's currently parked at Exeter Depot, presumably awaiting it's fate.
Finally, last but not least, I would like to report on Stagecoach London's new beasts...
|Now you see it, soon you wont! 17701 stands at Exeter, complete with it's roof shortly before heading off|
for the "chop"!
|The sole survivor, R162VPU is seen at Paignton August 2012|
|13003 & 13015 on delivery - Thanks to Steve Mutly|