2014 has no doubt been an exciting year, with lots happening and I've certainly done a fair few good trips, to various parts of the country! I will hopefully get round to doing a year review video or blog post before the New Year where I shall go into much more detail about the past year.
For now, I thought for a Christmas Special post I would do something a little bit different.
I don't often blog about the fleets in London, however I felt it's about time I give my favourite current London vehicles a mention. For quite a while now, one of the highlights of any day in London has been riding on Arriva's DAF DB250LF's, mainly with Alexander ALX400 bodywork (DLA). I do also enjoy the Plaxton President bodied DB250's (DLP) and the Wright Pulsar Gemini bodied variants (DW)
I've been a fan of the DAF DB250 since a young age, so it's nice to see them still soldiering on in the capital. However, unfortunatley these will be being phased out rapidly in 2015 (and have been on their way out for quite a while now) as Arriva loose route contracts, and upgrade their fleet to more modern tat.
In 1998, Arriva London ordered a batch of 389 DAF DB250/ALX400's. The first one (which was also the first ever Alexander ALX400) was delivered as DLA1, registered R101GNW. The last one was DLA389, LJ03MZD. However, Arriva the Shires took delivery of the very last one for Arriva, this being 6025 YJ54CFG. DLA1-DLA125 were on the 10.6m chassis, with low height bodies and a rear staircase. DLA126-DLA321 were based on the slightly shorter 10.2m chassis, with full height bodies and a front staircase. All from DLA1-321 had DAF's owen 6 cylinder Euro 2 engine. DLA322-389 featured Euro 3 engines, and a slightly different seating layout at the rear downstairs.
On top of the ALX400's, Arriva also purchased a load of Plaxton President bodied DAF DB250LF's. These were DLP1-DLP110. V201LGC was the first and LF52UPT being the last. There was also 134 Wright Pulsar Gemini bodied VDL DB250LF's delivered under the "DW" class, however the vast majority of these remain in service.
Whilst a large amount of the Euro 2 DLA's and all of the DLP's are withdrawn (with some scrapped, and others cascaded to other areas of Arriva UK bus operations), a minority remain in London. Most, if not all of these will unfortunatley will be seen off early next year when Arriva loose the following routes:
109 Croydon - Brixton
N109 Croydon - Oxford Circus
125 Winchmore Hill - Finchley Central
135 Crossharbour - Old Street Station
415 Elephant & Castle - Tulse Hill
432 Anerley Station - Brixton
499 Heath Park Estate - Gallows Corner Tesco
Back in November, route 34 Barnet Church - Walthamstow Central passed over to Metroline, meaning the last of the DLP's were bumped off fleet. Also, route 137 Oxford Circus - Streatham was converted to Borismaster operation just after, which also saw more DAF's off of the road.
In my opinion, the DAF DB250 is the most 'classic', and the nicest sounding low floor double deck chassis ever built. The same engine was retained right from the start of production in 1991, right through to the end of the DB250 in 2007, with very little sound difference between the early and late models. Even the upgrade from Euro 2 to Euro 3 didn't affect the DB250 that much, while other vehicles such as the Dennis Trident & Dart were, in my opinion, ruined. The growl of the engine, and whine of the diff on the DAF DB250LF will be a sound that I will very much miss from London when this type are withdrawn altogether. For now, I shall make the most of them, the Euro 2's in perticular while they still hang on!
Here is a list of all the DLA/DLP/DW's I've managed to get on this year:
- Saturday 18th January DW70 WLT970 159 Oxford Circus to Marble Arch Station
- Saturday 25th January DW124 LJ05BNE 159 Trafalgar Square - Brixton Station
- Sunday 13th April DW60 LJ04LFF 137 Hyde Park Corner - Oxford Circus
- Sunday 13th April DW59 LJ04LFE 159 Oxford Circus - Waterloo
- Saturday 25th January DLA270 Y452UGC 159 Streatham - Westminster Bridge
- Tuesday 27th May DLA210 W438WGJ 415 Elephant & Castle - Tulse Hill
- Saturday 5th July ex-DLA81 4141 S281JUA 84 Chester - Crewe (Arriva North West)
- Thursday 30th October DLA253 X453FGP 415 Elephant & Castle - Tulse Hill
- Thursday 30th October DLA314 Y514UGC 34 Barnet Church - Arnos Grove
- Thursday 30th October DLA343 LJ03MDV 59 Waterloo - Kings Cross
- Thursday 30th October DLA173 W373VGJ 415 Brixton - Tulse Hill - Elephant & Castle
- Thursday 30th October DLP100 LF52URE 34 Arnos Grove - Silver Street Station
I have made a tribute video as a Christmas Special for the YouTube channel which can be found BY CLICKING HERE