Thursday, 5 November 2015

Recently at Riverlink

With the controversial DDA looming before us, Riverlink of Paignton have had a shake up in order to accommodate this.

N589BRH rests next to it's replacement,
 the week before it was Sold.
This began with the withdrawal of the company's 2 Volvo Olympians, as well as Leyland K573RRH which departed earlier in the year. The first of which is no. 5 'Royston' in the fleet, Northern Counties Palatine II bodied Volvo Olympian. It was new to East Yorkshire Motor Services and registered N589BRH. Acquired by Rail Riverlink in 2012, it was treated to a full repaint and interior refurbishment and used on their key 100 services between Torquay and Totnes. I'm very pleased to be told that it has been sold for preservation in Hull after being withdrawn by Riverlink. A fine vehicle most deserving of preservation.

The second bus to be up for disposal is quite a special one; Alexander Royale bodied Volvo Olympian M832HVC, numbered 8 in the RailRiverLink fleet and named 'Western Prince'. It was new to Volvo,Warwick as a demonstrator for Alexanders Royale body. It was loaned to several operators such as Cambus and London General, before passing to Finglands to update their fleet. It was sold to East Yorkshire/Scarborough & District before passing to RailRiverlLink along with N589BRH and K573RRH in 2012. Like it's two workmates, it received a full repaint and Hanover LED destination blinds, and was used on the 100 as well as various private hires. With the reduced winter timetable on the 100 coming into effect back on Monday, no.8 won't see any more service with Riverlink as the 100 is now in the hands of B7TL X169FBB and Transbus Dart FD54FGG. At the moment, it's looking like M832HVC will be sold off to be converted into a classroom, however it would have been since to see it preserved - if any preservationists are interested, contact Jim at RiverLink!
A smart Western Prince departing Paignton on a 100 service.

The departure of the two Volvo Olympians makes
room for some new arrivals; these being four Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs from Go-Ahead Plymouth. All are in good condition, with exhaust systems fitted to upgrade them to euro 3 certified, despite having euro 2 engines. They are four from the smaller amount of ZF 5 speed batch that Plymouth operated, with the gearboxes now in power mode to enable them to cope on the inclines on the 100 route. The vehicles in question are:

Y812TGH at Churston Depot

  • Y808TGH (former 426 in the Plymouth CityBus fleet), new to London General as PVL208
  • Y812TGH (former 427 in the Plymouth CityBus fleet), new to London General as PVL212
  • Y816TGH (former 439 in the Plymouth CityBus fleet), new to London General as PVL216
  • Y827TGH (former 429, and driver trainer 'Doris' in the Plymouth CityBus fleet),  new to London General as PVL227.
Y827TGH is seen having just been rubbed down
 and awaiting paint.
Currently, Y812/27TGH are being prepared for service at Churston depot, with Y827 having already been partially painted. I'm unsure what fleetnumbers the new arrivals will gain, however they will be having their original 'PVL___' number applied somewhere on the bus, to match the original B7TL, X169FBB which displays VP17 in it's former TfL running number slot. 

The three active Bristol VRTs in the fleet; UWV614S, VDV138S and WTU467W WILL see service for the Summer Season in 2016 before being sold off, and replaced by two of the Y reg B7TLs will will be being converted to Open Top format in time for 2017s Summer service. The replacement of the VRs will be a very sad day since they were the buses to first form Riverlink back in 2000 when they were bought as a stop-gap until something newer was found. Nearly 16 years later and they're still here, providing just as good, if not better, a service as any bus a quarter of it's age. They've been maintained to an impeccable standard, including small refurbishments every year, whoever will buy them has a fantastic bus. However, not all is bad - the replacement, Volvo B7TLs, are an ageing type that are increasingly on the decline (although I still see them as a very modern bus) and Riverlink's four may be one of the very few of the type left in service in say 10 years time. The B7TL is a nice change in Torbay from the usual Dennis vehicles that Stagecoach operate, so I'm quite looking forward to sampling them.
WTU467W 'Molly' at Totnes in 2014
Y808TGH is seen displaying route 100.