31 January 2024

Three out of Four

A third Enviro 400 arrived at Milehouse last week

Plymouth Citybus HW63FHC

Thanks to Alex Street for the photo.

From what I gather it seems that these buses are all destined for Cornwall.

Slightly less exciting(!) is news that the Plymouth based Go South West coach fleet are now managed by Dartline (makes sense) which means they will be receiving Dartline style ‘names’ with 323 JSK265 now named “White Rose”




56 comments:

  1. 253 is still in active service with Thames Travel so probably will just be the 3 for the time being until more of the replacement vehicles arrive at OBC.251,252 and 254 were all withdrawn last year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. From the grape vine, hearing these are destined for Cornwall is actually bad news. They did not arrive at Milehouse with the best of fleet service history. Unfortunately these buses seem to have had significant engine issues at Thames Travel, and were restricted to city duties. If they do go to Cornwall, i'd expect them to return to Plymouth fairly promptly unless these issues have been resolved.
    Dartline taking on GSW Coach Hire is actually a very good thing for their business, allowing them to expand into Plymouth. Remains to be seen if GSWCH will adopt the Dartline brand - but looks unlikely for now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eh? They were used on Thames Rapids, Oxford looked after them very well.

      Delete
    2. no doubt they have been looked after well, just stating what has been mentioned. They were restricted to City duties more recently due to break downs.

      Delete
    3. They used to be used on X40 Oxford to Reading which is. 2hr trip. Naturally these buses arent new but from experience OXC look after and maintain their vehicles a lot more than GSW do. Seeing a buses full of dents, worn seats and flaking paint is normal as far as GSW is concerned. Some of E400s which have add boards look abit of a mess now aswell where ads have been removed and left a scuffy mess behind on the board. Give it a year and these 4 Oxford deckers will look the same as all the other GSW buses in the fleet.

      Delete
    4. interesting, is there any plans to bring any E400's up from Cornwall?

      Delete
    5. As stated to others pre-existing issues can be sortes, these will still be an improvement over the older existing cornwall vehicles that I'm seeing towed into work more than ever

      Delete
    6. There's not much which could come back up to Plymouth really - 400s or 4000s? Time will tell if these will hold up, but I'm only relaying what I'd been told about them. Absolutely agree they're an improvement on the 400/4000 E400s

      Delete
    7. interesting times that's for sure, and I hear the gas buses are starting to be withdrawn? 706 WX62 HGU has now been SORN'd.

      Delete
    8. I hope the gas buses aren’t, Plymouth need more full length singles! Unless they’re being replaced with double decks… the E200’s are not big enough for some serviced they operate.

      Delete
    9. Seen FHD on the gravel repainted and vinyled for TFC

      Delete
  3. Go Cornwall have won 5 School contracts from First in Cornwall starting after February half term so more decker's needed for that ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Cornwall Council seem desperate to push First bus out of Cornwall *My opinion only* I don't get why when they had a good working relationship only 6 years ago.

      Delete
    2. GSW havent got the vehicles to do even more contracts with how things look so unless more buses materialise no doubt the public services will take a hit. The Gas vehicles are slowly going. The older 08 and 56 plate E200s arent doing to well either. Agreed that E200s arent suitable on some routes.The Scania Omidekas have also just about had it so If i was GSW id actively be looking for a lot more secondhand E400s. Alternatively removing pointless services like the 43 and instead Extending the 5/5A to run to Ernesettle would make far more sence providing an additional cross city route from Plymstock to St Budeaux.

      Delete
    3. Where are the extra buses coming then for that lol. Anon @ 16:31 is very much correct there, the fleet is in shambles and we don't have enough buses as it is. You quite often see PCB tweeting (or X'ing these days) about vehicle shortages and how they've had to cancel services etc.

      What vehicles are going to be covering the withdrawal of the gas MAN's then....

      The gas buses do provide that extra bit of room compared to E200's that is much needed, but yet are half the time empty, some routes are just better off being double decker routes, like the 14 during peak rush hour, which is often packed going up / away to/from Derriford.

      And then you have the dartmoor routes, which I find utterly pointless for PCB to be involved in as its so far out and unlike anything else they do, and when one of the stupid minibuses are broken, they have to use a E200MMc which just takes another bus out of regular device.

      Wonder if PCB regret sending the ex-London 64 plate E200's away, in reality now, they weren't that bad!! As much as I hated them at the time.

      Interesting times ahead thats for sure

      Delete
    4. Why would they try run another service into ernesettle? Im sure they tried that a few years back incorporating ernesettle with another route and it didnt work so was reverted back to 2 separate routes. Wonder if those e200s from gnw are still gonna appear as mentioned last year

      Delete
    5. There is approx 20 E200s that arent in a good state. The previously mentioned 08/56 plate E200s 134-146 and 161-166 of which some of the 56 plates have already gone(133/135) There are also 13 Scania Omidekka and the 13 Man Gas buses in the original fleet. Realisticly that gives you 46 vehicles in total that will soon need replacing. Realisticly E400s would be a suitable replacement for the Man vehicles as previously pointed out the E200s do struggle at times on the busier routes. Only last week I was stood a Western Approach waiting for a 60 and a Spark Bus rolled Past on a service 70.

      Delete
    6. That’s a huge number of vehicles really, you make a fair point about vehicles appearing on random routes, especially the newer E400s.

      Pretty rubbish really, when you consider everything and how hard it is to get vehicles in

      Delete
    7. is it that much of an issue having different buses turn up on a route? as long as something turns up I am not that fussed. Stagecoach often have odd buses turn up on routes as much as Citybus. Have seen Solos on the 1As and the 52 can be anything - Solos and the occasional yellow E400. Its pretty rare to see anything other than a double decker on the 50/51s but E200s do turn up occasionally. However First were the kings of odd workings back in the day - even coaches being used on City services. Fun as an enthusiast less so for many passengers. Its a lot better these days.

      Delete
  4. probably more down to money than anything else - if another operator puts in a lower price they will probably get the work

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I understand it First handed back the contracts early. First South West does seem to be in contraction mode since the current management team took over.

      Delete
  5. Thanks Steve. I did wonder if it was First that was pulling out rather than being pushed out, as they do seem to be 'reviewing' their operations down here. More examples of this later in my next blog post...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rumours are that they sre short of both drivers and engineers. If true, they don't have much choice other than to cut their cloth accordingly.

      Delete
  6. The 48 Wembury service had problems last week. On Monday the 09.40 from Southland Park Road did not run and last Friday the 14.05 from Royal Parade did not run creating a 2 hours plus gap in services.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I believe that the Gas bus bodies have structural corrosion problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of them? What’s going to replace them?

      Delete
  8. Think SC also gaining additional ex-First Cornwall school contracts

    ReplyDelete
  9. some of the comments made over the past few days about buses in PCB fleet is actually rather amusing. I agree with Graham, if a bus shows up be happy - because sometimes, the buses don't show up at all. Regardless of what bus shows up, we know the fleet is getting old, and not running particularly well, but with all bus fleets, demand is met by availability and if breakdowns occur then on certain routes, only certain types of buses can run them, leaving many other types to run routes they probably shouldn't be on. It's an endless cycle, and it will never end, as it never has.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get what you're saying here, fair enough! But yeah the fleet is still a mess though.

      Delete
  10. We need something like a B7RLE, but the ones we had were shipped off to Manchester… and now PCB are adamant for ADL vehicles (E300’s would suffice, but I don’t know of any GoAhead group to have them) to cut cost, I do understand the business side of cutting cost to make a more affordable operation, but… what comes with that is reliability and passenger comfort issues, late buses (not entirely PCB’s fault), broken down buses again not entirely their fault, but it can be proactively minimised with good maintainance, I was on a bus recently with only two interior lights working, sounded like air was leaking and rattled more than anything! That was an 08 E200, when you have to check if your bus will show up to get you to work each day, you kind of loose trust, my belief has always been having a good standard of service, high reliability and comfort, will increase ridership, therefore profit, cost cutting seems to be an easy way for a business to increase profits, even the current stock will do well from some good TLC. People use public transport in Plymouth mostly because they need to rather than leave the car at home and want to travel by bus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spot on. Absoutely spot on!

      Delete
  11. I hope first don’t pull from Cornwall, I would see GCB stepping in and creating more off casts coming to Plymouth while ours get sent to cover.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Surely most of the profits that the company makes is from its Plymouth routes, if this is the case why don’t they just give the PCB side of the operation at least most of the newer busses. The 400 range is mainly used in Cornwall as it is, and also taking on more contracts means that the company is gonna be even more stretched. My point is that the company needs to start investing newer busses to their cities needs. The E40D can stay in Cornwall as they are reliable and have proved themselves to be suitable for Cornwall, but what Plymouth needs is the enviro400mmc to replace the Gas busses and the aging 400 from London. The 400 range should be kept in Cornwall along with the 5000. If they are starting these new contracts in Cornwall, why don’t they station a few omnidekkas or some of the 400s from the 4000 range in Cornish outstations to support the new contracts. I always have to catch the earlier 51 to work as there have been multiple times where the 4000s have broken down. I also feel that with the limeted amount of busses, PCB overuses their busses. The busses would be more reliable if they were used less. They defiantly need to start bringing in more go ahead hand offs. The B7rle were perfect for Plymouth, plenty of seating, modern and comfy seats. They should’ve been kept in Plymouth and if they were still here, they would aid in starting off letting go the gas busses. PCB should keep some of the gas busses, as they provide a lot busier routes plenty of seating for a route that requires a double. They are also brilliant for 50/51 work at night, when a double is not needed, I’ve been on plenty gas busses at night on this route and there’s still seats. Getting back to my point, if PCB are bringing in more busses, they shouldn’t be immediately casted off to TFC bc they are newer, PCB should start reviewing what needs to go where and when.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The TFC contract will have rules as to what can be operated there so they cant just dump older buses in Cornwall. In Plymouth they can run what they like as no one else is paying them to operate. Cornwall have had a fair bit of extra public money that Plymouth and Devon have not had hence the big Cornwall contract and lots of new buses. As to whether the Plymouth ops make most of the profits we will probably never know. The last published annual accounts showed a small loss for the company as a whole after a larger loss the previous year so hopefully the next annual report will show a profit again. Then maybe they can get more fleet investment. The large batch of electric buses for SE Cornwall will help if they get the government cash!
      The B7RLEs were very nice buses - but only 30 odd seats so useless on busy routes like the 50/51s. Great in the evenings though.

      Delete
    2. May I remind everyone (again) that Plymouth City Council, CityBus and Cornwall Council have bid for ZEBRA2 funding towards 50 brand-new, state-of-the-art buses. No orders for new vehicles of any description are going to be placed until the outcome of this bid is known.

      Delete
    3. spot on Julian, ZEBRA2 bids are decided in May for Jan 2025 orders i believe

      Delete
  13. Enviro300s would be perfect for the PCB fleet. They can replace the gas busses, or even send them down to Cornwall to take over the load from routes which usually are operated by a 400mmc. Send the 400mmcs up to Plymouth. Even if the company bought the 300s off of stagecoach or other operators.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Guys, with respect, it's a little naive to assume that PCB doesn't have a long-term fleet replacement plan. Emphasis on 'plan', as obviously things change, contracts are won, bids e.g. ZEBRA come along and unexpected issues arise, such as the gas buses' structural problems. At the moment, it appears that there are still lengthy delays in new bus deliveries across the main suppliers and many fleets have had few, if any, new vehicles in the last three years. Many GA fleets have new buses due but recent expansion e.g. B&H, GSC, GNW, will probably mean that cascades wil be internal wihtin those fleets rather than lo other subsidiaries and where vehicles are freed up such as COMS group, they may not be what PCB management would choose in an ideal worlld, so 'making do' may well be the order of the day for now. Buses from London might be the most likely source but there may well be competition for them from other GA subsidiaries.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Looks like GCB SL64 HYY 5002 has been withdrawn? Not tracked since November, also 706 has been SORN'd.

    Also 150 has been out of action for a month, wasn't this the one involved in the crash down by Western Approach?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 5002 what a joke that bus is , always off with problems !

      Delete
    2. 706 SORN - yes, 150 involved with a serious RTC in Plymouth, probably involved with the police investigation, and damage. Unsure on 5002, but haven't seen it.

      Delete
    3. 706 is sorned as it is awaiting a valve from the gas tank to the engine - this part is built in russia! if no suitable alternative is found it may well end up being used for spares!

      Delete
  16. Confirmed that these are for Cornwall. At least two (539/540) are painted, logos applied and have been cleaned and prepped to enter service imminently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the third is not far behind. the fourth however, is a way off, still in service with Ox.

      Delete
  17. The 4th is in Milehouse and they have fleet numbers and are all ready to do Rame services from Monday.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 541 will enter service in Cornwall still in blue.

    ReplyDelete
  19. all four of them have now arrived, confirmed to be numbered 539, 540, 541, 542.
    the first three are for TFC ops, however the fourth is currently unknown. 541 looks a bit of a state after it's arrival, so will need some work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since this, 541 and 542 have been confirmed to be staying blue but in TFC branding.

      Delete
  20. I know it’s already been said, but I was on the bus earlier and spotted one of the new 400s in red and in its TFC livery. Then when I spotted the other two, I noticed it was blue with its TFC stickers on. Good that they are staying blue, another look in the fleet. Also think I saw the one that recently arrive in the depot raised in the back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 541 542 are staying blue for a while. Possibly due to service demands. They won't be staying blue.

      Delete
    2. 541/2 both tracking today.

      541 did the early 14 to Derriford and then a few 34 trips but finished pretty early.

      542 has done quite a few trips today - anybody on them?

      Delete
  21. Looks like ex PCB 477 LX56 EUB is now up in London / South-East, weirdly enough.

    https://flic.kr/p/2pyN74x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seen on video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHiH95PlXpo - 2:40 ish

      Delete
  22. https://www.flickr.com/photos/197781389@N06/53538226942/

    Brilliant photo from Nick of 542 in service today

    ReplyDelete

Have something interesting to say? Please share it here!

(Moderation is currently switched on so please allow a short while before your comment appears on the site. This is only to cut down on spam - not to cut out people who disagree with me!)