|Tower Transit DML44315 on route 70 to Chiswick, Business Park.|
|On the first day of the new contract, an ADL Enviro 200 MMC stands at Chiswick Business Park.|
|The only vehicle to appear on route 70 since the new contract that isn't part of its allocation, DE20096, awaits departure at Acton Town.|
London United have been fairly strict with the allocation of route 70, with only one odd appearance since the contract change, in the form of DE20096, which is currently allocated to the C1. In terms of reliability, the route was troublesome for the first few days with some nasty gaps and bunching, although since then London United have developed their understanding of this difficult route and can now operate it better than Tower Transit did for the previous contract. Due to space constraints at Shepherd's Bush garage, the 272 was shifted to Stamford Brook (V) garage, with the 419 moving from there to Hounslow (AV) garage, one of the only London United garages with space after their recent losses. Personally, I think the 70 has a bright future ahead, with even more new vehicles, and hopefully a reliable service if London United can keep up their excellent start. I wish them luck for the next five years and maybe they'll actually retain the route for the next contract!
|Abellio London 8171 arrives at New Addington, ready for another 464 journey to Tatsfield.|
|8171 waits at the rural terminus at Tatsfield Village.|
|Abellio London 8878 stands at Kew Retail Park preparing for departure on route R68 to Hampton Court.|
The R68 is one of two "Richmond prefix" routes, running between Kew Retail Park and Hampton Court via Teddington and Twickenham. It can get extremely busy with many visitors to Hampton Court Palace liking the service which conveniently transports them to a wide variety of areas in South-West London, providing some unique links. Abellio have always run the route well, providing a reliable service even with some of the capacity issues this route faces; a frequency increase would certainly be welcome. Nevertheless, brand new Enviro 200 MMCs were ordered for the new contract and they've slowly started to enter service at Fulwell (TF) garage, where the route is based. However, a common user pool arrangement also involving routes 350 and 195 means that the R68 vehicles spend most of their time away from their allocated route, and the majority of vehicles found on the R68 are still the former allocation, which will still be used at the garage to eventually replace older stock.
|Abellio London 8881 pauses at Richmond Station en route to Nurserylands.|
The R70 has also been retained recently with ADL Enviro 200 MMCs, but these vehicles haven't entered service yet. However, some of the existing MMCs at the garage have already worked the route, so I can already give an accurate representation of the future! The R70 can also get quite busy, linking the dense residential area of Nurserylands and Richmond quickly and efficiently, operating in a one-way loop to turn around at the end. Like the R68, the former allocation of Enviro 200 vehicles will be used to replace older stock, namely Dart Nimbus and Dart Pointer vehicles which are somehow still roaming around the garage. Hopefully, residents of Hampton and Richmond will enjoy their new vehicles and I wish Abellio good luck for the next five years in running both these routes. This change concludes the recent single deck contract renewals, but there will certainly be more to come as the successful Enviro 200 MMC becomes even more common in London. Thanks for reading and stay safe!