The London Bus Page In Exile

Wednesday 31 January 2007

Random Buses – VN 178

Filed under: Historical, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 7:55 pm

Stagecoach East London Volvo Olympian VN 178 (R178 HHK) at Woolwich, 4th March 2000 Just a random bus from the last few years; today it’s the last of the Stagecoach Olympians, VN 178 (R178 HHK). These buses suffered a severely curtailed lifespan due to the mass influx of low-floor vehicles into London at the turn of the century, and their withdrawal is all the more galling when you consider that they were streets ahead of the replacement Tridents in almost every way; they were faster, lighter and offered far more seats. They would have been good for up to a decade more, but London’s loss is the provinces’ gain, with this bus (now known as 16178) now working out of Stagecoach Fife.
Northern Counties Palatine I-bodied VN 178 was the last of 178 Volvo Olympians taken by the then Stagecoach East London and Selkent between 1996 and 1998; although mixed between Alexander and Northern Counties bodywork, only 29 of them were full-height (and these, VN 82-110 of the 54 and 75’s batch, were short-wheelbase as well). It was delivered to Leyton in June 1998 to displace Titans from the 48, 55 and 56, but when Tridents arrived only a year later, passed to Plumstead. Unusually for a ‘long and low’ VN or VA, it was restless and was moved around comparatively frequently, serving at North Street, Catford, Plumstead (again) and Catford (again) before ending up at Bromley, from where it was still working in time to receive its new national fleetnumber, 16178, in January 2003; withdrawal and cascading to Scotland followed a year later, losing its exit door in the process.
This shot, taken at Woolwich on 4th March 2000, shows it unusually on the 178, which has been single-deck for over a decade and remained so when won back by Selkent on 23rd January 1999.


  1. “they were faster, lighter and offered far more seats.”

    This was a major plus with these buses. The only downside for me was the lack of height on the top deck; being quite tall.

    Comment by Mike — Wednesday 31 January 2007 @ 9:43 pm

  2. they were nice to drive too i drove the nv at london genaral on rail replacment.nice

    Comment by mark — Thursday 1 February 2007 @ 4:42 pm

  3. I think this is now 16178, not 078

    Comment by Martin — Sunday 4 February 2007 @ 7:08 am

  4. Corrected – thanks! Never could get to grips with these new-fangled numbering systems. Just wait till I write something about First’s!

    Comment by londonbuspageinexile — Sunday 4 February 2007 @ 10:30 am

  5. hi there i remember them in the bow area they were fast and very nice to ride on. although the step entrance was a bad move as it meant that within a few years they were withdrawn from london buses. they are still around in provincial areas in the uk regards. also matthew keep uo the good work on this new site cheers

    Comment by bradley — Thursday 8 February 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  6. Hi Matt, Can you tell me what happened to Stagecoach? Why did they get out of London. Also not sure what has gone on with the route 96. They use to have all 53 reg vehicles but have been given all V reg vehicles now. They seem to stuggle with the hill in Dartford.

    Comment by Jason — Tuesday 13 March 2007 @ 9:47 pm

  7. #6 Jason, the same thing with east london, there is a lot of bus movement at the moment, as all buses are being fitted with a new tracking system called ‘ibus’ i might be wrong with the name, if anyone else can help that will be great.

    Comment by Mark — Tuesday 13 March 2007 @ 10:14 pm

  8. i rember them fromthe 86 royte i call them the sad bus because of the two top windows look like some one is sad

    Comment by busboy — Wednesday 30 January 2008 @ 10:34 am

  9. Hello,

    My name is Daniel Mantilla, I live in Venezuela and I am at the end of my Environmental Engineering career at the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira (
    i´m very interested on the fuel cell buses, i want to design a complete transportation system bassed on hydrogen for a new all city that will be builted on the next few years.

    My country is what you called a third world country with a lot of political and economic problems, living in base of Oil industry and with very little concern about the terrible situation that our planet is going to, even that we have a lot of different laws to protect our environment, but we still don’t have the education in the people to aply those laws and improve our sosiety.

    just a few people is working very hard to improve the way that we control the situation, but there is millions of problems ass others countries.

    To be able to finish my studies I have to do an Internship in a company or a professional aplication investigation. for around 16 weeks around September 2009. I have a little girl, she is just 3.5 years old, so I have been thinking if I could find a place where I can complete my requirements to get my degree but also get some knowledge to help in one of the many areas in trouble, maybe I will manage to have a cleaner environment for her to grow up in.

    I know of many things that big countries like yours are doing for other countries in the world please help us to have more control of what is happening to our earth, because of poor education. Help us to prepare people like me. i have been in University for 5 years just dreaming and planning how we can save our planet.

    Please let me know if you have something available in any of the areas that I can help with,

    Thanks for your time and thanks for helping countries less lucky than yours,

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Comment by Daniel Mantilla — Saturday 11 July 2009 @ 3:45 am

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