The London Bus Page In Exile

Saturday 3 March 2007

Return to the 452

Filed under: Companies, Routes, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 10:37 pm

Travel London Alexander Dennis Enviro400 ED 11 (LJ56 VTN) at Ladbroke Grove, Saturday 3rd March 2007 This route’s popularity (or not) among readers has led me to visit it again, not least because it’s finally received its full complement of Enviro 400s.
Having also been to the other end of town today and covered the 486, which has also converted to this new type of double-decker, it’s clear that it takes a fair bit of modification to get the best out of the rather amateurish design – London Central have accomplished this admirably, by plastering the flat sides with black masking to camouflage the frail-looking square-cornered gasket windows and excessively large straight staircase, but Travel London have done nothing of the kind; as evidenced by Battersea’s ED 11 (LJ56 VTN), the chrome faux grille and headlight surrounds have been overpainted, leaving the whole thing looking entirely miserable. On this evidence the E400 really isn’t a great-looking bus, and Alexander Dennis ought to be able to do a lot better.
The 452 wasn’t that reliable today either in the 45 minutes or so I spent at Ladbroke Grove – by the time I’d moved one stop south to an absolutely perfect pitch with exactly the right angle and waited half an hour for the 452s that were supposed to be eight, sixteen and 24 minutes behind this one, the sun had gone in and it had started raining. Oh well.


  1. I agree that the all red front looks kind of miserable on this enviro.
    I must say though that not having taken much notice of the enviro 400 initially, I have grown to really like the look of this bus.
    They look very smart on the 24’s in particular. I really like the front end, especially the upper deck front screen and curved side windows.

    Comment by bill — Saturday 3 March 2007 @ 11:35 pm

  2. I must say I think this bus looks ok………you should see what i’ll be driving tomorrow morning! Modern buses, like modern cars, are no longer built to last 20+ years – the market for which they are built doesn’t demand this. They are built to a price – this is why the Scania Omnidekka(Polish built) for example, is the “quality” that it is(isn’t!).

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Sunday 4 March 2007 @ 12:37 pm

  3. The enviro 400 looks ok when its livery has been thought about!

    Comment by Arriva436 — Sunday 4 March 2007 @ 12:57 pm

  4. Hi Matt.

    London General does a nicer job with the livery than Travel West London.

    I’d say the Enviro is more stylish looking than the dull and dated ALX400, which was inferior looking to the Wright Gemini. Plus it is good that Britain is still making double deckers. Buses still represent an important part of this country’s manufacturing industry, and i think that some British buses are much better designed ergonomically than French buses for example. Indeed it’s a shame Britain doesn’t export more buses to Europe – i’d love to see some of the Wright Gemini single deckers in Athens for example.

    452 – oh dear oh dear. What you say, Matt, about the unreliability is depressing. TfL are claiming the 452 is performing “as expected”. Did they plan a largely empty and unreliable route? I think you should contact TfL directly yourself to complain about the appalling reliability.

    Comment by Nick Biskinis — Sunday 4 March 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  5. I think everyone is going to have to get used to the Enviros being the new “poster child” bus for London in both it’s single and double deck formats.

    The 200 (Mitcham – WImbledon – Raynes Park) is set to get Enviro 200s (I Think) when the new contract kicks off at the end of this month. It has also been confirmed to me that the 24 will remain with Enviro 400s when London General take over the contract in November.

    On the subject of the 452, how did a post here ever get off topic 🙂 , they do seem to be attracting more passengers on a monday to friday peak, particularly the morning, although this might have more to do with an overspill from the 137 than people actually wanting to travel on them. It should also be noted that I can’t comment on reliability as I am only observing them from a route 44 travelling in the opposite direction.

    Comment by Dave. (Admits to being a Bus Driver in London) — Sunday 4 March 2007 @ 9:37 pm

  6. The aesthetics of any bus are personal, and I’m afraid I have to disagree with you about the Enviro 400, which is a stunning vehicle to look out from the outside, and certainly different and eyecatching to anything that’s already out there.

    Inside, it’s superior to a Gemini, especially its lower deck layout.

    The problem is the livery – 100% red is just wrong, and any operator that livens it up gets a thumbs up in my book.

    Comment by John — Monday 5 March 2007 @ 10:59 am

  7. #6. Enviro’s are god awful vehicles. They look average on the outside particulary as matt mentions at Travel London (London General/central’s livery does suit the enviro quite well though), as for the interior layout design – it’s appalling no where near the standard of a WEG. You’re sitting on cheap plastic fittings with extremely thin and hard upholstery which is very uncomfortable. The seat behind the driver is awful and anyone with a waist size above 32″ will fall off easily! (although quite a witty idea to position this seat here!).

    As far as modern buses are concerned the Wright Eclipse is about the best there is.

    Comment by Russell — Monday 5 March 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  8. Its not good is it. A useless route and an equally useless bus in my opinion. Looks totally awful, and that massive front window on the top deck is going to make it pure hell travelling upstairs come the summer. Please dont put them on the 47 or 188!!

    As for the route, as far as I can see its totally pointless. TfL seem to think that people only want to use buses to get to and from tube and train stations. To a certain extent this is true, but many people use them to get in and out of town. A target destination of Wandsworth Road Station is stupid!

    Comment by GJ — Wednesday 7 March 2007 @ 2:10 am

  9. #8

    If my information is correct, the London General/Central Enviros have air con for passengers. Of course this depends on the driver switching it on and the fact that is working.

    As far as I know the Travel London/Metroline versions don’t have this option, but I could be wrong. If you look at the rear of the buses you can see the unit fitted above the rear window, lower deck on the E class used on the 37 and 196 routes.

    I can’t speak from experience as they currently only run out of Stockwell (SW), Peckham (PM), and Bexleyheath (BX), although they are scheduled to arrive in the ‘burbs (Merton and Sutton) soon if the talk is to be believed.

    Comment by Dave. (Admits to being a Bus Driver in London) — Wednesday 7 March 2007 @ 4:28 pm

  10. I would agree with post no. 6 that the Enviro 400 is a stylish looking bus and much more interesting than say the ALX400 which has already dated terribly. There is still too much plastic used on the interior though.
    I travelled on a 24 yesterday [after getting off a 453, an eventfull ride which included a lightning raid by two lady RPI’s!!].
    It is a pleasure to travel on the upper deck of the Enviro and enjoy the superb panoramic view the front window of this bus affords. No obstructions such as high grab rails or video screens.

    Comment by bill — Thursday 8 March 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  11. The ALX400 seeems to look like an updated version of the Titan/East Counties Olympian, but whilst the Titan was ahead of its time in 1975 (and looked more modern than the Metropolitan, Fleetline or even Metrobus IMHO), the ALX400 looked bland and unadventurous compared with the Plaxton President and especially the Wright Gemini. The parallels with the Titan end when it comes to the ALX 400’s interiors. I’d say the ALX 400 was not as uncomfortable as the Plaxton President.

    So the Enviro must be seen as an improvement on this, and must have re-launched Alexander Dennis into the market that Wright was dominating.

    But – don’t know if anyone could enlighten me here (and apologies if off-topic) but there are low floor buses with much greater seating provision? I was on a Sullivan Buses rail replacement bus last year. It was an ELC low-floor but there were about 32 seats on the lower deck. This would seem the optimum bus for London, reconciling accessibility with adequate seating – which has been Matt Wharmby’s principal criticism of low-floor buses

    Comment by NICK BISKINIS — Thursday 8 March 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  12. #8, they won’t be on the 47 or 188 for a while, they both got new buses only a year ago.

    I don’t like the wafer thin seat moquette but otherwise the Enviro 400 is good and well styled, although London Central / general have done the best with it. Hope that this doesn’t mean that they won’t buy any more WVLs.

    Comment by Chris — Sunday 11 March 2007 @ 11:29 am

  13. #12 I know they won’t be on the 47/188, just being my local routes, I hope that by the time they are due for new buses again, we will have something better than the envro400

    Comment by GJ — Sunday 11 March 2007 @ 12:28 pm

  14. That’ll probably be in about 7 years time when Wright will have a new design for a double deck bus, however the 47 will probably get Enviros. (Although tfl want buses in service for 12 years)

    Comment by Chris — Monday 12 March 2007 @ 9:39 am


    Comment by Mark — Wednesday 14 March 2007 @ 9:55 pm


    Comment by GJ — Thursday 15 March 2007 @ 3:47 pm

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