The London Bus Page In Exile

Monday 5 March 2007

Taking Es in South East London

Filed under: Companies, Routes, Vehicles — londonbuspageinexile @ 6:45 pm

London Central Enviro400 E 47 (LX56 ETR) at Greenwich Peninsula, Saturday 3rd March 2007 Not so new, you may quip, they’ve been taking Es in that part of town since 1988!
No, after Saturday’s post where I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about Travel London’s interpretation of the Enviro400, here’s a few words about the Go-Ahead variety entering service with Londons Central and General.
The 486 (North Greenwich Station-Bexleyheath) has completed its conversion from MD-class DAF SB220s, with the last of the Millennium Dome-branded single-deckers leaving service on 27th February; the three natural gas-powered variants preceded them by some months (so much for attempts to find alternative fuel sources!).
This shot of Bexleyheath’s E 47 (LX56 ETR) calling at the bunker-like Sainsbury’s that lies in the middle of what they call Greenwich Peninsula shows the considerable work necessary to make the Enviro400 look more attractive. London Central & General’s skirt colour is probably the key here; its charcoal grey is an improvement on the bland grey it replaced at the turn of the century while not being as harsh as black. That colour is reserved for the window surrounds, thus camouflaging some of the more awkward shapes.
Get the 486’s Es while they’re still intact, as the locals treat their buses viciously and will have reduced them to wreckage within weeks.


  1. Took a ride on these last Saturday, a sunny but fresh day. Found it very hot upstairs in the front seat, so it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll be like in the summer.

    Also thought they were fairly sluggish on some of the hills in this part of town.

    After that headed towards Chislehurst to sample Selkent’s examples. After waiting 45 minutes for a bus on the 61 it was a Trident, but I couldn’t be bothered to wait any longer. 19132 was in the yard at Bromley garage, the others were out on the 61, except 19131 which I didn’t see.

    Comment by ANDREW WEBB — Monday 5 March 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  2. I noticed that on the 486’s Enviro 400s they put on proper emergency doors at the back of the top deck and right back of the lower deck. I assume this was to stop people stealing and misusing (breaking windows, especially in SE London and BX) them.

    Comment by Chris — Monday 5 March 2007 @ 8:43 pm

    • Chris are you saying that BX is not in SE London?!

      Comment by Daniel — Thursday 16 February 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  3. I’ve been on an Enviro 400 and I think they are very good, apart from that there is wafer-thin seat cover on ‘body’ seats. I also think that Scania’s seats are terrible and that the lowheight is too claustrophobic. The Wright Gemini is the best!

    Comment by Chris — Monday 5 March 2007 @ 8:47 pm

  4. Not sure about the “anti SE London” opinions, Matt! I was born/bred there, & let me tell you we have our own opinions on N/W/E London…..which I won’t share with you, as this is a “family blog site”!!!

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Monday 5 March 2007 @ 10:21 pm

  5. I’m a bit of stranger to London these days, so I don’t see these vehicles often enough to get de-sensitized.

    I don’t think they look good at all and they also have a “Cheesy Grin” look about them.. I don’t also understand why it isn’t possible to build bus bodies that have equal sized windows? OK, I know I live in BMW, MAN & MB land, but our buses don’t look so ugly.. and I haven’t even mentioned the dreadful advert frames yet..

    Comment by IsarSteve — Monday 5 March 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  6. Matt,
    I have long admired your old web site over the years. This new site is good too.
    On the enviros, yes most were damaged by lunchtime on the first day (one bus was lucky enough to be etched on the friday night) but you are going on to shakey ground to say that everyone in SE London takes E’s.

    Comment by Graham — Tuesday 6 March 2007 @ 8:14 am

  7. …#6 – Well I certainly don’t(or didn’t) take any…..Ovaltine is more my tipple!!!

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Tuesday 6 March 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  8. …#6 – I certainly don’t, & never did take any……Ovaltine is more my mark! Anyway, back to bus-talk (please)……

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Tuesday 6 March 2007 @ 7:09 pm

  9. Just adding to #6; according to a driver I know who works at BX, the first Enviro to go out on the 486 got vandalised in its first 15 minutes of service…

    Comment by *Insert Coin* — Tuesday 6 March 2007 @ 10:24 pm

  10. Thus, not a slur on South East Londoners in general but a sad fact of society today. (don’t worry, I’ll slander the north Londoners too eventually, probably by saying that the movement of the ex-route 60 DLOs to Harrow brought the etching craze with them) Anybody wishing to rescue the honour of their borough by doing a ‘Bernie Goetz’ when they espy any acts of vandalism taking place on their local buses, I promise to turn a blind eye.

    Comment by londonbuspageinexile — Tuesday 6 March 2007 @ 10:34 pm

  11. South East is the best part of town,it has its problems, but unfortunately everywhere in London does these days.

    I really don’t like the enviro, but London General/Central’s livery is certaily a lot better than the Travel London ones, even though I usually prefer overall red (we wont start that debate all over again)

    Does the 486 have the patronage to justify double deckers? I dont use the route, but would have thought that there are other routes which are more in need of double deckers.

    And those desination displays….Dont get me started!

    Comment by GJ — Wednesday 7 March 2007 @ 2:02 am

  12. …#7/#8 – Am I getting old?….i’ve started repeating myself! No offence taken Matt – I think the general absence of “the tube” in SE London means the bus takes on a much more central role in urban (gang) culture, than it does in other parts – IMO. Hence, the less desirable elements ride round on them proportionately more than elsewhere = more time to behave anti-socially?

    Comment by I'm The Daddy Now.... — Wednesday 7 March 2007 @ 7:29 am

  13. As someone who lives in the South East area of London I don’t take offence at any comments about E’s which I thought were meant to be light hearted. What I do take offence at is having to travel (mainly on Selkent and Metrobus buses) with windows so badly damaged with writing you can’t see out of them. I also use a number of Central London routes such as the 8 10 73 (sorry!) and 137 and although they are often messy inside from litter/free papers/burgers etc their windows are not normally etched so why does the local yob population of my area have to treat their local routes like this.

    Comment by bob — Wednesday 7 March 2007 @ 1:21 pm

  14. I use the 486 daily to and from North Greenwich Station. The old single decker buses were far superior in their comfort and ride, but during the rush hours could not cope with the number of passengers trying to use this service. We are 2 weeks in and hardly a bus has been touched by the “etchers”. I have only seen 2 windows with slight damage!. The buses have so far remained clean, but my main point is that I use many buses in town from diferent companies and to me Bexleyheath’s standard of cleaning is appalling. Buses are often dirty both outside and in. Move up to buses from New Cross (same company) and they are on the whole very clean. Even the new Selkent company has made great improvements and the windows are being attacked less. They may be changing the protective sheeting more, but the vehicles look more inviting to travel on. The first impression you get of a bus when it arives is how clean it is. A dity bus, and I dont mean just the days general grime is a sign of a companies neglect.

    Comment by coolrun — Wednesday 7 March 2007 @ 2:39 pm

  15. I agree, Bexleyheath’s buses, especially the PVLs are awful. You cannot see out of the windows for etching and they are generally filthy inside and out.

    If LC is to beat the vandals surely they should clean the vehicles up more regularly and this would hopefully show the taggers that it is a waste of time.

    Now that the local railway replacement is run by LC, we get NX, PM and Q buses turn up locally and they are all much cleaner than BX’s!

    Arriva Kent Thameside’s 160 and 492 vehicles are just as bad!

    Comment by Rob — Friday 9 March 2007 @ 9:11 am

  16. I really like the Enviros a lot,and the example above in Matt’s photo is very smart.
    I really don’t see why they put these excellent and expensive vehicles on routes they know that will suffer from vandalism.

    Vandalism is a big problem in parts of west London too. Hayes/Greenford/Uxbridge, but it has to be said that buses in SE London seem to suffer worst from what I’ve seen [OK I admit I haven’t been down there in many a year, but even some of the RM’s on the 12’s/159’s had etching/graffiti on them].

    Comment by bill — Friday 9 March 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  17. Bill

    Just because a tiny minority of youths decide to vandalise the buses in our area shouldnt mean that the majority of the population should be stuck with older vehicles. As I stated if Bexleyheath looked after their buses a bit more perhaps they wouldnt look so run down. You cannot just keep older buses running in certain areas beacause of etchers it is down to cctv and the police to act where possible. New buses should not just be placed on the best and busiest routes.

    Comment by coolrun — Friday 9 March 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  18. Re the comments about window etching and dirty buses.

    Whilst like many I mourned the loss of RMs on the 159, their replacements are nearly always clean (at least on the outside) and I’ve ever only seen the odded etched window. If Arriva can do this, why can’t the others?

    Also, whilst considering the merits or otherwise of the Enviro 400s, I repeat my much earlier comment about them looking like the old Bristol VRs – and I mean from the side profile. The rounded rear side windows, the side engine grills etc. They certainly are not so square as the Titans and other recent buses. Finally, I much prefer the long wheel base Enviros – the shorter ones e.g. on the 24 look so squashed.

    Comment by MT — Friday 9 March 2007 @ 11:16 pm

  19. The worst garages for etching that I know about are (in codes):-
    A (although recently I have noticed that there is less now than there was)
    and the trams

    Etching is not only a problem in London, I remember that there was etching on the buses in Budapest, Hungary.

    Comment by Chris — Saturday 10 March 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  20. #18 wrote: Etching is not only a problem in London, I remember that there was etching on the buses in Budapest, Hungary.

    No, it is not only a problem in London, the WWW has made the World a much smaller place and it isn’t only positive ideas that travel quickly!

    We have problems with etching too:

    Comment by IsarSteve — Saturday 10 March 2007 @ 7:26 pm

  21. I’ve been to other places with graffiti / etching on buses, but i can’t remember them that well.

    Comment by Chris — Sunday 11 March 2007 @ 11:24 am

  22. Went out of my way to sample the enviro’s on the 486 yesterday, and wish I hadn’t have bothered. It was not a good experience. Bunching was terrible and I waited 20 mins for my bus. Driver was in a really bad mood (possibly because he was late?) and said for f**** sake when a woman accidently dropped her oyster card. When we set off, it was obvious he was not happy. Violent acceleration and breaking, and swinging round corners. The bus itself is probably one of the worst modern buses I have travelled on (suddenly standing up for half an hour on the 25 seemed appealing!) Way too much baby blue plastic everywhere which constantly creaked. The warning buzzer on the doors sounded like a cat being strangled. That seat behind the driver, under the stairs is pointless. Sitting at the front upstairs, you got a great view, but the bright sun was constantly in your eyes. It was a sunny, but fresh day and I was boiling!! On the positive side, not a single window did I see etched. I believe West London (Hayes, Uxbridge, Greenford, Southall) is worse than S.E.

    #13 You are right the LC enviro’s do have a form of air conditioning, but this made little difference, and was so loud, I had a headache within 10 minutes.

    I couldnt wait to get off the damned thing and get the Jubilee line home.

    Comment by GJ — Sunday 11 March 2007 @ 8:59 pm

  23. #13 Also I was wrong about the number of people the 486 attracts. Saturday afternoon it was full, so it must be packed in the peaks. A shame they couldnt find a better bus to double-deck it with

    Comment by GJ — Sunday 11 March 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  24. Hi Matt, Found a couple of Selkents offerings. They have done the same and painted the headlights red. I must admit that there was not any differents in livery and would be very pushed to tell differents between Travel London.

    Comment by Jason — Tuesday 13 March 2007 @ 9:42 pm

  25. #23. Well, it’s TfL isn’t it? “100% red – with a skirt” Opertors can’t be bothered.

    Comment by Arriva436 — Wednesday 14 March 2007 @ 5:34 pm

  26. #24: not really a case of operators being lazy; rather it’s operators being prepared in case TfL suddenly decide one day all liveries should be 100% red, INCLUDING the skirt.

    Having their buses allover red would save operators money in repainting costs.

    But I gotta say they look really bland 😦

    Comment by *insert coin* — Thursday 15 March 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  27. The operators should protest and put an old bus in 100% red livery, including windows, doors, and interior, AND ROOF!!!! and drive it round.

    Comment by Arriva436 — Thursday 15 March 2007 @ 8:37 pm

  28. I have to say the worst buses in 100% red are East London/Selkent’s artics, beacuase of their “black glass effect” above the windows, they look like the’re travelling upside down

    Comment by Arriva436 — Friday 16 March 2007 @ 5:02 pm

  29. I returned to live at Shooters Hill four years ago. The number of people using the 486 has grown significantly since then.

    Double deckers have been used (mixed with the MDs) for some years.

    Loadings from North Greenwich in the evening peak suggest more buses are needed.

    Why does Bexleyheath justify Shopping Centre on the destination when Charlton no longer includes Station

    Comment by Chris — Sunday 25 March 2007 @ 2:25 pm

  30. #29. Its because the new blinds are useless to be polite!! The reason for the justification of ‘shopping centre’ is because some routes also terminate at the Garage and they need to differentiate between the two.

    Comment by GJ — Sunday 25 March 2007 @ 7:57 pm

  31. well personally i don’t live in south east london so even though they probably have the same buses for the 24 and 134 buses well if people hate travelling to north greenwich from bexleyheath why don’t they get the 422 straight there instead of getting the 486

    Comment by Dean Manley — Tuesday 1 May 2007 @ 11:32 am

  32. In comment to #31, because the 486 completes N.Greenwich to Bexleyheath quicker than the 422 does.

    Being a BX driver and having driven the E’s i acutally like them, i don’t think they,re sluggish (at least the kickdown actually works) and from a drivers point of view they,re quite comfortable to drive. Although im not keen on the seat behind the driver, and the fact there isnt any real luggage rack either.

    Comment by Dan B — Saturday 19 May 2007 @ 10:08 pm

  33. popular free ringtones


    Comment by freeeeringtones — Saturday 18 August 2007 @ 7:56 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: