Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Out with the old, in with the new at Southampton

Followers of First at the moment are under a bit of a guessing game as to which areas are to see investment, and which areas are to be sold. Does Weymouth losing its recently acquired Tridents suggest it is up for sale? Does Plymouth receiving younger Tridents and 08-plated Enviro400s indicate it is no longer on the for sale list? One location that is seemingly safe under First is Southampton, where 10 brand new Enviro200s have entered service.

Firstly, out with the old. Of the many ex-Glasgow Darts previously in service in Southampton, only 4 remain. 40792 (R296GHS) is one of those remaining local though - popping up the coast and now allocated to Hoeford. It is pictured at a rain and wind swept Lee on Solent, heading for Fareham on route 6. Hoeford has received another also - 40790 - along with Hilsea receiving two Darts that have seen service at all three Hampshire depots now. The rest have gone elsewhere, with the lucky residents of Wales being the recipitants of a number.

In with the new - 12 spotless Enviro200s - primarily allocated on route 7. 44529 (SN62AZA) is pictured here, loading passengers along St Denys Road in Portswood. The 7 is now eight buses-per-hour, competing with BlueStar 16 at three buses an hour. There does seem to be an increasing allegiance to BlueStar's younger B7RLEs and Citaros - however the new leather seated Enviros may now sway the balance back towards First. The Enviros also occasionally turn up on route 2, and assist the 2009-batch of Enviros on route 6. These are only rare occurances, however.

A few of the older Dart SLFs are still in service at Southampton. The 4 Pointer 1 bodied Darts new in 1996 are still in regular service, along with the entire batch of 1997 Darts. These will probably go in time, so I specifically focused my efforts on the buses during my flying visit on Sunday. This is 42507 (P407KOW) - FHD incidentally operate 42407 and 42507! Despite their age I regularly see the 4 Darts out in service - they can't be that unreliable.

Finally, a wider look at the First Southampton fleet. All of the Volvo B7RLEs and Wright-bodied Volvo B7TLs are now in the fleet livery. 4 Millbrook Flyer Darts are assisted by 7 Solent Ranger Darts on the X4 from Hoeford. 66883 (MX55HHP) was new to Manchester, and is pictured heading for Sholing on the 9.

Southampton's looking positive. With Hoeford possibly receiving double deckers in the future for the X4, along with Hilsea possibly receiving younger second hand Volvo B7RLEs for routes 2 and 7 and/or brand new buses for the Zip 8, the future is looking bright. 

12 comments:

  1. I hope we do get double decker X4's, I have seen double decker 4 and 4A and X4 but I hope we get more as I love double deckers.

    When did you take the photos in Lee and Southampton?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 34059 was on a 4/4A/9 working today!

    Unfortunatly I've heard from an official source the expected deckers for the X4 have been delayed due to finances :( emphasis however on delayed and not ruled out :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw a double decker on the 15:15 4 from Southampton, would have caught it to Lock Heath had another driver (uni-link) stopped at a bus stop. not sure if it was 34059 as I didn't get a chance to see it

      Delete
    2. Yup that was the one I saw too :) it was 34059 :)I always jump off the U1A before the central station detour and walk down to Castle Street, normally you can just make a connection :)

      Back to the X4s, I heard wisper that the PVR is possibly increasing by 1 working, no timetable changes just driver schedule changes, not sure if we're gonna see any interchanging with the 1/2/3/3As at Gunwharf, don't seem to be a problem having Solent Ranger Darts all over the network (9 for example, and the other day the 9A which doesn't even connect with any of the 4 set of routes)

      Delete
    3. On Monday, I saw a Solent Ranger operating the 2 in Portsmouth

      Delete
    4. I hear it made it onto the 7 as well...

      Delete
  3. nice post, I particularly like the opening lines, so much so I have pinched them for tomorrows Plymothian Transit post (full credit and link back noted of course). If you have any other decent buses up there you can send us we are more than happy to take them! Keep up the good work on the blog - nice to see more regular posts again.
    All the best Graham (Pompey born and bred!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Decent buses? I thought we were sending you some Tridents ;)

      Delete
  4. Captain Anorak here - "twelve" Enviros?, 44527-36 usually makes 10, or did when I was at school!
    I have been told that the repaints at Southampton now include one of the Volvo ALX400s.........

    ReplyDelete
  5. also taking photos myself, I wish I could make a site like this to post my own photos

    ReplyDelete
  6. @ Graham - many thanks! I've had a bit of a break posting, but my new year's resolution is to try and post more regularly. I try to do the week's posts at the weekend, and set them for the middle of the week, which seems to be working so far! I keep in contact with your blog too - yours is still the one sending most traffic my way, so for that I must thank you! I hope you are well, James.

    @ BCF - I took them at the weekend when I was in the city for about half an hour. No plans to take any this weekend yet, although if it snows you never know.

    @ Captain Anorak - my mistake, duly corrected! Many thanks. And yes - I hear 32035, 32038 and Trident 32765 have been done.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 32036 has come back with new livery.
    34016 has disappeared from Southampton???

    ReplyDelete