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Friday, 14 May 2010

Really good news from London

Yes it's true, two great tender successes for First's London subsidiary is that the Routemaster heritage contract for route 9 is retained for a further period.


Route 25, which we first won decade ago in June 1999, returns to First again under the latest announcements this week.

When route 25 came to us from Stagecoach it represented the largest contract ever to change hands. Those subsequent five years slipped past very quickly and before long conversion to artic and transfer back to East London.

To me of course it seems like only yesterday we won it for the first time - an early success in the days of First Capital shortly after acquisition by FirstGroup.

And we mustn't forget that our Routemasters on route 9 will now continue for a further contractual period. There were those who said, back in 2005, that they had it on 'good authority' that these heritage routes would be quietly dropped when the hubbub of discontent had died down following the end of 'normal' operations.

As you can see nothing could have been further from the truth!

Shown here SRM4 when in use on route 25 during the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 and our own RML2735 performing on it in June 2004 and photographed by Trevor Wright.



  1. It must come as a relief for Dagenham depot too as there have been few tender wins and a slow outflow of work over the last few years from there with the loss of 123, 150 etc.


  2. I agree that there were doom mongers about the Heritage Routes but given the current Mayor there was no way they would be sacrificed during his tenure. In addition the contracts are comparatively expensive and in times of financial stringency there is a valid debate to be had as to whether they really constitute value for money when other route developments are being held back.

    Isn't the 9H being reduced in frequency because of reliability concerns? It featured regularly in "poor performer" stats that I saw (as did the 15H).

    Well done with the 25 - are we getting 12m tri-axle deckers then (to link to a recent post of yours)? :-)

  3. The 25 will be running fromn Lea Interchange. It's more efficient to run from the middle.

    We did think about tri-axle double-deckers but there is anopther new revolutionary double-decker on the horizon !!!

  4. hi Leon

    good news that you won route 25.

    Just wondering what vehicles be ordered for this route that will can carry huge amount of passengers, would you even try out tri axle Enviro 500? just like the ones in Glasgow!

    Jimmy Sheng

  5. We did offer tri-axles (like I did in 1991 for route 29!) but was declined.
    Ideal for the New Bus for London but none available yet so standard double-decks are the plan!

  6. Hi Leon, good to see RML2735 has been restored to original condition. I remember manning the back end of her from Tottenham to Kings Cross on the 259 at RM50. Could you publish interior photos? Also, Alan Gregory believes there should be an extension of the 9H, can you see that happening?

  7. Hi Leon

    I hope it won't be those VNs, nice buses but ni ideal for route 25.