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Route 83
25 March 2010

The 83 had the distinction of being the last bus route in London to receive new standard floor double deckers, being taken mid-contract to replace (in some cases indirectly) low-height Leyland Olympians needed at sister company First Eastern Counties for Bristol VR replacement. Indeed the 20 Volvo Olympians with Northern Counties Palatine bodies were the last standard floor buses, and the last Volvo Olympians, built anywhere. However, they have now been swept aside by a tide of low floor buses, and the 83 is already onto its second batch of such vehicles! This neatly illustrates the contrast between the ultra-cautious approach of LT/TfL and their political masters to anything new and their passionate zeal to implement the latest policy ideas.

The new order comprises Wright Gemini bodied Volvo B9TLs, a combination that is fast proving popular. Two photographs have been provided, and the first depicts VN37791 (LK59 CXH) is in the Uxbridge Road between Hanwell and West Ealing, just leaving the Grosvenor Road bus stop on Tuesday 17 November 2009. The 83 was the first London route specified for B9TLs and entry to service was somewhat delayed. After a significant gap in deliveries to London, Volvo were no doubt keen to ensure there were no problems.

Photo © John Bennett.

The second view shows sister VN37794 at Golders Green on 10 December 2009. First London's type classifications are somewhat confusing; VN was previously referred to 10m President bodied B7TLs, whilst the Wright bodied ones are VNW or VNZ depending on length. The B9TL is intermediate in length at 10.4m, but is closer to the longer version of the B7TL at 10.6m, so even if the bodywork is ignored perhaps they should have been VNL?

Photo © Sunil Prasannan.

Prior to arrival of the B9TLs, the bulk of the allocation on the 83 comprised President bodied long B7TLs delivered in 2002, but they were supplemented by some Wright bodied examples, most of which have been retained at Alperton for use on other routes and which do therefore still appear regularly on the 83. The first view is retained from the previous version of this page, and shows VWL1389 (LK53 LYO), prior to its renumbering as VNZ32330, having just turned off the Uxbridge Road into the grounds of Ealing Hospital on 24 January 2004.

Photo © John Nicholas Bennett.

The final photograph is new to this page, and shows the shorter version, VNW32355 (LK53 LZU) on Golders Green Road not far from the route 83 terminus at Golders Green on Thursday 3 July 2008. The view was made through the front upstairs windows of a Trident heading towards Brent Cross on route 210.

Photo © David Bosher.

The 83 is quite a long route by today’s standards, running as it does from Golders Green to Ealing Hospital via Hendon, Kingsbury, Wembley, Ealing and Hanwell. This is a well-established corridor, although in 1934 buses ran to Kew Green after Ealing. The Monday to Saturday service was subsequently diverted to Southall and Hayes, the Sunday service being renumbered 83A. The section from Ealing to Kew Green became summer only and then disappeared completely in the 1950s, the 83 becoming the standard number again, though the lack of a Sunday service west of Ealing persisted until quite recently. By 1990 the route was as now, Golders Green to Ealing Hospital, and a Sunday afternoon service had been introduced between Ealing and the Hospital, but with no late evening service on this section.

The only other significant change to record is a swapping of routes in Hendon with route 183 – previously the 183 ran via Hendon Central and the 83 took the more northerly route via The Bell. The routes were swapped as the 183 was operated from Hendon garage, previously on the 83 route but not the 183! Then, as now, the 83 was operated from Alperton, so the route swap improved operational efficiency. Thus the 83 now serves Hendon Central while the 183 runs via The Bell.

See also routes 158, E1, 282, 183

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