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Route W16
15 November 2012

It is most unusual in London for a route to change operators twice in a year, let alone twice in the same month! But that is just what did happen to the W16, which passed from Arriva London to First London from 3 March 2012, only to be sold on to London General along with its new home garage, Northumberland Park, just 4 weeks later.

New E20D/Enviro200 buses had already been placed in service by First London and were duly transferred across, quickly having their fleetnames and numbers changed to London General standards. The bus now known as SEN28 (YX61 FZB) takes stand time on 6 July 2012 at Leytonstone station "bus plaza," located over the A12 road. The term is seemingly used to distinguish it from the slightly more substantial bus station on the other side of the railway; the W16 is the only route to terminate on this, the west, side, though other routes pass through.

Photo © RNAM200 (Robert Mighton).

The route was formed in March 1989 when route 235 was cut in half at Leytonstone station. The former eastern arm to Woodford became the W14, the remainder of the route between Leytonstone and Chingford Mount ‘round the back’ via Wood Street and Highams Park becoming the W16. Although the W11, W12 and W15 serve Walthamstow and the W12, W13 and W14 serve Woodford or South Woodford, the W16 is a bit of an anomaly, not serving either!

At the same time, Leyland Nationals on the 235 were replaced by MCW Metroriders of London Forest on the W16. However, late in 1991, London Forest collapsed, so the route was re-tendered and awarded to County with the new Darts. County, and the buses, were subsequently taken over by Cowie who then became Arriva and transferred the operation to Arriva London North, the former Leaside division of London Buses, but still based out of County's Edmonton garage.

Having uniquely escaped low floor conversion in the 2000 round of Walthamstow area tenders, the W16 finally succumbed in time for a further contract renewal in March 2005. 8.8m Mini Pointer Darts were drafted across from busy route W15, which gained slightly larger buses.

See also routes 444, W14, W11, W15, W12, W13

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