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Green Lane's Enviro400s Revitalise the 10B

Article by 507009. Photos by SL64 JDZ (4593) and 507009.04/01/15

The first 11 of 53 brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s made their début in passenger service on Friday 02/01/15, marking the start of a £10 million investment from Arriva North West in new double deck buses for the busy North Liverpool 10/10A/10B and 52/52A corridors.

This first 11-strong initial batch to take to the roads is allocated to Green Lane depot, located in the Stoneycroft area of North Liverpool. Remarkably, they are the first brand new double deck buses to be delivered to Green Lane since 1988, a whopping gap of nearly 27 years. The introduction of this set of Enviro400s represents an investment of just over £2 million in one of the major depots of the Arriva North West region.

All 11 examples were seen in use throughout the day, with the buses numbered and registered as follows: 4584 (SL64JCX), 4585 (SL64JCY), 4586 (SL64JCZ), 4587 (SL64JDF), 4588 (SL64JDJ), 4589 (SL64JDK), 4590 (SL64JDO), 4591 (SL64JDU), 4592 (SL64JDX), 4593 (SL64JDZ) and 4594 (SL64JEJ).

Brand new 4594 (SL64JEJ) is seen on Victoria Street, starting a 10B service to Huyton's Elizabeth Road via Prescot Road.
© SL64 JDZ (4593)

Built at Alexander Dennis' Falkirk factory, these Enviro400s are identical in specification to the 28 examples delivered to the Speke and Southport garages during autumn 2014. Outshopped in the now standard 'Interurban' Arriva livery, the buses seat a total 78 passengers. The new Enviros come complete with e-leather finished seating and free Wi-Fi access as standard.

The buses have entered service with green Wi-Fi stickers and special adverts promoting the impressive investment in the 10 corridor using the taglines 'Posh & Double Decks' and 'You wait for a great bus, then 36 come along at the same time'. The figure of 36 is believed to be an error, as a total of 37 buses are in fact expected for the 10, 10A and 10B services over the coming weeks.

The impressive 4593 (SL64JDZ) pauses at the lights in Queen Square Bus Station, nearing the end of its journey from Huyton.
© SL64 JDZ (4593)

Green Lane's examples are for use on the 10B service which runs from Victoria Street in Liverpool city centre to Elizabeth Road in the southern part of Huyton. The route runs through Queen Square Bus Station and onto the A57, known as Prescot Road for much of its length. This takes the buses through the Liverpool areas of Kensington, Fairfield, Old Swan, Knotty Ash and Dovecot before the route passes into the borough of Knowsley. The 10B continues on Prescot Road until it branches off at Blue Bell Lane, running from there into the centre of Huyton. After calling at the bus station, buses proceed into the Manor Farm estate, terminating at the end of Elizabeth Road.

At the time of writing, a full round trip on the 10B takes approximately 97 minutes and the route requires 10 of the 11 Enviro400s. However, from 11/01/15, a timing revision will increase the requirement to all 11 of the new buses on weekdays. The service runs to a 10 minute frequency on Monday to Saturday daytimes, decreasing to every 12 minutes on Sundays. The evening service is every 30 minutes throughout the week.

The upper deck interior of 4593 (SL64JDZ) showing the e-leather covered seating and improved layout of opening windows compared with previous Arriva double deckers.
© 507009

The interiors are to the improved Arriva standard specification, which uses e-leather seat coverings as opposed to the previous moquette. Free Wi-Fi powered by Icomera is also offered on the new buses. The use of Esteban Civic V2 seating continues a long association with Arriva as the operator's standard seat type.

The total seating capacity is 78. The upper deck, with the improved arrangement of 10 opening windows as seen in the aforementioned Speke and Southport examples, includes 47 seats, while the lower deck provides 31 seats. This is a major improvement upon the 44 seats offered in the previous regular bus type on the 10B, the Wright Pulsar 2.

A dusk view showing 4585 (SL64JCY) waiting at the central crossing in Queen Square Bus Station taking up an evening service to Huyton's Elizabeth Road.
© 507009

Forum members 507009, CX06 EBK, SL64 JDZ (4593) and MX59 JZJ were out to see Green Lane's Enviro400s make their début in service, and we all agreed that these buses were a major improvement on their Pulsar predecessors. The highlight of the trip proved to be 4593 (SL64JDZ) which was both the nippiest and smoothest of those we rode. There were good loads on the buses throughout the day, showing exactly how much the additional capacity is required, and several passengers could be heard speaking positively about the new Enviros throughout the day.

This batch of 11 entering service is just the start of a promising 2015 for Arriva North West's Merseyside fleet. Over the next few weeks, a further 42 Alexander Dennis Enviro400s will enter service, overhauling more of the inadequately sized Wright Pulsar single deckers. St Helens depot has already received a substantial number of its contingent of 26, which will transform journeys on the very busy 10 and 10A Liverpool to St Helens services. These buses are due to enter service on 01/02/15. The remaining 16 Enviro400s are for Bootle depot's 52 and 52A services which connect Liverpool, Bootle, Litherland and Netherton. These are anticipated to enter service at the beginning of March 2015.

Further new double deck buses are expected for Merseyside garages later in 2015, as fleets of Dennis Darts and DAF SB220s approach withdrawal age. Our next update will be at the beginning of February, when St Helens' set of this current batch of 53 enter service.

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