For the Transport Enthusiast, Unusual means an odd working – something out of the norm. For example: –
The 460 bus route from Willesden to North Finchley is normally the preserve of Metroline’s Volvo double-deckers so it was somewhat of a surprise when MCV bodied MAN MM819 turned up on the route at Golders Green. Presumably, the rostered vehicle had broken down and the garage was short of spare vehicles of the correct type…
If it’s not an odd vehicle on a route, then it’s a route in the wrong place. Buses working on a road that normally does not have a bus service. For example, Woodside Avenue in Haringey. Here we see a 134 bus on diversion following a burst water main in Muswell Hill which closed the road on its normal route. Diversions, whilst interesting for the enthusiast, are a nuisance for the operator and passengers alike. The diversion has to be safe for the size of vehicle (no low bridges for example) and needs to get the passengers back to the normal route as soon as possible – though in this case I recall the 134’s then ran straight up the A1000 to North Finchley rather than regaining their normal route in order to keep lost time to a minimum. Passengers wanting to get to Muswell Hill were able to change at East Finchley onto the 234 or 102 routes.
Another unusual working – Here is a Bendybus on the North Circular Road. It’s definitely off route, the 29 doesn’t go anywhere near the North Circular! So what was it doing there? London Mayor, Boris Johnson, made an election pledge to get rid of Bendybuses in London (I can think of more pressing things that he could have promised) 😦 Arriva, having won a contract to provide bus services in Malta, decided that some of its relatively new Bendies could go there. This vehicle (MA128) was one of those selected. So the conclusion is that it was on its final journey from the capital before being shipped out of the country. Off then to warmer weather and away from the rain and traffic jams on the A406 North Circular Road – which definitely are Not Unusual!
Finally, Rail Replacement Services – Not unusual in themselves these days with parts of the London Underground Network being closed at weekends to facilitate major uplift work. They do bring out a variety of vehicles from the operators. With normal services still to be maintained – it can be an interesting group of vehicles too. Often older vehicles that perhaps only normally operate at peak hours and invariably the occasional ‘Dog’ that drivers will normally refuse to take out! – It’s amazing how much better a vehicle looks to a driver when there’s overtime at stake 😉 It also brings unusal operating challenges. Here we see Arriva DLA13 at Woodside Park station. Normally the station sees services on the 383 route, operated by 8.9m vehicles. DLA13 is 10.6m long and to turn around requires a three point turn to get back out on the road – an unusual maneouvre for a bus once out of the garage. Having got to this point, the bus refused to go into reverse gear. It took a shutdown, restart and lots of engine revving to finally coax it into gear – I guess, with the number 13, the driver should have known it’d be a Dog 😉