London Buses route W7
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|Vehicle||Volvo B9TL 10.4m / Wright Eclipse Gemini 2|
|Peak vehicle requirement||15|
|Night-time||No night service|
|Start||Finsbury Park station|
|End||Muswell Hill Broadway|
|Length||3 miles (4.8 km)|
|Journey time||13-21 minutes|
The W7 started as route 212, which had express variations from 1960 until 1968, and used single-deck buses for many years due to a weight restriction on the bridge by the former Muswell Hill station. The London & North Eastern Railway, who owned the line, did not strengthen the bridge as route 212 competed with the railway.
In 1963, route 212 was converted to double-deck operation with AEC Regent III RTs from Muswell Hill garage. AEC Routemasters, spare from route 43, ran at weekends. In 1969, route 212 was renumbered W7 and converted to one-man operation. The letter prefix showed that it was a local flat fare route.
The route initially ran with AEC Merlin single deckers, these were replaced by Daimler Fleetline double-deck buses in 1975, which were in turn replaced by MCW Metrobuses in 1981. In 1988, the Metrobuses were replaced by Leyland Titans transferred from Bow garage, and these stayed with the route until the closure of Muswell Hill garage on 21 July 1990. The route transferred to Finchley (FY) which operated a mixture of Titans and Metrobuses.
On 15 August 1992 the route was transferred to Holloway upon the start of a new tender contract, and was converted to full Metrobus operation. The route used Metrobuses until 1997 when Northern Counties Palatine II bodied Volvo Olympians were introduced alongside the Metrobuses, and eventually replaced them entirely by the end of 1998 in connection with the PASSRIGHT experiment (whereby passholders could just walk on the bus without showing their pass to the driver), for which the Olympians had been specially adapted with stickers and the removal of the barrier directing all boarding the bus past the driver. The Olympians had originated with London Suburban Bus in September 1993, initially for route 271, and were the first Volvo-branded Olympians in London service.
Route W7 was chosen to trial the cashless "Pay Before You Go" system aimed at speeding up boarding. On 17 October 2001, each passenger, before boarding, needed a valid ticket or travel card bought from an agent or a road side ticket machine with no tickets available for purchase on the bus.
- Media related to London Buses route W7 at Wikimedia Commons