At around 1pm today a serious accident involving three buses and two cars occurred southbound on the Chelsea Bridge Road, between Ranelagh Gardens and the old Chelsea Barracks site.  Early images posted on Twitter showed three seriously damaged vehicles, a car, a Wright Electrocity hybrid and a New Bus for London.  Both buses had significant front end damage, the front left of the Electrocity (WHY4, I suspect) and the front right of the NB4L, which appeared to have damage to most of the front end including the nearside headlight and the glass on both decks.  Damage to the other two vehicles, another car and an Enviro400 operating on the 452, was not visible.  As of 8pm the road remains closed, which suggests a collision involving a serious injury at least.

The road is not on the 38, 24 or 11 routes although it is fairly close to Victoria which is served by all three, Sloane Square (on the 11) and Pimlico (on the 24) and bus routes in Westminster would have been seriously disrupted for the Tour of Britain cycle race.

However only the newly converted 11 route would normally be expected to see out of service buses heading south from the Westminster area as the garage is at Stockwell.  London Vehicle Finder suggests that out of the seven NB4L vehicles in service over the first weekend (LT42/43/46/55/58/69/62) LT62 is currently not in service, having been last seen just before 1pm today in the Westminster area (curiously heading east at the time).  It is thus feasible that a brand new bus was involved in the crash on its second day of service.

A possible eyewitness was a Twitter user called onTheRiverDave who set up an account this evening. If what he’s hinting at is true there are some serious questions to ask Go-Ahead and TfL’s press offices tomorrow morning.

UPDATE: The collision (which thankfully seems to have involved injuries rather than fatalities, the lengthy road closure being due to diesel spillage) is beginning to get attention now the working week has begun.  Links:

MayorWatch reports the police as stating the bare facts of the collision as:

the driver of a Routemaster bus collided with a line of stationary traffic from the rear

We expect the BBC and Evening Standard to cover it today as eyewitness David Wortley (onTheRiverDave mentioned above) has been in touch with them.  I’ve no doubt now he saw what he reported which is disturbing enough:

I witnessed this today. The Boris Bus ran a red light narrowly missing a yellow car, and sped passed, probably doing 30mph…

The bus then smashed into a stationary car and 2 buses, sounds like stuck throttle or no brakes!

1 car seriously damage, crushed, many people jumped from the buses. Emergency crews on scene very quickly

[Obviously the question of driver error or mechanical failure is not one we can settle either way at the moment until accident investigators have done their job.]

Finally there’s a bus fan’s review of the first day NB4L use on the 11 including a very slow trip on LT62 which appears not to have been well.  Quote:

However, I do not think that phasing them in has helped with the service, Borismasters holding more passengers than that of the specified highest capacity number today (as people were forced to sit and stand on the staircases). If Borismasters are to operate on route 11, then the peak vehicle requirement needs to increase now – even if there are still a few WVLs operative on the route.

Second update – LT62 has suffered quite extensive front end damage according to this picture.  I’d say the driver is fortunate only to be in hospital.


17 Responses to New Bus For London Involved In Collision

  1. Roy says:

    This occurred at midday, not 1pm. There were 3 buses involved, an NB4L reg number LTZ 1062, which looked like it had hit the back of a single deck hybrid bearing the licence plate LX55 E?F. That in turn looks as though it had pushed a car into the back of a number 452 double-decker. There was a very badly damaged car with two occupants in the middle of the road, next to the NB4L. That was the situation at 12:15.

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks – LTZ1062 went out of service in Westminster at 12:54 according to London Vehicle Finder while the other two were around 13:20 (452) an 13:40 (360) – hence I deduced that LT62 was out of service and on its way to Stockwell garage around 1pm when the collision occurred. The first online reports from TfL’s traffic Twitter feeds were around 1:10pm with first eyewitness tweet at 1:15pm. No doubt when we ask TfL and Go-Ahead (and the Met) for a statement tomorrow they’ll give us the exact time.

    WHY4’s registration is LX55EAF, which fits your description. Ironically it’s a 2005 built hybrid refitted with an NB4L-style Siemens drivetrain two years ago.

  3. Sylvia Segal says:

    Sorry, Rory, but you are wrong. My flat looks out over the Chelsea Barracks site. I heard the impact and saw the smoke, then rang 999. I was working on my computer and had the time right in front of me. It was around 1 pm, NOT at noon.

  4. Sheila says:

    I was on this runaway bus..the driver was screaming..brakes gone…brakes gone..he was going so fast on a straight was a new route master, with a very efficient conductress, who told us to prepare for impact..very something out of Speed..
    Backs killing me, tummy too, but angels definitely looking after me that day..
    Roller coaster from hell!!!

  5. Sheila says:

    By the way, this took place at about 1.10..

  6. Tom says:

    Interesting. The 11 was diverted because of the Tour of Britain, but the diversion was via Horseferry Road and Lambeth Bridge, then up to Waterloo and back to Aldwych over Waterloo Bridge, not Chelsea Bridge Road and Chelsea Bridge. I’d concluded it wasn’t in service based on LVF reporting it as out of service before the crash…

  7. Sheila says:

    This was an 11 bus heading for aldwych,he said was a diversion due to bike race,driver & conductress very chatty lovely pair, thank god for back exit platform..
    They both did a great job in horrific curcumstances..
    On hindsight should have stayed for assistance, wanted to get away in case of fire..
    Next time get a cab…

  8. William McLennan says:

    @Sheila, Would you be able to talk to me about the crash and the helpful driver/conductress.
    I work for a local paper called West End Extra.
    Email is william[at]westendextra[dot]com

  9. Sylvia Segal says:

    Sheila, that’s a terrifying story. I’m glad you’re OK. Your account of the driver shouting “Brakes gone!” seems to me absolutely vital. If you didn’t give a statement to the Police at the scene, you should probably get in touch with them at the number they have set up in their appeal for witnesses.
    “The Met’s Traffic Unit are asking anyone who witnessed the collision, or the events leading up to it, to contact their appeal line on 0208 285 1574″

  10. Sheila says:

    Hi Sylvia
    Have thanks for advice, have spoken to Met.Office, and left statement, apparently they have had many witnesses, which is great, interesting observation (no skid marks) at scene.
    Hi Wiliam,
    Would love to help with your local,can we talk on phone, don,t really want my email address given out on net….

  11. Sheila says:

    Hi Sylvia,
    Thanks for advice have already spoken with met.
    They have had many witnesses, which is great.
    Interesting no bus skid marks…
    William would love to help out, but do not wish my email address to go over net.

    Would be happy to talk over phone…

  12. Melvyn says:

    Questions must surely be asked as to whether these buses are ready for front line service given how they have only run in service on easy route 38 and have not operated on different types of routes with different geography.

    In fact if this incident is due to brake failure then the question of their suitability for planned use on 390 to Archway which is on high ground must be addressed.

    Its worth remembering that the original Routemasters that were planned to replace Trolley Buses were built in 1954 but it was not until 1960 that they entered squadron service after years of testing!

    Its also worth recalling how London Transport used skid pan tests at Chiswick and it would be interesting to put a Borismaster to this test !

    Fact is I rode the full length of route 24 to experience these buses and I think they are truly awful with their tiny submarine porthole windows which won’t be popular with tourist visiting London and who take photos and movies from front upper deck!

    I also overheard locals at Hampstead end saying “nobody likes these buses!” And they most likely voted for Boris.

    Its time to return routes to mixed service and test these buses properly just like new trains are tested !

  13. @sheila – would you be able to talk to a local paper called the West End Extra about the crash and the conductress.
    My email is william[at]westendextra[dot]com

  14. Sorry – just seen your reply. Phone 0207 419 9000. Thanks

  15. Jamie clarke says:

    will ltz1062 be fixed?

  16. Gerard says:

    Heaving read the comments I would like to make some comments:
    Buses are tested thoroughly before entering service. The skid pan test has been done and there are also crash tests on a site in Lancashire (I believe in the area of the former East Lancs plant).

    If there really was a structural problem with the brakes, then there wouldn’t be a LT on the road shortly after the crash.
    And talking about routes…. the 24 was for more than 1 type of bus the start point. It was also the start point for the Enviro and many new types before that, because of the combination of routs used.

    I hope this was a one-off accident, something that can happen with any bus. I would like to remind you all to the fires of the Citaro. And these were buses that had been sold in thousands around the world in more than 5 years before they became London’s BBQ.

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