The Anonymous Widower

Could The Pantograph Make A Return To London’s Buses?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

Reading Ian’s article, the plan is for the 358 bus route to be converted into an electric bus route, where the buses are charged at both ends of the route during the turn round.

The Feasibility Of A Battery-Electric Route 358

This morning, I took a train to Crystal Palace station and then took a 358 bus to Orpington station before coming home.

These were my thoughts.

Crystal Palace Parade

The buses actually leave from Crystal Palace Parade where there are several bus stops in a bus station.

This Google Map shows the bus station.

I also took these pictures.


  1. There is certainly a lot of space to put a charger.
  2. As there is the main Crystal Palace television transmitter close by, I suspect that power is not a problem.

There didn’t appear to be any sign of work relating to a charger.

Orpington Station

This Google Map shows Orpington station.


  1. The bus station is on the East side of the station.
  2. Buses are lined up at the Northern end of the bus station.
  3. Orpington station is step-free.

I took these pictures.

As at Crystal Palace there appeared to be no work in progress to install a charger.

The Route

The route is mainly flat with hills or inclines at the following places.

  • There is a steep hill up to Crystal Palace Parade.
  • There are hills at Bromley and Farnborough.
  • There is a steep incline up to Orpington station.

At times, the bus was running at just under forty mph.

I suspect that Transport for London will have to be careful with specifying the battery size.

The Buses

This is the ie tram product page on the Irizar web site.

This is a video of the twelve metre ie tram.

It looks rather smart and purposeful.

The Charger

The image on Ian Visits could be one of Furrer + Frey’s chargers shown in this doocument on their web site.


It looks a viable zero-carbon bus route, but as no work is visible, has it been cancelled because of TfL’s financial problems?






December 12, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. I doubt we we will ever see OHL in any form to supply power for recharging batteries. I expect it’s more likely to be in the form of induction or some such technology. In these sorts of situations, I can’t really see chargers with charging cables being used because of the likelihood of buses driving off while still being charged. Unless of course, there is a warning in the cab or other mechanism that would prevent this from happening.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | December 13, 2021 | Reply

    • From the picture on Ian Visits, this one looks like one of Furrer + Frey’s overhead gantries or something similar.

      Comment by AnonW | December 13, 2021 | Reply

    • Apart from from the pantograph on the bus system illustrated by F+F, the reverse is the pantograph on the charging station as can be seen towards the end of this ABB heavy vehicle charging video.

      Comment by fammorris | December 13, 2021 | Reply

  2. We shall see! But the likelihood of pantograph and OHLE as also suggested recently is pretty unlikely. The other problem is there are going to be so many conflicting systems that we will end up repeating the current electric car charging fiasco with competing systems and not one standard that anyone can use.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | December 13, 2021 | Reply

  3. Yes, as you identify with vehicle charging, we need standardisation, trouble is you get this kind of problem every time there’s some kind of disruptive technological event. It’s too ambitious to expect immediate resolution but we have to find an expedient way to balance the intellectual rights of the innovator with what is in the common good.
    I fear that with decarbonisation of the transport sector we’re in for a couple of decades of this sort of thing.

    Comment by fammorris | December 13, 2021 | Reply

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