• 2024.05.20
At the London Transport Museum, it is possible to retrace the history and evolution of London's means of transport.
It is a sort of time travel to discover how people moved in London in the 19th century and during the following centuries up to the present day.

Among the vehicles on display one is able to admire not only the famous double-decker buses which have become famous throughout the world as one of the symbols of London, but also the first underground steam train, the first subway in the world with its original map and a horse-drawn carriage from the early 1800s.
A new change is also at the door for London transports.
Brexit has changed many things and British habits and from this year there could be a further blow to traditions.
It is almost certain that London’s iconic buses in fact, the red double-decker buses that have served London in various versions since the ‘50s, will soon have electric rivals with a more conventional bubble-like look.
Transport for London, London's public transport company, has in fact announced the arrival of 20 new tram-buses called “ieTrams” which will initially be operational only on the route that connects Crystal Palace, a neighborhood in the south of London where the Premier team is based, with the south-western suburbs and later extended to serve the entire City.
One of the main features is that this new bus can be recharged in just ten minutes, between one shift and another, using the pantograph - a sort of arm - located on the roof which connects the vehicles with the facilities located at the terminal.
While most of the city’s current electric buses - approximately 850 - are charged overnight in a garage, the ieTram gets its energy using this new innovative technology by connecting the bus to the charging station through the roof.

Doubledecker bus in the city centre

There will one charging point positioned at the end of each route and with less than 10 minutes of charging time the vehicles will be ready to travel again, along what is one of London's longest bus routes.

Although the ieTram buses will be put into service from spring 2024, TfL tells the Londoner that there are currently no plans to expand the trial for this year.
Tram-buses could be the future of London transport.
But could they be the future for just one particular bus route in south-east London too, who knows?
There are plans though to build a tram line going under the Thames between Kent and Essex too.
The speed in recharging the batteries represents the greatest advantage compared to the other electric buses currently in service in London including the contemporary version of the Double-decker ones.
In fact, the latter are forced to spend the night in storage once the batteries run out, making their use less flexible and more expensive.
The new arrival on the streets of London is a cross between a tram and a bus, equipped with all comforts, USB sockets, Wi-Fi, luggage racks as well as information displays.
With their 12 meters in length and the possibility of accommodating up to 105 passengers, as well as an autonomy of up to 350 km, the new ieTrams will make a major contribution to the objective set by the city council together with Tfl (Transport for London) of having a completely zero-emission fleet by the year 2034.
For now they represent a pilot project, but, if they prove efficient, the plan is to extend their use on many other routes in the Greater London area.
I just hope they keep some double-decker buses for show at least.


  • GianFranco Belloli
  • Jobblogger/musician

I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

View a list of GianFranco Belloli's