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Felly Magic

Bus Shite (I'VE BEEN PAPPED, NOOOOOO LOL)

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My old shitheap when I worked on the coaches. Lumpy box on it, and regularly boiled on warm days, but once it got rolling, went like stink. Had a nasty habit of going past the limiter on downhill stretches & wouldn't come back without plenty of brakes, or the road levelling out. Crap throttle springs on it! Smoked like a bastard too when cold. Good old Volvo B7Rs, and being Plaxton, had plenty of rust too.

 

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And seeing as it is Christmas, here is a wintery scene, complete with a slighlty fragged flip dot desty on this Alexander of Falkirk bodied Scania N113, which was like bloody lightning. Top speed around 70 ish :) New as a guideway bus in Leeds, taken at Shadwell Terminus in North Leeds a few years back.

 

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Bluebird front engined. Imported by Firstgroup. Its design doesn't comply with any UK regs, thus couldn't gain an MOT. Not sure what happened to this. They imported a batch of rear engined Bluebirds which did meet regs, but failed to catch on, plus they are unreliable piles of junk.

 

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Staffordshire County Council started using Bluebirds on school runs, etc., from the late 90s (ish...) Still a couple left, but most have been replaced by some sort of anodyne 'Eurobus'.

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5282657495_af8d325433_z.jpg

 

Is this a Scottish-owned bus as it looks familiar to me?

 

I remember getting the Express version of these on the 38 to Edinburgh 10 years ago. OVT798 was my favourite as it had a Gardner engine. It was new to Western as A184UGB. I remember the Cataloyed stretch panels well!

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5282657495_af8d325433_z.jpg

 

Is this a Scottish-owned bus as it looks familiar to me?

 

I remember getting the Express version of these on the 38 to Edinburgh 10 years ago. OVT798 was my favourite as it had a Gardner engine. It was new to Western as A184UGB. I remember the Cataloyed stretch panels well!

 

 

It is indeed; new to Safeguard in Guildford as C270 TPL, though it's been in Scotland since 1994 or thereabouts; can't remember who had it second, but my boss has owned it for about thirteen years. It's the garage pet now, Leyland powered with a 6-speed manual 'box and air clutch. Stretch panels are mostly okay bar one little bit above the o/s/r wheel, but they're Van Hool stretch panels rather than Plaxton's own - a bit thicker and more resiliant to the brown stuff. It has just had the back end rebuilt, admittedly...

 

Quite a detached driving experience but bloody lovely it has to be said. We've taken it to a couple of shows now the boss trusts us with it :D

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I remember going down to Volvo At Loughborough to pick up a coach that the gaffer had bought sight unseen. An ex Yorkshire Traction Expressliner 2 B10M that had been through a few owners. It was P reg'd, and the back end was made of reddish brown powder, and needed a full rebuild. It had a bloody air leak too, and the low air buzzer kept going off all the way up the M1. I cannot believe he paid £30k for it. At least Volvo put 6 months tax and a full tank (500 litres) of diesel in it. The idiot gaffer also had it re-sprayed before the body rebuild!

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^Tigger! Seen this up close not so long back, a handsome thing indeed. Surely the Metro-Scania Metropolitan would be the ultimate in bus shite?

 

I remember those! Newport (south wales) Transport was one of the few that ran a fleet of these- K reg I think? they used to overheat quite readily IIRC. there's at least one in preservation

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Spotted today in the centre of Birmingham, GRS Travel Dennis Dart, (ex-Trent?). There still some 14 year old buses running in city centres, fortunately one came along just as I was waiting for something to make a good contrast with the background :)

 

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Selfridges, Birmingham by geoffp5, on Flickr

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^ Dennis Dart, a hateful, rattly, uncomfortable, annoying box of sheer and unrelenting misery for all inside and out because of the God-awful ride and the daft noise they make.

Hate them with a burning passion :evil:

 

Apart from the mini ones, those are rather cuddly and quite fun...

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These are the only bus which really left an impression on me:

 

3249373807_7735ecfaa1.jpg

Arriva Dennis Dart by Mancunian1001, on Flickr

 

They were so bloody horrible, as soon as one came into view you'd wonder if the wind and rain wasn't preferable. Even as a 13 year old, the leg room was just unacceptable - I remember having to sit slightly diagonally just to fit in the seat. They were hell when it was busy, and had a very distinct smell (maybe odour is a better word) which led a friend to christen them 'the egg bus'. The one happy memory being the grooved floor becoming a Malteasers marble run.

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The only interesting buses run out of Basingstoke now are these:

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2000 Dennis Dart SPD 'Stagecoach In Hampshire'. by bramm77, on Flickr

Insanely noisy, and pretty quick when pushed, despite the utterly ridiculous gear ratios. They are also visibly rusting around the arches now.

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1996 Dennis Dart SLF/ Plaxton Pointer II Bus. by bramm77, on Flickr

Ex Hong Kong Dart, there was loads of these operating until mid last year, when they were sent somewhere else, they had fairly comfortable coach like interiors but my god, they were so slow.

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Dart Dash. by bramm77, on Flickr

These didn't die, ever. They kept running...and running, until they were withdrawn bar one example around two months ago. I imagine they are all destined to die, they sounded like crap even on a good day, ragged hard by every driver.

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1998 Volvo B10M NC Paladin 'Stagecoach Hants & Surrey' Bus. by bramm77, on Flickr

This is an unusual one, and is still in use, I think. Very much the last of the traditional buses left I think, low floor rules have removed most from service I think.

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1996 Mercedes Benz 709D Alexander Sprint Bus. by bramm77, on Flickr

These things outlived their welcome by a while as well, there is a handful still around for some unusual reason, travelling on one is like stepping back a decade, they even have manual gearboxes. Still, it was fun to see them, and the noise was so familiar.

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Why are buses used for longer than other road vehicles are commercially? Cars are sold from fleets anywhere from 2-5 years old and HGV's seem to have a 4-8 year fleet life and vans a similar 5-10 year life? Even Arriva in the Leicester area seem to run buses that are R-reg or V reg and some of the smaller operators seem to use mid 80s chod for contract work and a few even have some as old as old W reg in daily use. Its not a recent thing in 1994 Midland red had a fleet of Leyland Nationals that were N - T reg. Even the 1986 mk2 Transit 16 seaters that were not a success limped on until about 1998.

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I regularly see P/R-reg buses operating round Sheffield. I imagine it must be something to do with tax regulations- that's why car fleets only last 3-4 years. The age of the buses isn't really a problem but, for some reason, private operators competing for customers and charging a fortune for a ticket seem to not care about NVH and the rattles and noise get old really fast. I live practically next to the central bus station, but I never use them. Even when the car is in the garage or whatever, I'd much rather walk if the distance is up to a couple of miles.

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What I don't understand about bus companies is the fact that they are allowed to "self examine" and hand out PCV licences as they please. No attending the local test centre required, just the opinion of the in house trainer is required. If a standard car licence holder turned up for a job at Stobarts or Wincuntans asking for a job he'd be shown the door.

Also, how come a manual HGV licence holder passing his PCV test in an auto bus will be given a manual PCV entitlement but it doesn't work the other way when a PCV holder wants to drive a truck?

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Gawd. Remember the good old days when someone actually styled buses?

 

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The New Bus for London is gloriously over styled. It's just a shame they're unlikely to be seen outside the capital - I'd make more use of buses if they looked as good as this.

 

Shame about the awful headlamps

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Stagecoach have a small but seemingly immortal fleet of alexander Sprint bodied MB's. I love the sound of them. Some buses get a longer service life due to their alloy bodywork lasting a bit better although that's by no means a rule.

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These are the only bus which really left an impression on me:

 

3249373807_7735ecfaa1.jpg

Arriva Dennis Dart by Mancunian1001, on Flickr

 

They were so bloody horrible, as soon as one came into view you'd wonder if the wind and rain wasn't preferable. Even as a 13 year old, the leg room was just unacceptable - I remember having to sit slightly diagonally just to fit in the seat. They were hell when it was busy, and had a very distinct smell (maybe odour is a better word) which led a friend to christen them 'the egg bus'. The one happy memory being the grooved floor becoming a Malteasers marble run.

 

Good old East Lancs, builders of the shitest buses. They never really grasped the idea of styling and made some hideous concoctions - anyone remember their Dodge minibuses?

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Why are buses used for longer than other road vehicles are commercially? Cars are sold from fleets anywhere from 2-5 years old and HGV's seem to have a 4-8 year fleet life and vans a similar 5-10 year life? Even Arriva in the Leicester area seem to run buses that are R-reg or V reg and some of the smaller operators seem to use mid 80s chod for contract work and a few even have some as old as old W reg in daily use. Its not a recent thing in 1994 Midland red had a fleet of Leyland Nationals that were N - T reg. Even the 1986 mk2 Transit 16 seaters that were not a success limped on until about 1998.

 

Industry margins are generally fairly slim even in larger urban areas - so the assets have to be depreciated over a longer period. A low-spec single decker might come in at £110k new at the moment - £160k or so for a double fitted out to a basic standard. Fairly typical to write that down over say 15 years and still get a few grand selling it on for use as a school bus hack.

 

Problem with UK/Irish vehicles is, there's no nearby RHD country to sell surplus stock to with low shipping costs. At least France, Germany etc can sell to Eastern Europe after a decade or so. :)

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