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Felly Magic

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This just popped up on my photo frame slideshow and given the recent talk of more modern vehicles seemed worth a mention.

This is probably the most pleasant modern bus I've been on as a passenger.

LF57OXF.thumb.jpg.38bb5f750dfc40456d6862de0997df9f.jpg

Lovely composed ride, very little of the shuddering through the body you generally get on city buses, really quiet, but what noise you could hear from the drivetrain was a nice smooth growl, and on the one bit of open road I was on it for, seemed to have a decent amount of poke.  Honestly felt more like a low floor coach than a city bus.

No idea what they're like to drive or to live with as an operator, but as a passenger I was very impressed.

Sadly have had little experience with Scanias as everything in my area has been almost exclusively Volvo through my life.  Bluebird did have *one* oddball on a G plate with an Alexander PS body (I'm assuming it was a K.113) for a while though back around 2003.  I didn't even clock it wasn't a B10M like the rest until the driver started the engine and I realised that A: that doesn't sound anything like a Volvo engine, and B: The noise was coming from the wrong end of the bus.  Only rode on it twice sadly but I loved that one.   Sounded absolutely epic, very Gardner like at low revs but really smooth above about 1500rom.  Went like hell too, reckon it hit the rev limiter at just under 80.  Definitely did more than 70 on the flat as I got overtaken by it on the A96 twice.

Speaking to the driver on the second trip out on it she said it was a great bus to drive - apparently hated by the company though as the aforementioned performance came very much at the cost of economy!  It disappeared a couple of weeks later so sadly never got a photo of it.  Not that it would be that special as one PS looks pretty much like another.  Only really interesting angle would be the offside rear as it had totally different cutouts etc around there for the radiator, exhaust etc that the front/mid engined ones didn't need.

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I reckon Scania did the only thing they could do to chip away at Volvo's stranglehold: build hot rods, more or less. Mate of mine from years back ran a sleeper bus company - the kind bands hire to go on tour - and one of his big 'uns was a Scania, he reckoned it out grunted anything up to a big engine Neoplan. And it would give one of those a run for its' money on the autobahn. 

Always wondered why Scania didn't 'push the red button' and fit the V8, after all the Merc OM442 engined Neoplans had a corner of the market they could've muscled (pun intended) in on. Not for everyone to run such a diesel guzzling beast, but they had their place at the time. After all, didn't Plaxton build a few 14L Cummins motorway deckers for NatEx? Same principle.

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8 hours ago, CreepingJesus said:

After all, didn't Plaxton build a few 14L Cummins motorway deckers for NatEx? Same principle.

You’re not thinking of the fabled MCW 400GT are you? One of the few coaches to have a legitimate 0-60 time and at least one was fitted with the big Cummins (basically a sprinter engine mounted vertically).

Fuck me, they were fast.

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Yes, you are correct. Something was bugging me after I wrote that: could it be...entirely the wrong manufacturer? Why yes, it could be.

I had the infamous Chris Goffey road test in mind, which wasn't helping, but I was sure whatever that was had the 330 horse Daf engine in the back: about par with the L10 of the time, but the NTE ran to 450 horse in road trim then. More like the kind of outputs the big German engines had.

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Plaxton built some double deck coach bodies (4000 series ?) on Scania chassis for National back in the mid 80's. They were fun to drive with their (early) automatically operated manual gearbox. Driving cab was shite if you were over about 5'9" tall as your head hit the roof. 

When the computer packed up there was a work around that involved swapping the cables over that fed the box of tricks so you had two forward gears, something like 3rd and 7th by selecting either A or M on the controller. In 7th it revved the bollocks of it at around 40mph but it could got you home. 

Mind you, they drank diesel at a frightening rate when working well, and with 70 seats when they went seriously tits you had to send two coaches out to collect the punters.

 

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4 hours ago, Inspector Morose said:

You’re not thinking of the fabled MCW 400GT are you? One of the few coaches to have a legitimate 0-60 time and at least one was fitted with the big Cummins (basically a sprinter engine mounted vertically).

Fuck me, they were fast.

I've just remembered a cool trip out in a 4000GT. It had a Gardner 6LYT and went like fuck. 

It was in a low key* yellow and pink livery and based in or near Gravesend. 

This was way back in '97 or 98...

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28 minutes ago, busmansholiday said:

Plaxton built some double deck coach bodies (4000 series ?) on Scania chassis for National back in the mid 80's. They were fun to drive with their (early) automatically operated manual gearbox. Driving cab was shite if you were over about 5'9" tall as your head hit the roof. 

When the computer packed up there was a work around that involved swapping the cables over that fed the box of tricks so you had two forward gears, something like 3rd and 7th by selecting either A or M on the controller. In 7th it revved the bollocks of it at around 40mph but it could got you home. 

Mind you, they drank diesel at a frightening rate when working well, and with 70 seats when they went seriously tits you had to send two coaches out to collect the punters.

 

And the speed sensor for the gearbox was next to the offside rear wheel so when the inner tyre blew out, you lost all gears.

Ask me how I bloody know. (Luckily ours was just a Paramount 3200).

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1 hour ago, busmansholiday said:

When the computer packed up there was a work around that involved swapping the cables over that fed the box of tricks so you had two forward gears, something like 3rd and 7th by selecting either A or M on the controller. In 7th it revved the bollocks of it at around 40mph but it could got you home. 

When I worked for Tanat Valley Coaches we had an electrical genius at the depot. He took an old Leyland semi-auto hydracyclic gear selector, rewired it and made a custom loom that would plug into the ZF 4/5HP500 brain diagnostic port and bypass the ZF selector in the event that either the ZF brain or selector failed. It worked very well indeed, there's a video somewhere of a Cummins L10/ZF Olympian being driven manually, with the Leyland semi-auto selector clamped to the cab door. 

Scania hot rods - yes, but not always as solid as a Volvo.

T35 CNN

(Not my photo). 

T35 - the Scud. Fire it off in the morning, and off it would fuck at a vast rate of knots until the driver phoned in to say where it had landed and exploded. In two years it went through: engine, gearbox, roof resealed (twice) a/c overhauled, rear axle, another engine and numerous smaller things. It also had an unhealthy appetite for turbos. However, on a good day it was great for out-dragging Corsa-driving scrotes away from the traffic lights around Cheltenham & Gloucester. The B10Ms were slower but handled much better and rarely gave trouble. T35 didn't stay with Swanbrook particularly long (2005-2007) and went through a lot of operators afterwards around the country, eventually landing up in Wiltshire. Surprisingly it survived until at least 2019, which is when the last MoT ran out. To be fair it was almost certainly a Friday afternoon machine. 

I did a good few hours driving this and it was a fantastic thing to drive - a totally different proposition compared with the lemon of an Intercentury above.

Mid Devon Coaches  - P2 POW - Exeter St. Davids Station

(Not my photo). 

Still didn't handle as well as even a rough B10M, but a very pleasant thing to drive. This was too, but for different reasons:

3501 - M401 EFD

(Not my photo).

Moving into proper Autoshite realms here with a real rarity - an N113CRL with an East Lancs European MaxCi body. Midland Red North ordered 4 (1401-1404) delivered new in 1994 for the new Meole Brace P&R service. They lasted until around 2010 on the same job (though they occasionally escaped onto other routes), and despite the East Lancs body they were incredibly solid. Gutsy, thirsty and made a great noise, they also rode well which is nothing short of a miracle on Shropshire's pot-holed and cratered roads. Sadly all gone now, I'd have loved to own one.

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2 minutes ago, 83C said:

3501 - M401 EFD

(Not my photo).

Moving into proper Autoshite realms here with a real rarity - an N113CRL with an East Lancs European MaxCi body. Midland Red North ordered 4 (1401-1404) delivered new in 1994 for the new Meole Brace P&R service. They lasted until around 2010 on the same job (though they occasionally escaped onto other routes), and despite the East Lancs body they were incredibly solid. Gutsy, thirsty and made a great noise, they also rode well which is nothing short of a miracle on Shropshire's pot-holed and cratered roads. Sadly all gone now, I'd have loved to own one.

We had a handful of these at Clydeside, bought from stock - 508-10/12/13 and ex demo 525 (M108-10/12/13 RMS, L25 LSX). They were the odd men out at Clydeside being low floor N113CRLs with Voith transmissions, while the rest of the batch (Northern Counties Paladin-bodied 501-3 (L588 JSG, M102/3 RMS), Alexander Strider-bodied 504-7 (M104-7 RMS) and East Lancashire European-bodied 514-521 (M114-21 RMS) were all step entrance, ZF 'boxed L113CRLs.

I much preferred the step entrance Europeans. They looked a more finished design than the MaxCi, and being ZF 'boxed they always had a greater... shall we say, sense of urgency. By the end up they were all electrically senile but jesus christ could they shift.

2021-06-04_12-10-21.jpg

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I think the MRN & Clydeside examples were the only low-floor MaxCis in the U.K. When they were new MRN made a big deal about the kneeling suspension, but unlike a Dart the N113 chassis actually dropped a useful height, so it didn’t run aground anywhere and it also got low enough when required. Later a batch of L113s were also acquired, registered in the N-PUT range. One made it to Shrewsbury which seemed to collect all the misfits of what became Arriva Midlands North, nice to drive and as you say, a little more ‘urgent’. They were followed by a batch of L113s fitted with Plaxton Paladin bodies (R-TJW) that were also good. However, they couldn’t shift the old B10M/Alexander Q-types entirely, one job (the X5) required a B10M until the timetable was recast because anything else usually went bang within a week. 

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1 hour ago, busmansholiday said:

When the computer packed up there was a work around that involved swapping the cables over that fed the box of tricks so you had two forward gears, something like 3rd and 7th by selecting either A or M on the controller. In 7th it revved the bollocks of it at around 40mph but it could got you home. 

 

Almost exactly what happened to my mate's one. ISTR he had 1st, 3rd and 5th at best, he was desperate enough to ask me if I'd any idea! I did know of a local truck fitter who was a bit of a wizard, but even he couldn't fully solve it. Scania over at Newbridge had a look at it, sucked air through their teeth and quoted him a king's ransom to fix it. I don't think he took up their kind offer, but somebody did fix it, and it ran along fine for a few months until it suffered a catastrophic gearbox failure on an autoroute in the middle of France. He limped it into a scrappy, took what he could get and flew himself and the band he was chauffeuring, home. Can't remember for the life of me what body it had, but it was a single deck, I remember that much. He'd had it painted black, blacked out the windows, blacked out everything else, cos rock'n'roll...and as it spent most of its' time with him in disgrace, lurking round the back of the garage, it was kinda hard to see what it was!

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10 minutes ago, 83C said:

I think the MRN & Clydeside examples were the only low-floor MaxCis in the U.K.

Nope, Dundee had 1. I believe (i could be wrong on this part) it was the first. Here it is in its original livery upon delivery in 1993. And got a private plate because of its status as the first low floor bus in Scotland.

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And here was how it ended its days looking, in service up until 2008.

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2 minutes ago, Mrcento said:

Nope, Dundee had 1. I believe (i could be wrong on this part) it was the first. Here it is in its original livery upon delivery in 1993. And got a private plate because of its status as the first low floor bus in Scotland.

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And here was how it ended its days looking, in service up until 2008.

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I forgot about that one! Ended up as L602 SES.

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1 minute ago, cms206 said:

I forgot about that one! Ended up as L602 SES.

That's the one. I always remembered seeing it around a lot as a kid because of the plate and the noise it made.

Rarely was on routes i used, but did ride on it a couple of times when it was presumably filling in for broken buses.

Seemed to go well, sounded really grunty. Didn't rattle inside much,

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6 hours ago, Mrcento said:

Seemed to go well, sounded really grunty. Didn't rattle inside much,

Yup, that’s how I remember the MRN examples. The last line especially is remarkable for an Early Learning Centre Bodies vehicle. 

Lovely things to drive despite the Voith gearbox. Just thinking of the misfits at Shrewsbury has reminded me of this:

Salopian Ikarus

YBJ 403/3399 DAF SB220 with an Ikarus body. Quite a few drivers didn’t much like it but I did, fairly grunty and handled quite well. Dashboard wasn’t the best in terms of layout and finding the right switch/button as required, but I don’t think I ever had a failure with it and it was comfortable. 

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That was Chase’s anniversary motor. I had the pleasure to take that out brand new on service.  Being used to the soft brake of a National, the short pedal on this took some time to get acclimatised but it was a pleasant place to be for a shift. Once I had my play, I rarely saw it again as it was always allocated to the clique so I picked a good National instead.

This was the very bus that blew its diff after a couple of weeks leading me to ring up the local DAF agent (Greenhaus in Willenjall) with the question:

”I’ve got a DAF with a duff diff. Have you got a new diff for a DAF?”

They put the phone down on me so I had to ring again. After this was changed under warranty (pinion bearings had collapsed apparently) it never gave a hint of trouble - well it did lead a very cosseted life while at Chase, no doubt it had a rude awakening when Arriva got its hands on it.

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11 hours ago, cms206 said:

@83CThe only other one I can think of was First's 8995 WY, new as demo M78 WKX.

It had quite a bit of surgery in later life but seems to have been a bit of a pet.

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I've been on that, bonus little wheels for Leeds's stupid guided busways. I love the continental look but I am a bit confused why ELC bothered making them over here to Scania's design. Why didn't we just buy them straight from Scania as an integral?

Continuing the theme of European obscurity in the UK - Arriva's Neoplan midibi:

5787486545_d982dd1ba5_b.jpg

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9 hours ago, 83C said:

Yup, that’s how I remember the MRN examples. The last line especially is remarkable for an Early Learning Centre Bodies vehicle.

Yup!, we had a batch of Ailsa Mk3's with East Lancs bodies. They were....shit.

They always smelled of damp inside because they leaked so badly around the windows. Probably because the body was so flexible. You could see the side panels flex over bumps.

The Alexander bodied ones never had the same issue.

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I don't know what it was with ELC Bodies. I've driven Volvo Olympians bodied by ELC; shit. Leaky; rattly and extremely flexible. 

Then previously mentioned were the Scania Omnidekka and Omnitown. Leaky; rattly and extremely flexible. 

To be fair, the Optare Olympus family were less shite. Marginally less shite... 

 

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On 6/4/2021 at 12:11 AM, cms206 said:

I much preferred the step entrance Europeans

Have a 'real' European, Hispano stuck the bits together between the Scania front and back panels.

61_a.thumb.JPG.49787937861b7472f7afd763e1ccc183.JPG

And whilst mentioning Scanias, I've had a couple of runs on this last week, still doing sterling service between Buxton and Derby.

 

IMG_0887.thumb.JPG.3adc4516cb354db6509028f0d3ef7a79.JPG

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13 hours ago, busmansholiday said:

Have a 'real' European, Hispano stuck the bits together between the Scania front and back panels.

61_a.thumb.JPG.49787937861b7472f7afd763e1ccc183.JPG

And whilst mentioning Scanias, I've had a couple of runs on this last week, still doing sterling service between Buxton and Derby.

 

IMG_0887.thumb.JPG.3adc4516cb354db6509028f0d3ef7a79.JPG

Interesting "Figurehead" on top of the Hispano Scania... 🤭🤭🤭😁😁😁

 

 

 

 

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Wow--there i was roaming about facebook and up pops this pictute of the Bedford OB that belonged to Arnold brothers who i worked for at Chilham,straight out of school in the early 1960's. I remember it so well because i had to wash and clean it twice a day with a hosepipe,bucket,sponge and chamois leather.

My past.jpg

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1 minute ago, Vantman said:

Wow--there i was roaming about facebook and up pops this pictute of the Bedford OB that belonged to Arnold brothers who i worked for at Chilham,straight out of school in the early 1960's. I remember it so well because i had to wash and clean it twice a day with a hosepipe,bucket,sponge and chamois leather.

My past.jpg

Phoooar

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