Sunday, 9 November 2008

Show Stoppers—08 Style (5)

There will be one more post on Euro Bus Expo 2008, during the week ahead. Meanwhile...

Show Stoppers (1) ~ (2) ~ (3) ~ (4) ~ (5)

It’s probably true to say that Euro Bus Expo 2008 was smaller than its 2006 predecessor. For one thing, Darwen’s reverse take-over of Optare reduced major exhibitors by one. There was a sense that some of the stands were spun out. Was there space to fill? The stand celebrating ten decades of the bus would tend to support this view. It was nevertheless good to see four well preserved buses of yesteryear.

This included an acetylene-lamped, open top and open stairwelled 1908 Leyland X2 double deck bodied by Thomas Tilling, seating just 34. 100 years old, this was an early example of market differentiation, with a luxurious interior to attract passengers from horse buses.

A 1914 Leyland S4.36.T3 London & North Western Railway charabanc operated rail feeder services. Said to be the only genuine ‘full-size’ surviving charabanc, it featured a full length, folding canvas roof, acetylene gas lamps to the front, and a modish so-called torpedo seating arrangement, somewhat like a theatre.

This former West Midlands Travel 1983 MCW Metrobus once operated prestigious Timesaver services, passing to Central Liner, Burton-on-Trent. Its appearance at Expo demonstrated what will no doubt become Litelogic’s burgeoning (and tiresome?) outdoor integrated, animated digital advertising/public information bus-side display medium. Metrobus Mk IIs are still just about running locally to the NEC.

What is it with the Routemaster? The industry can’t seem to move on or break with its past. It refuses to die. There were two RMs, one in blue from 1966, demonstrating the conversion, retrofitting, repair and refurbishment programme of the South East Coachworks, Faversham; the other RM was from 1960, on the Coach & Bus Week stand almost adjacent to the ADL400 used as a taster for the 2012 London olympics at this year’s closing ceremony at Beijing. The two made an interesting comparative study. But, was the ADL400 just another ‘space filler’?

It’s amazing to think that RMs were still being built at the time of this 1967 former Wolverhampton 11m dual-door 53-seat (yes, 53-seat!) Daimler Roadliner, bodied by Strachan. Rare, indeed, and an interesting comparison to the new 40-seat 12m single door buses at Expo. The Roadliner, making its debut in 1964, was Daimler’s answer to the low frame rear engined single deck chassis emerging at the time. Bournemouth had attractive Willowbrook examples lasting all of some five years. It must surely be one of England’s single deck disasters and was quickly dropped when Leyland took over. Another interesting comparison was its 200 hp 10 litre Cummins V6 engine. How things have changed in that department over the last 40 years.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting driver, JFK, in the light of the news during the Show of the election of Obama. JFK was similarly young and inexperienced. JFK was also dead by the time the Roadliner came to production.

RC169 said...

The other interesting point about the Roadliner was that it could be built with a stepless access to the passenger saloon, in the same way as a modern low floor vehicle. Not all were built like that, as was the case with the Daimler Fleetline, from which the Roadliner was derived, but the potential was there - if only Daimler could have got the mechanical parts right!

googler3 said...

did you notice - that env400 was NOT the one used at Beijing - if you compared the video playing with the bus in front of you, it was obvious that it was just a random env400 vinyled up to look similar - I was most disappointed!