Thursday, 11 June 2015

East to West!

As I have reported in a previous post, there were to be some new(er) vehicles added to Go-Ahead Plymouths fleet, and here they are! There was also a 'surprise' arrival to the fleet, as well as some unexpected arrivals for First Buses of Somerset

Firstly, we'll kick off with Plymouth CityBus' Transbus Trident/Plaxton Presidents. The batch of  7 arrived a couple of months back, and the first, 481 PK02RFL, was put into service last Friday complete with its Plymouth Respect Festival livery and re-trimmed interior. It performed well on City route 51 between Royal Parade and Holly Park, making a meal of the steep climb towards Milehouse and providing a very smooth and comfortable ride.

Re-trimmed interior of 481
Brighton & Hove interior of one of the Tridents

I later had the chance to see 481 mixing with it's Volvo counterparts in Milehouse depot, as well as photographing the other Tridents which had not yet been prepared for service. It's nice to see that the interior Hanover Displays on them were kept, and have been programmed very well to show the same as whats on the front display. The Tridents also have a large area on the nearside with tip-up seats, ideal for the large volume of buggies that use Plymouth CityBus services. The original seat moquette isn't in too bad a state and is one of my favourite designs, however they do look very smart re-trimmed. For a 2002, well used, decker they are in very good condition with only a re-trim and an exterior repaint needed to make them look the part in Plymouth! As much as I do like the ex-London B7TLs, the Tridents seem far more promising in terms of ability of Devons hills and reliability.

Spot the Trident!

The unexpected arrivals were a small batch of Alexander Dennis Mini Pointer Dart's from Go-Ahead London. These have entered service, unpainted (not that they needed a repaint) and with branding for Go-Cornwall Bus. I believe these are intended to relieve pressure on the fleet, especially the ageing Darts and the not so reliable Optare Solos on the Cornwall routes. I sampled 252 LX05EYY, a few days after it had entered service with Go-Cornwall on route 11 from Liskeard to Plymouth. After some issues starting (which has now been rectified), it performed surprisingly well for an ex-London vehicle, easily hitting 60 along the A38. The Darts were bought to a decent spec, with comfortable seats and refurbished mid-life, (ironically, by Plymouth CityBus) making them really look the part inside. They should serve the fleet very well.

Now onto First Bus, who received a trio of Plaxton President bodied Dennis Tridents from First Essex. These are 32818 T818LLC, 32883 T883KLF and finally 32859 V859HBY, fitting in nicely with the T-LLC/KLF and V-HBY Tridents that are currently in the fleet. The trio are based at Buses of Somerset's Bridgwater depot and used on core long distance service 21 along with their counterparts. I sampled 32818 T818LLC on a section of the route, and it performed well and sounded nice, like the majority of the batch.

Overall, a nice new selection of vehicles for the South West, and its nice (for me as an enthusiast) to see second hand vehicles being passed around, rather than batch after batch of boring new vehicles being bought.