Following on from the batch of Alexander Dennis Enviro400s they received in the summer of last year for the 'Yellow Flash' 50 service, Plymouth CityBus placed a further order of 7 Enviro400s, as well as 13 Enviro200s. These are the first Enviro200s to join the fleet since 2008, with the Volvo B7RLE being the favoured saloon in the meantime.
|150 WJ65HME with sisters at Milehouse prior to entering service|
The Enviro200s are numbered and registered as following:
I've not yet got details of the Enviro400s registrations, however they are to be numbered 532-8 in the fleet.
|Interior of 150 WJ65HME prior to entering service,|
Buses 154-159 will be for route 5 & 5A which connects the City Centre to Plymstock and Staddiscombe, and will be branded 'Green Flash' in line with the other Red, Blue and Yellow routes. The vehicles will feature the same interior as the standard liveried ones. Two of the Enviro400s, 532 & 533 one would assume, will also be Green Flash branded.
This leaves the remainder of the E400s, 534-8, which will be in standard swoop livery for use on the Torpoint services 70/70A/71, that are currently served by former Go-Ahead London General Volvo B7TLs. Because of the ferry, the Enviros are currently undergoing rear end modifications to assist with boarding - similar to that of Firsts 2004 'Tamar Link' Tridents, which in fact, were the last new buses for this route.
|The current order - 412 PL51LGC is seen on the coast road working|
a 32A to Liskeard
I was also quite intrigued by the fact the new Enviro200s are shorter than previous batches. With every increasing loads on routes 8 & 9, I would have expected 11.3m versions to have been bought. I've previously seen deckers on the routes, full and standing at peak times - so it'll be interesting to see how the new vehicles manage!
With the recent entry of Stagecoach into Plymouth, I'm very surprised that Go-Ahead chose to order old style euro 5 versions of Enviros. I would have thought they would have opted for the new MMCs, to try and stay as up to date as they could, especially with Stagecoach having new vehicles on order for the same time. With two sets of brand new vehicles on the road, with 10 years of design apart - will passengers of the new CityBus Enviros even realise their on a brand new bus?
Now, onto Stagecoach South West who have had a large influx of new vehicles within the last few weeks. The first are euro 6 Alexander Dennis Enviro400MMCs, 10457-10462 which follow on from the Exeter Park & Ride batch, This five are in fact a diverted Manchester order, intended to speed up the process of upgrading Plymouths Park & Ride services and allowing the current loaned vehicles to return to First Kernow. The batch are fitted with high back e-Leather Lazzerini 3840 seating, in a blue trim and are also said to be fitted with Stop-Start technology. All five I believe will be in a two-tone blue livery dedicated to Park & Ride services, the first two have already arrived and were present during my visit to The Ride depot on Sunday.
|Rears of 10457|
The next batch are the original vehicles intended for Plymouth, 10488-10503. All sixteen are to be in standard 'swoops' livery, and fitted with low back Lazzerini 3845 seating in standard moquette as found on the majority of other Stagecoach vehicles in the UK. These Enviros are intended to replace the current S/T/V/X/04 reg Tridents on routes 1, X1 and 3. However, some Tridents may be kept for school services. Three of these were present during my visit over the weekend.
As well as the deckers, Stagecoach have also got five 11.9 metre Alexander Dennis Enviro200MMCs on order for the Park & Ride services. They will be fitted out with the same interior as 10457-62, and powered by the larger than standard Cummins ISBe6 with Voith transmission - making these the new 'SPDs' I suppose. Alexander Dennis intend to replace the full size Enviro300 with this model, so it will be interesting to see the comparison between the two! They also happen to be numbered under the 2xxxx series, whereas other Enviros are 3xxxx - this indicates them being classed as a full size saloon. Whilst at least one has arrived, it was in the paintshop Sunday so I was unable to see it, sadly.
The registrations will be as follows:
Now, for me, the most exciting of the new buses. A batch of eight 15 metre, tri-axle Volvo B11RTs with Plaxton Elite bodywork. These are intended to be used on an up and coming express service between Plymouth and Bristol, and are dressed up in a stunning livery, accordingly. These are fitted with Volvos exceptionally good euro 6 D11K engine, coupled to the successfu Automated-Manual l i-Shift 12 speed gearbox. They feature Fainsa Gala seating, and are fitted with mains plug sockets for maximum passenger comfort.
Two were present when I visited the depot, and the batch is said to be registered:
NOTE: The registrations of 54321 onwards are NOT yet confirmed - this post may change after delivery.
The 'Falcon' service is a new venture, as part of Stagecoach's plans for Plymouth depot, and will see an hourly service during the day connecting Plymouth to Bristol City Centre, calling at Exeter Park & Ride (one would assume Honiton Road), Cullompton Services, Taunton Park & Ride, Bristol Airport and finally Bristol City Centre (one would assume they will share the Megabus stops at Colson Hall). There is also said to be overnight journeys to connect with flights from Bristol Airport.
The service is designed to run on a 'turn up and go' basis, which would leave MegaBus to all of the bookings and long distance travel. The competitive fares that are to come of Falcon will no doubt give National Express and the railways a run for their money, especially with the delays faced along Dawlish Sea Wall during periods of inclement weather, and also appeal to day trippers and students within the South West. South Devon and Exeter have been lacking any sort of decent bus service to Taunton, and Bristol for a number of years now since First gave up route 92, which itself took a rather long time to reach Taunton. It's nigh on impossible to reach Bristol by service bus in a day, never mind in any short space of time - so the Falcon is a winner in my book and I very much look forward to trying it out! Falcon is due to begin on Sunday 14th February, and more information will be available nearer the time.
So, intriguing times ahead with all these new vehicles and I look forward to trying them all. I would like to thank Steve Mutly for numbering information on the Stagecoach vehicles, and the same to Bobby Darch for the CityBus side.