The second of three demonstrating vehicles currently on loan to Harrogate is the new Wrights StreetDeck double deck chassis, which is built at the En Drive plant in Co Antrim Northern Ireland. With the Gemini3 body built nearby at the Ballymena plant, currently both the original and angled Gemini3 bodywork is available on the StreetDeck and the Volvo B5 chassis. The driveline for the StreetDeck features the Daimler OM934 Euro6 (Mercedes Benz) 5.1 litre 4 cyl engine rated at 231ph/1400rpm, with three gearbox options. The Voith Diwa.6 four speed, ZF Ecolife six speed box and the Daimler G90AMT gearbox.
Transdev are now taking SN64CTU (9119 Go-Ahead North East) on another fuel economy and savings test as well as asking for passengers thoughts on the vehicles. This particular vehicle arrived during Thursday January 22nd, 2015 for driver training and testing, which sees plenty of Harrogate drivers taking part in the tests. Again a Guinea pig (got it right this time) is pictured with some friends on one poster within the bus, with a couple of posters asking for passengers views. SN64CTU began her week doing an early doors 36 duty followed by 'Car 13' departure 14:45 to Leeds, 15:45 via Infirmary street to Ripon for 17:45, then the 17:55 to Leeds which arrived at 19:20 and finishing with the 19:30 to Harrogate.
For Today 28-01-15, your author started out early to catch the 07:35 departure to Leeds, starting in Harrogate on the 06:20 to Ripon.
First impressions for the interior of SN64CTU was of a fresh and neat vehicle, with full Go-North East seating, blue cloth covers on Esteban Civic C2 seats which were a dual-purpose thicker base for added comfort, blue and grey overall interior colour. As SN64CTU began her journey to Leeds, it was still dark and the wind and rain also started to fall, which led to the windows steaming up. One way around this would be to have air blowers pointing at the front window, or a demister/heated window. Your author sat on the front nearside seat, with a full front view to watch the cars and street lights wiz by. As the bus meandered through Harrogate's busy streets, plenty of custom was taken for the journey, which allowed the stop/start of a usual bus trip. By Pannel the bus had all the passengers on board for a trip into Leeds, with a good acceleration the Daimler/Mercedes engine and Voith gearbox work well on the straight stretches of the A61. At Harewood Bridge the bus slowed down and then the quick turn of speed saw the Streetdeck climb Harewood bank without much fuss, but the quicker gear change downs slowed progress towards the summit. No-one wanted the Harewood stop and so it was along the 'mad mile' stretch of the A61 and the Leeds Grammar School. The Alwoodly and Moortown sections of the route were nicely negotiated with quite roads until Chapel Allerton, as the traffic increased as the bus approached Leeds city centre. Your author alighted at Vicar Lane in Leeds for a shot of the bus entering the Headrow and then forward to Park Row.
For test bus B the final part of this early morning trip was a return to Harrogate for a break, before taking on the 10:50 Harrogate to Leeds journey. The bus was taken round to the Leeds Bus Station and your author joined the bus at Briggate for the trip back into Harrogate, it was good to hear the drivers views on the Streekdeck. For the CCTV fans out there this bus has 3 cameras in the upper saloon with 6 dotted around the lower saloon. The lower saloon has space for a dedicated wheel chair passenger and a buggy zone, both with flip-up seats. 16 seats were in the low floor section of the bus while 13 seats were sat upon a raised area, which housed the rear axle and the powerpack.
The delayed start for setting of gives some extra 10 seconds for the bus to move off a stop, this feature could add extra time to the diagram car journey, especially at peak times. There was no audible noise when the doors close, unlike the Volvo B5TL, the bell sound was not intrusive either. Having taken residence upon the rear seats near the engine, your author enjoyed the ride home. Again the bus swiftly passed through Chapel Allerton, Moortown and Alwoodly, before the A61 was open for some good acceleration and a smooth trip back to Harrogate, even the lights at Harewood were on green. Quickly the bus passed through Pannel and glided up Humpery Bank and onto towards town. At the bus station myself and the driver chatted some more about the trail, with his views too.
Between the two vehicles tried I have been surprised at how rattle free both vehicles are, windows and grab poles not bothered by the roads, unless there was a large pot hole around. The 5.1 litre engines coped well with the undulating hills of the Leeds-Harrogate-Ripon 36 service, although the Volvo B5TL did have turbo chargers. BX14SYT (the white bus) and SN64CTU (the silver one) have equally good and swift acceleration, but for my money I liked the StreetDeck with its Mercedes engine doing very well. Harrogate have eight buses with Mercedes engines 277-282 the Optare Versa Harrogate Connect saloons, so have experience of this Merc engine. But the Volvo B5TL still gives me reservations with it's smaller engine, although it has a good power rating, it would be interesting how the bus feels after ten years on the service. However I think Transdev can do plenty with either these buses, as they have a good relationship with both Wrights and Volvo.
Up next the ADL E400MMC with its Cummis 6.7 ISBe Euro 6 engine with Voith gearbox.........................
The interior of SN64CTU is neat and airy, with proper nice cloth Esteban Civic V2 seats, with good leg room and space for the buggies and wheelchairs. Top picture shows the bus returning to Harrogate on Tues 27-01-15, the next shot sees SN64CTU entering Headrow, Leeds heading for Park Row the peak-time stopping point. The next shot shows the lower saloon seating arrangement, while above the neat and tidy upper saloon, with straight nine rise staircase.
I extend my thanks to Transdev Harrogate for the information on the trial bus working diagrams and a Big thanks to the drivers who have to put with my photographing their offices, thank you Ladies and Gentlemen.
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond