With the slight inevitability of a setting sun or a ticking clock, Test Bus C had arrived in Harrogate on Tuesday February 10th 2015. The bus was quickly turned around and placed into service on Wedensday February 11th 2015, after a day of driver training.
YY64GWX is a ADL E400MMC with a Cummis ISBe 6.7L rated at 250hp at 2100rpm Euro6 engine coupled to a ZF Ecolife 6 speed gearbox, with a metallic blue livery. This particular vehicle was fresh from doing a stint at Trent/Barton for use on the i4 Derby-Nottingham service, in January 2015. During late 2014 the bus was plying her trade at Cardiff, after being part of the Euro Bus Expo 2014 held at the NEC Birmingham. YY64GWX had 41 seats in the upper saloon along with four tables and 27 seats in the lower saloon, all are Estaban Civic V2-E leather covers. Giving a plush feel to the saloons, with blue/grey interior and full saloon lights, which could be blue aswell as white. The bus has full height windows, with hopper scoops in both saloons, the heaters were connected to vents which blows out air around the saloons, even the front upper deck window had air blowers.
Above are shots of the saloons, the lower saloon shows off the underlit seats, wheelchair zone and the wood effect floor. The upper saloon had the same seats as the lower saloon, but with some additional features like four tables, and a air-climate unit over the stairs. On the subject of the tables, WiFi and power sockets would help with such a feature.
For YY64GWX her first day started at....early, the bus was given diagram 4 with a 06:20 start for a run out to Ripon, your author joined this journey with driver Neil at the helm. The ride was smooth and comfortable as the ADL glided towards Killinghall and then the sleepy village of Ripley. Then YY64GWX had the open A61 road to deal with and surprisingly the bus coped very well with the undulating twists and turns of the A61. At Wormold Green the hill would be one of many challenges faced by the Cummis 6.7/ZF 6 speed gearbox, but with only one change down, this bus swiftly delt with that hill and accelerated along the A61. With no passengers on board, until we reached Ripon for the return trip back to Harrogate. It was interesting to hear the drivers' views about the ADL E400MMC, which he seemed very impressed with the bus and happy with the spacious cab. The journey back to Harrogate, YY64GWX began to fill up with a hearty load of passengers, which gave the Cummis/ZF powerpack plenty to think about. With a pause in Harrogate, the bus then did the 07:35 trip over to Leeds. Traffic was light until Harewood Bridge, where the cue was long, but it was soon back on to the A61 and a swift smooth trip towards Moortown/Chapletown, with heavy traffic towards Leeds. Eventually the bus arrived at Vicar Lane and then forward to Park Row, it was all to soon back on the 09:00 to Harrogate only return trip.
YY64GWX is seen turning onto Headrow bound for Park Row, looking impressive in the metallic blue livery. Unlike the journey into Leeds, the return to Harrogate was swift and smooth with not much in the way of rattles or bangs from loose window hoopers. The bell sound rang twice when pressed and was repeated around the vehicle, which had three CCTV cameras on each deck, linked to two monitors. There was a large mirror just by the stairs, which acts as a safety feature for the driver. Speaking on safety features the hand brake had to be released after the doors were closed, and the brake pedal depressed so the bus would set-off. In all the ADL E400MMC is a well built vehicle not only for passengers but the drivers aswell, a bigger engine, wheelchair zone, safety staircase and less moulded seats, which were on the original E400 model. Its fair to say that YY64GWX would easily fit into the 36 fleet, as it had the high backed E-leather seats, and without the tables, the bus is there.
For me as a passenger the Volvo B5TL was swift and smooth with great acceleration, with plenty of Volvo bleeps and tones, however the twin turbo chargers could cause a problem if they break.
The StreetDeck was an interesting choice for Transdev, with a Mercedes engine and Voith gearbox, with cloth covered seats. It was fine on the straight parks of the route, but the change downs on the hills were to quick for the engine to allow time to gather pace.
The ADL E400MMC seems to me the complete drivers bus, with the updated style and design, at least the moulded design seats are less, which gives more scope for proper seats. It was swift with smooth acceleration on all parts of the route. I do like the blue livery.
One final note, I wish to thank all the drivers of the test vehicles and Transdev in Harrogate for there help and assistance during the trials. Without which would have led to many hours of guessing and waiting, thankfully avoided.
I also would like to thank everyone who has taken time to read these blogs on the all the test buses, which are my own personal views from an enthusiast/photographer.
Here are my personal views on bus activity in my area and beyond