The last few weeks I've been commuting to work on the bus due to the taxi having a few issues with the steering box. Sitting on these all singing all dancing low floor Breeze buses, you can't help but think whether they'll last long enough to reach preservation. Stagecoach are already having huge problems with the chassis on their N, P and S reg Volvo Olympians which are cracking BIG time. Apparently, so I'm told, this was due to Volvo making the chassis out of recycled metal which has created imperfections which have grown into cracks. With the Enviro 200s and the earlier generation of Dennis Dart there are problems with rot in the rear of the chassis. The Scanias that are the previously mentioned Breeze buses have also had a few mechanical issues as of late too. Is there any type of modern vehicle that is built to last? The chassis cracks in the Olys is bad news to Stagecoach and also the dealers who would sell these 86 seat buses on for further use - mostly school buses. This would've lengthened their service life considerably, many finding use with small bus and coach companies up and down the country. This won't happen now with most of them destined to be used as spares and/or broken up by dealers. The low floor double deckers tend to have lower seating capacity so aren't as useful to the smaller operator (unless they do rail replacement work) - this proven by some having been withdrawn from London and getting scrapped! So I wonder if these modern wonders will have the 15-20 year life span of the older vehicles, the VRs that plod on forever and the faithful Atlanteans and Fleetlines? Somehow I doubt it.
All the years that I have been working in the industry and involved with bus preservation it never fails to amaze me when perfectly good buses go for scrap. This Wednesday (22/09/10) I encountered former Roberts Coaches Leyland Titan T953 (HIG5682) heading to the local scrap yard. After work I went over to the yard. There she sat, engine ticking over, hazard lights flashing, interior lights on as they started smashing the windows prior to breaking her up. What was even more mad was that this was no MOT faliure or time expired bus but one with a current class 6 MOT that was still capable of going out in service and doing a days work. Fortunately I managed to salvage a few seats that will fit DMS550 and after a phone call to London bus guru Stuart Boxall, the engine and gearbox which he could use as spares. The people at the yard were very helpful even suggesting we save the tyres too. I know we can't save everything but to me this did seem total madness!
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