Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SMRT Buses : Mercedes Benz O405 Hispano Carrocera Tribute Tour [PART 1]

The Mercedes Benz O405 Hispano Carrocera is probably one of the most iconic buses ever on Singapore's roads. Since its debut nearly 17 years ago on Singapore roads by then - Trans Island Bus Service (TIBS), the model had been very popular that even the first bendy bus (TIB838H) is also bodied with a similar bodywork

The good old Trans Island days

The OAC variant of the Hispano O405, TIB828L.
The rigid bodywork came in two different version. The original air conditioned bus (OAC) and the converted air conditioned (CAC), which it originally came as a non-airconditioned bus (NAC). Kind of confusing at first ^^.

The good old Trans Island days

The CAC can be distinguished easily by the sliding windows, the two air ducts above the window line and the roof-mounted air conditioning, TIB762S.
The first few of such buses (TIB4XX) are nearing the end of the 17 years of service. But the Hispano Carrocera design stood through the test of time, and in fact a timeless classic on Singapore roads. Looking modern and appropriate in every occasion anytime.

These buses are nicknamed the "Box Mercs" due to the boxy and solid look and feel of the Hispano bodywork. The headlights, front panels, signal lights, windscreen...yea almost everything is of a 90 degree angle.

Boxy rectangular 90 degrees.
Some can't tell that it is actually nearing 17 years for the first batch of buses!

The dashboard of the bus.
Ever curious on how the Hispano buses always will auto-on the blinkers for safety? Or how some of the buses can be configured to open one door? Look no further than the dashboard console of the bus!

Apart from the standard gauges and indicator lights, a row of buttoms on the top right of the dashboard allows such configuartions, it also allows the configuartion of interior lightings and other minor features.

The original driver seats are retained for both buses during the Mid-life upgrade programme.

TIBS fabric seats, though a bit dusty now.
The interior are identical in layout too. The fabric seats were changed after years of complaints about dusts and allergy. Though fabric seats are actually quite comfortable at times. The interior is also zero/minimal partition (i.e. very little grab poles).

OAC version depicts the TIBS PVC green seat covers. These type of seat covers were also originally installed on the NACs, before it was changed to fabric seats.

OAC with the green PVC seats.
While originally TIB762S (CAC) had the fabric seats before the Tribute tour, it was unfortunate that the seats were changed a few days before the tour day. However, new blue/purple & red seat PVC covers were installed, giving the passengers/tour participants a more comfortable ride.

CAC with the purple/blue and red seats.
The OAC and CAC shares the same aircon ducting.

The standard aircon ducts with some advertisments.
And the same aircon outlets too!

European design + Bus stopping bell strip.

The "port window" which extends beyond the floor line on one side, giving the bus an asymetrical look.
The front and exit steps are usually lighted up at night when the interior lights are on with the yellow soft lightings to give a warm feel

The left wheelhub cover of the bus contains the first aid kit and fire extinguisher, together with an emergency hammer. The left wheelhub for most other buses later became the standard place for TIBS/SMRT Buses to place the emergency items here. The empty space on top used to be a Transit Link validator machine.

Standardised position - left.
Powerful spotlight for the entrance/exit door

Bright spotlight lights up the entrance/exit at night.
Most of the Hispano buses recieved LED tail/signal lights for better visibility and reliable operations

One of the LED signal lights in the headlight cluster. Change the cover from orange to red and you have a tailight ^^

The entrance door can be configured for opening of one door leaf via the dashboard button.
On the door, there are some European-styled handles

Not sure what brand it is though.
Rear offside holds the iconic exhaust grill.

Even this grill looks attractive ^^
One with advert, one in SMRT Livery.
Both the rear looks identical.

The Passenger Information System (Next Stop Display)
There used to be two seats in this area, but to increase passenger capacity, two seats were removed to create a standee area.

Two seats used to be here

Interior lighting. the casing themselves are also rectangular/boxy
May be one of the more hidden features, storage space underneath the floor beneath these panels!

These panels flip open to reveal storage space underneath.
 The combination of the OM447hLA engine and ZF4HP500 gearbox, together with the engine noise insulation, the Hispano O405s sounds fantastic!

The OM447hLA engine. It is coupled with a smooth ZF gearbox.

Aircon controller and LAWO controller.

The rectangular LAWO side EDS

After refurbishments, the OAC gained two extra emergency hammers and emegency exit windows with the original door sealed up.

Wall block.
New emergency exit & emergency hammer.
There are two ventilation vents, probably originated from the European design. They were pretty much unused nowadays, but in the past i remember that if the aircon is breaking down, the driver would push these open and continue revenue service as an NAC bus ^^

The CAC and bendy versions later omitted this ventilation vent.

The OACs have two of this black ventilation vents on the roof which went unused.

Sliding NAC windows on this bus. Most of the CACs' sliding windows were sealed.

Hanover Flipdot EDS graces the CAC buses.
The EDS and aircon controller for the CAC buses.
Some speakers for radio.
The emergency exit door is retained after refurbishments

Changes to the original buses

Over the years, these buses were upgraded and modernised/modified to today's standards.

- LAWO-SICMA Electronic Destination Signage for better visibility

LAWO Sicma orange EDS. TIB426M is one of the two demonstrators for TIBS (according to info).
Mobitec Electronic Destination Signage for better visibility + Alux rims for a new look? ^^
The Mobitec EDS is more commonly seen on most SMRT Buses.
Coolair Electronic Destination Signage for better visibility too..hmm. As of today TIB597C is the only bus fitted with it.
Coolair EDS was quite a suprise.
And some buses having their dress rims from the front rim removed.

The front dress rims are removed for easier maintanience
The Hispano buses became very iconic, even becoming Trans Island's cute mascot! ^^

A TIBS day brochure on safety with Roy & Joy and TIBS mascot. (scanned by Mark Chua, (c) TIBS/SMRT Buses
These Hispano Carrocera buses is one of the buses shaping the scene of Singapore transport, pioneering some of the initiatives that will later become standard in public transport.

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