Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SBS Transit : Volvo B10M MK IV "Superlong" / Duple Metsec (SBS997A)

The Volvo B10M-70 MK IV Superlong demonstrator was introduced in 1995. The bus is almost identical to its regular MK IV Duple Metsec (DM) 12m cousins and is allocated a registration number right after SBS996C. SBS997A is a 3 axle rigid, 14.5m vehicle equipped with a Volvo THD102KF engine and a ZF 4HP590 gearbox.

SBS997A on 62, which it was serving before being redeployed to 83 between Punggol - Sengkang (Loop).
SBS997A was trialled together with the other two high capacity articulated (bendy) buses SBS998Y (a B10M-Articulated with Duple Metsec bodywork) and SBS999U (a Mercedes Benz O405G with Volgren bodywork).

The 3 high capacity buses were trialled by then- Singapore Bus Service (SBS) to test the suitablity of using high capacity single deck buses on routes inaccessible or unsuitable for double-deckers. Rival operator Trans Island went for the articulated Mercedes Benz O405G bodied by Hispano registered as TIB838H for the trial..

SBS998Y - Volvo B10M Articulated with Duple Metsec bodywork. (Photo source - Christopher Lee)
SBS999U - Mercedes Benz O405G with Volgren bodywork (Photo source - Christopher Lee)
While the trial for all 3 units with SBS was not successful and no production vehicles were brought in, Trans Island's articulated (bendy) bus trial was successful and saw the Mercedes Benz O405G being brought in with both Hispano (MKI/II/Habit) and Volgren bodywork. SBS went on to concentrate on double deckers instead.

It was said the 3 units - SBS997A,SBS998Y and SBS999U put up for sale but only SBS998Y and SBS999U was bought by Bayes Coachline in New Zealand.
Ex-SBS998Y, Photo by Peter Thompson from http://www.omnibus.org.nz/buslocation/volvo/bayes.html
Ex-SBS999U - Photo by Zack Harrison from Google Search
It's just a guess - SBS997A's supposed problem was the passengers alighting from the rear exit- there was no third exit and passengers from the rear had to squeeze through the long length of crowd to aligh, though it might be the length of the bus at 14.5m and negotiating difficulties. SBS998Y and SBS999U's supposed problem was with the near 18m length taking up space, negotiating difficulties and the depot facilities/ driver training were catered for double deckers - the mainstay high capacity vehicle type for SBS since the 80s. 

And so the remaining bus for the high capacity single deck trial SBS997A stayed on and is likely to be retired in October 2012.
SBS997A turning out on 83 back to Punggol.
SBS997A (and the B10MA articulated SBS998Y)'s bodywork was derived from the Duple Metsec bodied MK IV 12m, with the difference in the signage area (SBS997A using Mobitec flipdot signage while regular Duple Metsec bodied MK IV uses plastic signage/route plates).
SBS997A with a 12m DM B10M MK IV.
This bodywork design was derived from the retired Volvo B10M MK III....
A Duple Metsec bodied B10M MK III (front) with a MK IV behind
....which was derived from the retired Volvo B10M MK II (Duple Metsec)

Volvo B10M MK II (Duple Metsec (Photo source - Rainbowbus)
Another difference between the MK IV DM and the Superlong is the rear - SBS997A's rear is tapered to prevent it from hitting things when turning. The tapered rear is also present on SBS998Y.

SBS997A's tapered rear. Due to the length of the bus, a "Long Vehicle" sign was installed beside the license plate, together with a warning bumper sticker.

SBS998Y's tapered rear (Photo source - Christopher Lee)
And a comparison of the tapered rear with the standard rear

The rear of the MK IV and MK IV Superlong

The interior for SBS997A is largely similar to the unrefurbished DM Volvo B10M MK IV, save for a few differences.

Interior of SBS888G, a (now retired) unrefurbished DM bodied MK IV .

Interior of SBS997A
The front view~
The differences include
  • Yellow grab poles with ribbings for extra grip for passengers.
  • Full length parallel lighting on SBS997A vs Staggered lighting on the DM B10M MK IVs.
  • Extra seatings due to the increased length
And also above the right wheelarch, the side facing seats in the DM MK IV are configured as bench front/back facing seas on the Superlong.

Front/back wheelarch seating instead of side facing seats, may be due to the increase length allowing for legroom for such configuration.
Misc stuffs:

A fan-type thing on the ceiling of the bus, and part of the parallel lighting is shown here.

Some speaker behind the drive cabin, and the "Licensed to Carry" sticker has modified numbers for the legal carrying capacity of SBS997A.

Above the driver's cabin - Licensed to carry sticker and chassis plate.
Mobitec signage controller~
Information plates on SBS997A, together with the SBS sticker that says "assembled in BA/HG" (Bus Assembly/Hougang).

The left wheelarch housing, where the farecard validator used to stand and also houses the first aid kit. The wiring for the side Mobitec signage can be seen.
The rear facing seat beside the Mobitec side signage.
The full length parallel lighting turned on.
SBS997A will be retiring on 13 Oct 2012, provided if no extensions are given. It's pretty much one of the more unique demonstrators of the 90s, being a 3 axle single decker long rigid public for high capacity trials.
SBS997A arriving Punggol Interchange

SBS997A on Off Service

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ex-SBS Leyland Olympian 2 axles/ Walter Alexander R YL8508R (SBS7196Z)

YL8508R at Pat's Schoolhouse.
New in service as SBS7196Z, it was converted near the end of its lifespan to a gym/playground for children known as Bobbie the Gymbus and was re-registered as YL8508R. Apart from the current livery and the interior modifications, it is the last very near intact Leyland Olympian 2 axles with Walter Alexander R bodywork in Singapore while most of its cousins were scrapped.
The offside of YL8508R as seen from the outside of the compound.
The rear of the bus as seen from outside.
The full length of the Leyland Olympian 2 axles.

The rear of the bus as seen in the compound.

Closeup of the Alexander R rear.
The emergency exit door, with the older white panel from the (what used to be rear row of seats) still intact)

The expired road tax and stuffs.

This used to be a square destination plate holder, with the door opening button and the signal indicator.
Stepping on board the Leyland Olympian 2 axles.

The front steps were laid with a new flooring which continues into the bus.

From the entrance, the driver's cabin can be seen.
Driving cab of the Leyland Olympian 2 axles.
View of the dashboard,which is covered in a lot of dust.

The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate mounted on the left side of the dashboard.
The onboard fan for the driver.
Leyland logo, fuel indicator and the ignition button (?)

The driving gear selector, handbrake and the door opening and closing buttons.
Right above the driver,  the switches for controlling the fans for internal air circulation.
The olden type of periscope for viewing by the bus captain to the upper deck.
And the entire view of the front windscreen from the former side facing seats in the interior.
Alexander R front view from interior with the SBS plate retained.
Close up of the former registration plate number of the Leyland Olympian 2 axles..
A red notice cautioning the non-SBS driver(s) of the bus that this is a 4.44m high double decker bus.
The non-functioning door, with the older type of bigger leaf with smaller leaf door system used on older SBS buses.
And behind the front left windscreen :

The old bus stopping bell placement facing outwards. Today's modern buses do not feature this anymore.
 The interior of the bus is reconfigured to be the children's exercise playground, though it retains most of the non-airconditoned features of the Leyland Olympian 2 axles including the fans and lighting.

The interior of the lower deck. There used to be seats and partioning but were removed.
The exit doors were retained, though the steps are probably hidden from view.
The view from the rear to the front.
The lower deck rear window. With most of the current double deckers (excluding the currently still in service Volvo Olympian 2 axles non-aircon buses), the lower deck rear window will soon walk into history.
Onwards to the upper deck

The staircase leading up to the upper deck.
The older type of periscope for the driver only sees the portion after the staircase, newer double deckers had the mirror above at the front.

The upper deck Alexander R front view from the interior, with the SBS plates retained.
The old SBS plate with the current YL registration plate.

The upper deck from front to rear.
And the view from rear to front.
The sticker warning against litering in the (SBS) bus, hidden above the window of the rear deck.
And before this yellow paint scheme was applied, it was in a bright red livery when brand new.

Bobbie the gymbus, photo from http://gymbus.blogspot.com/
And this is the mascot for Bobbie the gymbus.

Mascot, photo from http://gymbus.blogspot.com/

Apart from this Leyland Olympian 2 axles, there is also another decomissioned unit that was converted into an office at the National Youth Council (NYC). The Qbuzz Leyland Olympian 2 axles is the first in the SBS fleet.

Unlike Bobbie, the NYC Qbuzz Olympian is heavily modified on the exterior.
The offside of the Qbuzz Leyland Olympian 2 axles.

The nearside of the Qbuzz Leyland Olympian 2 axles.
The current fate of Bobbie the gymbus is unknown as of today, according to the Pat's schoolhouse management, it may be heading for the scrapyard or will be refurbished.

My special thanks to the Pat's Schoolhouse (Jubilee)'s management for allowing the documenting of this bus.