READING Buses England UK

READING

Bus Body Builders

Reading Buses

Reading Buses Logo.png
02 Reading_Buses_221_on_Route_17,_Reading_(11528476093)

Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 on route Purple 17 in December 2013
Parent Reading Borough Council
Founded 31 October 1901
Headquarters Reading
Service area Berkshire
Service type Bus services
Routes 92
Destinations Reading
Newbury
Fleet 165 (May 2013)
Fuel type Diesel
Natural Gas
Hybrid
Chief executive Martijn Gilbert
Website www.reading-buses.co.uk

Reading Buses is a bus operator serving the towns of Reading, Newbury and the surrounding area in the county of Berkshire, England. It is owned by Reading Borough Council.

History

Previous Logo

Horse tram era

04 1893 Oxford Road, Reading,

The origins of Reading Transport can be traced back to 1878, when the privately owned Reading Tramways Company (part of the Imperial Tramways Company) was formed. They were initially authorised to construct and operate a horse tram route on an east–west alignment fromOxford Road through Broad Street in the town centre to Cemetery Junction. Significantly, this route formed the core of what became known as themain line of the tram and trolleybus network.

Construction started in January 1879, with the entire line being open by May. A fleet of six single-decked cars were initially used, with 31 horses, providing a 20-minute frequency. The cars operated from a depot on the south side of the Oxford Road, immediately to the east of Reading West railway station. By the 1890s the whole fleet had been replaced by double-decked cars operating at a 10-minute frequency. The company made several proposals to extend the system, add routes and electrify the system. But none of these came to anything, and in 1899 the borough corporation decided to purchase the system.

The purchase deal was completed on 31 October 1901, and the Reading Corporation Tramways came into being. The corporation set out about first extending, and then electrifying the system. The extensions were completed by December 1902, and the last horse cars ran in July of the following year.

Electric tram era

05 1903 Reading Corporation Tramways

Reading Corporation Tramwaysopening ceremony on 22 July 1903

The new electric trams started operating in July 1903. Extensions were constructed to the Wokingham Road and London Road (both from Cemetery Junction), and new routes added to Whitley, Caversham Road, Erleigh Road and Bath Road. The trams operated from a new depot in Mill Lane, a site that was to remain Reading Transport’s main depot until it was demolished to make way for The Oracle shopping mall in 1998.

The electric tram services were originally operated by 30 four-wheeled double decked cars supplied by Dick, Kerr & Co. In 1904, six bogie cars and a water car (used for keeping down the dust on the streets) were added to the fleet, also from Dick, Kerr & Co. No further trams were acquired, and a planned extension from the Caversham Road terminus across Caversham Bridge to Caversham itself was abandoned because of the outbreak of World War I. The war also led to a significant maintenance backlog.

In 1919, Reading Corporation started operating its first motor buses. These ran from Caversham Heights to Tilehurst, running over the tram lines and beyond the tram termini. Because of the state of the track, the Bath Road tram route was abandoned in 1930, followed by the Erleigh Road route in 1932. Eventually it was decided that the tramways should be abandoned and replaced by trolleybuses, operating over extended routes. The last tram ran on the Caversham Road to Whitley route in July 1936, and last car on the main line ran in May 1939.

Trolleybus era

The first trolleybus wiring erected was a training loop on Erleigh Road, which opened in early 1936. This loop was never used in public service, and was subsequently dismantled. Public service commenced on 18 July 1936, on a route replacing the tram route from Caversham Road to Whitley Street. In May 1939, the remaining tram routes from Oxford Road to Wokingham Road and London Road were converted to trolleybus operation, with a short extension from Wokingham Road to the Three Tuns, and a much longer extension from the Oxford Road through the centre of Tilehurst to the Bear Inn. The extended main line from the Three Tuns to the Bear, still exists today as bus route 17, the town’s busiest and most frequent route, and the first to be designated a premier route.

Reading Transport Depot

During World War II a trolleybus branch was constructed from the Oxford Road to Kentwood Hill, enabling trolleybuses to replace motor buses with a consequential saving in precious oil based fuel. In 1949 the Whitley Street line was extended to Whitley Wood and Northumberland Avenue and a short branch was built to Reading General station. Subsequent short extensions took the system to its full extent, with the Kentwood route running to Armour Hill and the Northumberland Avenue line running to the junction with Whitley Wood Road.

By 1965, most UK trolleybus systems had closed, and the manufacturers of the overhead equipment gave notice that they would cease production. At the same time the trolleybuses came in for some bad publicity in the local press because they cost more to operate compared to motor buses and they were inflexible, even though the trolleybuses were profitable (Reading’s motor buses made a loss), faster and less polluting. Reading Corporation decided to abandon the trolleybus system, and the routes were phased out between January 1967 and November 1968.

The UK’s first contra-flow bus lane was instigated along Kings Road, when that road was made one-way in the early 1960s. The trolleybuses continued to operate two-way, as it was considered uneconomic to erect wiring on the new inbound route, London Road. The concept of the contra-flow bus lane was proved successful, and adopted in other places for motor buses.

Expansion and competition

17 1985 Reading Transport offices

Reading Transport offices in 1985 now The Oracle shopping centre

The Transport Act 1980 deregulated long distance bus services. Reading Transport took advantage of this new freedom to start a service from Reading through London to Southend. The service was numbered X1 and was run jointly with Southend Transport. In 1982 the X1 was shortened to run from Reading to Aldgate in East London, under the “Gold Line” brand, and joint operation ceased.

As a result of the legislation that accompanied the deregulation of local bus services in 1986, the operations of Reading Transport were transferred to Reading Transport Ltd, an “arms length” company whose shares were held by Reading Borough Council. Bus deregulation also meant that the local council no longer had any power to regulate the routes and fares of Reading Transport, nor could they prevent other operators from starting competitive services within the borough.

In 1992 Reading Transport acquired the Reading and Newbury operations of BeeLine, one of the privatised successors to the state-owned Alder Valley. These acquisitions led to Reading Transport operating buses in Newbury, and in the rural areas around Reading and Newbury, for the first time. Additionally, BeeLine had operated a Reading to London service under the LondonLink name, and that was merged into the Gold Line service and the resulting service renamed London Line. The Gold Line name was retained for use by Reading Transport’s non-scheduled service business. The London Line service ceased in 2000.

Reading Transport faced competition on Reading urban routes from 1994, when[Reading Mainline, an independent company, started operations with AEC Routemasters acquired from Transport for London. Labour shortages created problems for the competitor, and Reading Transport acquired Reading Mainline in 1998. Reading Transport continued to operate the Routemasters under the Reading Mainline brand until they were finally withdrawn in July 2000.

Premier and vitality routes

08 1999 Reading Buses bus 908 Optare Excel P908 EGM Low Rider branding Route 15

Optare Excel LowRider in 1999 in a variant of the livery used until the introduction of premier routes

Since 2004, Reading Buses and Reading Borough Council have made a significant investment in upgrading the quality of Reading’s main urban bus routes. In autumn of that year, Reading Buses introduced its first branded Premier Route in the form of the number 17, running between the Three Tuns on Wokingham Road and the Bear Inn at Tilehurst via the town centre and Oxford Road, and the linear descendent of the old main line. This was intended as the first in a series of such routes, each providing a weekday daytime frequency of between 3 and 8 buses per hour. Each premier route, or group of routes, would be allocated a distinctive colour, to be used used on the buses on that route, and also on maps and other publicity.

Since then the premier route concept has been rolled out on most of Reading’s urban routes. In April 2009, a similar concept was introduced to some of Reading Buses’ longer distance rural routes. These were rebranded as Vitality Routes, using specially branded green and silver or red and silver buses. In 2014, these too were changed to a colour brand, becoming ‘Lime Routes’.

Biofuel controversy

09 Reading_Transport_1103

Ethanol fueled Scania OmniCity in May 2008 in the livery it carried when used on the 17

Reading Buses has a history of experimenting with biofuels, including biodiesel and alcohol fuel. By 2008, all but one of Reading’s bus fleet was fuelled by a mix of 5% biodiesel and 95% conventional diesel.

In late 2007, Reading Buses placed an order with Scania for 14 ethanol fuelled double decker buses to replace the existing fleet of biodiesel powered vehicles operating premier route 17. At the time the order was placed, this was the largest order for ethanol fuelled buses in the UK. These buses started work on 26 May 2008.

In October 2009, it was discovered that instead of the bio-ethanol fuel having been sourced from sugar beet grown in the English county of Norfolk (as had been advertised), it was actually made from wood pulp imported from Sweden. On learning this Reading Borough councillors launched an investigation into how they and the Reading Transport Board could have been deceived. All the ethanol-powered buses have since been converted to run on the same bio-diesel mix as the rest of the fleet.

Hybrid buses

Reading Buses has over 30 hybrid (diesel-battery-electric) buses which are used on routes 17, 20, 20a, 21 and 26.

Current operations

Reading Central Station

Reading Buses

Reading Transport operates public service buses under the Reading Buses brand throughout the town of Reading, and to a lesser extent in the rural area around Reading. Most of the urban routes have been branded as Premier Routes, with each route or group of routes allocated a distinctive colour. These colours are used on the buses used on that route, and also on maps and other publicity. Premier routes provide a weekday daytime frequency of between 2 and 8 buses per hour, depending on the route.

Other routes, including some rural routes and non-premier urban routes, operate at lower frequency, varying from several buses a day to two buses an hour. They are allocated a grey colour in maps and publicity, and are currently operated by a mixture of vehicles in a new silver based fleet colour scheme similar to that used on the premier routes, together with vehicles in various previous colour schemes.

Reading Buses also operates the NightTrack network under contract to Reading Borough Council. These services run on their own routes from 23:45 until late into the night. Premier route 17 also operates at these times, but all other routes finish by then.

1931 AEC Regal 1 with Reading FB35F body GOU-449

1931-aec-regal-1-with-reading-fb35f-body-gou-449

1935 A.E.C. Regal ATD 898 after rebuild with Reading bus body atd898

1935-a-e-c-regal-after-rebuild-with-reading-bus-body-atd898

1936 Albion rebodied in 1955 with a Reading B32F body and gaining a Morris engine-radiator in 1963

1936-albion-rebodied-in-1955-with-a-reading-b32f-body-and-gaining-a-morris-engine-radiator-in-1963

1938 AEC Regal 4 with Reading B35F Bodywork

1938-aec-regal-4-with-reading-b35f-bodywork

1942 AEC Regent with Park Royal body dating from 1936 and Provincial 55, EHO228, a Guy Arab I with Reading body dating from 1942

1942-aec-regent-with-park-royal-body-dating-from-1936-and-provincial-55-eho228-a-guy-arab-i-with-reading-body-dating-from-1942

1943 AEC Regal-Regent I EHO-282 Reading H

1943-aec-regal-regent-i-eho-282-reading-h

1943 built Guy Arab II 5LW originally with Park Royal utility bodywork but by now fitted with a Reading C030-24RD body.

1943-built-guy-arab-ii-5lw-originally-with-park-royal-utility-bodywork-but-by-now-fitted-with-a-reading-c030-24rd-body

1947 AEC Regent II with Reading H56R body fho602

1947-aec-regent-ii-with-reading-h56r-body-fho602

1948 Albion Nimbus 89 (11675) was one of many such vehicles with Reading bodywork

1948-albion-nimbus-89-11675-was-one-of-many-such-vehicles-with-reading-bodywork

1949 Albion FT3AB with Reading B36F bodywork

1949-albion-ft3ab-with-reading-b36f-bodywork

1949 Albion Victor with a Reading B36F body

1949-albion-victor-with-a-reading-b36f-body

1949 Crossley DD42-5 with Reading H52R body EBK28 a

1949 Crossley DD42-5 with Reading H52R body EBK28 b

1949-crossley-dd42-5-with-reading-h52r-body-ebk28

1949 Dennis Lancet III Reading C33F inside 1949 Dennis Lancet III Reading C33F 1949 Dennis Lancet III with Reading coachwork of Safeway Services of South Petherton photo 1

3x 1949-dennis-lancet-iii-reading-c33f.

1950 Reading C32F bodied Commer Avenger

1950-reading-c32f-bodied-commer-avenger

1951 Leyland PS1 with a Reading B34F

1951-leyland-ps1-with-a-reading-b34f

1952 Albion FT39N with Reading B36F body

1952-albion-ft39n-with-reading-b36f-body

1952 Albion Victor FT39N-Reading B36F withdrawn by GR in 1980

1952-albion-victor-ft39n-reading-b36f-withdrawn-by-gr-in-1980

1953 Karrier Reading body MDU-14

1953-karrier-reading-body-mdu-14

1954 Albion FT39AN with Reading B36F body gu1787

1954-albion-ft39an-with-reading-b36f-body-gu1787

1954 Albion Victor FT39AN with Reading B36F body

1954-albion-victor-ft39an-with-reading-b36f-body

1958 Albion Victor (YFO 127  originally Guernsey 8226  Victor FT39 KAN  Reading B35F)

1958-albion-victor-yfo-127-originally-guernsey-8226-victor-ft39-kan-reading-b35f

1958 Albion Victor FT39KAN with Reading FB39F body

1958-albion-victor-ft39kan-with-reading-fb39f-body

1958 Albion Victor Reading-bodied

1958-albion-victor-reading-bodied

1958 Leyland PD2 52, J1528 and ex-LT RTL260, now JMT 655, J34655 jm655

1958-leyland-pd2-52-j1528-and-ex-lt-rtl260-now-jmt-655-j34655-jm655

1958 Reading bodied Dennis Lancet J3JXK-540

1958-reading-bodied-dennis-lancet-j3jxk-540

1958-59 Leyland PD2-31s with Reading H31-28R bodies

1958-59-leyland-pd2-31s-with-reading-h31-28r-bodies

1960 Albion Nimbus with Reading bodywork

1960-albion-nimbus-with-reading-bodywork.

1960 Albion NS3N with a Reading B35F body

1960-albion-ns3n-with-a-reading-b35f-body

1963 Albion Victor of Guernsey Railways with Reading body gu78

1963-albion-victor-of-guernsey-railways-with-reading-body-gu78

1963 Albion's 76, reg 8226, and 94, reg 12726 with Reading B35F body

1963-albions-76-reg-8226-and-94-reg-12726-with-reading-b35f-body

1964 Albion Nimbus NS3AN Reading B35T body EBW-112B

1964-albion-nimbus-ns3an-reading-b35t-body-ebw-112b

1964 Albion Nimbus with Reading B35F bodywork

1964-albion-nimbus-with-reading-b35f-bodywork

1964 Bedford in the mid sixties J4 chassis with Reading bodywork gu100

1964-bedford-in-the-mid-sixties-j4-chassis-with-reading-bodywork-gu100

1967 Bedford J4EZ1 with Reading bodywork gu102

1967-bedford-j4ez1-with-reading-bodywork-gu102

AEC Regal after rebuit with Reading FB34F body  cg9609

AEC Regal after rebuilt with Reading FB34F body cg9609

02 Reading_Buses_221_on_Route_17,_Reading_(11528476093) 06 Reading Trolleybus in Liverpool Road 10 Reading_Transport_1006 11 Reading_Transport_845 12 Reading_Transport_815 13 Reading_Transport_827 14 Reading_Transport_859 15 Reading_Transport_107 17 Reading_Transport_608 18 Reading_Transport_11 20 Reading_Transport_1036 21 Reading_Transport_837 22 Arriva_Kent_&_Sussex_6444 23 Stagecoach_Hampshire_36029 24 Southern_Vectis_1103 25 First_B&TV_65725

That’s it

PLAXTON Scarborough England UK

Plaxton

1907 Plaxton model T Charabanc

1907-plaxton-model-t-charabanc

is a builder of bus and coach vehicle bodies based in Scarborough, England. The Plaxton of today is the successor to a business founded in Scarborough in 1907 by Frederick William Plaxton. It became a subsidiary of Alexander Dennis in 2007.

History

Beginnings

The business was founded as a joinery workshop, and expanded into building contracting. As a building contractor, Plaxtons built a number of notable buildings in Scarborough. Soon after World War I Plaxtons diversified and began to build charabanc bodies on Ford Model T chassis. Of more importance at the time was the construction of automobile bodywork. This included bodywork for Rolls-Royce, Sunbeam and Daimler, but principally for Crossley car chassis. This activity continued through the 1920s, but the depression of 1929-1933 created difficulties for manufacture of luxury automobiles. As a result, the manufacture of charabanc, and later coach bodies became more important through the late 1920s and early 1930s. Customers during this time tended to be local to the Scarborough area, Scarborough being a popular seaside resort.

1930. 37 Seater Bus-Coach Type A3

1930-37-seater-bus-coach-type-a3

Coaches of the 1930s

By 1936 the company felt justified in construction of a large new manufacturing facility in Seamer Road, Scarborough. This allowed increased production, and Plaxtons became popular with many independent operators throughout Northern England. Many of these operators purchased their vehicles through independent dealers, rather than directly from the factory. In this regard, Plaxton’s sales were through Lancashire Motor Traders Ltd of Manchester and Arlington Motor Co Ltd of London. The company became known as F.W. Plaxton & Son by 1937, as the founder’s son, also named Frederick William joined the company at the age of 18. FW Plaxton junior was to be known as Eric to avoid confusion with his father.

Plaxton cars

Plaxtons built a number of different coach designs through the 1930s, until settling on a distinctive house style. The style typically consisted of a very rounded front profile at the windscreen area with side windows that sloped backwards at the front, were upright at the centre, and sloped forward at the back. Bodywork for the Bedford WTB chassis was particularly distinctive, sloping severally from the bottom of the front wheel arch to the roofline, leaving the “bullnose” radiator grille protruding. The rear also sloped prominently. The WTB chassis was very popular choice for operators at that time, together with the Dodge RBF and SBF. Leyland and AEC chassis were also popular for larger coaches, notably the Leyland Tiger and AEC Regal.

On the outbreak of World War II in 1939, coach production halted and the factory was turned into a munitions factory under the control of the Ministry of Aircraft Production. Many records from the early years were lost when an incendiary bomb set fire to the Seamer Rd factory in 1943 causing much damage. As the factory was under control of the Ministry of Works, production continued in the open air whilst a replacement was constructed. Some adjacent land was loaned by a market gardener who subsequently joined the board years later.

1946 Leyland Tiger Plaxton body

1946-leyland-tiger-plaxton-body

1950s

Production restarted at the end of 1945, and in 1951 the business was registered for the first time as a private company, Plaxtons (Scarborough) Ltd.

Two new models were exhibited at the 1950 Commercial Motor Show, with names instead of model codes for the first time. The Envoy was for traditional front-engined chassis, and featured a full-front cab with a vee-pattern windscreen, and aluminium trim across the lower part of the radiator grill extending round squared-off front corners to the wheel arches. The Crusader, which could be built on front-engined or the new underfloor-engined chassis, had a more upright front profile, with curved glass panels at the windscreen corners, and in most cases an enlarged side window with sloping pillars between this and the entrance. On front-engined chassis the Crusader employed the Envoy’s front trim. Both Envoy and Crusader were produced to the new maximum dimensions of 30 ft (9.1 m) by 8 ft (2.4 m), and many examples were originally fitted with rear wheel spats.

1948 AEC Regal lll 9621E418 Plaxton ha324z

1948-aec-regal-lll-9621e418-plaxton-ha324z

The Envoy was short-lived, perhaps partly because of the obsolescence of most of the chassis types for which it was intended, while the Crusader was rapidly overtaken by a further new underfloor-engined model – the Venturer. The Venturer combined the front of the Crusader with more restrained and conservative styling, and proved so popular that it wasn’t long before a version was produced for front-engined chassis (mostly lightweight Bedfords and Commers) with a rather more raked frontal appearance. By the time the Mark II version appeared at the 1952 show, the Venturer was Plaxton’s standard model.

1949 Plaxton Sentinel-2

1949-plaxton-sentinel-2

The Venturer II had a common front profile for all models, together with a standard dash panel featuring a four-part radiator grille with a central cross within an oval outline which also embraced the headlamps. A rear-end revision marked the launch of the Venturer III in 1954, and the following year a version was produced for underfloor-engined chassis with the entrance ahead of the front axle. This required a return to a more vertical front profile, and meant that there were now three variants of the Venturer – front engined, underfloor-engined with a centre entrance and underfloor-engined with a front entrance. This three-variant approach, established with the Venturer, continued throughout the life of the succeeding Consort model and into the Embassy era, although the relative importance of the three versions varied significantly over the years.

1950 Bedford OB ETL221, Plaxton 29 seater coach with 28HP petrol engine

1950-bedford-ob-etl221-plaxton-29-seater-coach-with-28hp-petrol-engine

The Consort was first shown at the 1956 Commercial Motor Show. It was a development of the Venturer, but in place of the previous oval the four-part grill was now enclosed by a near-trapezoidal outline (though actually hexagonal), wider at the top than the bottom, with the headlamps outside. Trim was revised to be much squarer in outline, featuring ribbed brightwork, and the curved rear quarter lights, first standardised on the Venturer III, were now incorporated into the main window line. However, a year later the Consort II was announced, re-introducing the oval grill outline of the Venturer – but now surrounding a plainer grill with chrome flash across the middle – while the trim lines so recently squared up were softened once again. The evident popularity of the oval- shaped grill then ensured its survival as a Plaxton hallmark for many years to come.

1952 Bussen Commer Avenger built in 1952 with Plaxton Envoy bodywork

1952-bussen-commer-avenger-with-plaxton-envoy-bodywork

In 1957 the founder of the company, F.W. Plaxton Senior, died, and was succeeded as Chairman by his son Frederick Jnr, though known as Eric.

In 1958 Plaxtons were approached by Sheffield United Tours (SUT) with a requirement for a new crisper design of coach body. The result was the first Panorama body. The main feature of the Panorama design was the large, fixed rectangular side windows. A vertical front from the contemporary Consort II design was used, with the door ahead of the front axle. The 1958 Panorama was entered into the British and the Nice coach rallies, winning top awards at both events. The first six Panoramas, designated “Panorama Pioneer” by SUT, were built on AEC Reliance chassis and seated 36 passengers.

1956 plaxton consort bus brochure Bedford

1956-plaxton-consort-bus-brochure-bedford

The production version of the Panorama, with 41 seats as standard, was introduced at the 1958 Commercial Motor Show, as an addition to the existing range, available in one form only – on underfloor-engined chassis with the entrance ahead of the front axle. In common with the new Consort III and IV, it had a new silver-effect dished oval grill with a chrome flash through the middle, and a curved windscreen with a central division. The original Panorama’s short window immediately behind the entrance door was removed and encapsulated into the first bay, and the difference in level between the waistline and the rear window was accommodated by a stylish “kick-up” at the rear. The design then received minor modifications over the next two years.

1957 AEC Reliance Plaxton Consort C41C bodied

1957-aec-reliance-plaxton-consort-c41c-bodied

Consort IV variants with the entrance further back, together with the smaller Consort III, were able to use a windscreen with even greater curvature, but it was the Panorama which was the trend-setter, becoming a strong influence on the development of British coach styling for years to come.

1960s and 1970s

Plaxton became a public company in January 1961.

For the 1961 coaching season the Consort IV evolved into the Embassy, the main change being that the windows now tapered inwards towards the roof rather than being vertical. At the same time a new version of the Panorama was created, using the same shell as the Embassy but with fewer window pillars.

The new Panorama boasted a completely new front, featuring a slight peak overhang above the windscreen (which was now optionally undivided), a small grill at the bottom of the front panel, and for the first time double headlights. Embassy bodies on underfloor-engined chassis shared some or all of these features, depending on the entrance position. However, because the standard offering in the underfloor-engined sector was now the Panorama, most Embassy bodies were built on lightweight front-engined chassis – particularly the Thames 570E and Bedford SB. In this form, with the entrance behind the front axle, the Embassy retained the dished oval grill and wrap-around windscreen of the Consort IV. The rear of both Panorama and Embassy comprised a two-piece curved glass window that wrapped around to meet the rearmost side pillars, and the lights were contained in a single unit with a fin-like top rather like the rear of the Ford Anglia 105E saloon.

36-foot (11 m) versions of both models were introduced, on Leyland Leopard and AEC Reliance chassis, as soon as legislation allowed, and were 8 feet 2.5 inches (2.502 m) wide. The first 36-foot coach in Britain was a Panorama delivered to SUT in 1961. However, while the extra length gave a real boost to the Panorama’s appearance – with the falling roofline making the vehicle look even longer than it actually was – the extension of the Embassy by two additional window bays was less satisfactory. So much so that when a “multi-windowed” Embassy II, in the livery of Bloomfields Coaches of London, appeared on the newly introduced Bedford VAL 36-foot chassis at the 1962 Commercial Motor Show, the reaction was so negative than no more of this type were built.

Alongside the Bloomfields VAL on the Plaxton stand was a further revised Panorama. This was an altogether much larger looking vehicle than before, with deeper windows all round, the waistline curvature radically reduced to a point where it was almost straight, a new rear window interchangeable with the windscreen, and a reduction in the number of window pillars on 36-foot versions. Because of the adverse reaction to the “multi-windowed” Embassy, from 1963 all 36-foot Plaxton coach bodies used the new Panorama shell, with windows of large size whether fixed or opening, although, as previously, the Panorama name was restricted to underfloor-engined coaches with fixed glazing and entrance ahead of the front axle. Of the non-Panoramas, by far the most popular model was the new production body on the Bedford VAL chassis, which retained the large oval grill because of the front-mounted radiator, and was simply named Val.

The Embassy name was now being used for what were effectively two separate models. For underfloor-engined chassis there was a 36-foot body using the Panorama shell (built mainly for the Wallace Arnold Group), and for 30-foot (9.1 m) and shorter front-engined chassis the original short-windowed body was updated with a pronounced reverse-rake peak over the windscreen as the Embassy II. For the 1964 season the latter was substantially redesigned as the Embassy III, catching up in several respects with the development of the Panorama, but introducing a new near-rectangular grill which signalled the beginning of the end for the familiar Plaxton oval.

02 1970 Dons_Tour_Brochure_photo_1970

1965 Plaxton Panorama on Bedford VAL chassis

The Plaxton coach range which appeared at the 1964 Commercial Motor Show had been extensively revised with assistance from the Ogle design consultancy. Waistrails were virtually straight, and rooflines distinctly shallower. On the new Panorama (later to become Panorama I), a wide chrome trim band wrapped around the front and encompassed the first window bay on either side. The trim then swept upwards to the roof line and neatly terminated on the air scoop at the roof line. The window pillar on the first bay was noticeably thicker than the others and gave the impression of size that managed to enhance the appearance of the whole vehicle. The front grill was revised and basically split in two horizontally. Twin headlights were on each side of a panel that contained ventilation louvres at the top with the lower part being the actual grill that spanned the width of the vehicle. This grill was to become standard with little change until the Supreme IV of 1978. Again a bit of a Plaxton that was instantly recognisable and a familiar sight throughout Britain. The rear featured two large 9″ circular rear lights each side arranged vertically, and the entrance door was now the forward in-swinging type.

For the first time the Panorama was offered on all chassis types, including Ford R226 and Bedford VAL, looking particularly well-suited to the latter, where the chrome trim on the first window bay harmonised with the twin steering axles below. There was even a Panorama for the Bedford SB and Ford Thames 570E, although here the thickened window pillar was absent, and the chrome trim did not extend across the front of the vehicle.

In addition to the Panoramas, a more basic series of models was offered, with windows of similar size, but with simpler trim and top sliding vent windows instead of forced air vents. Initially these were built on Bedford and Ford chassis only and named variously as Val, Vam (on the new Bedford VAM chassis) or Embassy IV. However, when the Panorama was renamed Panorama I for the 1967 season, the less expensive “bread and butter” models became available on all chassis types as the Panorama II. The Panorama I in particular sold extremely well.

03 Mobile_cinema

Plaxton Panorama cab on a Bedford SB3 chassis mobile cinema unit

The Panorama cab was used in 1967 on a government commission of seven Bedford SB3 chassis mobile cinema units. With the height of these units being nearly 13 ft (4.0 m) the roof of the cab opens up into a very unusual looking perspex dome extension, somewhat altering the usual sleek lines of Plaxton’s Panorama. One of the seven units still remains in preservation, having been restored as a vintage mobile cinema.

1957 Albion Aberdonian with Plaxton B45F body , one of two delivered to Armstrongs of Ebchester

1957-albion-aberdonian-with-plaxton-b45f-body-one-of-two-delivered-to-armstrongs-of-ebchester

Plaxton launched a new design – the Panorama Elite – at the 1968 Commercial Motor Show in London. This essentially set the basic design of British coaches for the next 14 years. The design was stylish, with long sleek lines and gentle curve in the vertical plane. The windows were gasket glazed and the glass gently curved in the vertical plane to suit the body curve. The rear again used the large soup plate lights of the Panorama I, and the front grill was also from the Panorama I.

1957 Plaxton Consort bodied Bedford SB YWE 388

1957-plaxton-consort-bodied-bedford-sb-ywe-388

The Panorama II was still available until 1970 with a large batch built for Midland Red

The interior of The new Panorama Elite was to the usual high standard that everyone had come to expect from a leading coachbuilder like Plaxton. It made more use of laminate than before but this was tastefully specified & well balanced. The interior skirt panels, racks and front cabinet made extensive use of this easily worked & easy to maintain material. The analogue clock in the front dome was flanked either side by small square controllable air vents. The dashboard was improved and made use of a panel of rocker switches in front of the driver with each switch designation lighting for night time operation. Previous dashboards hid the switches in places inaccessible whilst moving. Ventilation was again improved though using the same design of moulded air output & light assembly as the final version of the Panorama I. The racks were trimmed with laminate instead of using vinyl like material from the previous design.

1958 Albion Aberdonian Plaxton Consort II C41F

1958-albion-aberdonian-plaxton-consort-ii-c41f

The first major update of the Panorama Elite was unveiled at the 1970 Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court London. The changes though relatively subtle were very relevant to a product that had so far enjoyed wide acclaim and sale.

The Panorama Elite II range built on the success of the Panorama I and Panorama Elite. The front grill was squared up although it still used the same twin headlight layout. The first bay on the near side was tidied up so the top of the window was in line with all the other side windows. Parcel racks were redesigned so the supply of fresh air and light output was more readily available. The service units were now mounted front to back instead of side to side and were much slimmer to maximize on headroom when leaving the seats. Crash padding was provided along the inner side of the racks in the form of black PVC squares filled with padding. The dashboard was again improved as was the front cabinet. The rear of the vehicle still used the soup plates from the previous range.

1961 AEC 2MU3RV Reliance with Plaxton Highway DP41F body

1961-aec-2mu3rv-reliance-with-plaxton-highway-dp41f-body

The Panorama Elite III was the last in the Elite series. Improvements continued to the basic Elite design; this included rear lighting, rear emergency door and subtle changes to the front grill. The rear emergency door was brought about by changes in legislation and did improve the offside appearance of the Elite, however some early MkIIIs were completed with front emergency doors. The rear lights abandoned the soup plates in favour of tall lozenge shaped lights and the name badges were re-located from between the side bright metal strips at the back to the front just behind the front door.

1961 AEC 4MU3RA Reliance with Plaxton Panorama C44F body

1961-aec-4mu3ra-reliance-with-plaxton-panorama-c44f-body

All three marques of the Elite range were available with bus grant specification front doors and interiors, although this option was late for Panorama Elite and only a few built. It was however a very popular option for the MkII and MkIII. To complement this destination blinds were also available in both the front grille and on the roof or front dome for front radiator chassis. This became known as “the Bristol Dome” due to the popularity of orders from the National Bus Company for coaches on Bristol RELH and REMH chassis.

1961 Bedford J4 Plaxton Consort999-PPL

1961-bedford-j4-plaxton-consort999-ppl.

The major competitor for the Panorama Elite III was the Duple Dominant launched at the 1972 Commercial Motor Show in London. The Duple was of all steel design and built at Duple’s Blackpool factory. The Dominant had many of the design cues of the Panorama Elite and that could be because the managing director at that time was an ex Plaxton employee. The Dominant sold well but never caught up with the Elite. The mere fact that at the 1972 Commercial Motor Show only one Dominant was available due to a long strike at the Blackpool factory couldn’t have helped much. The launch of the Dominant was at Lake Guarda in Italy and was Duple’s most important launch for years.

By the time the final version of the Panorama Elite III was built around 6,000 of the Elite series bodies had been produced.

1961 Ford Thames 570E, Plaxton C41F coachwork was carried by 335, 335BWB

1961-ford-thames-570e-plaxton-c41f-coachwork-was-carried-by-335-335bwb

Development of a new coach range to supersede the Panorama Elite commenced in 1974 and was to be called Panorama Supreme, however the Panorama part was dropped in favour of simple Supreme. This series of bodies was to have a long development process as both the factory and work force wasn’t equipped for all-steel production at this stage.

1961 Ford Thames Trader57OE TRJ731 Plaxton C41F

1961-ford-thames-trader57oe-trj731-plaxton-c41f

At first the Supreme was designed to replace the ageing Panorama IV that was produced on the Bedford VAS and SB chassis for up to 41 passengers. The design for that coach went back to the Embassy body developed in the early 1960s. It had been re-vamped in the early 1970s and given an upright front and rear like the Elite III. Being front engined it had a centre door and still retained the Panorama I–style square cornered flat glass windows.

1962 Bussen Commer Commando Plaxton C30F seats

1962-bussen-commer-commando-plaxton-c30f-seats

The Supreme was to herald (nearly) all steel construction. Wood fillets still held the panels in place and in some areas wood was sandwiched in “U” shaped steel. It would be 1978 before true all-steel construction was achieved.

Some early MkIII Supremes were all-metal. The body number of the all-metal versions had the final letters AM standing for “all-metal”. Many of the AM bodies were exported to Holland and Denmark, a fact supported by the 1977 Supreme brochure and the 1982 centenary book Plaxtons The Great British Coachbuilders.

1962 Plaxton bodied AEC Reliance 326

1962-plaxton-bodied-aec-reliance-326

There was to be six marques of Supreme (Seven including Mini Supreme). Development was protracted as the builder was careful not to compromise their market leading position. Supreme I was a 29-seat coach on a Bedford VAS chassis with a standard Plaxton in-swing door located behind the front axle. Supreme II was on the 35 seat Bristol LHS chassis powered by a Leyland 400 series engine. The door located forward of the front axle in the usual place. Supreme III was the first full size coach although there seemed to be some development confusion and the actual marque of the initial standard length coaches is not clear however most of the late P and earlier R-reg bodies seemed to be the Mk III. There were no identifying numbers added to the badging.

1963 Bedford J2SZ10 with Plaxton Embassy 20 seat

1963-bedford-j2sz10-with-plaxton-embassy-20-seat

As styling development commenced it was realised that to design another coach to match the success of the Panorama Elite series was to be a challenge. Looking at the existing range of Panorama Elite III it was decided to use the Elite’s most striking feature, notably the size of the windows and the curves that departed in every direction. The front of the coach was to follow closely with Elite by utilising the same double headlights with a panel between them (although the centre panel depended on the chassis requirements). The slats again horizontal but were fewer in number and thicker. The sides of the grill were squared up and were of stainless steel and not aluminium. A chrome bumper with 5 mph (8.0 km/h) overriders at the bottom with two steps to allow access to the windscreen. Pantograph wipers with speed control were added. The dome was slatted on the early models but was not popular so was removed and simplified from Supreme IV. The side profile again had angles going in all directions although the main change to the side was that the windows curved into the cant rail almost like the Mercedes O302 bodies. The effect was to catch the light and highlighted the whole coach at roof level. The rear was like Panorama Elite with vertical lozenge shaped lights but the units themselves were slightly bigger, squared, more definite.

1963 Bedford VAL14 BMX296A with Plaxton Val C52F body

1963-bedford-val14-bmx296a-with-plaxton-val-c52f-body

The interior had been updated with a new dashboard and a driver’s locker, non-reflective laminates and a re-designed front cabinet. The lift up roof vents and light clusters containing the speakers were almost like those of the final Panorama Elite III. Some very early Supremes had wood interior domes like Panorama Elite however this was changed from wood surrounding the clock to having ABS mouldings in black. The ceiling was of laminate that was bordered by chrome trim.

The racks though went through several important stages before the final design that would see Supreme through to the series.

1963 Plaxton Panorama Bedford VAL14

1963-plaxton-panorama-bedford-val14

Rack design on Panorama Elite, II and III contained window demisters. Those racks were joined to the cant rail and laminate was used as trim to connect the window edge to the rack. On Supreme the first versions used the same technique but the racks were swaddled in crash protection on each side of the passenger service unit that was fitted front to back. The service unit used were the same as the Panorama Elite, two controllable vents and a reading light with a rocker switch. The cushioning had a four pointed star engraved into it at intervals. From the Mk III the racks had flatter sides that had no connection to the cant rail. The demisters were located on the edge of the rack within a laminate strip. The PVC or maybe ABS material that coated the underneath of the rack was usually black. This was the final design of rack and saw Supreme through to the end of the series. Those racks utilized flatter service units with eyeball vents and a flat lens on the reading light.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1963 bedford val-plaxton-panorama-uk

The Supreme Mk IV was introduced to the market at the International Motor Show at Birmingham in 1978. The main update was that construction was now all steel, frontal design was completely different from the past 14 years. The headlights were now rectangular and mounted above each other with side lights and indicators in the same cluster. The grill was not so prominent and various options were available as a package. So now the range consisted of Supreme IV, Supreme IV Express and Supreme IV GT. The GT option ushered in a distinctive grill design with a smart dual chrome flash, tinted windows and better sound system and soft trim to the ceiling to name a few “standard” extras.

1965 batch of Leyland Leopards with WA's specified centre-entrance Plaxton Panorama bodies

1965-batch-of-leyland-leopards-with-was-specified-centre-entrance-plaxton-panorama-bodies

Supreme V had a completely different rear design showing the styling of the next range that was probably under development. Tall heavily featured light clusters that were tinted to look dark were fitted vertically between the boot lid. The rear window was a one piece design. The seat backs were no longer visible from outside the coach. The rear nearside had been tidied by removing the smaller windows. The improvements were also copied onto the high floor Viewmaster model with the exception of the shallow rear window.

1965 Bedford Val with Plaxton body

1965-bedford-val-with-plaxton-body

The Supreme was also manufactured as a semi-integral on a DAF chassis. Around 20 were built. They were rear engined and the rear panel design was different from the Supreme V as it has vents and had odd shaped moulding around the rear window. As a semi-integral the body was required to support the full weight as there were no chassis members to support the body. Opening the side lockers luggage could be piled in one side and extracted from the other as nothing was in the way so it was very cutting edge technology. It is said that 2 of these survive today. The bulk of the 20 were exported, mainly to the Netherlands, the left hand drive version had a tapered front to meet Dutch swept turning-circle requirements.

1965 Ford Thames 570E with Plaxton C41F bodywork purchased UK

1965-ford-thames-570e-with-plaxton-c41f-bodywork-purchased-uk

Final Supreme offering was the Supreme VII and sometimes referred to as Jubilee Supreme. This model was the least successful Supreme being an option for one season alongside the Supreme V. The panoramic windows had been replaced by a higher window line that was better suited to the long distance market. Around 100 were built. The actual idea of the high window design was possibly in reaction to the Duple Dominant III that had shallow trapezoidal windows like an Austin Princess headlight of the mid-1970s.

1965-bedford--panorama-bus-3

1965-bedford-VAL-panorama-bus-3

The Supreme series like the Panorama I and Panorama Elite were simply a success from the outset winning many orders from small, national, and some international operators. It entered most fleets in large multiples. The export market was addressed with left hand drive versions, some modified for the Dutch market and at least one was built on Deutz chassis. The dynamic approach of Plaxtons relationship with their customers requirements was a huge factor in the success of the Supreme.

The Paramount era

Main article: Plaxton Paramount
04 Plaxton35004000

Plaxton Paramount 4000 and Paramount 3500

By the end of the 1970s the British coach scene was dominated by two similar vehicles – the Plaxton Supreme and the Duple Dominant. In the early 1980s coach services over 30 miles were deregulated and there was an increasing attempt by some operators to compete with the railways and airlines for express and intercity travel. As a result there was a move away from light-weight chassis by Bedford and Ford to heavier-duty chassis from Leyland and Volvo, and an emphasis on improved comfort and amenities. There was also a growing interest from operators in imports from Europe due to their stylish eye-catching designs that attracted passengers. In particular, designs from Neoplan and Van Hool received much attention.

1966-bussen-commer-plaxton-venturer

1966-bussen-commer-plaxton-venturer

In response, Plaxton returned to Ogle Design to create a new look for their coach products. The result was the Plaxton Paramount, which appeared at the 1982 British Motor Show. The Paramount was a squarer design than the Supreme, with cleaner lines, a flatter roof line and a distinctive “feature window” just behind the front wheelarch. The use of the “feature window” was a return to a trump card played by the Ogle-inspired Panorama/Panorama I first seen in 1964. From there the waistline sloped down to meet the deeper windscreen. Initially there were two versions, the Paramount 3200 (available in 8, 10, 11 and 12-metre lengths) and the high-floor Paramount 3500 (available in 11 and 12 metre lengths) to replace the successful Viewmaster. Around 30% of Mark I Paramounts were the 3500 high-floor option, a greater proportion than had been anticipated. The rear of both versions were similar to Supreme V and VI but all else was new.

1967 Bedford J2SZ10 with Plaxton C20F bodywork

1967-bedford-j2sz10-with-plaxton-c20f-bodywork

In 1984 the design was adapted to produce the Paramount 4000 double-decker coach, initially built on Neoplan underframes. The design later appeared on chassis by Volvo, Scania and DAF.

1968-bedford--panorama-bus-2

1968-bedford-VAL-panorama-bus-2

The Paramount II launched for the 1985 season brought a tidier frontal appearance. (See the picture with the Paramount 4000) Gone was the black plastic moulding below the windscreen and the “hole” like appearance of the centre of the grille between the lights. The rectangular headlights were retained within a bright silver like surround. Other modifications included deeper parcel racks that were capable of supporting air conditioning. A tweed like material was used to cover the interior skirt and a large part of the racks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1969 Bedford-VAL-plaxton-panorama-ii-uk

A “low driver” option was available for the 3200. This was useful for touring however the driver lost the commanding view of the road ahead. The driver sat low in the body so the passengers have a better view ahead. The windscreen from the 3500 was used on this version of the 3200, the headlights being lower to the road than usual.

1986 saw the final and most elegant version of Paramount, the MkIII. According to brochures it was even stronger than the Paramount II. The sloping front window was gone and in its place a stepped front window that formed the first bay. In the glass Plaxton’s “castle” logo was etched, the rear window contained a blind like decal at the base with a castle badge in the centre. The dashboard consisted of a moulded cabinet, ceasing the use of wood and formica of earlier versions of Plaxton coaches since the Panorama’s. In the centre of the black finished cabinet was a large castle logo. Airline-style locker doors were now available on the parcel racks to further give a sleek appearance like a 747.

1970 Bedford Val Plaxton Dons Tour Brochure photo

1970-bedford-val-plaxton-dons-tour-brochure-photo

In 1989 Plaxton responded to a request from the privatised National Express for a further version of Paramount III to be leased to its contractors by a joint venture of Plaxton, National Westminster Bank and National Express. The Paramount Expressliner was created from the MkIII Paramount on a Volvo chassis and was tailored to NBC’s specific requirements. NBC specification included a closed back with the double N logo etched into the fibre glass rear moulding. This period of coach design seemed to introduce the windowless rear as a design feature for most coaches.

Henlys and a new beginning

The mid-1980s brought difficult times for Plaxton. A decline in orders due to the economic climate was compounded by management and production problems. The seasonal nature of coach production made recruiting difficult. In March 1987 Plaxton was taken over by Kirkby Bus & Coach, who were Plaxton’s largest dealer. Kirkby soon invested in modernising the Scarborough factory and addressed some industrial relations problems. Kirkby also marketed the Hungarian Ikarus buses in the United Kingdom.

1970 Ford R226 with Plaxton Panorama Elite C49F bodywork

1970-ford-r226-with-plaxton-panorama-elite-c49f-bodywork

In 1989 Plaxtons bought Henlys, a company that included motor dealers and Coleman Milne, makers of hearses and limousines. The name of the company was changed to Plaxton Group PLC.

1970 PLAXTONS Pennine IV op SEDDON

1970-plaxtons-seddon-pennine-iv-op

In July 1989 Plaxton bought the manufacturing rights for the coach products of its main domestic competitor, Duple for £4 million. This included the jigs for the Duple 300 and the Duple 425 integral. Duple Services Ltd., the spares and repair business, was also purchased. The 320 was re-worked by Plaxtons at Scarborough later in 1989 and 25 were built and sold as the Plaxton 321. Many components from the Paramount were used both internally and externally. Identifying traits being the squared up wheel arches and Paramount side mouldings. The 321 was around £6,000 cheaper than a comparable Paramount III. Further batches were considered but it is not known if they were actually built. The 321 was only available from Kirkby. The 340 with the higher floor was considered but none were built. A modified version of the 425 design was introduced in 1991 and was built by Carrosserie Lorraine, a French coachbuilder Plaxton had recently purchased from Iveco. Only 12 vehicles were manufactured, and Carrosserie Lorraine was subsequently closed in 1992.

05 Arriva Guildford&West Surrey 3091 P291 FPK

The Dennis Dart, released in 1989, had been a runaway success, so in 1991 the Plaxton Pointer midibus was announced, this was quite a utilitarian, square body. This was followed by the Plaxton Verde, which Plaxton hoped would match the success of its smaller sister, but it failed to capture the market quite as much as the Pointer, and it was clear that the bus industry wasn’t buying 12m single-deckers in as large numbers any more. Later that year new coach bodies, the Plaxton Premiere and Plaxton Excalibur, were launched.

1971 AEC 6U3ZR Reliance with Plaxton Panorama Elite C30F body

1971-aec-6u3zr-reliance-with-plaxton-panorama-elite-c30f-body

In May 1992, after a management shake-up, the company was renamed Henlys Group PLC.

Henlys pursued a strategy of diversification and expansion through the 1990s. The established bus bodybuilder Northern Counties was bought in 1995 for £10 million. The UK bus and coach manufacturing business, trading under the Plaxton brand, continued to produce a range of bus and coach bodywork. It also owned one of the largest UK coach dealers, Kirkby, and provided after-sales services to coach and bus operators.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Plaxton Premiere.

In August 2000 a joint venture was formed with Mayflower, owners of the Dennis and Alexander brands. The joint venture, known as TransBus International, included only the United Kingdom bus manufacturing operations of both companies, including Plaxton and Northern Counties. Henlys held a 30% stake in the joint venture, which employed 3,300 employees at seven locations. The traditional brands of Alexander, Dennis and Plaxton were replaced by TransBus International. In 2004 Mayflower Group failed, and TransBus International went into receivership. An initial offer from the Plaxton management to buy the coach segment of the company was rejected by the receiver, but was later accepted when a senior TransBus manager and a consortium from Scotland composed of Brian Souter, owner of Stagecoach Group, his sister Ann Gloag, David Murray and Noble Grossart, agreed to buy the Alexander Dennis portion of the company.

Independent again

Thus the new company, Plaxton Limited, re-emerged as an independent company, employing almost 300 people at its main coach plant in Scarborough and a further 59 at its facility in Anston, which builds small buses and coaches such as the Beaver and Cheetah.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1971-leyland-plaxton-panorama-uk

In May 2005 Plaxton announced its return to the service bus market, launching the Centro, a low-floor single-deck vehicle initially to be offered on VDL SB120 chassis, in 10.7 m length, with the first bus completed in February 2006. The Centro is now available on the VDL SB180, VDL SB200, MAN 14.220 and Volvo B7RLE chassis, with 10.2 m and 12 m lengths also offered.

1972 AEC 6U3ZR Reliances with Plaxton Panorama Elite II C49D bodies

1972-aec-6u3zr-reliances-with-plaxton-panorama-elite-ii-c49d-bodies

The company also revealed the Primo, a 28 seat low-floor minibus, in September 2005. This 7.9 m long vehicle is powered by the Cummins ISBe Euro III engine, mounted transversely at the rear. The Primo frame is assembled in Hungary by Enterprise Bus, effectively a conventional chassis in most respects but one which extends up to cantrail level, before being shipped to Scarborough for completion.

Purchase by Alexander Dennis

In May 2007 Plaxton was purchased by Alexander Dennis. But as of late 2008, the Centro bodywork remained in production alongside with Alexander Dennis’s Enviro200 Dart and Enviro300.

1972 Plaxton Malta Valletta

1972-plaxton-malta-valletta

In 2008 the new Plaxton Elite was launched at Birmingham Euro Bus Expo and by 2011 had delivered 100 Elites. Originally based on the Volvo B12B chassis, it was later developed to suit the Volvo B9R and B13R chassis.

Products

Past

(All coach bodies unless noted)

  • Type A
  • D Series
  • Type F (full fronted)
  • Type J (half cab)
  • K Series
  • L Series
  • M Series
  • Q2
  • Envoy
  • Venturer I, II, III
  • Crusader Mk I, Mk II
  • Consort Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV
  • Highway – (single deck bus)
  • Panorama
  • Embassy I, II, III, IV
  • Panorama I and Panorama II
  • Panorama Elite, Elite Express
  • Panorama Elite II, Elite Express II
  • Panorama Elite III, Elite Express III
  • Panorama IV (For Bedford SB and VAS)
  • Derwent, Derwent II (single deck bus)
  • Supreme I, II, III, IV, V, VI (1st version of Supreme for *Bristol LHS & Bedford PJK was to be known as Panorama Supreme)
  • Viewmaster (Britain’s first 3.5M coach)
  • Bustler – (single deck bus)
  • Paramount 3200, 3500, 4000, Mk I, Mk II, Mk III including low driving position option

Current

Coaches

  • Elite (12.6m and 14m)
  • Panther (12.8m and 15m) – for Volvo B8R, B9R, B10M, B11R, B12M, B12B and B13R, Dennis R-Series, MAN 18.310, Irisbus EuroRider and Scania K-series
  • Leopard – for Volvo B9R and Volvo B8R

Buses

1972 Plaxton Malta Valletta EPSON scanner image 29 seat Mercedes Plaxton Cheetah 33 seat Mercedes Plaxton Cheetah 1907 Plaxton model T Charabanc 1930. 37 Seater Bus-Coach Type A3 1946 Leyland Tiger Plaxton body 1948 AEC Regal lll 9621E418 Plaxton ha324z 1949 Plaxton Sentinel-2 1950 Bedford OB ETL221, Plaxton 29 seater coach with 28HP petrol engine 1952 Bussen Commer Avenger built in 1952 with Plaxton Envoy bodywork 1956 plaxton consort bus brochure Bedford 1957 AEC Reliance Plaxton Consort C41C bodied 1957 Albion Aberdonian with Plaxton B45F body , one of two delivered to Armstrongs of Ebchester 1957 Plaxton Consort bodied Bedford SB YWE 388 1958 Albion Aberdonian Plaxton Consort II C41F 1961 AEC 2MU3RV Reliance with Plaxton Highway DP41F body 1961 AEC 4MU3RA Reliance with Plaxton Panorama C44F body 1961 Bedford J4 Plaxton Consort999-PPL 1961 Ford Thames 570E, Plaxton C41F coachwork was carried by 335, 335BWB 1961 Ford Thames Trader57OE TRJ731 Plaxton C41F 1962 Bussen Commer Commando Plaxton C30F seats 1962 Plaxton bodied AEC Reliance 326 1963 Bedford J2SZ10 with Plaxton Embassy 20 seat 1963 Bedford VAL14 BMX296A with Plaxton Val C52F body 1963 Plaxton Panorama Bedford VAL14 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1965 batch of Leyland Leopards with WA's specified centre-entrance Plaxton Panorama bodies 1965 Bedford Val with Plaxton body 1965 Ford Thames 570E with Plaxton C41F bodywork purchased UK 1965-bedford--panorama-bus-3 1966-bussen-commer-plaxton-venturer 1967 Bedford J2SZ10 with Plaxton C20F bodywork 1968-bedford--panorama-bus-2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1970 Bedford Val Plaxton Dons Tour Brochure photo 1970 Ford R226 with Plaxton Panorama Elite C49F bodywork 1970 PLAXTONS Pennine IV op SEDDON 1971 AEC 6U3ZR Reliance with Plaxton Panorama Elite C30F body OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1972 AEC 6U3ZR Reliances with Plaxton Panorama Elite II C49D bodies 1972 Plaxton Malta Valletta 1972 Plaxton Malta OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1972 Plaxton Panorama Leyland Malta 1973 Plaxton Panorama Bedford Malta 1974 Plaxton Bedford Malta 1974 Plaxton Panorama Bedford Malta 1974 Plaxton Panorama Elite Malta OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1975 Plaxton Panorama Elite Bedford Malta OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1975 Plaxton Supreme GB OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1976 Plaxton Bedford Malta 1976 Plaxton Derwent Malta OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1976 Plaxton Panorama UK 1977 PLAXTONS Supreme 80 1977 PLAXTONS Supreme Series 1977 PLAXTONS Supreme 1977 PLAXTONS Viewmaster 1978 Plaxton Malta 1978 Plaxton Panorama Ford Malta 1980 Plaxton Panorama Ford Malta OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA FOT1118113 1986 Plaxton Leyland UK 1989 Plaxton UK 1990 Plaxton Volvo F 1997 Plaxton Panorama  Bedford Malta 2002 Plaxton Paragon London 2005 Mercedes Vario Plaxton Beaver 2 SF05 FNW EPSON scanner image 2008 PlaxtonElite_061108_2 2009 Plaxton Panther London OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 2012 Plaxton Elite i AEC 6U3ZR Reliance with a Plaxton Panorama Elite C45F body AEC 6U3ZR Reliance with Plaxton Panorama Elite II C49D body Arriva Guildford&West Surrey 3091 P291 FPK Bedford 20 seat Plaxton Embassy SONY DSC Bedford J2 Coach Bedford SBG with Plaxton Consort Bedford Val 14 Plaxton Panorama Coach Bedford VAS Plaxton Embassy coach ETC 760B SONY DSC OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ford R192 with Plaxton Derwent 23 seat coach body Ford R1014 Plaxton Derwent of Alder Valley Leyland Leopard Plaxton OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Mobile cinema Plaxton 3500 4000 Plaxton Beaver 1 Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopards KAU564V, RVO657L & RVO668L Barton Plaxton C45F SWJ-395F Plaxton cars Plaxton Consort C41C AEC Plaxton DBY451 Malta Plaxton Derwent 3000 1 Plaxton Elite YN10 FKM Selwyns National Express Plaxton Mercedes BeaverTreloar's Plaxton 'Panorama' bodied Bedford VAL BNW640C. Plaxton Panorama body, which preceded the Panorama Elite, had flat side windows Plaxton Panorama Elite II bodywork on a Bedford VAL chassis. Plaxton Paragon demonstrator Plaxton Paragon National Express route 561 Plaxton Pointer Plaxton Pointer-bodied Dennis Dart SLF Plaxton Premiere National Express old livery OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Plaxton President Plaxton Profile CA06GHA-1-CHESTER BE PLAXTONS Paramount 3500 Tilling Stevens Express, the body seems to be a Plaxton D2 SONY DSC UVE 593K Bedford J2 Plaxton Volvo Plaxton B7R coach Engeland

NORTHERN COUNTIES MOTOR and ENGENEERING CO Buses England UK

Northern Counties Motor and Engineering Company

00a 1972 GreaterManchester7214A 1972 example of the SELNEC standard body shown in later GMT livery

Northern Counties Motor and Engineering Company was a manufacturer of bus bodywork located in Wigan Lane, Wigan, in North West England.

Overview

Traditionally buses in Britain have consisted of a chassis upon which a separate body was constructed, typically by a different manufacturer. This allowed operators to specify a vehicle that suited their particular requirements. Chassis manufacturers in Britain included LeylandDaimlerAEC, and Guy (all now defunct). Having selected a chassis, an operator would also specify a particular engine and this assemblage would be transported to a bodybuilder to manufacture the bodywork. Northern Counties was a mid-size bodybuilder with a strong reputation and loyal client base. It was bought out and subsequently closed in 2005 by Alexander Dennis.

History[edit]

00b Cardiff_Bus_Volvo_Alisa_B55_408_NDW_408XVolvo Ailsa formerly of Cardiff Busbodied by Northern Counties

Northern Counties Motor and Engineering Company Limited was founded in Wigan in 1919 by Henry Lewis. The Lewis family remained owners of the company until it was bought out over seventy years later. As was common at the time, early products were bodywork for private automobiles. By the early 1920s the private automobile work had ceased and the manufacture of bodywork for service buses commenced. Bodywork was for both single-deck and double-deck vehicles. Very few coaches were produced.

During the Second World War, Northern Counties was authorized by the government to produce bus bodies to a utility specification, mainly using steel-framed construction.

Northern Counties established a loyal client base and reputation for quality construction in the post-war years. Notable clients included local operators SHMD Board, Manchester Corporation, and Lancashire United. Further afield, Barton Transport and Southdown Motor Services were among a number of regular customers.

In 1967 another bus body builder, Massey Brothers Ltd, located in nearby Pemberton, was acquired and became a part of the Northern Counties operations. The Massey factory was retained and used as a paint-shop and for final completion of bodywork assembled at Wigan Lane.

The Transport Act of 1968 merged the municipal corporations of ManchesterSalfordBoltonOldhamStockportRochdaleBury and Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley and Dukinfield Joint Board (SHMD Board). The resulting conglomerate was known as the Southeast Lancashire Northeast Cheshire Passenger Transport Authority, commonly known as SELNEC. SELNEC was faced with a fleet of 2500 vehicles consisting of a wide variety of types and manufacturers, reflecting the preferences of their former municipal owners. Northern Counties worked closely with SELNEC to develop a standard bus for fleet replacement.

The Local Government Act 1972 came into effect on 1 April 1974. This reorganization added Wigan Corporation Transport to SELNEC to create the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. Greater Manchester PTE was the largest bus operator outside of London until privatization in the late 1980s. A large proportion of Northern Counties production after this time was for the Greater Manchester fleet.

00c Foden-NC

The Foden-NC delivered to Potteries Motor Traction in 1978

In 1975 the company collaborated with Foden Ltd, a well-known manufacturer of commercial vehicles, to produce a semi-integral double-deck vehicle intended to compete with chassis manufacturer Leyland. Leyland had merged with traditional rival Daimler and was experiencing production and quality problems. In the event, only seven Foden-NCs were produced, going to Greater Manchester PTEWest Midlands PTE,West Yorkshire PTEDerby City Transport and Potteries Motor Traction.

The 1980s and 1990s were challenging years for the British bus industry, with the privatization of publicly owned operators, deregulation of routes and the reduction and subsequent elimination of the Bus Grant, a Government grant that paid for a large proportion of the cost of new vehicles. As a result, the purchase of new bus vehicles fell sharply as operators contended with the brave new world of competition, and mini-buses became the vogue. This fall in orders was combined with increased competition from overseas manufacturers.

00d GNE_Palatine_II_bus

A 1998 Palatine II bodied Volvo Olympian of Go North East

Northern Counties reputation and engineering skills saw it survive these difficult times and become a major supplier once again as demand picked up in the mid-1990s. In May 1995, it was purchased for £10 million by the Henlys group, owner of Plaxton. The Northern Counties name was dropped in 1999 and vehicles were badged as Plaxton.

In 2001 Henlys became part of a joint venture with the Mayflower group, owner of bodybuilder Alexander and chassis manufacturer Dennis. The joint venture was known as TransBus, and vehicles were badged using the TransBus name.

After the failure of the Mayflower Group in 2004, TransBus was sold to a private group of investors and became Alexander Dennis. The former Northern Counties facility was closed by Alexander Dennis in January 2005.

Products

Plaxton (Northern County) Prestige

Plaxton Prestige
Northern Counties Prestige
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Plaxton Prestige-bodied DAF SB220
00f PP_INT

An Arriva North West Plaxton Prestige interior
Overview
Manufacturer Northern Counties
Plaxton
Body and chassis
Doors 1 or 2 doors
Floor type Low floor
Chassis DAF SB220
Volvo B10BLE
Powertrain
Engine DAF LT1160
Volvo
Transmission ZF
Dimensions
Length Option
Width Option
Chronology

The Plaxton Prestige is a low-floor single-deck bus body built by Plaxton at the Wigan factory of its Northern Counties subsidiary, and at its main Scarborough factory, during the latter half of the 1990s.

The Prestige was mostly built on DAF SB220 chassis, although small numbers were built on Volvo B10BLE chassis. Several of the DAF vehicles were LPG-powered; gas tanks were located on the roof. Arriva was a major purchaser of the Prestige, with a number for London and for provincial areas, all on DAF chassis. It was only a short term affair, however, being in favour of its sister, the Pointer.

In Plaxton’s body numbering system, the letter H identified the Prestige, although not all Prestiges received a Plaxton body number (early examples being numbered in the Northern Counties series).

At one stage, the Prestige was provisionally given the name Paladin LF. Northern Counties’ contemporary step-entrance single-deck body was the Paladin, and LF would have stood for low floor. However, the name Prestige (which had earlier been briefly used for an export variant of the Plaxton Excalibur) was given to the model instead.

Gallery

Northern Counties Palatine

Northern Counties Palatine
01 Warrington Olympian NCME 1

Warrington Borough Transport bus with Northern Counties Palatine bodywork.
02

Lower Saloon of a Northern Counties Palatine Leyland Olympian
Overview
Manufacturer Northern Counties
Body and chassis
Doors 1 or 2 door
Floor type Step entrance
Powertrain
Engine Cummins & Gardner
Transmission Voith & ZF
Chronology

The Northern Counties Palatine is a step-entrance double-decker bus body built by Northern Counties of Wigan, UK. It was built mainly onLeyland Olympian and Volvo Olympian chassis, although some were also built on DAFVolvo B10M Citybus and Scania chassis. Two variants existed, the Palatine I (known as “Palatine” before 1992) which had a flatter windscreen, and the Palatine II (launched in 1993) which had a curved windscreen resembling that of the single-decker Northern Counties Paladin.

MTL were a notable buyer, a batch of high-specification Palatine IIs entered service in 1996 on the ‘Cross River’ services through the Mersey Tunnels. Another batch of 22, branded as ‘The Millennium Fleet’ began operating on Merseyside in 1998.

It was superseded by the Plaxton President body.

Variants

NABI North American Bus Industries USA

NoAm - Logo

North American Bus Industries

NABI logo

“NABI” redirects here. For other uses, see Nabi (disambiguation).
NABI Bus, LLC
Type Subsidiary
Industry Bus manufacturing
Founded 1992
Headquarters AnnistonAlabama
Products Buses
Owner(s) New Flyer Industries
Website www.nabiusa.com

NABI  416 and 40LFW CROWNARTICRS

NABI 416 and 40LFW CROWNARTICRS

NABI Bus, LLC (NABI) was a designer and producer of heavy-duty transit buses from 31-feet to 60-feet in length. These were sold to operators throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. NABI’s headquarters, including its bus manufacturing and assembly operations, are located at in AnnistonAlabama. In the future, NABI will produce the product lines of its parent, New Flyer Industries at the Anniston plant, and production of its own product lines will end. Its U.S. operations also include an aftermarket parts division in DelawareOH (at the former Flxible factory), and an after-sales service center at Mira LomaCA.

History

Academy_GMC_81

1992-1999

The company that is now NABI was incorporated in the USA, in the state of Alabama, in November 1992, under the name American Ikarus, Inc. (American Ikarus). It was incorporated by the First Hungary Fund Limited, (FHF) a Jersey equity investment fund. Its incorporation was accompanied by FHF’s concurrent formation of a Hungarian holding company, North American Bus Industries, Kft. (NABI Hungary) owning the shares of American Ikarus. This arrangement—with American Ikarus as a subsidiary of NABI Hungary–(collectively The Group) resulted in FHF’s investment being Hungarian-based—in alignment with FHF’s objective of investing in business opportunities resulting from the political and economic changes then taking place in Hungary. American Ikarus simultaneously acquired the assets of Ikarus USA, Inc. (Ikarus USA) a bus manufacturing subsidiary of the Union City Body Company, Inc. (UCBC) of Union City, Indiana.Such assets included facilities in Alabama, miscellaneous equipment and inventory.

001_NABI

UCBC and Ikarus USA had been parties to a strategic alliance with Ikarus Body and Coach Building Works of Budapest, Hungary. (Ikarus Hungary) At the time, Ikarus Hungary was a very large bus manufacturer having multiple plants in Hungary, with a production output during the 1980s of over 13,000 buses per year. Simultaneously with the formation of American Ikarus, the previously established strategic alliance between Ikarus USA and Ikarus Hungary was assigned to the newly incorporated American Ikarus.

2008 CAT NABI Hybrid

At the time of incorporation, it was planned that American Ikarus would purchase unfinished buses from Ikarus Hungary under its strategic alliance, ship them to the U.S. and perform final assembly at its Alabama plant. This arrangement provided certain engineering and manufacturing benefits and allowed compliance with “Buy America” requirements of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 which established American content requirements for federally assisted rolling stock procurements, including transit buses. Such vehicles had already been designed by Ikarus Hungary specifically for the U.S. market, with unfinished buses having been produced previously by Ikarus Hungary under the same strategic alliance with Ikarus USA. These vehicles were the Model 416 forty-foot standard-floor transit bus and its larger sibling, the Model 436 sixty-foot articulated transit bus.

7307960158_05659a0a1f_z

The plant in Anniston, AL was opened in 1993 under this business arrangement, performing final assembly operations, delivery and after-sales service using unfinished buses produced in Hungary. Delivery of unfinished buses was accomplished by rail shipment from Budapest to Bremerhaven, then shipment by roll-on/roll-off ocean vessels to Charleston, SC, and then by delivery on flatbed trailers to Anniston, AL.

Blue Bird Ultra LF Milton Transit Bus 0804 NABI

At the time of incorporation, Ikarus’ business was in decline due to unusual political and economic changes following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Such decline continued after The Group’s formation, resulting in the shutdown of one of Ikarus’ plants in Budapest. This plant was purchased from Ikarus Hungary by NABI, Kft. which simultaneously entered a license agreement with Ikarus Hungary allowing NABI, Kft. to produce its own unfinished buses in Budapest and deliver them to its subsidiary in Alabama for final assembly and delivery to U.S. customers. In 1994 The Group began use of this manufacturing arrangement with no further involvement of Ikarus Hungary other than its role as licensor of the Model 416 and Model 436 standard-floor transit bus designs.

CAT NABI 436 530-564

In 1996, the company began aggressive expansion of its aftermarket parts department which had previously supplied service parts only for its own products. This expansion was accomplished by hiring individuals previously employed within the aftermarket parts organization of the Flexible Corporation, which had recently discontinued transit bus manufacturing and aftermarket parts operations in Ohio. Once hired, this group leased facilities in Ohio, and began to expand the sale of aftermarket parts to operators of competing makes of buses.

DARTcngNABI-1111

Also in 1996, American Ikarus, Inc. was renamed “North American Bus Industries, Inc.” due to the dissolution of its affiliation with Ikarus Hungary some years earlier, and because the company was easily and incorrectly confused with the no longer related Ikarus Hungary, which had fallen into further distress due to continued decline of its European markets.

Foothill_Transit_NABI_60-BRT_articulated_bus

In 1997, NABI Kft. was re-registered in Hungary from a limited liability company to NABI, Rt., a joint stock company, allowing it to raise capital via public offering. Thereafter, in August of that year, the company raised $US 27.1 million in a public offering, with its shares listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange. FHF retained approximately 56% of NABI, Rt. shares, with the remainder of the shares publically traded.

LA NABI 62ft

Also in 1997, NABI Hungary was certified as conforming to the ISO 9001 quality and organizational standard, with NABI, Inc. becoming ISO 9001 certified the following year. In 1998, The Group also implemented the use of BaaN, an integrated enterprise resource planning system. Additionally, 1998 marked the introduction of NABI’s new, 40-foot low-floor Model 40-LFW transit bus. (35-foot and 31-foot variants of this product were later derived).

la-bus-brt-orangeline-veh-80068-20060927brx2_D-Dobbs

2000-2009

In 2000, The Group announced its move into the European bus market with NABI, Inc.’s debt-financed acquisition of all of the shares of the Optare Group, (Optare) of Leeds, U.K. for $US 28.5 million, making Optare a NABI, Inc. subsidiary. Anticipated benefits included immediate participation in the European market as well as eventual European market participation with a new, composite-structured bus then under development. Plans also included the derivation of certain left-hand-drive Optare products for U.S. and Hungarian markets.

LACMTA NABI (Ikarus) 60-foot Articulated Bus

Although there had been previous moderate expansion of NABI’s Anniston, AL facility, 2001 marked additional and substantial factory expansion, taking the Anniston, AL plant to over 250,000 square feet (under roof). 2001 also marked derivation of the 30-foot NABI Model 30-LFN which was a left-hand-drive derivative of the recently developed Optare “Solo” being sold in the UK. Sale of these small low-floor buses commenced to private and public operators within the U.S. An additional outgrowth of the Optare acquisition was the sale of a small number of full-size (11 meter) NABI Model 700SE’s the following year in Hungary. These were derived from the Optare Excel, and were produced on Scania chassis.

NABI 30LFN

In 2002, NABI Hungary completed construction of a new plant in Kaposvar, Hungary. This new plant was purpose-built for the manufacture of the CompoBus, a new, composite-structured low-floor bus. Production of CompoBuses began in earnest in 2003, with a significantly greater portion of this particular NABI product produced in Hungary than with other NABI products.

NABI 60ft BRT - CNG Powered

This new CompoBus manufacturing arrangement—unique for NABI—resulted in these buses being short of the FTA’s normal Buy America requirements. However, NABI had sought Buy America waivers associated with the development of this new bus model, and had been granted two such waivers by the FTA. The first waiver allowed NABI to assemble its CompoBus outside the United States, and the second allowed it to count the composite chassis/frame as domestic for purposes of calculating the domestic component content of the vehicle. Both waivers applied to FTA funded procurements for which solicitations were issued within two years of the date of the waiver letter. That same year NABI introduced the 60-LFW, a new 60-foot low-floor articulated derivative of its 40-LFW model developed some years earlier.

NABI 60-LFW 2008 CTA-articulated-bus

In late 2004, NABI unveiled a new 60-foot low-floor articulated bus with rail-like styling, which had been in development since early 2003. This new product was designated the Model 60-BRT. Delivery of production versions began the following year, and a shorter, 42-foot derivative was eventually produced.

NABI 416 transit New Yersey

After continuing disappointing financial results through 2004, NABI, Inc. sold its Optare subsidiary in 2005, and it also idled its composite bus production facility in Kaposvar, laying off 23% of its workforce in Hungary. The shutdown was due to uncertain future demand for the CompoBus and the weakened U.S. dollar. Also, in December 2005, the FTA refused to extend the previously granted waivers exempting the CompoBus from Buy America requirements.

NABI articulated natural gas-powered bus on LA Metro's Line 4 on Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills

In early 2006, NABI entered a preliminary agreement with affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. (Cerberus) for the acquisition of all of the shares of NABI, Inc. and the business assets of NABI Rt. This transaction was completed in February 2006.[11] (Concurrently, the Hungarian company that was not being acquired changed its name to ExBus, relegating itself to asset management unrelated to NABI.)

NABI BRT Metroliner

In August 2006, NABI announced its acquisition of Optima Bus Corporation in Wichita, KS (Optima) for an undisclosed amount. A short time later, it was announced that Cerberus had also acquired Blue Bird Corporation of Ft. Valley, GA (Blue Bird) thus rendering it a “sister” to NABI, Inc.

NABI bus of the LA County MTA (Metro) used for Rapid bus service

In June 2007, Optima’s operations in Wichita, KS were shut-down, and work-in-process, inventory and tooling for Optima’s products were moved to NABI’s Anniston, AL plant. At generally the same time, the work-in-process, tooling and inventory for Blue Bird’s commercial buses were acquired by NABI and was also transferred to NABI, Inc.’s plant. NABI, Inc. elected to retain the names these products, and began producing these smaller buses at its Anniston, AL plant, thus adding Optima and Blue Bird brands to its product portfolio.

NABI Metro 45C LACMTA 8063

Generally at this same time, NABI also shifted the manufacture of its standard-floor model 416 unfinished buses from Hungary to newly leased facilities adjoining its existing Anniston, AL plant. Under this arrangement, standard-floor body structures and other vehicle elements are fabricated at the adjoining facility and are then towed a short distance into NABI’s final assembly operation.

NABI North American Bus Industie Bus RApid Transit

In late 2007, NABI began re-commissioning its CompoBus production plant in Kaposvar, simultaneously shifting certain assembly operations to Anniston and thus rendering the CompoBus compliant with Buy America requirements. CompoBus deliveries resumed in 2008 without the need for further waivers from the FTA.

NABI RRTA Optima 127 Optima Opus

2008 also saw additional expansion at NABI’s Anniston, AL plant with the installation of a new, robotic paint system. This expansion took the Anniston plant to approximately 1/3 million square feet under roof, not including adjacent leased facilities used for manufacture of standard-floor unfinished buses.

NABI_000

2010-Present

Attempts to integrate the production of the smaller Optima and Blue Bird buses into NABI’s operations eventually proved disruptive, and in 2010, NABI discontinued the production of its Optima and Blue Bird brand commercial bus products.

nabi_l6

The following year, NABI commissioned a new fabrication shop at its plant, equipped with robotic laser cutting equipment as well as tube bending and other new fabrication equipment. At approximately the same time, new body assembly tooling for low-floor buses was installed at its adjoining body fabrication facility. With these changes in place, NABI shifted the manufacturing of its metal-structured low-floor unfinished buses from Hungary to the same facility that had already begun manufacturing NABI’s standard-floor products in Alabama a few years earlier.

NABI40-LFW05versionVersion2BCT

Also in 2010, NABI unveiled its new 12-meter Sirius bus at its plant in Kaposvar, Hungary. This new product, produced on an MAN chassis, was developed for Hungarian public transportation operators.

nabi-products-overview-60-ft-brt-whether-it-is-advanced-bus-rapid-transit_89762

In 2011, NABI unveiled new styling for its metal-structured low-floor product and its CompoBus. Restyling of both products was accomplished primarily by using a redesigned front mask, leaving the body structure unchanged from earlier versions of the same models. Also, a 40-foot CompoBus prototype incorporating the new styling was also produced.

New-Flyer-product

In April 30, 2013, after completing a large order of CompoBuses for the Los Angeles MTA, NABI produced its final CompoBus in Hungary. At the same time, NABI elected to discontinue promotion of its Hungarian Sirius bus, thus ending all production in Hungary and relegating all manufacturing and final assembly activities to its facilities in the USA.

New-NABI-Buses-2

On June 21, 2013, New Flyer Industries announced the acquisition of North American Bus Industries, Inc from Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. (Cerberus) for $79 million. The deal was completed later that day. However, New Flyer continued NABI name for its existing bus lines, which continued in production for the time being. This made NABI a subsidiary of New Flyer, using the legal name of NABI Bus, LLC. The Blue Bird school bus production assets were not included in the sale to New Flyer; they remain owned by Cerberus. As of late 2013, all of New Flyer’s metal-structured bus production (with the exception of the MiDi, a product of the New Flyer–Alexander Dennis joint venture) is now under the NABI brand.

Press Conf NABI artic Left Front

In June 2014, New Flyer announced that the NABI product line will be discontinued after existing orders are filled, and NABI will begin to exclusively produce New Flyer’s “Xcelsior” product line at its Anniston plant in 2015.

pr-nabi45lfw

Production

Santa Monica rapid blue NABI BRT 5310

Although NABI has utilized various manufacturing arrangements throughout its history, it currently produces its metal-structured products entirely in Anniston, AL. These metal-structured buses consist of the standard-floor model 416 (40-foot length), the low-floor Model LFW (produced in 31-foot, 35-foot and 40-foot lengths) and the low-floor BRT (produced in 42-foot and 60-foot lengths).Sirius-web

All NABI products comply with current U.S. DOT Buy America requirements for Federally funded transit bus procurements—including domestic component value requirements as well as final assembly requirements.

Products

01 NABI-60-BRT-Allison-HybridNABI BRT CNGDieselDiesel-Electric Hybrid

NABI LACMTA 7992 40c-LFW Compobus

Compobus 2013 CNGDieselDiesel-Electric Hybrid Operators include Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) andValley Metro.

02 40-LFW Gen3

NABI LFW CNGDieselDiesel-Electric Hybrid

03 Miami 30LFN Curb Front

2005 30 FLN Diesel A badge engineered Optare Solo—Discontinued after NABI sold Optare

04 CAT_NABI_436_530-564

436(60SFW) 2008 The last set of buses were built in 2002 for SamTrans

05 CTA-articulated-bus

60LFW diesel 2008 One order produced for the Chicago Transit Authority. All were scrapped after structural defects were found in 2009.

07 NABI_Sirius_Suburban_s

Sirius 2013 Vehicle designed for the European market.

08 NABI-416

416 2014 CNGDieselDiesel-Electric Hybrid

Buses (ALEXANDER DENNIS) – DENNIS Surrey UK

Dennis

00 Dennis

@

01 Bus Arriva

Een Dennis-bus van Arriva

02 Dennis_Pax_flatbed_reg_XJG_383

Dennis Pax flatbed truck

Dennis is een Engelse busbouwer en fabrikant van speciale voertuigen, gevestigd in Guildford in Surrey. Het bedrijf werd opgericht in 1895 als Dennis Brothers Ltd.. Dennis kent twee grote groepen van producten: brandweerwagens en bussen. Daarnaast bouwt het ook veegwagens en voertuigen voor vliegvelden.

In 1972 werd Dennis overgenomen door de Hestair Group nadat het bedrijf in zwaar weer terecht was gekomen. In 1989 vond een managementbuy-out plaats en werd het bedrijf eigendom van Trinity Holdings. In oktober 1998 werd het bedrijf aan Mayflower Corporation verkocht.

In de jaren negentig werd het bedrijf in drie onderdelen opgesplitst:

  • Dennis Fire – voor brandweerwagens;
  • Dennis Bus – voertuigen voor het openbaar vervoer;
  • Dennis-Eagle – gespecialiseerd in de fabricage van veegwagens en andere specialistische voertuigen.

Het bedrijf Mayflower Corporation verkocht in 1999 Dennis-Eagle. De bedrijven Dennis Bus en Dennis Fire werden weer onder één naam samengevoegd, dit bedrijf ging verder als Transbus International. In 2004 veranderde de naam naar het huidige Alexander Dennis.

Alexander Dennis

03

Alexander ALX200 op Dennis Dart SLF-chassis

04Trident-lancashire

Dennis Trident

Alexander Dennis Ltd. (voorheen TransBus International) te Falkirk in Schotland is de grootste busbouwer van het Verenigd Koninkrijk en de één na grootste ter wereld.

Het bedrijf werd op 1 januari 2001 opgericht als Transbus, na een fusie van Walter Alexander CoachbuildersDennis Bus en Plaxton, alle gevestigd in het Verenigd Koninkrijk. In mei 2004 werd Plaxton weer verzelfstandigd en werd het resterende deel van Transbus (Alexander en Dennis) verkocht aan een aantal zakenmensen. De nieuwe bedrijfsnaam werd Alexander Dennis.

Het bedrijf produceert complete bussen, alsook brandweerwagens en vuilniswagens. Eén van de best verkopende bussen in het Verenigd Koninkrijk is het Dennis Dartchassis. De dubbeldekkervariant Dennis Trident is het meest voorkomende bustype in Londen en rijdt ook voor Dublin Bus. Het grootste deel is in dienst bij Arriva.

Op het Dennis Dart chassis werden verscheidene carrosserieën gebouwd, waaronder de Alexander ALX200, waarvan ook een serie voor de Nederlandse tak van Arriva is gebouwd. Deze bussen werden in 2001 afgeleverd, maar er zijn in 2008 al enkele afgevoerd en geëxporteerd naar Arriva in Tsjechië. In Nederland wordt dit bustype meestal kortweg Dennis genoemd omdat alle hier rijdende types op het Dennis Dart SLF-chassis staan. In het Verenigd Koninkrijk zijn er echter ook bussen van dit type op Volvo-chassis.

05

1920 Dennis Chars-a-Bancs

06

1921 Dennis F Chars-a-bancs

07

1923 Dennis Chars-a-bancs

08

1924 Dennis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1925 Dennis UK

09a General D142 Dennis 4ton 1925 London Bus Museum

general-d142-dennis-4ton-1925

08a 1928 Dennis Open

1924 Dennis Open

10

1925 Dennis

11

1926 Dennis H demonstrator PK 334

12

1927 Dennis 30cwt

13

1929 Dennis 29-seat single deck bus which has a maximum speed of 30 mph, powered by its original 5.7 litre petrol engine

14

1929 Dennis 30

15

1929 Dennis GL Toastrack

16

1929 Dennis Toastrack Chars-a-bancs

17

1930 Dennis

18

1931 Dennis 30cwt

19