Peppa gets a new playmate……………………… contributed by Will Hughes

Earlier this year Citybus took delivery of a Wright StreetDeck HEV demonstrator 5000 (MXZ 6200) from Wrightbus. This vehicle had been initially displayed at the motor show held in Birmingham last October. Seating was for 74 with 45 on the upper deck and 29 on the lower deck. This was the first example of a hybrid service bus in either the Citybus or Ulsterbus fleets. Being a totally new type to either fleet, it was allocated to the driving school from 2/4/19 for driver familiarisation. It was expected to be trialled by Citybus for a year so it was something of a surprise when it was purchased from Wrightbus on 1/5/19. Because of the livery carried when it was delivered it quickly gained the unofficial nickname “Peppa”.

 

5000 (MXZ 6200) – aka “Peppa” is seen here at the new Milewater Service Centre facility on a very wet Saturday 27th April 2019. The occasion was an Irish Transport Heritage visit to the new depot facility. This was before the green flashes and additional branding were added to both sides. Will Hughes

Its first passenger carrying role was its use on rail replacement work when it was loaned to Ulsterbus to assist at the 148th Open Golf Championship held at Royal Portrush Golf Club between the 10th and 21st July 2019. It was joined on this work by a second virtually identical demonstrator loaned by Wrightbus, 5001 (SK 18 TKX). This particular vehicle had been loaned to Citybus last year but was not used in service. Apart from the livery, the main difference between the two was that this one had a glass roof which made it very light and airy inside. It entered service on 9/7/19 and was returned to Wrightbus on 23/7/19. I had the opportunity to sample this vehicle between Portrush and Coleraine and it was very pleasant to travel on.

Although it has yet to see use in passenger service with Citybus, it is reported that a batch of twenty are on order for delivery late this year/early next year.

5000 (MXZ 6200) is seen at Portrush preparing to work the rail substitution service to Coleraine. Will Hughes

5000 (MXZ 6200) is seen at Portrush preparing to work the rail substitution service to Coleraine. Will Hughes

5000 (MXZ 6200) and 5001 (SK 18 TKX) are seen here parked up at the temporary transport hub at the rear of Portrush fire station awaiting their next call of duty. Will Hughes

5001 (SK 18 TKX) is seen here parked up at Portrush awaiting its next turn of duty on the Portrush to Coleraine rail replacement service Will Hughes

5001 (SK 18 TKX) is seen here in Portrush about to operate the rail replacement service between Portrush and Coleraine. Will Hughes

 

On return from Portrush “Peppa” returned to the driving school one more. However in late July it was adorned with rainbow stripes to mark Translink Pride. Both vehicles took part in the Belfast Pride parade on Saturday 3rd August 2019. It is seen here at Laganside depot. Paul Savage

 

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