Metro / Glider Fleet News 2019

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06/10/19 - Optare Solo minibus 1980 (IGZ 7980) returned from Ulsterbus on 13/9, being allocated to Falls Park depot. Sister vehicle 1986 (IGZ 7986) transferred from Short Strand to Falls Park on 5/9 only to return to Short Strand on 17/9. Optare Solo 1920 (CGZ 6308, ex VOI 205, VOI 200) has been withdrawn after suffering driveshaft failure. Disposals during September saw Scania L94/Wright 788 (TCZ 1788) and 790 (TCZ 1790) pass to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap whilst sister vehicles 801 (UCZ 8801) and 802 (UCZ 8802) passed to Eden Coach & Bus Sales, Edenderry for resale.

11/09/19 - The two additional Van Hool 316HB “Gliders” finally entered service at Milewater Service Centre on 1/9, 3230 (OGZ 2230) and 3231 (OGZ 2231). Returned to service on 1/9 following repairs was Short Strand based Scania K94/Irizar 1716 (EEZ 6716). Also returned to service on this date after being laid up for the school holidays were Short Strand based 793 (UCZ 8793) and Falls Park based 1920-2 1920-2 CGZ 6308 (VOI 205, VOI 200), CGZ 6309 (VOI 201), CGZ 6310 (VOI 200, VOI 205). Detaxed to Reserve at the end of August were Scania L94/Wright 801 (UCZ 8801) and 802 (UCZ 8802) whilst Volvo B7RLE/Wight 927 (KFZ 9927) was detaxed with engine defects. The seven surplus Optare Solo minibuses from the “Glider” feeder services were officially transferred to Ulsterbus on 03/08, 1974 – 80 (IGZ 7974 – 80). Also transferred on the same date were Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2956-9/62-4 (TCZ 9956-9/62-4). A further transfer to Ulsterbus on 30/8 was Scania L94/Wright 800 (FGZ 2233, ex UCZ 8800). Scania L94/Irizar coaches 1678 (TCZ 1678) and 1684 (TCZ 1684) recently received from Ulsterbus were returned on 01/09. Transfers saw 805 move from Falls Park to Short Strand on 27/8, 928-30 from Newtownabbey to Falls Park, 2182-4 from Milewater Service Centre to Falls Park and 2363-5 from Falls Park to Newtownabbey all on 31/8. Further transfers the following day saw 2356/61/79/80 move from Short Strand to Milewater Service Centre, 2383-5 from Short Strand to Falls Park and 2920 from Short Strand to Newtownabbey. Vo B7TL/Alexander ALX400 2969 (BEZ 8969, ex BEZ 7969) detaxed at the end of May for engine repairs was transferred to Reserve on 31/08 pending completion of repairs. Disposals during August saw Scania L94/Wright 745 (TCZ 1745) and Scania K94/Irizar 1713 (EEZ 6713) and 1722 (EEZ 6722) pass to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap. Scania L94/Wright 776 (TCZ 1776) was slightly more fortunate, passing to Spruhan, Bagenalstown for further use.

13/08/19 - A review of the minibus services feeding “Glider” services in West Belfast has seen seven of the Optare Solo minibuses rendered surplus, 1974-80. All were transferred to Reserve on 31/7 and are to be repainted into allover Ocean Blue livery prior to transfer to Ulsterbus where no doubt they will replace older examples of the type. 1979 has already been treated along with Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 2956 with sister vehicles 2957/8 being prepared for similar treatment,
A number of vehicles including Wright StreetDeck HEV 5000 (MXZ 6200) and Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini 2344 (SEZ 2344), 2345 (SEZ 3345), 2356 (KFZ 9356), 2374 (LFZ 9374), 2375 (LFZ 9375), 2377 (LFZ 9377), 2378 (LFZ 9378), 2379 (LFZ 9379) and 2381 (LFZ 9381) were loaned to Ulsterbus for use on Park and Ride and rail replacement duties in connection with the 148th Open Golf Championships held at Royal Portrush Golf Club between 10th and 21st July. On return 5000 along with Wright StreetDeck “Urby” 3125 (JGZ 3125) were adorned with rainbow stripes representing Translink Pride. Both took part in the Belfast Pride parade on Saturday 3rd August.
Disposals have seen Scania L94/Wright 797 (UCZ 8797) pass to Eden Bus & Coach Sales, Edenderry, Co. Meath for resale and sister vehicle 740 (TCZ 1740) along with Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2936 (HCZ 9936) passing to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap.

07/07/19 - The remaining ten Wrightbus StreetDecks entered service during June, 3144/5 on 5/6, 3137/9 on 7/6, 3148 on 11/6, 3147/9/50 on 12/6, 3146 on 13/6 and 3140 on 14/6. 3137/9/40/4-6 are based at Newtownabbey and 3147-50 at Milewater Service Centre. 3151 has also transferred from Newtownabbey to Milewater Service Centre to join 3147–50. Scania K360/Irizar 130 has returned to service at Short Strand following engine repairs. Scania K94/Irizar school buses 1678/84 were received from Ulsterbus on 29/6 and are allocated to Short Strand for the contract fleet. Scania L94/Wright 748 and Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400 2960/5 were withdrawn during June and transferred to Ulsterbus. Detaxed at the end of June was Scania K94/Irizar 1716 for PSV preparation and Glider 3219 for repairs to accident damage suffered on 7/6. Detaxed to Reserve at the end of June were Scania L94/Wright 741-3/66/77 and Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2956-9/62/4. The latter are likely to be transferred to Ulsterbus and 2956 was repainted allover blue in early July in preparation for transfer. Scania L94/Wright 793 and Optare Solo minibuses 1920-2 were also detaxed at the end of June for the school holidays. Transfers have seen 766 move from Milewater Services Centre to Falls (since detaxed), 2364/5 from Newtownabbey to Falls and 2369, 2917/9/20 from Newtownabbey to Short Strand. Sales during June saw Scania L94/Wright 799 (UCZ 8799) pass to Walsh, Edenderry with 798 (UCZ 8798) going to Eden Coach & Bus Sales, Edenderry (the dealer arm of the same operator). 794 (UCZ 9794) from the same batch was denied the necessary repairs and passed to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap. It was followed in July by sister vehicle 743 (TCZ 1743) which was only taken out of service a few days previously. Some route changes took place from the first of July:
80 - renumbered to 10m
80a - renumbered to 10p
10B - route amended to terminate at Hannastown Hill
10J - route amended to no longer serve Hannastown Hill now runs to Colin Connect / Twinbrook
81 - renumbered to 10k route amended to no longer serve Hannastown Hill now runs to Colin Connect / Twinbrook
Other changes, from September, will see the majority of secondary routes renumbered in to the core corridor scheme, with a couple of new services being introduced too:
61 - renumbered to 2j
64b - renumbered to 2k
64 - renumbered to 2m
3b - New route serving Albertbridge Road and Holywood Road
28 -renumbered to 3c
28a - renumbered to 3d
27 - renumbered to 3e also serving Connsbrook Avenue
20 - renumbered to 3f
20a - renumbered to 3g
23 - renumbered to 3h
31 - renumbered to 5c
77 - renumbered to 6c
78 - renumbered to 6d
79 - renumbered to 6e
92 - renumbered to 9e
92b - renumbered to 9f
92a - renumbered to 9g
91 - renumbered to 9h
90 - renumbered to 9j
89 - renumbered to 9k
57 - renumbered to 11e
57a - renumbered to 11f
12c - New route - Ligoneil via New Lodge Road and Cliftonville Road
26a - renumbered to 94
26b - renumbered to 94a
26 - renumbered to 94b

04/06/19 - Wrightbus StreetDeck HEV demonstrator 5000 (MXZ 6200) has been purchased by the company. It has still to enter traffic and is still being used by the training academy. Ten of the batch of twenty Wright StreetDecks finally entered service at Newtownabbey during May, 3133/4/6 (LGZ 5133 etc) on 10/5, 3132 on 13/5, 3135 on 15/5, 3138/41-3 on 16/5 and 3151 on 17/5. The other ten remain in store. Scania L94/Wright 747 was withdrawn during May and returned to Ulsterbus for further use. Sister vehicle 781 was detaxed to Reserve in May. Volvo B7TL 2969 has been detaxed with engine defects but should return to service in due course. Transfers have seen 2366-8/80-2 move from Newtownabbey to Short Strand. Former Citybus Bristol RE 2520 (XOI 2520) which was latterly with preservationist Scott, Southport has been broken up for spare parts to assist in the restoration of several other Bristol RE’s.

07/05/19 - Streetdeck HEV 5000 (MXZ 6200) entered use with the Training Academy on 2nd April. None of the diesel Streetdecks are in use yet, although some have gained additional branding in the form of a light pink representation of the City of Belfast area, together with the strapline 'Energising Belfast Together'. Against this, Irizar 1713 (Short Strand) was withdrawn on 3rd April with bodywork defects. L94 794 went from Short Strand to Reserve on 20th April, and is the subject of long term repairs. B9 2332 has moved from Newtownabbey to Short Strand, with 2342 going the opposite direction.

04/04/19 - The complete batch of 20 Wright StreetDeck for Metro, 3132 – 51 (LGZ 5132 – 51), have now been delivered but are not yet in traffic. Accident damaged Volvo B12M/Plaxton 117 has now been repaired and returned to Ulsterbus. Detaxed with engine defects is Scania L94/Wright 794 whilst sister vehicle 743 has been withdrawn with chassis defects. Also withdrawn is Scania K94/Irizar 1722 following accident damage which it suffered on 09/03/19. It has been replaced by sister vehicle 1720 transferred in from Ulsterbus. Transfers have seen 2332 move from Milewater Service Centre to Newtownabbey, 2342 from Newtownabbey to Short Strand and 2343 from Short Strand to Milewater Service Centre. In addition 2963 has been transferred to Reserve pending long term repairs. All vehicles in the fleet now have four digit fleet numbers, at least on paper anyway. Those with three digit numbers have them prefixed with one zero.

03/03/19 - Interesting news is that Northern Ireland Hydrogen Transport a consortium consisting of Viridian Energy Supply Limited, Translink and HyEnergy Consultancy Ltd  has been awarded 1.95 million to build a hydrogen fuel station and purchase 3 hydrogen power buses. More than half of the batch of 20 Wright StreetDecks expected by Metro had been delivered by the end of February, 3132 – 51 (LGZ 3132 – 51). They will not be entering service until driver training on the type has been completed. The expected Wright StreetDeck HEV demonstrator will be fleet number 5000 but no registration has been reported yet. It is expected to be on loan for a year.
31 seat Optare Solo M9250SR YJ 11 DDA was received on loan from Optare, Crossgates in late January to cover for warranty work. It entered service at Milewater Service Centre on 23/1/19, initially operating staff shuttles but it later saw a short spell in revenue earning service. It was unusually allocated fleet number 0000 (which is not carried) and moved on to Ulsterbus on 27/02/19 for a further period of loan. Transfers have seen 2332 move from Short Strand to Milewater Service Centre with 2345 going in the opposite direction. Detaxed Volvo B12M/Plaxton 117 for accident damage repairs and Scania/Irizar 130 for engine repairs.
With the repainting of 2359, 2360 and 2369 into allover Magenta livery, only one vehicle in the fleet now carries an allover advertising livery, 2356 for Coors Lite. 2360 does however carry a Mega rear advert for the Translink Y Link card.
Disposals have seen Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2922/9 sold to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap.

04/02/19 - Additions to the fleet are Ulsterbus Scania / Irizar Century 130-2 which are at Short strand for private hire work - these are being repainted to Metro private hire livery. Also received from Ulsterbus is B12M/Plaxton 117 which has been exchanged for 1720 which as gone to Newry to cover for a defective i4. A clear out of Scanias sees 701/3/14/5/24/5/39 go to Hamill for scrap. Volvo B9 2361 has lost it's Y-link AoA and is now allover magenta.

08/01/19 - Scania 739 was withdrawn for disposal during December following chassis defects with 745 being reinstated at Short Strand to replace it. Volvo B7TL 2963 was detaxed at the end of December with engine defects. Scania 786 was sold to Eden Coach & Bus Sales, Edenderry, Co. Offally during December in a dealer capacity. Volvo B9TL 2343 has had its AoA livery for BBC Sounds removed and it is now back in fleet livery.

01/01/19 - Seasons Greetings and a Merry New Year from Irish Transport Heritage.

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