Ulsterbus Fleet News 2019

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11/09/19 - A further 4 of the fleet of 30 Volvo B11RT/Sunsundegui SC5 C63FL coaches intended for “Goldline” express services entered service during August, 1100 – 29 (XUI 2900 – 29). 1126/9 entered service at Milewater Service Centre on 2/8, 1128 at Great Victoria Street on 8/8 and 1125 at Londonderry on 18/8. 1126 quickly moved on to Great Victoria Street on 8/8 and 1125 to Coleraine on 28/8. Others of the batch on the move were 1124/7 from Milewater Service Centre to Great Victoria Street on 8/8 and 1118/20 from Milewater Service Centre to Londonderry on 23/8. All are now gradually receiving full “Goldline” livery. Optare Solo minibuses 1974-80 (IGZ 7974-80) and Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2956-9/62-4 (TCZ 9956-9/62-4) were all received from Citybus on 3/8 and initially placed in Reserve pending preparation for service. 1980 entered service at Larne on 7/8 with 1974/5 going to Lisburn, 1976-8 to Newtownards and 1979 to Craigavon, all on 1/9. Double decker’s placed in service on the same date were 2956 at Enniskillen, 2957 at Omagh, 2958/9 at Londonderry and 2963 at Dungannon. Further vehicles received from Citybus were Scania L94/Wright 800 (FGZ 2233, ex UCZ 8800) which was allocated to Londonderry on 30/8 and Scania K94/Irizar 1678 (TCZ 1678) and 1684 (TCZ 1684) which were returned to Newtownabbey the following day. Vehicles returned to service during September following repair were 314 (PEZ 9314) at Dungannon, 557 (EFZ 9557) at Lisburn, 769 (TCZ 1769) at Antrim and 2472 (FXI 396, ex KEZ 7472) at Larne on 01/09 and 544 (VEZ 3544) at Ballymena and 615 (NFZ 9615) at Great Victoria Street on 02/09. Also returned to service on 01/09 following repaint in allover Ocean Blue livery was 2941 (TCZ 9941) at Lisburn.
Returned to service on 01/09 at the start of the new school term were 342/3/93/4, 1702/10/11 at Great Victoria Street, 197, 203/17/8/39/40/62-4, 329-31, 1724 at Lisburn, 201/2/65/6, 310 at Newtownards, 198-200, 400/1, 555, 772, 2949/89 at Bangor, 251-3/74/5, 305/6/55-7 at Craigavon, 211/37/8/93/4, 341, 1672/5 at Downpatrick, 224-6/76-8/92, 368 at Armagh, 210/34-6/95/6, 353/4 at Newcastle, 232/3/57-9/67-9/90/1, 344-7, 1671/86/7, 1700 at Newry, 216/22/3/83, 358/9, 519, 815 at Dungannon, 208/9/44/7/98, 300/9/48/9, 1661/77 at Londonderry, 214/5/49, 301-4 at Omagh, 212/3/48/50, 307/8, 1663, 2946/76 at Enniskillen, 204/5/21/45/6/72/3/84-6 at Coleraine, 227-9/87-9/97/9, 1734 at Ballymena, 185-7, 230/1, 312/23/39, 1706 at Larne, 219/20/41/2/70/1/82, 350-2, 1712/9 at Magherafelt, 206/7/43/54-6/60/1/79-81, 390 at Antrim and 1668/76 at Newtownabbey. 2977 detaxed at the end of June for the school holidays remains off service pending engine repairs.
Ten Wright StreetDeck “Urby’s” in temporary storage have all been returned to service, 3160-2 (NGZ 1160-2) at Newtownards on 08/08, 3158/9 (NGZ 1158/9) at Lisburn on 09/08, 3128 (LGZ 5128) and 3153 (NGZ 3153) at Newcastle on 15/8, 3155 (NGZ 1155) at Antrim on 19/8 and 3156 (NGZ 1156) at Antrim on 03/09. One more, 3157 (NGZ 1157) has yet to return to traffic. Detaxed on 31/08 following accident damage suffered on 19/08 was Dungannon based 378. Also detaxed for engine repairs was 1754 with 2053/4 detaxed for axle repairs. Open topper 2000 was also detaxed for winter storage and detaxed to Reserve on the same date were 737 (the final example of the initial batch still in passenger service), 1673, 1884 and 1905/7/32. Transfers have seen 2057 move from Londonderry to Larne on 26/8, 377 from Newcastle to Dungannon on 27/8, 1706 from Milewater Service Centre (engineering float) to Larne on 29/8, 608 from Glengall Street to Newtownards on 30/8, 2408 from Newcastle to Downpatrick on 30/8, 1661/77 from Newtownards to Londonderry on 31/8, 614 from Glengall Street to Great Victoria Street on 1/9 and 1734 from Lisburn to Ballymena on 2/9. Scania K320/Irizar 1007 (JFZ 7007) was transferred from Newry to Reserve on 31/08 pending engine repairs. Disposals during August has seen Scania K94/Irizar 1737 (EEZ 6737), Optare Solo 1913 (DEZ 8913) and Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2924 (HCZ 9924) pass to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap. Electric powered Optare Solo demonstrator 5010 (OP 02 ARE, ex YT 13 HKY) was returned to its owner on 07/08.

13/08/19 - A total of 24 of the fleet of 30 Volvo B11RT/Sunsundegui SC7 C63FL coaches intended for “Goldline” express services entered service during July, 1100 – 29 (XUI 2900 – 29). 1100/1/3/4/7/11/2/6-20/2-4/7 entered service at Milewater Service Centre on 14/7 (1101/3/16/7), 16/7 (1100/7/9), 17/7 (1104/8/18-20/2/4), 18/7 (1123) and 25/7 (1111/2/27). 1102/10 entered service at Ballymena on 14/7 and 1105/6/13/5 at Coleraine on 14/7 (1105/6/13) or 17/7 (1115). All with the exception of 1111/2/27 were used to provide additional capacity on the Belfast to Portrush rail service during the 148th Open Golf Championships held at Royal Portrush Golf Club between 10th and 21st July. On completion of this work 1102/5/6/10/3/5 were transferred to Milewater Service Centre on 22/7 (1105/6/13), 24/7 (1102/10) or 25/7 (1115) joining the remainder of the fleet. They are now being used for rail replacement services between Belfast and Newry whilst major engineering works are carried out on the line for four weeks during August. Following this, all will be reallocated to their intended depots for “Goldline” work. Provisional allocations for the batch are Newry (1100-14), Coleraine (1115-7), Londonderry (1118-20) and Great Victoria Street (1121-9). The need to get these vehicles into service quickly resulted in only three (1100/3/4) receiving full “Goldline” livery, the remainder will receive their gold stripes in due course.
To compensate for the late delivery of the new “Goldline” vehicles, nine coaches were loaned to Ulsterbus by Volvo, Coventry to help provide cover during the open golf. 5011 (SD 15 UWG) was a Volvo B11R with Sunsundegui SC7 C53F body latterly with Doigs, Glasgow. 5012 (SH 15 WYS, ex 151-KK-2308, LSK 495), 5013 (SA 16 RRL, ex LSK 824), 5014 (SA 16 RRM, ex 2 WR), 5015 (SH 15 WYW, ex LSK 501), 5016 (SA 16 RRJ, ex LSK 820) and 5017 (SA 16 RRK, ex LSK 821) were new to Parks, Hamilton although 5012 had more recently been with Bernard Kavanagh, Urlingford and 5015 with Williams, Brecon. 5018 (YP 12 NUK) was a Scania K360IB4 with Irizar C53FL body which had latterly been with Reays, Wigton although not operated by them. The ninth vehicle was a sister vehicle of 5018 but registered YP 12 NUV. It however developed a door fault and did not enter service or get a fleet number. 5011-4 entered service on 4/7 at Glengall Street (5011) or Coleraine (5012-4). 5015-8 entered service on 5/7 at Ballymena (5015-7) or Londonderry (5018). All were returned to Volvo, Coventry (via Dennison Commercials, Ballyclare) on 23/7 (5011-5/7/8) or 24/7 (5016). 5018 (YP 12 NUH) and unused YP 12 NUV are to remain in Northern Ireland, having passed to Rooney Coach Hire, Hilltown. These vehicles were used to augment the fleet of new “Goldliner’s” on rail assist work. The ten outstanding Wright StreetDeck “Urby’s’” also entered service during July, 3128 (LGZ 5128) and 3153/5-62 (NGZ 1153/5-62). 3155/8/61 were allocated to Ballymena on 16/7 (3155/61) or 18/7 (3158) and 3128/53/6/60/2 to Coleraine on 16/7 (3157/9), 17/7 (3128/53/6/60/2). All were used to provide additional capacity on the Belfast to Portrush rail line or to provide rail replacement services as required during the Open Golf Championships. All were detaxed to Reserve on 23/7 (3153/5/8/61), 24/7 (3156/9/62), 25/7 (3128/57) and 26/7 (3160) pending allocation to their new depots.
Received on loan from Wrightbus was StreetDeck HEV demonstrator SK 18 TKX which was allocated fleet number 5001. It entered service at Coleraine on 9/7 and was used on rail replacement duties during the Open Golf Championships. It was returned to Wrightbus on 23/07.A number of vehicles were also received on loan from Citybus to assist at the open golf. Details of these vehicles can be found in the Metro/Glider news above. Also received on hire from Trust Ford for the Open Golf Championships were 14 seat Ford Transits ERZ 6206, OFZ 3597 and RFZ 2088 which were allocated fleet numbers 5019 – 21. They entered service at Londonderry on 13/7 and were returned to their owner on 23/7.
Returned to service during July was elderly Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400 2931 at Coleraine on 17/7 to provide additional cover during the Open Golf. It was detaxed to Reserve once more on 31/7. Also returned to service at Lisburn on 1/8 following completion of engine repairs was Optare Solo 1932. Detaxed on 31/7 were Scania/Irizar I4 1068 and Optare Solo’s 1888/99, all with engine defects. Transfers saw electric Optare Solo demonstrator 5010 move from Coleraine to Londonderry on 25/7 before returning to Belfast on 1/8 for further tests with York Road Engineering. Previously detaxed Optare Solo 1913 was transferred from Lisburn to Reserve on 31/7.Another of the earlier batch of Wright StreetDeck’s to be re-seated from 72 (2+1 seating on top deck) to 80 (2+2 seating on top deck) was Newcastle based 3115 on 4/7. Vehicles sold during July were Scania L94/Wright 731 (HCZ 8731) and 755 (TCZ 1755) to Walsh, Edenderry, Co. Meath and Optare Solo 1885 (DEZ 3885) to Spruhan, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow. Former Ulsterbus “Goldliner’s” 1553 (DAZ 1553), 1573 (DAZ 1573) and 1600 (EAZ 2600) were re-registered L392 WWW, M951 VDO and M132 VDO respectively in 5/19 with Welsh operator Edwards, Llantrisant before all three along with sister vehicle 1586 (EAZ 2586) were disposed of for scrap.

07/07/19 - New Wrightbus StreetDeck “Urby” 3152 (NGZ 1152) entered service at Newcastle on 21/6 and 3154 (NGZ 1154) at Lisburn on 19/6, although the latter transferred to Newcastle two days later. Two more of the earlier batch, 3112/4 which are based at Lisburn, have been up-seated from 73 to 80. Others of the type on the move are 3115 from Newtownards and 3129 from Larne, both to Newcastle. Returned to services at Coleraine on 26/6 following engine repairs and repaint into allover blue was Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2951. Two more of the type were received from Citybus during June, 2960 at Newtownabbey on 5/6 (now overall blue) and 2965 at Londonderry on 18/6. Also received from Citybus was Scania L94/Wright 748 which was allocated to Downpatrick on 21/6 and now carries the stonewall grey and blue livery. A considerable number of vehicles were detaxed at the end of June with various defects and await repair, 314 at Dungannon, 426, 557 and 1913 at Lisburn, 769 and 2407 at Antrim, 1957 at Omagh, 2053 at Great Victoria Street and 2276 and 2472 at Larne. In addition 615 was also detaxed for repairs after suffering serious accident damage at Nutts Corner on 7/6. Detaxed and transferred to Reserve at the end of June were Scania L94/Wright 729/31 and Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400 2923/8/30/1/7/8/40, the last examples of both of their respective batches. Also detaxed was Lisburn based 2941 for repaint into the allover blue fleet livery. In addition a further 176 vehicles were detaxed at the end of June for the school holiday period:
Milewater SC 1706
Great Victoria Street 342, 343, 393, 394, 1702, 1710, 1711
Lisburn 197, 203, 217, 218, 239, 240, 262, 263, 264, 329, 330, 331, 1724, 1734
Newtownards 201, 202, 265, 266, 310, 1661, 1677
Bangor 198, 199, 200, 400, 481, 555, 772, 2949, 2989
Craigavon 251, 252, 253, 274, 275, 305, 306, 355, 356, 357
Downpatrick 211, 237, 238, 293, 294, 341, 1672, 1675
Armagh 224, 225, 226, 276, 277, 278, 292, 368
Newcastle 210, 234, 235, 236, 295, 296, 353, 354
Newry 232, 233, 257, 258, 259, 267, 268, 269, 290, 291, 344, 345, 346, 347, 1671, 1686, 1687, 1700
Dungannon 216, 222, 223, 283, 358, 359, 519, 815
Pennyburn 208, 209, 244, 247, 298, 300, 309, 348, 349
Omagh 214, 215, 249, 301, 302, 303, 304
Enniskillen 212, 213, 248, 250, 307, 308, 1663, 2946, 2976, 2977
Coleraine 204, 205, 221, 245, 246, 272, 273, 284, 285, 286
Ballymena 227, 228, 229, 287, 288, 289, 297, 299
Larne 185, 186, 187, 230, 231, 312, 323, 339
Magherafelt 219, 220, 241, 242, 270, 271, 282, 350, 351, 352, 1712, 1719
Antrim 206, 207, 243, 254, 255, 256, 260, 261, 279, 280, 281, 390
Newtownabbey 1668, 1676

Transfers have seen 608 move from Newtownards to Glengall Street, 614 from Great Victoria Street to Glengall Street, 1735 from Armagh to Craigavon and 1899 from Downpatrick to Lisburn. Optare Solo electric demonstrator 5010 (OP 02 ARE, ex YT 13 HKY) was transferred from York Road Engineering to Coleraine on 4/6 for trials. This is a M9000SREV model and not as previously reported. Disposals have seen Scania L94/Wright 733 (HCZ 8733) pass to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap. Finally, Scanias 2438/9 have received allover adverts for the Citroen C5 Aircross SUV.

04/06/19 - New Wrightbus StreetDeck “Urby” 3131 (LGZ 5131) has been placed in service at Great Victoria Street. Most of the next batch, 3152 – 62 (NGZ 1152 – 62) have now been delivered but have yet to enter service. Four more of the earlier batch, 3108-11 which are all based at Larne, have been up-seated from 73 to 80. 3113 has also been transferred from Larne to Lisburn. Another arrival is the first of the B11RT/Sunsun Goldliners which is currently in 2 tone blue colours and is getting the remainder of the livery applied at MSC. Scania L94/Wright 747 (TCZ 1747) has returned to this fleet after many years with Citybus and is now allocated to the Active Reserve and is based at Newcastle. Sister vehicles 736 (MSC) and 755 (Newcastle) have been detaxed to Reserve along with Scania/Irizar school bus 1682 (Craigavon). Returned to service following repair at Ballymena is 1059 (again) and 2227 at Newcastle. 2950 has also been repainted in allover blue livery and returned to service at Craigavon. Disposals have seen accident damaged Scania/Wright 479 (BFZ 8479) pass to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap. Also sold to Arthur Mullen Truck Importers, Dundalk are the final two MAN/Ayats “Goldline” coaches in the fleet, 2013 (FGZ 2241, ex AXI 313) and 2017 (FGZ 2243, ex AXI 317). Optare Solo demonstrator 0000 (YJ 16 DDA) was transferred to the Engineering Department at York Road on 29th May but was only there for a few days before being returned to its owner. However another Optare Solo demonstrator has been received. This one is a M8900SREV model which has seating for 31 passengers. The EV in the model code indicates that it is a fully electric version. It is registered OP 02 ARE (ex YT 13 HKY) and has been allocated fleet number 5610 for its stay. It is currently also with the Engineering Department at York Road and will require to be tested before it can be used here. It is expected that when tested it will go to Coleraine for use on the Giants Causeway shuttle service, and probably also to Metro for Park and Ride 648/9s.

07/05/19 - The first of the new batch of Urbys to enter use are 3130 (Ards, 25th April) and 3129 (Larne, 26th April). Irizar 1059 returned to use at the start of April at Ballymena, after engine repairs, but was SORN'd again at the end of the month as it's engine issues continued. Also off the road at the end of April are 2227(Newcastle, gearbox defects) and 2934 (Milewater - float, to Reserve). Moves see 3113 go from Newcastle to Larne, 1748 (Armagh - Milewater as engineering float), 1749 (Milewater- float to Newcastle), 1777 (Newcastle - Armagh) and demonstration Solo 0000 (Lisburn to Coleraine and onward to Craigavon). Fire damaged Irizar 1714 has gone to Hamill for scrap, whilst B7TL 2951 has received a repaint to overall blue.

04/04/19 - The four new Wright StreetDeck for use on “Urby” branded services have now been delivered but have yet to enter service, 3128 – 31 (LGZ 5128 – 31). 3113, which was one of several earlier deliveries to have 2+1 seating on the top deck, has now been converted to 2+2 layout increasing its capacity from 72 to 80. The remainder with the 2+1 seating are expected to be reseated in due course. Returned to service following repairs are 409 at Craigavon and 539 at Newry. Accident damaged Volvo B12M/Plaxton 117 has been repaired and returned to service at Glengall Street following a period on loan to Metro. Also returned to service is 754 which is with the Driving School for use as a ticket training vehicle. Optare Solo 1932 has been detaxed at Lisburn for engine repairs and Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 2950 has been transferred to Reserve pending repaint into Ulsterbus livery. Previously detaxed 1727, 1885/9 and 2951 have all been transferred to Reserve pending long term repairs. Scania L94/Wright 751 has been withdrawn with chassis defects. Transfers have seen Solo 0000 move from Coleraine to Lisburn, 751 from Newtownards to Downpatrick and 1913 from Downpatrick to Lisburn. In addition 1720 has been transferred to Metro. Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 2993 has now been repainted into the allover blue livery, having previously carried the green Park & Ride livery. Sales have seen Scania L94/Wright 716, MAN/Ayats 2004/6/15 and Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 2932 pass to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap. Further MAN/Ayats sold to Mullen Truck Importers, Dundalk are 2023/6. All vehicles in the fleet now have four digit fleet numbers, at least on paper anyway. Those with single digit fleet numbers have had these prefixed with three zeros and those with three digit numbers have them prefixed with one zero.

03/03/19 - Expected shortly are four more Wright StreetDeck for use on ‘Urby’ branded services, 3128 – 31 (LGZ 5128 – 31). A further eleven examples are expected later in the year. Returned to service following repairs are 1051 at Newcastle, 2978 at Enniskillen and 3118 at Newcastle. Also returned to service are open topper 2000 at Coleraine and 750 which is with the Driving School for use as a ticket training vehicle. Scania/Irizar has been detaxed at Ballymena for engine repairs. Scania K410/Caetano Invictus 2044 has been written off following accident damage which it suffered in February of last year. Received from Optare, Crossgates on loan was Optare Solo M9250SR 0000 YJ 11 DDA which was allocated to Coleraine from 01/03/19. It had previously spent a short spell with Metro. Transfers have seen 1672 move from Great Victoria Street to Downpatrick and 2934 from Enniskillen to Milewater Service Centre where it is to be used as an engineering float vehicle. Disposals have seen Scania/Irizar 1701 and MAN/Ayats 2024 pass to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap and MAN/Ayats 2011/6 to Mullen Truck Importers, Dundalk for resale.

04/02/19 - Volvo 9700s C53F 1790/1 (KXI 1060, GXI 421) and B11R/Jonckheere C53F 1792/3 (FXI 403, RXI 3333) all entered service on 14th january, allocated to Glengall Street. Leaving the Tours fleet are Scania / Irizar 130-2 and B12M/Plaxton 117 which have all gone to Metro, with 117 allowing 1720 to come back to Ulsterbus to cover for a defective i4 at Newry. Volvo B7 2951 returned to use at Newcastle in early January to cover for Park and Ride buses being repainted, but was SORN'd again at the end of ther month with engine defects. Also SORN'd are 1051 (Newry), 1889 (Lisburn) and 2978 (Enniskillen), all with engine defects. Scania 733 (Milewater SC Float) was withdrawn on 24th January with gearbox defects. On the move are 1876 (Newcastle - Lisburn), 1048 (Armagh - Newry), 1784 (Newry - Armagh), 1688 (Coleraine - Larne), 117 (Glengall Street - Newry, briefly before moving to Metro), 1748 (Derry - Armagh), 2293 (Newcastle - Armagh) and 2950 (Armagh - Newcastle). Ayats 2020 has been sold to Arthur Mullen Truck Importers Ltd, Dundalk. Volvo B9s 2230, 2330 are now allover blue, previosuly grenn Park and Ride, whilst 2952 is now grey and blue.

08/01/19 - Returned to service during December following repairs were 248 (Enniskillen), 322 (Ballymena) and 1064 (Coleraine). Against that 1885 was SORN’d at the end of December for engine repairs and 2951 was detaxed to Reserve. Transfers saw 117 move from Stranraer to Glengall Street with 141/2 going in the opposite direction. Other moves are 1723 from Milewater Service Centre (Engineering Float) to Downpatrick with 1749 moving the other way, 2294 from Newcastle to Armagh, 2947 from Great Victoria Street to Newtownards, 2951 from Armagh to Newcastle (prior to detaxing), 3112 from Larne to Lisburn and 3114 from Newtownards to Lisburn. Former P & R green liveried 2230 is now in overall blue, with former Metro 2952 going grey/blue. Ayats 2018 is the latest example to go to Hectare Plant Sales, Jonesborough for resale whilst Scania 779 passed to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap. All four of the recently delivered coaches are being stored until the spring. All seat 53 and are equipped with a toilet.

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

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