Ulsterbus Fleet News 2002

Ulsterbus News 2001
Ulsterbus News 2000



    Tiger 2609 with sister 2610 - click for full-size image! B7TLs


    & 2936 - click for full-size image!

Leopard 301 at Ballynahinch - Mar 2002 Volvo / Caetano 699 at Great Victoria Street - October 2001








24/12/02  -  Cityliner 1367 is the latest to gain a super-rear advert for Maxol Oil.

16/12/02  -  DAF/Plaxton 678 has been wrecked in an accident, and has been withdrawn.

14/12/02  -  The last of the 5 Mercedes 413CDI /Nu-Trak minis acquired in May 2001 has finally entered service! It is 89 (ICZ 4721) and is allocated to Coleraine. Reurning to service are B10M/Plaxton 1631 (Derry) and Dart/Wright 613 (Lisburn), both after accident repair. Also returned to service is Mercedes/Wright 864 at Bangor, displacing sister 884 to Reserve. Tiger 1292 (Ards) has also been detaxed after suffering accident damage. Unusually burnt out Tiger 1381 has been replaced at Laganside by DAF/Plaxton 672 which transferred from Glengall Street.

02/12/02  -  One of the 2 recent Volvo / Transbus demonstration coaches is seen here at GVS.

Volvo demo coaches - GVS Nov 2002


01/12/02  -  Following the recent official opening of the refurbished Ballyclare Bus Station, tenders have been invited for the reconstruction of Downpatrick Bus Station.

19/11/02  -  The 2 Scania demonstration coaches are seen here at GVS.

Scania demo coaches - GVS Nov 2002

17/11/02  -  The days of RELLs may well be numbered now; but 3 examples were caught on camera at Laganside yard today; 2285 (TOI 2285) sadly now for scrap only; 2437 (WOI 2437) now used as a Ticket Trainer and high numbered 2590 (BXI 2590), now a sprightly 19 years old and paying a visit to Duncrue Street from Newry. Also present at Laganside were yet more accident victims; 1292 (Ards) with front and rear damage and 1488 (Coleraine) with frontal damage.

RELL 2285 - Laganside Nov 2002

RELL 2437 - Laganside Nov 2002

RELL 2590 - Laganside Nov 2002

Tiger 1292 - Laganside Nov 2002


At Beattie's the only recent arrival is the remains of the unfortunate 1381. The body has already been removed and only the chassis remains. Three coaches have been dragged out into the middle of the yard and look like they are next for the chop, 534/5 (JXI 534/5) and 541 (EXI 5541). Only about a dozen vehicles now remain on site, a far cry from last year when the numbers would have been into three figures. There are four demonstrators in Great Victoria Street today for demonstration to the Translink Board next week. All are unregistered. Two are Scania K114IB with Irizar Century C55F bodies and the other two are Volvo B7R with Plaxton C57F bodies. One of the Scanias is lettered for a firm called Commandery Coaches and one of the Volvos is for Maynes, Buckie. The other pair are in versions of the Goldline livery which may indicate that they are to stay for a while and be used in service. Only time will tell.

14/11/02  -  B7TL 2921 is now painted blue and is working from GVS. Sister 2922 remains with Citybus at present.

09/11/02  -  Good news for RELL enthusiasts is the return to service of 2440/1/4 (WOI 2440) at Derry (40/1) and Coleraine (44). 2444 has since moved to Dungannon to cover for Leopard 177 which is getting a new floor, and as such is one of the few RELLs ever to operate from that depot. Also returned to service are Merc 709/Wrights 823 (Laganside - since detaxed again) and 852 (Coleraine) together with DAF/Duple 686 at Derry. Against this Tiger/TE 520 (Enniskillen) and Dart/Wright 613 (Lisburn) have been detaxed with accident damage. DAF/Plaxton 675 has moved from Gelngall Street to Derry, Tiger/Wright 1413 from Laganside to Armagh and Leopard 132 from Armagh to Enniskillen. Tiger/Alexander 1381 (Laganside) has been destroyed by an accidental fire. B10M/Alexander 1550 has gained a mega-rear advert for Magners. B10BLE 2809 (GVS) is now painted in a revised livery which omits the blue and mint "swoops"; this is to speed painting and facilitate placement of adverts on these vehicles. B7TLs 2921/2 are currently at Falls being painted blue before moving to GVS. Delivery of new vehicles should see the MkIII Goldliners (1408-32) converted to 57 seat school buses.

07/11/02  -  It is believed the orders for new vehicles will include Volvo B7TL/Transbus double deckers, Volvo/Transbus coaches, Scania/Wright low floor citybuses and Optare Solo minibuses.

Wright Electrocity 2025 at Ballymena - Nov 2002













05/11/02  -  Tiger/Q-types 1498 and 1500 (both Lisburn) have gained mega-rear adverts for Maxol Oil.

04/11/02  -  A start has been made on clearing Magherafelt of withdrawn stock. Noted in Beattie's yesterday were new arrivals 1751 and 2255. Incidently 1751 was the last vehicle in the fleet with sliding vents in its windows.

01/11/02  -  The latest demonstrator is fleet number 2025 and is registered YG 52 CCX. It is a Wright Electrocity based on a DAF SB120 chassis with Wright Cadet B31F body.

18/10/02  -  During the year 2001/02 there was a huge increase in the number of people in rural areas using transport provided through the Rural Transport Fund. Translink provided nearly 90,000 trips which was an increase of 56% from the previous year. The community transport partnerships provided over 250,000 trips as opposed to last year’s figure of around 93,000. For 2002/03 the Rural Transport Fund has an allocation of 1.7m.

15/10/02  -  Two Citybus B7TLs are to move to GVS to assist with heavy loading on the Uni-Link service. Two B10BLEs may go to Citybus in their place. A Wright Electro City is to be handed over to Ulsterbus this week, for evaluation at Ballymena, then in a few weeks time to Citybus for the
Centrelink service.

13/10/02  -  The forthcoming order for new vehicles is now expected to number in the region of 190 buses to be delivered over several years. Despite some Ulsterbus RELLs may still be around until the end of 2004 with Citybus retaining some into 2005. RELLs 2440/1 have gone from the Driving School to Londonderry. 1572 is the first of the 2 former Citybus Tours B10Ms to regain Goldline livery.

07/10/02  -  B10M/Plaxtons 1571/2 are being repainted in Goldline livery and will return to GVS from Citybus. In their place Excaliburs 1651/2 will go to Citybus. The remainder of this batch bar 1659/60 are to lose their toilets and will be upseated to 53 seaters.

06/10/02  - B7TL 2936 returned to service at GVS on 16th Septerber and now carries a mega-rear advert for Magners. Also returned to service are Leopard 127 at Omagh, displacing 176 back to Magherafelt and RELL 2390 at Craigavon. Mercedes 709Ds 823 (Lisburn) and 882 (Larne) are now in reserve. 823 was displaced by 892 transferrred to Lisburn from Antrim. The only other move last month was former Citybus N-type 2607 from Great Victoria Street to Newtownabbey.

18/09/02  - Regional Development Minister Peter Robinson outlined the future of public transport in Northern Ireland yesterday, in a document titled 'A new start for public transport in NI'. Proposals include an independent body to regulate the sector and a new public company called Transport Northern Ireland to run the services currently operated by Translink, combined with the current Transport Holding Company functions. This would lead the way to future private sector involvement in public transport provision. Download the consultation document here.

16/09/02  - 611 is confirmed as being completely burnt out after spontaneously combusting. Tiger/Q-type 2651 (Laganside) is due to receive an overall advertisement for Crimestoppers.

13/09/02  - Dart 611 (Dungannon) has suffered fire damage and may be written off. Tigers 1056/1298 (Newry) both have super-rear adverts for Friar Tucks.

10/09/02  - Rare Leyland Tiger/Wright Contour 537 (GXI 537) has been sold to Transport Training Services, Crumlin.

09/09/02  - For the launch of Irvine Millar's book 'Buses in Ulster Volume 3: Ulsterbus 1967 - 1988' RELL 2441 regained original style Ulsterbus fleetnames, together with paperclip logo, and doesn't it look well!! This vehicle is featured on the front of the book, running route 105 at Stoneyford, although it is seen here at Drumbeg.

RELL 2441 with old style fleetname (WOI 2441) - August 2002













08/09/02  - The vehicles detaxed for the school holidays were retaxed from 1st September for the new school term. Also returned to service were Mercedes 827 at Larne and Leopard 187 (Downpatrick), along with Tiger 429 (Omagh), B10M 1530 (Magherafelt) and RELL 2451 (Derry) - the latter 3 after completion of accident repairs. The minibus fleet has been diminished with the following being put in to Reserve: 52 (the unique 410/Devon at Coleraine), 826 (Newcastle), 844 (Ards), 852 (Larne) and 864 (Bangor). Tiger 425 has been withdrawn completely from Ballymena after sustaining heavy accident damage. Tiger/TE 522 has returned to the Driving School, in turn displacing Tiger 2605 back to Derry, while other moves are Leopard 176 (Magherafelt - Omagh); Tigers 516 (Derry - Larne), 1199 (Derry - Coleraine), 2607 (Newtownabbey - GVS), 2609 (Omagh - Ballymena) ; B10Ms 1552 (Coleraine - Derry), 1569 (Larne - Derry) and Dart 622 (Antrim - Bangor).

06/09/02  - Recent arrivals at Beatties are Bristol RE's 2233/81/3, 2384 and Leyland Atlantean 2893.

04/09/02  - Leopard 186 still carries it's rightful VOI 186 reg, despite official information to the contrary!

21/08/02  - New Rural Transport Fund 'College Link' service 393 (Omagh - Carrickmore - Sixmilecross - Omagh) will commence 3rd September, operating Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

20/08/02  - De-roofed B7TL 2936 should be ready for use again at the beginning of September.

19/08/02  - A number of vehicles have been released for disposal, notably including the last new to Citybus Atlantean 2893 (JOI 2893) and the unique Leyland DAB artic 2999 (RNL 234W). The full list is:

Tiger/Duple 545 at Larne (currently in use as store)
Dart/Wright 623 (already at Beatties)
Mercedes Van Conversion 810 (unknown location - possibly Beatties yard Lisburn)
Leopard/Alexander Y-type 1883 (already at Beatties), 1884 at Driving School
RELL/Alexander 2231, 2255, 2285, 2378 at Magherafelt, 2233, 2281, 2283, 2384 at Newtownabbey, 2272, 2305 at Limavady, 2375 at Londonderry, 2294, 2387 at Craigavon, 2431 at Great Victoria Street (currently in use as store)
Atlantean/Alexander 2893 at Newtownabbey
Leyland/DAB artic 2999 at Newtownabbey
Leyland Atlantean/ECW 2904 (Beatties yard Lisburn )

A notable survivor (just) seen in Donegal recently is former Tiger Cub/UTA 424 (7424 CZ) which was sold on to Lough Swilly as their number 183.

Former Tiger Cub/UTA 424 (7424 CZ) - Tawny - July 2002













15/08/02  - Various vehicles were returned to service during July and early August after being detaxed for the school holidays: B10M/Q-type 1505 (Derry) and 1539/40 (Newtownabbey); Mercedes/Wright 848 (Derry City) and 889 (Larne); B10MA/Van Hool 3003 (Newry) and Scania/Wright 735/6/7 (Antrim). 1539 was detaxed again at the end of July. DAF/Duple 682 has been placed in Reserve from the Driving School which has temporarily gained former Citybus Tiger/N-type 2605. Mercedes/Wright 864 has moved from Laganside to Bangor. Tiger/Duple 534/5 and Tiger/Wright 544 have been sold to Beattie for scrap. Leopard 186 has been reregistered from VOI 186 to OCZ 4209.

28/07/02  -  RELLs 2376 and 2444 were returned to service from Reserve in June at Derry and Coleraine, with 2444 being detaxed again at the end of the month. Also returned to service were Mercedes 709/Wright 853 (Lisburn) and 871 (Newcastle). Put in to reserve were Leopards 127/87 (both from Derry having moved there from GVS and Laganide), Mercedes 709/Ulsterbus 38 and DAFs 685/6 (all from the Driving School). Other moves see Tiger 530 moving from Bangor to the Driving School with DAF 674 going in the reverse direction; former Citybus Tiger 2607 from Bangor to Newtownabbey; Tiger TE 522 from the Driving School to Derry and Mercedes 709/Wright 872/1805 from Larne to Flexibus. RELLs 2268/2302/3/5/89 have been sold to Beattie for scrap. The full list of vehicles detaxed for the summer school holidays is as follows:  

GVS Tiger 1139; B10M 1533
Laganside Leopard 248; Tiger 1094/1155/6/1413/48/53; B10M 1524/5/37/8
Lisburn Leopard 137/200/47/308/16/7; Tiger 420/1/69; Dart 614/5; Mercedes 823/4/76
Newtownards Leopard 146/81/2/3
Bangor RE 2443/2563/79/83/92
Craigavon Leopard 141/58/67/70/9; RE 2381/95/2577/84/8/91
Downpatrick Leopard 163/214/72/311/3/4/5
Armagh Leopard 132/3/4/66/71/92/237/8/58/73/4/91; Tiger 2653/4
Newcastle Leopard 213/23/303; Dart 606
Newry Leopard 190/3/256/65/78/9/314/28/34; RE 2454/67/8/89/90; B10MA 3003
Dungannon Leopard 109/29/31/47/8/77/270/94; Tiger 465/1048/9
Derry Leopard 180/4/94/229/33/50/95/8/9; Tiger 461/8/2601/4/5/6; Dart 617; B10M 1505/6

RE 2374/6/85/97/2400/49/50/2/5/60/4/5/9/70/1/80/1/93/4/5/6/8

Omagh Leopard 168/296/7; Dart 608; Tiger 2609
Eniskillen Leopard 140/61/205; Tiger 343/63/1131
Coleraine Mercedes 52; Leopard 130/73/4/5/86/209/68/84/5; Tiger 370/1441; RE 2438/58/99
Ballymena Leopard  162/218/27/82/3/9/318/20/2/5; Tiger 422/4; B10M 1521
Larne Tiger 383/433/1082/1158; Mercedes 889; B10M 1526/36
Magherafelt Leopard 176/85/9/219/20/36/49/88/90/309; Tiger 1089/1162/85; B10M 1527
Antrim Leopard 260/80; Dart 622; Scania 735/6/7; Tiger 1081/1160/1258/9/68/9
Derry City Mercedes 845/7; Tiger 1200/4/5/6/8
Newtownabbey Tiger 1325/8/2607; B10M 1539/40/68
Active Reserve Leopard 145/201; RE 2316/7/68/90


22/07/02  -  The bizarre working of the year so far occurred on Friday when B7TL 2935 was used on the 1530 106 journey to Crumlin. This was because there were a number of B10BLEs allocated to the Airport service.

17/07/02  -  Comparatively youthful Tiger / Duple 534 (JXI 534) has gone to Beatties for scrap.

16/07/02  -  Dart 650 has now returned from Duncrue Street - it is in the same livery as 651 but is currently without any lettering.

10/07/02  -  Darts 649/51 are now in differing versions of Airbus livery - 650 is next to be done, but who knows how it will appear!

Darts 649/51 in revised Airbus livery at Great Victoria Street - July 2002













16/06/02  -  Scanias 100-104 are all 49 seaters. Dart 621 (BG), Q-type 1489 (LD) and RE 2451 (LD) are all detaxed with accident damage. Solo 1820 is now at Newcastle, previously with Flexibus, whilst Mercedes 709 872 is back from there to Larne. Other moves see Cityliner 1341 go from Bangor to Craigavon, displacing RELL 2368 from there to Active Reserve and B7TL 2935 from Bangor to GVS, displacing 2932 back to Citybus. Sister 2936 has been fitted with a new roof at Alexanders and is now being fitted out at Duncrue Street. B10BLE 2924 and Dart SLF 641 have returned to Bangor from Citybus. RELL 2299 and Atlantean 2905 have been sold to Beattie, whilst Mercedes 53 has been sold to W. Kane, Ballyclare. Airbus Darts 648-51 are to repainted from Easyjet livery into low floor colours, with 649 the first to be done, 651 next. Good news is that preserved AEC Reliance 234 (6234 EZ) is being worked on at Short Strand. It is then due to go to Downpatrick for a badly needed repaint.

07/06/02  -  Tenders have been invited for the supply of up to 30 12 metre interurban coaches, up to 30 12 metre low floor citybuses and up to 30 low floor 26 seat minibuses. Contracts are to be awarded by 31st October this year, with delivery between March and June next year.

31/05/02  -  Tiger/TE 515, previously working on rail-replacement from Bangor has joined the Driving School; 517/22/7 of this batch are expected here as well as DAF 674, currently at Bangor.

22/05/02  -  Tiger/Q-type 1350 has returned to service at Bangor following accident repair. Leopard 108 is also reinstated at Magherafelt for towing, replacing the last Bedford YRQ 1751 (HOI 1751). Indeed, the only remaining Bedford still in use as a service vehicle is YLQ 1878 (LOI 1878) at Armagh. Mercedes/Wright 850 has been withdrawn from Lisburn, whilst more vehicles sold to Beattie for scrap are  Leopards 128/35, Mercedes 709D 829, 811D 896 and RELL 2293.

08/05/02  -  A new arrival is Scania/Irizar touring coach 101 (MCZ 6101), one of 4 due (100-103). The other 3 should arrive this week. These are the first Scania coaches bought, and indeed the first Irizars too.

Scania / Irizar 101 at Great Victoria Street - May 2002













19/04/02  -  A large number of Reserve Fleet vehicles have been released for disposal: minis 29/34/40/53/4/61/6/801/3/6/18/21/9; Tigers 541/4/51; DAFs 681/3/4; RELLs 2231/2/3/4/8/42/9/55/60/4/8/70/2/3/6/81/3/5/7/91/3/4/7/9/2300/2/5/13/5/66/75/8/9/80/4/7/9/98/2431/59 and Atlanteans 2893/905.

13/03/02  -  Leopard168 is believed to be the first vehicle in the fleet to carry registration plates with the new style narrow font.

09/03/02  -  More than 30 years since the dissolution of the UTA, it's bus legacy lives on, just! Still to be seen, mostly in County Down, are concrete 'tombstone' style bus stops. These appear in 3 varieties, with the wording "Bus Stop", "Bus Stage" and as shown on this example near Ballynahinch "UTA Stage".

UTA tombstone stop near Ballynahinch - Mar 2002










09/03/02  -  Vehicles returned to service are TE 529 (GVS) and B10M/Q-type 1524 (Laganside) - both after accident damage repair; RELL 2397 at Derry and Atlantean open-topper 2911 at Newcastle. Agains this Tiger/Q-type 1350 (Bangor) and B10M/Plaxton 1578 (Omagh) have joined the ever increasing list of vehicles with accident damage. Tigers 414/5 have moved from GVS to Armagh, displacing Leopard 140 from there to Enniskillen. Tiger/Endeavour 1414 has also gone from GVS to Omagh, whilst Mercedes 709s 826 and 876 have moved from Derry City and Enniskillen to Lisburn and Newcastle respectively. Withdrawn Leopard 128 is another to lose its saleable ROI registration, becoming LCZ 9742.

06/03/02  -  Leopard 127 is due for transfer to GVS imminently. The new Magherafelt Bus Centre was officially opened yesterday.

26/02/02  -  Mercedes 918 is the second of its batch to receive an allover advert for Friar Tucks, whilst Tiger 1035 is currently in Duncrue Street being repainted from it's Translink promotional livery back to fleet livery

25/02/02  -  B10Ms 691 and 2 are being painted in Eurolines livery, to supplement existing  Plaxtons 1659/60 on the Stranraer to Birmingham / London route. Western now no longer provide any vehicles for this service. 691 is currently in Antrim in white and 692 is in Scotland
having its Eurolines vinyls applied.

14/02/02  -  A solitary new vehicle is Renault Master / Nu-Track 86 (ECZ 7086) at Coleraine. Vehicles returned to service are ex Citybus N-type 2608 at Antrim, Leopard 134 at Armagh (finally) and Tiger 1178, which was withdrawn as long ago as May 2000, reinstated at Ards, later moving to Armagh. Tiger 429 (OM) and B10M 1534 (V)have been detaxed (accident damage and engine fire respectively) along with RELL 2441 which is now in Reserve from Coleraine. Leopard 228 is confirmed withdrawn, along with accident victim Mercedes 709D 896 from Lisburn. This is the second vehicle from this batch of 30 to be prematurely withdrawn. Moves see Metrorider 1817 go to Flexibus from GVS, 2609 from GVS to Newcastle and later to Omagh, 162 Antrim - Ballymena, 176 Derry - Magherafelt, 163 Armagh - Downpatrick, 177 Derry - Dungannon, 864 Antrim - Laganside and 206 Omagh - Coleraine. RELL 2386 has been sold to the Glasgow Bus Museum. Leopard 135 is the latest to lose its 3 digit ROI registration, becoming LCZ 7113.

30/01/02  -  The programme of fitting advertising panels to "N" type Tigers has started one again. Lisburn have had 1001/5/7/27/9, 1110/1/6, 1235/36/52/3 fitted and Bangor has had 1243 done with 1035 being done at the moment. The choice of the latter is interesting as the vehicle has an overall advertisement (the cream panels should look well with the green livery). Lisburn are to get one more (1006) with Bangor getting another four (1002/3/30, 1244). Newtownards are to get eleven but the vehicles have still to be identified. It is also possible that 1022/4 at V and 1156 at OX which were missed out last time will also be done now. B7TL 2935 has had it's Harp mega-rear ad replaced by an Easy-Jet one.

27/01/02  -  RELL 2387 has now gone to Beatties.

23/01/02  -  Commencing 16th March is new Rural Transport Fund sponsored route 20D Belfast - Newcastle via Drumaness and Loughinisland.

21/01/02  -  B7TL 2936 has now moved to Duncrue Street for repair to its damaged roof.

20/01/02  -  New route 368B (Carrickfergus - Ballyclare - Antrim Hospital) is to be introduced from 4th February.

15/01/02  -  2001 was, surprisingly, the first year since 1968 that Ulsterbus didn't lose any vehicles as a result of 'The Troubles'. That has been remedied fairly quickly in 2002, though, with the loss of Leopard 228 in Cushendall at the weekend. 162 may now be it's replacement - hopefully 2441 may continue for some time

14/01/02  -  In a change of plan, 2608 may have to go to Antrim to release 162 to Coleraine to
replace 2441 (which is deemed to be scrap), all assuming that 2608 is put back together by GVS!! 2931 made an appearance on the Falls last Friday operating the 1500 and 1630 journeys to Poleglass and the 1745 Twinbrook via Black's Road.

11/01/02  -  Former Citybus Tiger 2607 is in service at Lisburn. Sister 2602 is detaxed from Antrim with accident damage, along with B10M/Plaxton Goldliner 1631 from Derry. Leopards 162/3 have moved from Derry to Antrim and Armagh respectively.

08/01/02  -  RELLs 2561 (Newtownabbey), 2436 (GVS) and Leopard 112 (Ards) are now in Reserve. Ex Citybus Tiger 2608 is now blue and may go to Laganside. Citybus decker 2929 has moved temporarily to Bangor to assist with rail-replacement services in exchange for Renown 2824. For a picture of the 2 former Ulsterbus Leopards sold to BRA (1932/62) look here.

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