Ulsterbus Fleet News 2003

Ulsterbus News 2002
Ulsterbus News 2001
Ulsterbus News 2000

The headline picture is randomly selected from 10 possibilities. Click 'refresh' to select another.

RELLs Remaining - 14 - Enjoy them while you still can !!

Still in service : Newry - 2589/90,

Craigavon - 2368/95, 2444, Derry/City - 2440/52, 2569/70/95/6/8,

Bangor - 2563, Enniskillen 2599
















29/12/03 - Not recorded before but towbus 199 was officially re-registered KCZ 4583 on 16/8/2001 although it has only had the plates fitted recently. With the recent arrival of the low floor Optare minibuses some of the Ulsterbus City (Town ??) services have been revised:

Downpatrick: 315/315A (Safeway - ) Bus Station - Saul / Raholp; 315B Bus Station - Safeway - Model Farm; 315C Safeway - Bus Station - Vianstown (Sat); 315D Safeway - Bus Station - Knocknashinna; 315E Safeway - Bus Station - Vianstown (Sat);

The 315B timetable has an extraordinary footnote informing us that the service will not run via Racecourse Hill during adverse weather or funerals !!

Carrickfergus: 365C Joymount - Windslow Heights; 365D Joymount - Castle Meadows; 365E Joymount - Bluefield Way; 365F Joymount - Copperwood Road; 365G Victoria Road - Partsnic Factory.

Newry: 338A Buscentre - Ballyholland; 338B Buscentre - Damolly; 339C Buscentre - Drumgullion Avenue; 340 Buscentre - Mullaghglass; 341A Buscentre - Father Cullen Park; 341B Buscentre - Altnaveigh; 342A Buscentre - Camlough; 343A Buscentre - Carrivemaclone.

Lisburn: 325A: Bus Station - Milltown Shops; 325B: Bus Station - Plantation Road; 325C: Bus Station - Corby Drive; 325D: Bus Station - Killowen Grange; 325E: Bus Station - Causeway End Park; 325F: Bus Station - Knockmore; 325G: Bus Station - Hillsborough; 325H: Bus Station - Hilden; 325J: Bus Station - Rushmore; 325K: Bus Station - Limetree Avenue.

26/12/03 - The latest Scania/Irizar Goldliners to be delivered are 1670/8/93 (TZC 1670 etc). B10M/Plaxtons 504/5 should return to service at Lisburn depot.

17/12/03 - Ayats Bravo 2001 has been repainted in Goldline livery and should return to Derry presently. Also from Derry, B10M 1656 is to be painted in a scheme for 'North West Tours'.

14/12/03 - The next batch of Scanias/Wrightbus will be 809-17 and will be registered VCZ 8809-17. Further Irizars delivered are 1675 and 1703. RELL 2441 has been withdrawn at Omagh, whilst 2599 has gone temporarily from Coleraine to Enniskillen for a week or so prior to it's final demise. Excellent news is that 5 have been sold to Lough Swilly (finally !), these being 2451/5 (WOI 2451) & 2564/77/81 (BXI 2564). 2577 replaces previously nominated 2376, and will be repaired using the engine from scrapped 2301. Other sales are Mercedes/Wright 828/43/51 (NXI 6828) which have gone to dealter Wealden, Tonbridge. These are the first examples of a large consignment of vehicle for this dealer, both minibuses and full size. Full details will appear here when know.

12/12/03 - Airbus Scanias 790-2 (TCZ 1790-2) are now all in use at GVS; this completes the current batch of 56 for Ulsterbus. Disappointingly, given the high profile nature of the Airbus service, they have standard bus seating, unlike their Dart, Metrorider and Mercedes predecessors. For a pictureview of the recent ITT trip to sample RELLs in the Newry region click here.

06/12/03 - Further new Scania/Irizar Goldliner coaches to enter service are 1676 (TCZ 1676, Craigavon 10/11), 1674 (Coleraine 11/11), 1687 (Antrim 11/11), 1688 (Larne 11/11), 1671 (Dungannon 14/11), 1689/90 (Coleraine 17/11 and 01/12). Also delivered are 1678/83/1702, 2 of the Airbus Scania/Solars - 790/1 which are 41 seaters+30 standing and are branded for the Airbus service. Other new arrivals at Newtownabbey are the first 4 of the new Iveco 50C13 minibuses which have Nu-trak M16L bodies and are painted in Rural transport colours. Leopard 187 briefly returned to service at Newcastle between 6th and 30th November, whilst Mercedes 790/Wright 827 has returned to service at larne, replacing sister 828 which is now in Reserve. Also gone to Reserve are Leopards 146 (Ards), 177 (Dngannon), 181 (Ards) and 270 (Dungannon - the first of the YOI batch to go); also in Reserve are the initial 2 Volvo B10M / Plaxton Excalibur coaches 504/5 (DAZ 5504/5 - Glengall Street). Leopard 203 has moved from Newcastle to Craigavon, Tiger 1200 from Derry to Derry City in exchange for Ultra 2753 and surprisingly 5 week old Scania 1684 has gone from Omagh to Derry. Leopard 168 (Omagh) is now in use with the Driving School. RELL 2438 has been sold to Challands, Selston for preservation and was painted in the 'large paperclip' livery before departure from Northern Ireland. Former Citybus RELL 2320 has gone to Magee, Craigavon for use as a store.

Scania / Irizar 1667 - Gt Vict Street - Sep 2003














02/12/03 - RELL numbers are diminishing fast, with the loss of 2397 (Derry), 2432 (GVS), 2451 (Derry), 2454 (Newry) 2455, 2580/1 (Derry) and 2583 (Bangor) at the end of November. Only 2 of the UOI batch and 4 of the WOI group remain in use. Also withdrawn is the oldest vehicle in the fleet, Leopard 4109 (WAZ 5654).

26/11/03 - Leopard 183 has moved to Beatties as has RELL 2301 which was noted today being towed there by the Citybus crane.

21/11/03 - Good news is the remaining RELLs have had a stay of execution for a month - the final running day will be Saturday 28th February 2004 now. The 3 outstanding Scania's for Airbus work (790-2) will not be delivered until after the Citybus batch is complete. Tiger / Wright 538 which was previously sold to Wealden PSV has in fact gone to a Donegal operator and was collected last Saturday (15th).

16/11/03 - Four RE's left the shores last night for preservation by Toby Hart, York who also has 2190 (POI 2190). They were 2316 (TOI 2316), 2390 (UOI 2390) and 2565/94 (BXI 2585/94). A number of other sales are expected shortly. Leyland Tiger/Duples 547/8 (EXI 5547/8) have finally passed to Lough Swilly.

06/11/03 - Dates of entry in to service for the latest Scanias are 03/10 (766 Newry, 778/9 Newcastle), 09/10 (1668 Enniskillen, 1672 Dungannon), 10/10 (760 Newry, 780 Newcastle, 781/2 Downpatrick, 783 Armagh, 1682 Omagh), 20/10 (786/7 Laganside), 21/10 (784 Armagh, 788/9 GVS), 23/10 (785 Laganside), 23/10 (1685 Derry) and 30/10 (1673 Coleraine, 1684 Omagh and 1686 Derry). RELL 2588 was returned to service on 9th October whilst Leopard 168 was reinstated at Omagh on thr 16th October. Further vehicles put in to Reserve at the end of October are Leopards 169 (Newcastle), 187 (Downpatrick), 193 (Newry), 195 (Act Reserve), 338 (Laganside); DAF 674 (Bangor); Mercedes 848 (Derry City) and RELLs 2385/2400/50/2571 (Derry). This leaves the RELL stock at 23 with nearly half at Derry. 195 was re-registered from VOI 195 to UCZ 5421 on 8/10. Moves see Leopards 171 go from Armagh to Dungannon, 274 (Armagh - Bangor), 260 (Antrim - Coleraine), 217 (Ballymena - Newry) 237 (Armagh - Newry), 204 (Newcastle - Craigavon); Mercedes 865/905 (Laganside - Flexibus 905 being the first of the Alexander batch there); short B10M/Caetano from Glengall Street - Antrim; Tigers 383 (Larne - Dungannon), 1179 (Craigavon - Newry); B10M 1506 (Derry - Omagh) and Darts 649/50 (Reserve - Lisburn). Strangely neither 204/17/60 had moved depot since being new on 19/9/80, 29/5/81 and 15/6/82, although probably the longest 'stayer' is 141 which has spent an incredible 24 years 7 months at Craigavon depot - quite a record ! Bizarrely, bendy coaches 3000-3003 have been renumbered 3110 - 3113 to vacate fleetnumbers for the new trains - quite why this was necessary when virtually every number above 3103 is free is anybody guess !!

04/11/03 - Leopard 130 (Coleraine) is now in Reserve, and has been stored in Newtownabbey. Sister 183 (VOI 183) has gone to Beattie for scrap.

31/10/03 - More RELLs to be put in to Reserve are 2381/90/2577 (Craigavon), 2438 (Colerainer), 2449 (Derry), 2567/8 (GVS) and 2588 (Laganside). Further Scania/Irizar Goldliners to enter service are 1668 (Eniskillen), 1671/2 (Dungannon), 1673 (Coleraine), 1682/4 (Omagh) and 1685/6 (Derry). Minibuses 16-29 will now be registered UCZ 8316 etc.

22/10/03 - RE 2432 has moved from Downpatrick at GVS and is joined there by new Scanias 788/9. Delivery of 785-7 to Laganside should see Leopards 338/9 sold to BRA to replace their two former Ulsterbus RELLs. 339 was of course the last Leopard to be delivered to the company.

21/10/03 - Excellent news is that former Leopard 235 (WOI 2235) has been bought for preservation by the Ulster leyland Leopard Preservation Group. This vehicle was withdrawn by Ulsterbus in 1991 when only 10 years old and was converted for the carriage of aid supplies to chldren in Romania. Also purchased by the Group is 182 (UCZ 1781), for spare parts.

19/10/03 - The remains of B10M/Plaxton 1552 have now gone to Beatties from Laganside yard. RELL 2437 has been retrieved from Beatties and is in use as a static store at the back of Falls. A further three Scanias delivered are 787-789. Surprisingly DAF 670 (Derry) now carries "Goldline" livery complete with branding. Sister 671 based in Lisburn also carries a version of "Goldline" livery but without the gold stripe or branding.

15/10/03 - Expected shortly is a batch of 14 Iveco/Nu-Track minibuses for the Rural Transport fleet, 16 - 29 (UCZ 8016-8029). B10M/Van Hool 3002 has returned to service at LD following accident repairs and RE 2588 has been reinstated at OX as short term cover for a defective vehicle, probably accident damaged 742.

12/10/03 - The order for Volvo B7RLE/Wright Commuter has been reduced from 10 to 1, and in place of these 9 more Scania's are expected for Ulsterbus, to be numbered 809-817. Dates of entry in to service for Scanias are 12/09 (763 Coleraine, 767 Derry City, 1663 Derry, 1665 GVS and 1669 Armagh), 16/09 1662 Derry, 17/09 1666 GVS, 18/09 (765 Derry City and 1667 Enniskillen), 22/09 (768/9 Antrim, 770/1 Larne, 772 Ballymena), 23/09 773 Ballymena, 24/09 (764 Derry City and 774 Craigavon), 25/09 1661 Derry and 26/09 (765/6/7 Craigavon and 1664 GVS). Deliveries have reached 783 (Armagh - this depot's first low floor bus) and also include the 2 show exhibits 760 (Newry) and 766 (Derry City). Tiger 1270 has returned to service at Magherafelt (previously Larne) following accident repair; however Dart 615 (Lisburn) has been detaxed with accident damage and Leopard 241 (Craigavon) is withdrawn completely after a smash. Also in Reserve is Merceses 709/Wright 833 (Lisburn). Other moves see Scania 722 go from Ards to Derry, RELL 2432 from Newtownabbey to Antrim (briefly) then on to Downpatrick (another depot with little history of operating the type), DAF 676 from GVS to the Driving School, Darts 619/20 from GVS to Lisburn, Leopard 194 from Derry to Magherafelt whils a major swap round in Derry sees 720/1/1047/1200/4/5/6/7/8/75/6/7/8/2847 move from the City to the country allocation with 2397/2569/80/1/2759/60 going the other direction. Leopard 182 (Reserve) has been re-registered from VOI 182 to UCZ 1781.

08/10/03 - More RELLs to go to Reserve are 2390 (UOI 2390) and 2584/8/91 (BXI 2584 - all latterly based in Craigavon). 2390 has since returned to service to replace 2577 which has been taken out of service with a blown engine which will not be repaired. Leopards 163/76 (UOI 9163, VOI 176) have also been placed in Reserve and 173 has been withdrawn. It has gone to Wealden along with DAF 685. DAF 686 was also to go but failed and requires repairs. It seems 678 will not be going to the mainland, it has been resold to an operator in the Republic of Ireland, either for spares or repair. Lack of funds is likely to halt the programme of reseating the Mark III Goldliners and only 4 or 5 will be done initially. 1415 and 1426 and either 1413 or 1418 (or possibly both) are in Duncrue Street for conversion. None of the Plaxtons will be converted for the time being. Allocations for the batch of Goldliners should be as follows: 1661-3/85/6 Derry, 1664-6/1705/6 GVS, 1667/8/98/9 Enniskillen, 1669/70/79/80 Armagh, 1671/2/96/7 Dungannon, 1673/4/89/90 Coleraine, 1675/6 Craigavon, 1677 Ards, 1678 Newcastle, 1681-4 Omagh, 1687 Antrim, 1688 Larne, 1691-3 Ballymena, 1694/5 Magherafelt, 1700-3 Newry and 1704 Newtownabbey. The remainder of the Solars should be allocated as follows: 763 Coleraine, 764-7 Derry City, 768/9 Antrim, 770/1 Larne, 772/3 Ballymena, 774-7 Craigavon, 778-80 Newcastle, 781/2 Downpatrick, 783/4 Armagh, 785-8 Laganside, 789-92 GVS.

28/09/03 - Scania/Solars up to 778 have now been delivered. Solo 1866 (Newcastle) has received route branding for service 20D (Rural Rover).

16/09/03 - The first of the Scania/Irizar Goldliners to enter service are 1664/5 (TCZ 1664 etc at GVS), 1669 (Armagh) with a further one (number not yet known) at Derry.

15/09/03 - Scania deliveries have now reached at least 767.

09/09/03 - RELL 2441 did not go to Reserve at the start of the month as expected, but surprisingly was transferred to Omagh which does not have a history of operating the type. With so many new vehicles delivered recently there has been a large movement of vehicles around the provence recently: Leopards 183 (Ards - Driving School), 187 (Driving School - Downpatrick), 173 (Coleraine - Magherafelt and not to Antrim as previously advised); Scanias 708 (Laganside to Derry City), 709-11 (Newtownabbey to Derry City), 720/1 (Ards - Derry City); Tigers 1186 (Coleraine - Bangor in exchange for 1294), 1221 (Coleraine - Ballymena in exchange for 1223) and 1225 (Craigavon - Newry in exchange for 1299); DAFs 670/1 (Craigavon - Derry and Lisburn); Mercedes 909 (Derry City - Omagh in exchange for 914).

08/09/03 - Scania 725 as joined sisters 723/4 working on the Airlink service at GVS. Dart 648 displaced from the Airbus has moved to Bangor and has lost all it's route branding.

07/09/03 - RELLs 2316 (TOI 2316), 2374/6 (UOI 2374), 2441/58/60 (WOI 2441), 2564/5/92/4 (BXI 2564) are all now in Reserve, along with Leopards 168 (UOI 9168), 180/2/4/5 (VOI 180), Darts 649/50 and Minibuses 831/9/45. Also detaxed are Tiger 1023 and B10BLE 2820 both of which suffered engine fires whilst working Airbus services. RELLs 2567/8 have moved from Newry to GVS to cover for these last two.

06/09/03 - Scania 760 has not been received by Ulsterbus yet, as previously reported. It has been held back by Wrights for display at the forthcoming motor show. 540, 675 and 682 were due to be delivered to the docks yesterday for shipment to England whilst minibuses 883/7 have been sold to McGonagle, Buncrana.

04/09/03 - A number of Volvo B10M/Plaxton Goldliner coaches are to be converted to service buses. Believed to have been earmarked are 1553/5-60/5/71/2 (DAZ 1553) and 1574/89/99 (EAZ 2574), although this may be subject to change.

31/08/03 - Expected in to service tomorrow are Scania/Solar 757-62 (TCZ 1758 etc) with 757/8 at Lisburn, 759/60 at Newry and 761/2 at Coleraine. Leopard 173 will also re-enter service at Antrim temporarily, to replace 1432 which is not yet ready for service following conversion to a 57 seat service bus. Once 1432 is ready 173 will be sent to England. The first of the vehicles destined for Wealden were delivered to the docks for shipment to England on Thursday last. They were Citybus Bristol RE 2541 and Ulsterbus Bristol RE 2579 and Leyland Tiger/Duple 532. The rest of the vehicles due to go (with the exception of 685) have been moved to Newtownabbey to await shipment.

27/08/03 - Further Scania/Wright Solars delivered and stored at Newtownabbey are 757/62, whilst 761 is stored at Coleraine. Interesting news is that a number of vehicles are being prepared for sale to the mainland dealer - Wealden, Nettleshead. Undestood to be going are Citybus 2541 (AXI 2541) and Ulsterbus 173 (VOI 173), 532 (OXI 532), 538 (GXI 538), 540 (HAZ 5540, ex 64 KD 88), 675 (UXI 1675), 678 (SXI 1678), 682 (RXI 6682, ex C28 MCX), 685 (RXI 6685, ex D360 PJA), 686 (RXI 6686, ex D632 TLG) and 2579 (BXI 2579). The Leopard and the RE's are being taken to test the water to see if there is a demand for them; if so then more may well be taken. This is the same dealer who took a large batch of coaches a couple of years ago. Volvo 2820 and Tiger 1023 are both off with engine fires suffered while on Airbus duties, whilst DAFs 670/1 have returned to service at Craigavon.

15/08/03 - The last of the current batch of Optare Solos, 1847 entered service at Bangor on 9th July. Scania K114/Irizar 108-11 were new on 11th July (108/9/10) and 25th July (111). The entry in to service of 109 saw Leopard 109 (Dungannon) renumbered to 4109. Interestingly this bus now carries neither it's original number nor registration having been re-registered from ROI 109 to WAZ 5652. More Solars are 747-9 (TCZ 1747 Bangor), 750 (Ards) and 755/6 (Lisburn). All of 742-4/6-56 entered service on 1st August. Vehciles returned to serice at the beginning of August were 1399 (Larne), 1540 (Newtownabbey) and 3003 (Newry), all having been detaxed for the school holiday period. Against this Mercedes 709s 826 (Laganside), 852 (Larne) and 864 (Bangor) are detaxed along with Tigers 1262 (GVS - for the remainder of the school holidays) and 1270 (Larne - with accident damage).Moves see Mercedes 709 go from Ards to Newry; DAFs 676 (Glengall Street - GVS) 686 (GVS - Driving School),, 673 (Glengall Street - Driving School) and Scanias 705-7 from Laganside to Derry City. The previous policy of keeping Scanias and B10BLEs at particular depots seems no longer to apply as Bangor, GVS and Derry City now operate both types. One of the new Solos at Derry (number yet unknown) was involved in an major accident with a car yesterday.

14/08/03 - Further new Scania/Solars are 742 (Laganside), 743/4/6 (Newtownabbey) and 751/4 (Ards). Similar 723/4 have gone to GVS for use on the Airbus service and have gained large vinyls in their windscreens for this service. These should be displaced later in the year by 4 new examples. The driving school has lost DAFs 670/1 but has gained 187 and 593 to help out.

08/08/03 - Former Mk III Goldliner 1432 has now been re-seated with bus seats and looks smart having been repainted in blue and ivory livery. DAFs 670/1 formerly at Stranraer are now in use by the Driving School.

04/08/03 - B7TL 2921 has returned to GVS having been repaired after it's de-roofing in January. It is now in the swoopless livery and is minus the advert frames fitted to the rest of the batch. The first 3 of the Scania Goldliners were delivered at the end of last week and are at Road Trucks in Larne for pre-delivery inspection. Tiger/Wright Endurance 1432 (Antrim) is currently in Laganside yard having been stripped out and is expected to be the first to be converted to bus configuration.

Scania / Irizar 108 - Stranraer - Aug 2003

30/07/03 - Dates of entry in to service for the recent Solos are:- 1838/9/40/2 (18/06 - Laganside), 1868 (26/06 - Lisburn), 1841/72 (01/07 - Laganside), 1843/4/71 (01/07 - Larne) 1845 (01/07 - Derry City), 1846 (01/07 Derry), 1867 (01/07 - Lisburn) and 1869 (02/07 - Bangor). Scanias 739-41/5 entered service with the Driving School on 13th June before moving to Laganside (739-41) and Newtownabbey (745) at the start of July. Deliveries of Scanias have now reached 756. Scania coaches 108-10 (SCZ 7108-1) are now in use at Stranraer; 108/9 are in Eurolines livery, 110 in a white scheme with 111 being painted in to Scottish Citylink colours. DAF 676 has returned to use at Glengall Street with accident victims 1292/1429/1578 all returning to service in the latter half of June (at Ards, Ballymena and Omagh respectively). Leopard 162 (BM) has gone to reserve, whilst the RELL fleet has further diminished with 2317 (TOI 2317 - Active Reserve) going at the end of June after suffering accident damage. For the duration of the Special Olympics B7TLs 2922/8/9/35/6 were loaned to Glengall Street (28/9 from Citybus) with TE's 515/7 going to Citybus and 522/7 to Newtownabbey. All are now back at their original location. Other moves see minis 881 go from Laganside to Newry and 888/9 from Larne - Coleraine. One of these pair is for use on a summer only town service in Portrush running from Dunluce Avenue to Skerries and Hilltop caravan parks. As usual a large number ov buses have been takeon off the road for the duration of the school holidays, the full list being:

GVS Tiger 480/1022/1139; B10M 1533; Dart 619
Laganside Leopard 248; Tiger 1094/1155/6/1448/53/2607; B10M 1524/5/37/8
Lisburn Leopard 139/247/316/7; Tiger 420/1/1001/6/7; Dart 615
Newtownards Leopard 181/2/3
Bangor Leopard 244; RE 2563/83/92
Craigavon Leopard 141/5/67/70/9/225/6/54; RE 2381/90/5/2444/2577/84/8/91
Downpatrick Leopard 163/87/214/72/307/11/3/4/5
Armagh Leopard 133/4/66/71/92/237/8/58/73/4/91; Tiger 1331/2657
Newcastle Leopard 169/221; Tiger 380
Newry Leopard 190/3/8/256/62/302/14/; RE 2454/67/8/89/90; B10MA 3003
Dungannon Leopard 109/29/31/47/8/77/270/94; Tiger 1286; Mercedes 885
Derry Leopard 180/4/94/229/33/50/95/8/9; Tiger 345/409/10/3/9/61/8/2601/4/5/6/58/9;

RE 2374/6/85/97/2400/49/50/1/2/5/60/4/5/9/70/1/80/1/94/5/6/8

Omagh Leopard 127/68/296/7; Dart 608; Mercedes 914
Eniskillen Leopard 140/61/205; Tiger 343/1061
Coleraine Leopard 130/73/4/86/208/10/32/84/5; Tiger 370/1272; RE 2438/58/99
Ballymena Leopard  217/8/27/82/3/7/9/318/20/2/5
Larne Tiger 433/1183/1399; B10M 1523/6/36
Magherafelt Leopard 176/85/9/219/20/36/49/88/90/309; Tiger 1162; B10M 1529/30
Antrim Leopard 260/80; Tiger 1081/1160/1258/9/68/9/1432
Derry City Tiger 1200/5/6/7/8/75/6/7/8
Newtownabbey Tiger 1323/5/7/8/; B10M 1540
Active Reserve Leopard 195; RE 2316/68

Leopard 112 has gone to Beatties after being stripped at Duncrue Street. Burned out 1552 is now dumped in Laganside yard. Dr. Joan Smyth, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, today announced that Mr. Keith Moffatt had been appointed Chief Executive of Translink.  Mr. Moffatt will take up his appointment in the Autumn. He is currently the Managing Director of Metroline plc in London, and has a wide variety of experience in public transport since joining the industry in 1976, including the design of the Tyne and Wear bus-Metro integrated network in the 1980’s; Managing Director of the Oxford Bus Company where he led the transformation of the bus network into a dynamic, customer-focused operation in which patronage increased substantially; a director of two UK rail franchises; and his current leadership of one of London’s largest bus companies. Hopefully Mr Moffat will bring a much needed dynamism to Translink, and will be able to offer Northern Ireland a vibrant public transport regime such as that currently found in London and Oxford, to name but 2 examples.

08/07/03 - Service revisions at the end of June see new routes 33B (Summer only Newry - Hilltown - Bryansford - Newcastle) and 340 (Newry - Mullaghgalss Estate ThO). Route 41 from Newry - Derrybeg no longer operates but unusually there are 2 additional departures from Newry - Armagh on Sundays. Route 109A has also been enhance to cover the unfortunate total withdrawal of rail services between Knockmore and Antrim. For a pictureview of the recent ITT trip to sample RELLs in the Coleraine region click here.

04/07/03 - Scania/Wright Solar 739 (TCZ 1739) is now in public use at Laganside. Also in service are the remainder of the Solos bar 1847; They are allocated to OX (1838-42/72), LR (1843/4/71), LY (1845/6), LB (1867/8) and BG (1869). 1838-47 have driver assault screens. Transfered to Reserve are 824/7/34/43/55/74-7/80, 2512/79. 843 had been reinstated at BM in 6/03 only to be withdrawn again at the end of the month. Tiger 546 (EXI 5546) has been sold to the Rice School of Motoring, Dundalk as a driver training vehicle.

30/06/03 - The first of the 4 Scania / Irizar express coaches was due for delivery today. It may replace 1659 which has a defective gearbox and will need to return to Northern Ireland for repair.

27/06/03 - Scania / Wright Solars 744/6-50 (TCZ 1744 etc) are now delivered and parked up at Newtownabbey.To clear some confusion the order for Scania coaches numbers 58, consisting of the 4 touring coaches (104-7), 4 express coaches (108-11) and 50 Goldliners (1661-1710).

23/06/03 - Recent arrivals at beatties are RELLs 2231/84 (ROI 2231, TOI 2284), both latterly stored at Laganside yard. The first of the Scania Goldliners is now complete. Notable features on these vehicles are electronic front and side destination screens which have not previously featured on Goldline coaches.

17/06/03 - Scania / Irizar Century touring coaches 104-7 (SCZ 6104-7) are all now in service at Glengall Street, having entered service on 6th June (104/5) and 13th June (106/7). Scania L94UB/Wright Solar 739/40/1/5 (TCZ 1739 etc) are in use with the Driving School from 13th June and have displaced TE's 515/7 to Short Strand and 522/7 to Newtownabbey.

15/06/03 - Scania / Irizar Century touring coaches 106/7 (SCZ 6106/7) have been delivered and should enter service shortly. Still awaited are 104/5 and similar express coaches 108-11 (SCZ 7108-11). A number of the new Scania / Wright Solars currently in store at Newtownabbey may be temporarily used by the Driving School as it's Mk1 Goldliners are required for other work during the Special Olympics. Rambler services have had a makeover this year with the following routes operating: 401(Gortin Rambler), 402 (Causeway Rambler - previously 377), 403 (Sperrin Rambler - previously 182 and now a year round service), 405 (Mourne Rambler - previously 34A) and 406 (Lecale rambler - a new route from Downpatrick - Strangford - Ardglass using Solo 1865).

06/06/03 - Of the Batch of 35 Solos the following are currently in service: 1851-3 (Newry 20/19/16th May), 1848/9/50 (Lisburn 27/23/30th May), 1854/66 (Newcastle 23/9th May), 1855-6 (Ards 23/26 May) 1857-60 (Ards 27th May) 1870 (Ards 30th May), 1861-4 (Derry City 2nd June - 61 3rd June - 62-4) and 1865 (Downpatrick 2nd June). The remainder will be allocated to Laganside (1838-42/72), Larne (1843/4/71), Derry City (1845/6), Bangor (1847/69) and Lisburn (1867/8). Unsurprisingly Mercedes/Wright's minis have taken a hammering this month with 842/51/92 (Newry), 843/71/83/6/7 (Ards), 847/53 (Lisburn) and 884 (Newcastle) all going to Reserve. Also detaxed are Tigers 1429/38 (Ballymena/Omagh), both with accident damage, RELL 2443 to Reserve and Tiger/Duple 546 from the Driving School to Reserve.. 1428 has been replaced at Ballymena with Tiger/Duple 530 ex Coleraine. Leopard 158 is confirmed withdrawn as is 201 from Active Reserve with an engine defect. Sister 145 has gone from Active Reserve to replace 158 at Craigavon, whilst Mercedes 879 has gone from Newry to Bangor.

02/06/03 - New Optare Solo 1848 (SCZ 3848) is in use at Lisburn.

28/05/03 - B10M/Plaxton 1552 (Derry) was been distroyed by fire at Ballygawley yesterday. Tigers 347, 1069 & 1207 now all carry super-rear adverts for Harp.

27/05/03 - Solos 1855/6/9/60 (SCZ 3855) are now in service at Ards. Leopard 158 (Craigavon) has been seriously damaged in an accident and will probably not be repaired.

22/05/03 - Driver training on Solos is to commence at Newry, Lisburn and Ards shortly. Delivery of the first of the Scania/Solars is imminent with 5 (including 741) present at Road Trucks in Larne. Interesting news is that one of the forthcoming Scania's/Irzars is to be painted in Scottish Citylink livery and will be outstationed at Dunblane. From there it will work to Glasgow and Stranraer..

11/05/03 - Registrations booked for forthcoming vehicles are TCZ 1739 - TCZ 1792 for Scania / Wrights 739-92 and TCZ 1661 - TCZ 1706 for the Scania / Irizar Goldliners 1661 - 1706. There will not be any 1707-10 as these vehicles will be numbered 108-11. No numbers have yet been booked for the B7TL/Transbus deckers or the Citybus batch of Scanias. Leopard 222 (WOI 2222) was re-registered SCZ 5505 on paper only prior to it's disposal. Solos 1860/1/3/4/5/8 (SCZ 3860 etc) were ready for delivery at Optare's Leeds factory yesterday. Ayats Bravo 2001 should be repainted in to Ulsterbus colours this week or early next.

09/05/03 - 2922 is the first double decker to gain the 'swoopless' livery and is also now blue.

08/05/03 - Cityliner 1489 has returned to service at Derry after repairs to accident damage; sister 1365 (Coleraine) is detaxed following an engine fire. Also detaxed is Mercedes 709D/Wright 859 (Bangor). DAF 678 damaged in an accident in December last year has finally been withdrawn. Tiger/Duple 546 has now gone back to the Driving School from Antrim. Leopard towcar 4108 has lost it's ROI 108 registration in place of SCZ 2658, whilst 222 has been sold to Beattie for scrap. Tiger 1186 (Coleraine) carries a super-rear advert for Audi.

02/05/03 - The highest numbered Solo noted so far is 1855 (SCZ 3855). None are yet in service. The 4 Scania/irizar coaches for Eurolines work will in fact be numbered 108-11 and will be registered SCZ 7108-7111. Damaged B7TL 2921 has had a new roof fitted at Alexanders and has returned to Duncrue Street for fitting out.

28/04/03 - The 10 outstanding vehicles from the 2003 order will be on Volvo B7RLE chassis with Wright Commuter 53 seat bodywork. The B7RLE is a combination of the rear section of the B7R coach with the front of the discontinued B10BLE bus chassis; this produces a vehicle which is lighter and less complex than the B7L chassis which has not sold well in the UK. We await these vehicles with interest. Scania 709 is the first of these to appear in the swoopless livery, also losing it's wheel spats at the same time.

28/04/03 - Interesting news is an order for 10 'accessable dual-purpose' vehicles from Wrightbus. These should feature 53 forward facing seats but with the first row set in a low entrance area. This is possible through the use of Wright's patented low entry module which can be used to adapt otherwise high floor vehicles for low entrance use. No further details regarding chassis, delivery dates, fleetnumbers etc are yet known.

16/04/03 - The Optare Solos have started arriving with 1848-52 present in Laganside this evening. They feature the 'swoopless' livery, electronic destination displays all round and carry the Translink call centre phone number as well as the web URL above the rearmost side window. Scanias 104-7 will be touring coaches; 4 of the 1661-1710 batch will be specified for Eurolines work later in the year. RELL 2512 is enjoying much freedom in it's twilight years - it has now moved from Bangor to Coleraine.

Optare Solo 1852 - Laganside - Apr 2003

14/04/03 - B10M/Alexander 1532 has returned to service at Antrim following accident damage repair. RELL 2367 is now in Reserve from GVS. Moves see Tiger 530 (OXI 530) go from the Driving School to Coleraine, whilst Ayats Bravo 2001 is on loan from Citybus to Derry. Leopard 199 at Derry is to be converted to a towbus and is renumbered 4199 along with sister towbuses 107/8/11/17/8/20/6, now 4107 etc. Interestingly this is the first ever use of 4000 series numbers. Numbers for the forthcoming Scania L94s are 739-92. There will now be only 70 in this batch, to be split 54/16 with Citybus. The L91IB/Irizar coaches will become 1661-1710. In Beatties last weekend the only three large vehicles remaining were 425, 2522 and 2893.

01/04/03 - De-roofed B7TL 2921 has been moved to Duncrue Street for repair.

28/03/03 - Interesting news is the transfer of Citybus RELL 2512 to Bangor to cover for a temporary vehicle shortage. It has already worked to Belfast on the 9.15 service B2 and 10.15 return on the 27th. Also returned to service is Leopard 305 at Newcastle displacing sister 222 to Reserve. Numbers and registrations reserved for forthcoming vehicles are 1838-72 (SCZ 3838 - SCZ 3872) for the Optare Solos and 104-107 (SCZ 6104-6107) for the 4 Scania/Irizar Eurolines coaches.

24/03/03 - Accident damaged 2602 (LXI 6602) previously at Antrim has now been written off and has gone to Beatties for scrap. At Beatties most of the big buses in the yard have now been broken, with only 425, 544, 2283, 2522, 2602 and 2893 remaining last Saturday. Indeed it looked as though 544 was next for the chop. Also there were minis 31/2/4/40/54/61/6, 803/6/10/21.

21/03/03 - DAF/Duple 686 (RXI 6686) has returned to service at GVS.

10/03/03 - Several vehicles were returned to service in February: Merc 709/Wrights 842 (at Newry previously with Flexibus) and 871 at Ards, Dart/Wright 617 at Bangor and strangely Tiger/Duple Laser 546 at Antrim. Joining the never-ending catalogue of accident victims are B10M/Alexander 1532 (Antrim) and B10MA/Van Hool 3002 (Derry). DAF/Plaxton 676 enjoyed an exciting few days in February, moving from Glengall Street to Omagh, then to GVS and then to reserve at the end of the month! Also in Reserve is Leopard 175 (Coleraine). Moves see Leopard 131 going from Enniskillen to Ards with Tiger/Duple 530 going briefly from the Driving School to Derry; it is now back with the Driving School.

10/03/03 - Recent arrivals at Beatties are Tiger 425 (GXI 425) and RELLs 2378 (UOI 2378), together with minibuses 31 (CDZ 6664), 40 (NXI 6940) and 810 (LXI 6810) from Flexibus. 810 was the last of the 22 original van conversions (801 - 822) remaining in the fleets. In addition another eight minibuses which although sold to Beattie and were dumped at his yard at Altona in Lisburn have now been towed to Hillsborough for breaking, 34 (LXI 1034), 54 (FAZ 3054, ex E729 HLB), 61 (FAZ 3061, ex F124 KAO), 66 (SIB 4081, ex E633 UYS), 801/3 (KXI 7801/3), 806 (LXI 6806) and 821 (NXI 821). The scrapping of 31 sees the last link with the fleet of Sureline, Lurgan.

28/02/03 - Deliveries of Solos should commence early April, with the delivery being completed early June. Scania/Solars should start to arrive at the beginning of July, with the bulk of the order being delivered between August and 2004. The first Irizar coaches should be the 4 touring coaches arriving mid to late April with the initial Goldliner delivered early May and the bulk of the order coming between September and November. Finally the ALX400 Volvos should arrive between mid August and mid September. Hopefully this means there should still be a fair number of RELLs active after the summer school break!

21/02/03 - Tenders have been invited for the supply of up to 18 16-seat community minibuses (either coach built or van converted) , for delivery by 31st October 2003. A further tender has been issued for the supply of vehicles during the period 2003 - 2006. Manufacturers are invited to quote for delivery of the following: up to 50 12m interurban coaches; up to 10 high capacity interurban coaches; up to 250 12m low floor citybuses; up to 50 75-seat double deckers and up to 50 low floor 26-seat minibuses.

08/02/03 - Tiger/TE 520 and Dart/Wright 621 have returned to service at Enniskillen and Craigavon following accident repair; 621 was previously at Bangor. Service economies at the end of January have seen a large number of vehicles going to Reserve after becoming surplus: RELLs 2362 / 2593 (UOI 2362, BXI 2593, Bangor / Derry), Tigers 538/46-8 (GXI 538, EXI 5546-8 Driving School - 538 was the last of the Wright Contours in use), DAFs 675/86 (UXI 1675, RXI 6686 Derry - 686 the last of the 6 acquired DAF Coaches), Mercedes 825/46/62 (NXI 6825/46, TXI 7862, Lisburn, Newry, Ards), another of the unpopular Darts 617 (CAZ 6617 Derry) and finally Leopard 305 (XOI 2305 Newcastle - the first of this batch of 10 to go). Additionally wrecked B7TL 2921 is detaxed and RELL 2444 is in Active Reserve ex Craigavon. On the move are Mercedes 892 (Lisburn - Newry), 852 (Coleraine - Larne); DAFs 672 (Laganside - GVS), 677 (Glengall Street - Downpatrick); Tiger 2607 (Newtownabbey - Laganside); Leopards 200 (Lisburn - Newry) and 308 (Lisburn - Newcastle) and B10BLE 2818 (GVS - Citybus Short Strand).

06/02/03 - Vehicles going to Reserve are 2362 from Bangor and the three remaining Duple Lasers in the Driver Training fleet, 546-8. 2367 was also to go to Reserve but has gone to V instead to replace a fire damaged Leyland Tiger whilst repairs are carried out. Fire damaged 2561 is not to be repaired and it was taken to Beatties for scrapping on Saturday 1st February.

17/01/03 - Interesting news is the respray of B10M/Plaxton 1609 (Magherafelt) into a metallic blue and silver scheme. This is in connection with the forthcoming new trains; the vehicle will be demonstrated to NIR staff at various locations and should then be repainted back in to Goldline colours prior to returning to it's depot. The forthcoming new vehicles are now expected to be delivered in March for the 35 Optare Solos and from April to October for the 130 Scanias (80 Wright Solars L94s and 50 Irizar K113s). Tiger 425 is to be retrieved from Beatties and it's complete offside will be used to repair recently damaged 1292 from Ards.

15/01/03 - DAF/Wright Electrocity 2025 returned to Wrights from it's demonstration period on 20/12. Mercedes 709/Wright 826 and 884 have been returned to service at Laganside and Newcastle; 884 has displaced similar 871 to Reserve. Despite previous reports of withdrawal it seems DAF/Plaxton 678 (Craigavon) may be repaired - it is now detaxed. Moves see Leopard Towcar 1967 (NOI 1967) go from Bangor to Ards and RELL 2444 from Dungannon to Craigavon.

13/01/03 - Citybus B7TL 2922 is at GVS to replace damaged 2921 which may have to be rebodied. Scania 708 (Laganside) is now easily recognisable as it has gained full depth rear wheelarches, the first to be so treated. It is expected the 80 new Scanias on order will be built in 3 separate batches.

05/01/03 - Unfortunately double deckers have been in the wars here - former Citybus 2921 has hit the Boyne Bridge at GVS and has been substantially wrecked, whilst 2935 was involved in a contretemps at Newry Bus Centre. 2921 has gone to Falls for assessment; 2935 has moved to Duncrue Street for repair asap.

03/01/03 - Cityliner 1358 (Ards) now has a super-rear advert for Maxol Oils.

Fleetnews front page Home