Sunday 13 November 2011

Bus 2000 Still Going Strong

 Currently a regular performer on the Go North East 74 service,  NK54 PHV
  is seen here on 7th November 2011 at Kingston Park, Newcastle.
(click to enlarge picture)   © David Gambles
One of two rare vehicles, a Volvo B6BLE with 'Bus 2000bodywork is still surviving within the Go North East fleet and can be seen working regular duties from the Hexham depot. Two vehicles were created by Plaxton in 1999 with a view to launching the 'Bus 2000design at the 1999 Bus & Coach Show. Events overtook them however and Plaxton were bought by Transbus and the launch never took place.
The two vehicles were dumped at the rear of the Plaxton factory and eventually bought by Graham Greaves of Henry Cooper Coaches who
thought that it would be worth carrying on with all the type approvals required including tilt testing etc.
 For some reason the second vehicle has a smaller rear window.
Here the bus is seen at Eldon Square Bus Station in Newcastle
 (click to enlarge picture)   © David Gambles

The most complete of the two vehicles was used for this purpose and eventually registered after much work, for use by Henry Cooper Coaches. The second vehicle, the one now owned by Go North East, required lots of work to bring it to completion, but was eventually finished in 2004 and used briefly on a Council contract.  It was sold to Northumbria Coaches, who, in turn were purchased by Go North East and it has remained in the fleet ever since, now operating from the Hexham depot.
The other Bus 2000 vehicle is still alive and well within the Henry Cooper fleet and continues to operate on regular school contracts.
I recently travelled on the Go North East vehicle and can report that it is still pleasant to ride on, there being no squeaks or rattles from the bodywork and the engine and gearbox seem to be working well, so it appears to be surviving the tough life being experienced within a major fleet.
(click to enlarge picture)   © David Gambles
 Much to the frustration of DVLA Graham Greaves insisted on the bus being given a new 54 registration and when first put on the road the bus was used by Henry Coopers for a North Tyneside contract, whereby the bus was used as mobile meeting room to allow Council tenants to come along and find out information about new rules on Council housing. It was fitted with extra heating to make the environment within the bus more pleasant, whilst parked.

More pictures below

 The second vehicle required lots of work to bring it to completion. Here is a view of the interior,
which was being used a seat store.  The exterior of the bus was blue.
    © David Gambles 
 The other vehicle shown when new and still owned by Henry Cooper and registered HC04 BBB  
 © David Gambles                     

 No wheelchair or baby buggy facilities on the Henry Cooper vehicle and all seats have seat belts as it  is
sometimes used for private hire work on school excursions etc.  
© David Gambles 
 The Henry Cooper bus has a larger rear window     © David Gambles  
 Whilst travelling on the Go North East vehicle during the week I commented to one of the drivers about the
vehicle, who said that they were having problems obtaining parts, due to the non standard nature of the bus, so it will be interesting to see how much longer it stays in service.

 David Gambles