Eldorado News 2011-2014

New are 231/2 (YP64 RWL/RWM), Scania K250UB / ADL Enviro 300 B43F, the first Euro 6 buses in the fleet.

There are no withdrawals to report, as all the above are additions. Route 14 to Westgate Hospital is now extended to start from the Railway Station instead of the Town Centre, and this, coupled with a slightly increased frequency, is why two additional buses are needed.

Yet another addition to the fleet of recovery vehicles is E6 (DA64 JDP), a Scania R580CB8x4ENB with Walling bodywork (photo).  It is the first Euro 6 vehicle in the fleet!
Once again, the news centres on auxiliary vehicles rather than the bus fleet. Following the award of a contract to provide 24-hour recovery cover while lane closures are in place during an extended programme of repairs on the motorway network in the region, Eldorado has been beefing up its fleet of recovery vehicles.
Recently acquired are E2 (L812 MKN), a 1994 Scania R143HB4x2R450 with Dyson recovery bodywork, E3 (originally SX54 BMW, now 320 ELD), a 2005 Scania T164GB6x4R580 with Bonniface recovery bodywork (photo), and E4/5 (DH59 EKC/DC10 VLK), both 2010 Scania P280LB4x2MNZ fitted with TRS Slide-bed bodywork for lighter recovery work (for cars and light vans), this being a new venture as a direct result of the motorway contract.
Withdrawn are E13 (DA02 BNX), a Scania R144, and the previous Scania T-type, E15 (DB04 ADV), due to failure of its recovery gear.
Also newly acquired is E1 (KKN 11J), a 1971 Scania LB110 tractor unit with low loader. It has been specifically acquired to transport the preserved Gilford to shows and rallies, and is painted in the old maroon and cream to match the Gilford. E8, the converted Leopard/Plaxton which had been intended to tow a trailer to carry the Gilford, is now pensioned off, but will be kept as a preserved vehicle in its own right.
In a flurry of snatching up the last Euro 5 models, no less than 4 new Mercedes Sprinters have been bought. 307/8 (DJ63 TFV/W) are 213CDI minibuses with 8 seats, 309 (DJ63 TFX) is a 316CDI with 10 seats, and E18 (DJ63 TFU) is a 316CDI van for the Engineering Department. The minibuses, like the Ford Transits that they are replacing, have a lower seating capacity than could be achieved in this type of vehicle, to allow for plenty of luggage space, as their main duty is as tour feeders. A slightly more recent arrival is E19 (DA14 RFP) a Landrover 110 Defender, again for the Engineering Department. The Engineering fleet has contained at least one Landrover for the last 60 years, so it will be interesting to see what, if anything, replaces it when, thanks once more to legislation from our European friends, the Defender is killed off at the end of next year.
Withdrawn as a consequence are 301/2/6 (DA02 TLN / DC03 UGT / DG06 KDX), 9-seater Ford Transit minibuses, E14 (DC04 YNO), Ford Transit van, and E9 (C224 DKN), the Engineering Department's previous Landrover 110, which has given 28 years of service, beating its predecessor by 6 years!!
A new Mercedes Vario 0816D with Mk2 Plaxton Cheetah C29F coachwork, No.57 (YW14 XCS), entered service on 1st March. It will be one of the last of the type, as Mercedes ended production of the Vario in 2013, though adverts in Bus & Coach Buyer (at the time of writing) indicate that there are still a handful in dealer stock!
New is No.40 (DE63 ELD), a Scania K400EB6 / Caetano CT650 C53FLt (photo). Despite looking so massive, is only 1.4m (4'6") longer than the earlier 2-axles ones, therefore only has one extra row of seats. It has made an immediate impact on the X3 to X6 group of Manchester to London services.
A newly restored preserved vehicle is KN 721, a 1930 Gilford 168SD with C25D bodywork by Petty (photo). The discovery of this vehicle some years ago in a disused warehouse was something of a surprise, as there are no records of its existence in the Eldorado archives! However, what little paintwork there was left intact was definitely the old Eldorado livery, so it has been restored as such. It has been given fleet number 1021 for administrative purposes, but the number is not carried on the vehicle itself.
New is No.1 (A1 ELD), a Scania K480EB6 with Irizar PB C31Ft bodywork (photo). It is to executive specification, with 2+1 seating and tables - hence the low seating capacity - with a kitchen area with microwave, and 4-screen audio-visual system. At a nominal 14m it is the longest vehicle in the fleet, and the 480 engine was chosen because of the size and weight of all the extra fittings. It replaces the previous executive coach, also No.1 (DA04 ELD), which was another Scania Irizar combination - a 3-axle Irizar Century (picture) - and which is now withdrawn pending a decision on whether to sell it or re-seat it as a standard coach.
New are 118-20 (DF13 RMD/E/F), Scania CN230UD / Scania OmniCity H45/31F double deckers (picture). 119 is painted in Enterprise Livery. For the un-initiated, Enterprise was a fleet taken over by Eldorado in 1967, and since then it has been policy to keep one vehicle in Enterprise's blue and cream, a policy which inadvertently lapsed in 2005, when Leyland Lynx Mk2 262 (K262 BKN) was withdrawn, and nobody realised that the fleet was without a vehicle in Enterprise colours! This has been rectified with the new delivery.

Along with the OmniCity single decker reported below (228-30 - DF13 RMA/B/C), this means that there is now an RMA, RMC and an RMF in the fleet!!

Withdrawn as a direct result of the new arrivals are 134 (DA02 PMJ) a Dennis Trident / Alexander ALX 400 H45/23D dating from 2002, and 139/40 (T139/40 LKN), Scania N113DRB50 / Northern Counties H47/30F dating from 1999. Excluding the specials, these latter were the last step entrance double deckers in the fleet.
New: After the Wright Solars in 2008 and the Caetanos for the Park & Ride in 2011, the latest single deck buses mark a return to the Scania OmniCity. 228-30 (DF13 RMA/B/C) are CN230UB models with B40F bodywork (picture).

Withdrawn as a direct result are 201-3 (X201/2 VKN, Y203 AKN) Scania L94UB with Wright Axcess Floline B44F bodies.
New arrivals for the start of the new coaching season are 37 (DC13 ELD), a Scania K340EB with Van Hool Alizee C47FLt body similar to the ones delivered in 2011, and 38/9 (DA/DB13 ELD), Scania K340EB with Caetano Levante C49FLt bodies (picture).

Withdrawn as a consequence are 16/7 (W16/7 ELD), Scania K124IB with Plaxton Excalibur C47Ft bodywork dating from 2000, and finally, after 22 years running mainly between Manchester and London, 60 (ELD 600), a 1991 Leyland Olympian ONCL10/3R with Alexander `RL' CH53/19FT body.

The first arrivals of the year are 116/117 (DK62 EPL/EPM), Scania CN230UD / Scania OmniCity H45/31F (picture).

As a result, 137/138 (R137/138 EKN) 1997 Scania N113 / Northern Counties H49/33F have been withdrawn.  "Specials" excluded, this leaves the last pair of N113 / Northern Counties as the only non low-floor double decker buses in active service, and one of those is only used a cover for maintenance and breakdowns.


Activity at Eldorado has been restricted of late due to other circumstances, but things have started moving again so here is the latest news.

Secondhand arrivals early in 2012 were 112 (YT08 HLX), a 2008 Scania N230UD / Optare OmniDekka H47/30D, and 113 (YL08 KGK), similar but H47/33F. The former had recently been repainted in all-over red for a short term London contract, so is in service in that livery (picture), whilst the latter is repainted in full fleet livery (picture).

New vehicles are 114/115 (DE62 GXR/S), Scania N230UD with Optare Olympus H50/23F bodies (picture).

An unusual vehicle acquired in October 2009, but for some reason not reported previously in these pages, is ex Padbus 135 (316 NJO), a 1962 Bristol FLF6S with ECW O21/21FL body. The "S" in FLF6S refers to the Scania engine fitted by Padbus, who went one step further and replaced the bonnet and grille assembly with one modified from a Scania T-series truck, giving it a unique appearance! As if that wasn't enough, as well as the standard front entrance it also sports a rear wheelchair entrance with lift to the upper deck, so that wheelchair passengers can enjoy the sightseeing too! It has been an immediate success on the Manchester Tour (picture).

The following vehicles are now withdrawn:
131 (J131 EKN), a 1992 Scania N113DRB50 / Alexander `R' H47/33F, 136 (A136 AKN), 1984 Leyland Olympian ONTL11/1R / ECW O45/30F, 142-145 (M142-145 PKN), 1995 Scania N113DRB50 / Alexander R H46/31F and 148 (N398 TFV) a 1995 Scania N113DRB56 with East Lancs H53/35F body.

It is planned that 131 will be preserved, as it was the first new Scania to go into service with Eldorado, two months before the batch of five Alexander PS bodied N113s. Before its arrival, there was just one solitary Scania in the fleet - a secondhand Plaxton Paramount bodied K112!


New are 226/7 (DC11 JPR/JPS) Scania K230UB / Caetano B27D (picture). These are the single deck equivalents of the Scania/Caetano double deckers successfully introduced last year. As with the double deckers, they are based on vehicles delivered to KMB in Hong Kong. Painted in Park & Ride livery, they are the result of a long survey into usage of the Park & Ride service, which previously used "standard" single deckers, with doubling up in the morning and evening peaks. The survey showed that whilst passenger capacity was important during the peaks, for most of the day the ability to carry several baby buggies was the priority! The new vehicles, whilst looking outwardly similar to their KMB counterparts, have one less seat, not to cram in more standees, but to allow more wheelchair / buggy / shopping trolley space! Unlike their Hong Kong sisters, they have standard UK heating systems, and therefore do not have the air conditioning pods on the roof – a feature deemed un-necessary here! "Standard" single deckers continue to be used as the Park & Ride extras at peak times.

Also new are 35/6 (DE/DF11 ELD), two more Van Hool C47FLt bodied Scania K340EBs (picture). Like last year’s deliveries, they have wider front entrances to accommodate a wheelchair lift, hence the reduction of two seats compared to earlier vehicles. They are fitted with destination gear, and are intended for use on the X-series of express services.

A second-hand arrival is 225 (YN55 OXU), another OmniCity B39F acquired from Scania sales division.

As a consequence of these arrivals, the following are now withdrawn:
241/242 (M241/242 RKN), Scania N113CRB60s with Plaxton Verde B51F bodies dating from 1994. These were the last step-entrance single deckers, so with the exception of heritage/preserved vehicles, the single deck bus fleet is now 100% low floor.
9/10 (S9/10 ELD), 1998 Scania K113CRB30s with Van Hool Alizee C49Ft bodies.


>>> Earlier News (2010)