Eldorado News 2017

Further new vehicles are also Scania / ADL combinations. These are 236-238 (YN67 EGE/EGF/EGH), ADL Enviro 300 bodied Scania K250UBs, with a DP43F layout.

A rather unusual acquisition for the recovery fleet is E21 (Q157 YNC) a 1970 Mercedes Unimog 404.1 U82. It is an ex-NATO Reserve Fire Service vehicle, and still carries that bodywork. It has spent most of its life in storage, and has less than 20,000km on its clock! It is the only left-hand drive vehicle in the fleet, and is intended more for publicity than the likelihood of it actually being needed to be used!

Withdrawn are 204-6 (Y204-6 AKN) Scania L94UB / Wright Axcess Floline B44F dating from 2001, replaced by the E300s above. With the exception of heritage vehicles and those carrying “cherished” plates, these were the last vehicles carrying the old-style registrations.

The vehicles of Haven Coaches, a small Staffordshire independent on the outskirts of Eldorado’s operating area, have been acquired when the business closed on the retirement of the owner. Three of the acquired vehicles have been taken into the Eldorado fleet, despite being “non-standard” vehicles for Eldorado. They are 123 (DX62 PSW), a Volvo B9TL / Wright Eclipse Gemini II H45/23D; 235 (DU10 ZYH), an ADL Enviro 200 with B35F body; and 67, a Bova Futura FHD12.340 C49Ft which keeps its “cherished” registration DX05 HAV.

The acquisition also included several older coaches which will not be taken into the fleet – three Volvo/Van Hool T8s and two Volvo/Plaxtons all over 20 years old, and at the time of acquisition it was not sure how many of these were still “runners”, and an accident damaged Volvo B9TL / Wright Eclipse Gemini – this being an older Mk1 type. This will be given a thorough examination to decide whether it is viable to repair it, or whether it should be scrapped. The final vehicle, discovered in a corner of the yard, proved to be quite a surprise! EGN 681J is an AEC Swift 4MP2R with Metro-Cammell B46F body, which was new in 1971 to London Transport as SMS681, and was originally B33D+34 standees. Some attempt at preservation has already been made, and the plan is to keep this vehicle and complete the restoration, but in its current (B46F) form, with no plans to revert to dual door configuration.

New is 51 (ELD 600), a Scania K410ID6X2*4 with ADL Enviro 500MMC CH59/18Dt coachwork (Photo). It would have been issued with a 67-plate, but carries the cherished registration plate from the 1991 Olympian double deck coach which was withdrawn in 2013. Also new is 59 (FC67 ELD), a second Mercedes Atego 1223L with Plaxton Cheetah XL body, this time with a rear mounted toilet, and hence a reduced seating capacity of C32Ft.
Major revisions to the X-series of express services created a shortage of coaches, resulting in the re-instating of Bova Futura 62 (PH02 CDW), and the hiring of several vehicles, which included for varying periods: from Padbus - 103 (OM13 CAC) Scania K340EB/Van Hool Alizee C49Ft, (despite its heavy Oxford - London route branding!); from Arden Forest - 181 (FJ11 MLU) Volvo B11R/Caetano Levante C51FLt; from dealers - YJ06 LBL, Bova FHD12.340/Bova Futura C49Ft; YP14 PGE, Scania K410EB/Irizar PB 14-3.7 C59Ft; and FJI 5377, Volvo B10M-62/Van Hool Alizee C53F dating from 1997!

Second-hand acquisitions to ease the shortage of coaches are 44 (YN09 BRE), a Scania K340EB/Irizar PB 12-3.5 C49FLt dating from 2009, and 45 (FN59 EOR) Scania K340EB/Caetano CT650 C49FLt from 2010 which are now in full fleet livery. Also acquired are 64/65 (R4 ELD/R5 ELD – ex-MJI 7692/3, originally T447/8 ABH) Mercedes 0404 / Mercedes Tourismo 15.RHD C49FLt, and 66 (P6 ELD – ex-V606 PCX) Bova FHD12.340 / Bova Futura C53FL. All date from 1999, and have been painted in a simplified livery of plain cream (without stripes or other embellishments) to keep cost to a minimum (Photo). They will be used for contract work and private hire, releasing more suitable vehicles for the express services.

A further TRS Slide Bed has been acquired for the specialist recovery division. E12 (BT11 BDO) is built on a MAN TGL 12.220 chassis dating from 2011.

The double deckers in the "specialist" fleet were renumbered. Bristol FLFs 132 (MHN 225E), 133 (5083 HN) and 135 (316 NJO) became 151-3 respectively, Bristol FS 136 (274 BWU) became 154, and Scania / Alexander 146 (350 ELD) became 155.

Second-hand acquisitions are 156/7 (YN56 FEA/FEC), Scania N94s with Optare OmniDekka bodies which were converted to open top and fitted with wheelchair lifts to the upper deck in the centre entrance before entering service. 156 is branded for the Manchester Tour and 157 for the Peak Explorer.

New vehicles are 11 (YL17 ELD), a further 14m Scania K410EB6 with Irizar C57DLt bodywork, with the wheelchair lift incorporated into a nearside centre door, as per last year’s deliveries, and 58 (FJ17 ELD), a Mercedes Atego 1223L / Plaxton Cheetah XL C36F, with a second, similar, vehicle on order.

Following the success of last year’s venture, Eldorado is again assisting Crossways (Ryan Birch) by loaning a number of vehicles for use on the Racecourse Shuttles for the Cheltenham Festival (14th-17th March). 8 PCVs plus a recovery vehicle are being loaned, and a list of these can be seen in the “Events” section.


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