Archive for September, 2011

Old Seattle streetcar

September 27, 2011

I was never a big fan of trams but I can never resist from taking a shot whenever I am overseas in places were trams operates. To me, trams are some kind of noisy contraption which was neither train nor bus running on tracks occupying the centre of roads (tram lovers will skin me alive for making such blasphemous statement). Another pet peeve I have is that in most cities, to take a tram, one has to stand on a narrow platform on the centre of the road.
This is a George Benson Waterfront Streetcar (a.k.a. tram) taken at Pioneer Square back in the early 2000:
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This system was built in 1982 costing US$3.2 million. The 2.6km line had nine stations. The five 1920s vintage wood panelled trams were purchased from Melbourne Australia and shipped all the way to Seattle, USA. Each car is 48 feet long and can seat 43 passengers.
The system was closed in 2005.
Possible to have a tram system in Singapore? The last tram system in Singapore was operated by the Shanghai Electric Tram Company in the early 1900s. Sometime ago the idea of a modern tram system was mooted for our Marina Bay area. With our government’s favorite past time of digging up the roads to lay all sorts things under it, such idea is probably just pure wishful thinking.

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Ford buses

September 20, 2011

The early Ford buses were based on the Thames Trader truck. The buses carried the “Thames” badge instead of “Ford”. Tay Koh Yat Bus Company was the only public bus company which uses Thames buses.

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Tay Koh Yat’s Ford Thames on route 2

The Ford Thames model was superceded by the Ford R-series. Although the R-series were built as bus chassis, many of the engine components were same as the Ford D-series truck. Again Tay Koh Yat was the main user of Ford R-series buses.
Two models were sold in Singapore : R192 and R226. R192 is 10m long while R226 is 11m. Gross vehicle weight is 12000kg and 12200kg respectively. The two models were later re-designated as R1014 (R192) and R1114 (R226).
The R192s were built to standard centre door layout by Tay Koh Yat. The provision of long front overhang was not utilised for the entrance. Unlike the R192s, the R226s were built with front entrance and centre exit doors.

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United Bus Company’s (ex-Tay Koh Yat) Ford R192 met with an accident at River Valley Road

When the R226 was first deployed on route 20 operating between Toa Payoh and Chinatown, it was the longest bus used in 1970. Each one of them can seat 55 passengers.

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Once upon a time the longest bus in Singapore – Tay Koh Yat’s Ford R226

The buses used a Ford Turbo II six cylinder 6.0 litres turbocharged engine. Maximium power output is 141hp. Manual six speed synchromesh gear box is the standard. The engine is mounted at the front, inclined at angle of 45 degrees to the left hand side. Together with a shallow radiator, this make the front entrance area very spacious as compared to other models such as Mercedes OF series and Albion Vikings, where the vertically mounted engine occupies lots of space, leaving only a narrow channel for passenger to board.

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Sketch of the engine position of a normal front engine bus (left) vs Ford R-series (right).

Both the R192s and R226s were passed on to United Bus Company. UBC continue to add more R226s to its fleet in 1971 and 72. Soon Chow and Soon Wing were the two body builders for UBC.
The entire fleet was eventually ended up with SBS. After the R226s were retired from SBS, many of them ended up with private bus companies. Teo Ponggol, Blue & White, Pritam Singh were some of the companies which operated the ex-SBS R226s.
The last Ford bus is a B1617 delivered to SBS as a demonstrator in 1977. SBS did not place any orders and after the trial period, the B1617 was sold to Singapore Fire Brigade and was assigned to Alexandra Fire Station.
Ford UK ceased bus and truck manufacture in 1986.

Acknowledgement : Ford R192 photo from National Archives Singapore

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Mobile library, then and now

September 13, 2011

Bedford OB library bus in the 1960s :
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Mercedes O405 library bus :
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Acknowledgement : Bedford OB photo from National Archives Singapore

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Arsenal

September 6, 2011

Here is one for all the die hard Arsenal soccer fans :
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Where are U, Man U?

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