Archive for October, 2013

Old bus terminus – Outram Park

October 30, 2013

Outram Park car park in front of Outram Road was the terminus for both Tay Koh Yat and Hock Lee Amalgamated Bus companies. From this terminus, Tay Koh Yat route 20 goes to Toa Payoh Lorong 1 whilst Hock Lee Amalgamated Bus route 15 goes to Ewart Circus. This is the location of the terminus :

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This is a post card showing the terminus :

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The buses parked at the lower right hand side belongs to Tay Koh Yat. The road in front is Outram Road with some unidentified Hock Lee buses. After the 1971 bus re-organisation, the terminus closed. All the buses terminate at nearby New Bridge Road road side terminus outside the General Hospital.

The flats at the background together with the car park were demolished in the 1990s leaving an empty plot of land :

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Supreme Star O306

October 23, 2013

In the early 1970s, the local distributor of Mercedes Benz Cycle & Carriage set up a bus assembly plant Supreme Star. Majority of the buses assembled are based on Mercedes OF1413 chassis and a small number on OF1113. The body uses all aluminium construction. It was marketed locally as the O306:
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The all the windows were half drop type except the last one which were fixed and mounted on rubber gasket. The level of the windows were higher than those of normal bus. The seats were standard type manufactured by Khinco. The seats over the four wheel arches were mounted higher than all the others as can be seen in this photo :
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These buses were the first to use push button type of door controls mounted on the floor immediately behind the engine cover (circled above). The standard door controls at that time used on all buses were valve type :
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Another major departure from standard bus fittings were the roof mounted ventrilation ports. Instead of the usual small ports (usually four to six per bus), there were four big square ventrilation port, with the bell line mounted to the left side of the ventrilation port instead of the centre of the roof. Overall the bus body was solid. The bad point of this body type is the high window line and the use of dim incandescent light bulbs instead of fluorescent lights.

There were all together three versions. The only different between the versions were the front radiator grille. The first version which was only delivered to United Bus Company had the front radiator as appeared in this Supreme Star’s newspaper advertisement :
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The rectangular grille incorporating the head lights were copy of the famous Mercedes O302 coach.
The second version, which is the majority, delivered to United, Amalgamated and Associated Bus companies were these :
 photo star1_zpsbce82cba.jpgA coloured band incorporating the head lights were used.
The last version which were only delivered to SBS, were similar to second version, except that twin head lights were used :
 photo star5_zpsbe3f9f26.jpgBecause of the sturdy construction, many of these buses were rebuilt by SBS. All the half drop windows were replaced by sliding type. The front was also changed a little, with the front light clusters replaced with those used on the Leyland Alexander double deckers :
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Besides Singapore, same type of buses were also sold and operated in Indonesia.

Acknowledgement : bus photos from National Archives Singapore

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Transport and Communications Exposition

October 16, 2013

In 1969 a Transport and Communications Exposition was held at Kallang Park to showcase the republic’s spectacular progress in transport and communication, from bullock carts to satellites. The exposition was held in conjunction of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles. The exposition lasted for one month from 1st to 31st August. The location of the exposition :

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The exposition took up 150,000 square feet and start from 6pm to midnight everyday. Entrance fee is only 20 cents. Throughout the period of exposition, the roads around Kallang Park were jammed with cars. All the bus companies ran special services from various places to the exposition. This is the entrance to the exposition :

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Equipment worth $1 million will be on display at 300 stalls and pavilions. Departments from Ministry of Communication, statutory boards, airlines, shipping, motor transport organization took part. On display were pictures, films, photographs, models, maps, equipment. These are some of the equipment displayed.
A SRN6 hovercraft similar to this one was contributed by the British military stationed in Singapore :

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Dennis Major Pump 3 fire engine :

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Many local bus companies displayed their latest bus models which mostly were Mercedes LP1113s. STC had their own pavilion in which showed off their latest bus purchased from Japan, a Nissan RX103K3 :

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Model of Paya Lebar airport :

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Although the entrance fee is only 20 cents, the organizers managed to collect enough money to pay for the expenses as well as a profit of $40,000. The $40,000 profit was donated to charity. There was also a lucky draw for visitors using the entrance tickets at the end of the exposition. The unclaimed prizes which include a Mercedes Benz 200, one television, two tape recorders and cigarettes were also donated to charity to be use for a new donation draw (yes, cigarettes were prizes!).
Based on the profit of $40,000 and the entrance fee of 20 cents, the number of visitors is 200,000. This exclude the calculation of the number visitors using the money used to pay for running the exposition, the number of visitors was very much higher.

Acknowledgement : Old photo from National Archives Singapore & wikipedia

Here is a catalogue courtesy of Stephen Williams, who visited the Exposition in 1969. He is also a fan of Tay Koh Yat Bus.

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Trolley bus

October 9, 2013

I have a keen interest in buses since I was very young. One the bus type which I didn’t have much chance to ride on were trolley buses. They were decommissioned and scrapped while I was still very young.

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The buses were deployed on routes 2, 3, 4 and 6. There were a total of 50 buses operating on 40km of route network. The chassis were built in UK by Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies and shipped to Singapore for bodying in 1948.
The few trips I took with my parents made lasting impression on me. I took notice that unlike other buses, it didn’t made much noise and it has “two sticks on the roof” connected to some overhead wires. It was very much later that I came to know the name of the “two sticks on the roof” are called pantographs.
All the seats were aisle facing. The windows on these buses were made up of aluminium sheets as shown here :

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On rainy days when all the windows were closed, it became very dark in the bus. The driver need to turn on the lights. Passengers can only peek through the small narrow horizontal glass mounted above the windows to see if they have reached their destination. If he is seating near the door, looking out of the door is the easier way as the door was always kept open permanently.
Problems with trolley bus is that it is inflexible. The buses cannot change route or diverted because of the overhead wires. When some of the roads were turned into one way street, one lane was reserved for the use of these buses and it ran counter to the traffic direction. The buses were eventually scrapped in 1962.

Acknowledgement : Photo from National Archives Singapore

Old bus terminus – Lorong 1 Toa Payoh

October 2, 2013

The main bus terminus in Toa Payoh in its early days was located at Lorong 1. There was another smaller bus terminus at Lorong 6. This is the location of the Lorong 1 terminus :

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The terminus was used originally for Tay Koh Yat 7, 16, 20, STC 1, 6, 11, 30, 37, 38, Paya Lebar 2A, and Changi 10.
After the 1971 bus re-organisation, it was used for STC 142, 145, 146, ABS 152, 155A, 156 and UBC 140A, 149A, 150, 153.
This is the view of the stretch of road today :

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This is the view of Lorong 1 in the early days taken from either block 166 or 167 :

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Block 165, 166 and 167 were demolished. This is the same angle of the place taken from the empty plot of land where the blocks once stood :

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The terminus was closed together with the one at Lorong 6 not long after the 1971 bus re-organisation. All the bus services were shifted to Toa Payoh Central. This is the first version of Toa Payoh Central bus terminus, basically an open air parking lot :

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Another view with the bus stops for boarding indicated by the arrow :

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The bus terminus was rebuilt to include better boarding areas and amenties. This is the version 2 of the terminus with proper boarding bays for every service :

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The final rebuilt of the terminus was this version 3 with aircon boarding bays :

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Acknowledgement : Toa Payoh Central photos from National Archives Singapore