Archive for October, 2014

Mechanical road sweepers

October 29, 2014

We often took for granted the cleanliness of our streets. In the past, road cleaning was performed manually by workers employed by Ministry of the Environment. It was laborious and slow. As more roads were built, a more efficient and quicker way of keeping the streets clean was needed. The Ministry of the Environment started to use mechanical road sweepers in 1973. The initial trial involves a specially built Wayne and two truck mounted sweepers, one of them was mounted on a Bedford TK truck and the other on a Ford D truck. These sweepers came equipped with two sets of drive controls and steering wheels so that the driver can sit on either left or right hand side and steer the vehicle depending on which side of the road he is cleaning. Eventually a batch of Wayne road sweepers were purchased.
This is the first generation of specially built Wayne road sweeper :

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Currently truck mounted sweepers were used as well as specially built ones :

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Leyland Victory

October 28, 2014

The Leyland Victory Mk II is an improved version of the Victory J which was first manufactured by Guy Motors. Guy Motors became one of the companies in the Leyland empire and its products were eventually branded as Leylands, SBS ordered 144 units of Mk IIs. These 12m long buses were equipped with Leyland O.680 six cylinder vertically mounted 11.1L engine generating a maximum output of 180hp. Suspension were semi elliptical leaf springs type. All of them had pneumocyclic 5 speed semi automatic gear boxes, dubbed the mini gears by the local newspapers :

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The buses were delivered in batches from 1975 to 1978. All of them were bodied by Soon Chow. This is the early batch with full depth sliding windows :

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The exterior looks the same as the Albion Vikings EVK41ULs. On close observation, there were some differences between the Viking and Victory. The Victory Mk II’s front door set back by 40cm due to bulky engine and as a result, there is a thick pillar between the windscreen and the front door.

The later batch of Victory Mk II received modified Soon Chow bodies :

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All the windows were redesign such that only the upper ¾ part can be opened. The bottom part consists of two fixed pieces of glass, giving an illusion that it can also slide open. This redesigned windows was an attempt to cut down on the rattling noise generated by the big window panes. In addition, a thin piece of glass was fitted on the thick pillar at the front between the windscreen and the door, something which served no purpose.

The last batch of Victory Mk IIs were delivered in 1977 to 1978. These last 20 units had BACO bodies. They were also assembled by Soon Chow. The windows and the emergency exit located at the rear of the bus are same as those used on the BACO bodied Leyland Atlantean double deckers. The front windscreen was huge, similar to those used on the Plaxton Supreme coaches :

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As a result of the large coach like windscreen, the destination box became very narrow. It can hardly display the route number. A light box for the route number was added later to all the BACO buses on the left hand side behind the windscreen. This is a BACO Victory before the light box for route number was installed :

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Some of the early batch of Victory MK IIs were rebuilt and converted to air con. The rebuilding took place at Soon Chow. A new coach style body was fitted and the air con compressor unit installed under the floor at the rear :

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The bus body design is similar to the Drogmoller Comet. Both the Drogmoller and the Soon Chow rebuilt uses Mercedes Benz W116 and W123 car head lights respectively plus a large vertical windscreen.

Acknowledgement :
1. Straits Times 2. National Archives Singapore 3. Wikimedia Commons

Old bus terminus – Marine Parade

October 21, 2014

The terminus at Marine Parade was originally located at Marine Terrace. This was a roadside terminus used by services 15 and 16. As more bus services serve the area, a new proper terminus was built at Siglap Road next to East Coast Parkway.
The map of the location:

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The services terminates here are SBS16, 76, 135, 196. The terminus was also used by Trans Island Bus 853 on weekend and public holidays. This used to be the entrance to the terminus :

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The place is now just an empty grass patch :

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After the terminus was closed, some of the buses on route 76 still make a short lay over at the slip road :

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Padwa Design

October 15, 2014

Padwa Design Studio is a little known (at least in these parts of the world) design company based in Isreal. The company design all kinds of things. One the project the company did was to design a tour coach. This coach was the award winning Meteor built by Merkavim. Merkavim is a bus and coach builder based also in Isreal. The Meteor won the award for the most beautiful coach of the year and futuristic design at the 1995 Kortrijk (Belgium) bus show :

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This is our Padwa look alike local coach built by Soon Chow :

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The front looks very similar to the original Padwa design : lower part of the windscreen with both end sloping at an angle, position of the lights and the curve line on the bumper housing the two spot lights.

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There are some differences in the rear end. The rectangular tail lights on the original Padwa coach doesn’t seem to fit in well among all the curve profiles at the rear. The round lights looks better.

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Delta Plan

October 8, 2014

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Local bus builders used to build buses which are “Uniquely Singaporean”. The trend towards “Europeanisation” of bus models started when Chua Heng Industries market their Mercedes O302 style coach bodies mounted on Mercedes OF1413 chassis. This is the original German built O302 :
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The Chua Heng models were slight different from the original German version. It became very popular and the Chua Heng O302 style body were built on other type of chassis as well : Tata, Leyland, Albion and Bedford. Other builders soon followed with inspirations derived from other European models such as Drogmoller, Setra, Berkhorf, Buelas, etc. One of the more recent popular bus model built by local bus builders is this bus modelled after Finnish company Delta Plan OY (currently Carrus Delta OY) :
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Most of them were built by Asia and GTS on Mercedes, Nissan, Hino, Fuso and Isuzu chassis. Many of these buses are currently being replaced by cheap China imports. This is the European Delta Plan :
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Acknowledgement : Wikimedia Commons


October 1, 2014

The other Japanese light bus which longer sold is the Nissan Civilian. The Nissan light bus was originally named as Nissan Echo GC140. It is a 24 seater and went into production from 1959 to 1966. The bus was based on the Nissan Caball truck. It uses a 1.5L, 85hp Nissan G-series diesel engine. This is a first generation Nissan Echo, model was sold and used locally as a school bus :

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The second generation Echo GC240 were manufactured from1966 -1971. I am not sure if the GC240 was used locally as I have not seen any. In 1971 GC240 Echo name was changed to Civilian after several accidents due design defects. GC240 became the first generation Nissan Civilian. The model was upgraded to GC340 from 1976 to 1982. This new model was a specially developed platform, it is no longer based on the Caball truck. Earlier models uses ED30 3.0L, 85hp, later models (1980 onwards) ED33, 3.3L, 96hp diesel engine. This model was widely used by local operators :

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Second generation Civilian W40 was as popular as the first generation GC340. A large number of them were sold to local operators including the two public bus companies SBS and Trans Island Bus. The model began production in1982 using the Nissan ED33 120hp 3.3L diesel engine :

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Minor changes were made to the model in 1995 with headlights changed from round type to square type :

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The engine of the later models were changed to Nissan ED35 105hp 3.5L diesel.
Two lengths were available : short wheelbase 6.27m 26 passengers and long wheelbase 6.99m 30 passengers.
Short wheelbase Civilian :

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Third generation Civilian W41 went into production in 1999. This model was not sold locally.

Acknowledgements : 1. Wikimedia Commons 2. National Archives Singapore