Archive for November, 2014

Sentosa Part 3

November 26, 2014

When the ex-London double deckers reached the end of the life span, SDC need to find replacements. SBS was in the process of standardising the fleet to mainly Mercedes and Albions. They were scrapping all the old buses and selling off some of the newer ones of other marques. One of the model they were selling off were the Austin FF1100s. SDC took the opportunity to purchase a number of these buses from SBS. Some Austin FF1100s date back to the late 1960s, the previous owners were Changi and Easy Bus Company. The rest were introduced by Associated Bus Service during the period around 1971 and 1972 :

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All the buses were repainted and placed into service in its original form with centre door. All of them lost the original front radiator grille and were patched up haphazardly. Some of them also had the original half drop windows replaced by sliding type. As a result, each one looks different.

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Above top : old livery. Bottom : new livery

Surprisingly, SDC did not took on some of the late model FF1100s with Soon Chow bodies introduced by Amalgamated Bus Company in the late 1972, a few months just before the second merger to form SBS. The ex-ABC units were relatively new back then.

Acknowledgement : TheBusDude

Sentosa Part 2

November 19, 2014

With the increase of number of visitors to Sentosa, bigger buses were needed to move visitors around the island. Sentosa Development Corporation bought 13 numbers of ex-London double deckers to do the job. These double deckers were a mix of seven RTs and six RTLs.
The RT double deckers were produced in large numbers by Associated Equipment Company (AEC) for London Transport in the 1950s. RTL were built by Leyland on a modified Titan PD2 double decker to London Transport’s specification. The two models can be easily differentiated by the radiators. The RT’s radiator is divided into two halves as can be seen below. The extreme left is a RTL, the three on the right are RTs :
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The buses arrived and were put into service in 1975 its original form except with the British destination blinds removed. Each of them was licensed to carry 57 passengers although during peak periods, the number of passengers carried exceed far beyond that number.
The buses were built to London Transport specification with only two half drop windows on each side of both the upper and lower decks. The rest of the side windows were fixed pieces of glass and as a result, the buses can become very hot and stuffy on a hot humid day.
This is a side view of a London RT. Note the number of windows which can opened on both decks :
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The buses were painted in two colours : seven red and six green, representing the route on which they were used. The red line ran cross island from Fort Siloso in the western end to the Coralarium in the eastern end. The green line served both end of the island and also the ferry jetty located at about middle of the island.
Because of the ventrilation problem, all them were modified with all the side windows and parts of the body panels replaced :
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The buses were withdrawn in 1980 and were replaced by a fleet of 22 ex-SBS Austin FF1100. This is not the end of ex-UK double deckers on Sentosa. Two decades later, three ex-UK Leyland Olympian joined the Sentosa fleet.

Acknowledgement : Wikimedia Commons

Sentosa Part 1

November 12, 2014

Sentosa island then known as Pulau Blakang Mati used to be a British military base in the early days. There were no records as to whether there were any buses operated by the military back then. The earliest record of private bus operating on the island was a Ford lorry based bus with rear open platform operating as the Island Bus. No records of the frequency, operating hours, fare stages (probably a flat fare) and route were available.
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When SDC was formed in 1972 to convert the island into a resort, some form of transport was needed. A fleet of five Commer buses were acquired. These Commer buses were modified from the Commer Walk-thru van. Four set of seats were mounted across the body, each seat can take four passengers. Including the seat next to the driver at the front, the total number of passengers per bus is 17. Needless to say, with the seating arrangements, there were no room for standing passengers. The buses have no doors and passengers can get off and on from both sides of the bus. This type of configuration is known as toastrack.
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With the increase of visitors to the island, ex-London double deckers were purchased. The Commer toastracks continued to serve alongside the double deckers until they were replaced by similar designed toastrack Mercedes O309s :
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The seating capacity was 21. After the Mercedes O309 toastracks were retired, normal full size buses were used.

Acknowledgement : TheBusDude

Old bus terminus – Commonwealth Avenue

November 5, 2014

Commonwealth Avenue/North Bouna Vista Road junction was one of the very busy bus terminus after the bus transport re-organisation in 1971.There were 18 services terminating at this junction : ABC 5, 122, 148, 192, 193, ABS 2, 12, 13, 13A, 103, 103A, 144, 147, STC 64, 191A, 111, 112 and UBC 181 :
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This is a photo of the first location, photo taken from Ghim Moh HDB flats:
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This terminus is now used as a parking lots for cars and heavy vehicles :
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The terminus was moved and is now located at North Bouna Vista Road :
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Acknowledgement : National Archives Singapore