Sentosa Part 6

December 17, 2014

Road link to Sentosa island was opened in December 1992. In conjunction with the opening of the Sentosa Causeway, SBS began operating bus services to the island under contract with SDC. Visitors will have an alternative way of going to Sentosa besides taking the ferry. A fleet of Volvo B10Ms was leased from SBS by its subsidiary company SBS Leisure to operate the buses services.
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The interior of the bus with TV and VCR installed :
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The video play a taped recording introducing the various attractions on the island.
The leased Volvo B10M were returned to SBS when a new fleet of Volvo B10Ms purchased by SBS Leisure were delivered :
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Unlike the leased B10Ms, these new buses were bodied by Soon Chow using kits from British firm PSV.
SDC continued using their own Mercedes OF1315s and Leyland Olympian open top double deckers on the Green line.

Acknowledgement : National Archives Singapore

Sentosa part 5

December 10, 2014

In 1991 double deckers made its presence again on Sentosa. Sentosa Development Corporation purchased three ex-British double deckers. These double deckers belonged to London Central Bus Company based at Bexleyheath Garage in Kent, London and they were built in 1987. The buses were powered by Gardner 6LXB engine and equipped with Leyland Hydracyclic gearbox. Upon arrival in Sentosa, all of them were converted to open top on the upper deck and aircon was installed on the lower deck. In addition, wooden trims were added on the exterior of the Northern Counties bodywork to give them a retro look
The buses were registered as RU402A, RU403Y and RU404U. The lower deck aircon was later abandoned and sliding windows were installed :

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Besides the three double deckers, SDC also added three brand new single deck Mercedes OF1315s, a departure from its previous policy of only acquiring second hand buses. These buses were built by Kim Mun Kang Motor Workshop to a mock trolley design :

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The registration numbers were RU12S, RU13P and RU342P. These RU registered single and double deck buses became the main workhorses on the island until the Sentosa Causeway bridge was opened and they were replaced by Volvo B10M buses contracted from SBS.

Sentosa Part 4

December 3, 2014

When the time for the Austin FF1100s to retire, SDC look to SBS again for buses. This time, the model chosen were the Mercedes LP1113s. The buses originally had centre door. All of them were rebuilt by SBS into dual door version for one man operation, the entrance door after the front axle and the exit door at the rear after the rear axle :

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SDC convert all of them back to single door. The entrance door was retained. The grab poles at the exit door were removed, the two piece folding door welded permanently shut, the pneumatic door open/close mechanism removed, a steel plate cover the steps and a seat installed. The seat at this location has a door on the side instead of a window, quite odd feeling for the person sitting on that seat. From the outside, the buses looked like having two doors.

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Above : rear view of ex-SBS Mercedes LP1113. Owner of photo : unknown

Acknowledgement : TheBusDude

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

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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