Posts Tagged ‘bus’

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 :
 photo RT1_zps371a0570.jpg
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 :
 photo RT2_zpsc624ffa1.jpg
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 :
 photo sentosa4_zps17f34808.jpg
The buses were withdrawn in 1980 and were replaced by a fleet of 22 ex-SBS Austin FF1100.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.
 photo sentosa1_zps757eaab1.jpg
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.
 photo sentosa2_zps9f661217.jpg
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 :
 photo sentosa3_zps98b021fd.jpg
The seating capacity was 21. After the Mercedes O309 toastracks were retired, normal full size buses were used.

Acknowledgement : TheBusDude

The STC story Part 4 : The aftermath

August 27, 2014

On 4 December 1971, it was announced to the media that there will be no STC bus service. All the company buses were driven to National Stadium carpark at Kallang. Commuters on Sunday 5 December had to make do with bus services operated by the other 3 bus companies. National Stadium carparks A and B next to Nicoll Highway will serve as the temporary depot and buses will be dispatch from there the following Monday 6 December.
STC has a fleet of 571 buses in 1970, of the different models of buses, only the Isuzus, Nissans, Fusos and Guy Arabs were transferred. The remaining 125 Albion Victors were too old, close to 20 years. Majority were scrapped with a handful bought by the private school bus operators. The remaining 407 buses were balloted and allocated to the three other companies : Associated, Amalgamated and United.
With the Albions scrapped, there was a shortage of buses, the three companies scramble to get whatever spare buses they had and put them on the roads. Although the news announcement stated that the STC buses in green livery will continue to operate, this was not the case. Commuters on the next Monday morning found that the other companies’ buses were used. Some of the routes served by STC were also suspended until new buses became available. The three companies did keep the green livery for a short while. All of them paint the strip below the window line into their respective company colours leaving the bottom part green :
Amalgamated Bus Company :
 photo STCABC_zpsfb16ff8f.jpg
Associated Bus Service :
 photo STCABS_zps9ef45b4e.jpg
United Bus Company :
 photo STCUBC_zps7d34bb08.jpg

Acknowledgement : TheBusDude

The STC story Part 3 : The demise

August 20, 2014

Throughout its 53 year history, the company suffered from several strikes and worker – management problems.
STC bus workers on strike in the 1950s :
 photo stcstrike_zps2fd9a516.jpg
Other bus companies were roped in to take over the STC routes during the strike. Kampong Bahru Bus running on STC route 16 during the strike :
 photo strikebus_zps43b8f476.jpg
There was also a problem with corruption, with bus crews and inspectors pocketing fares, did not issue tickets for full journey or recycle used tickets. Soon gangsters got involved. They also gave free rides to passengers to teach the company a lesson. The company began losing money from 1964 to 1971. No dividends were declared through the years with the exception of 1970.
With the 1971 bus system re-organisation, the 1925 STC Ordinance was repealed and the company lost the monopoly in the city area. STC had to compete the other three companies, adding to its financial burden. The company finally declared bankrupt in 1971. All that were left in the company were 407 buses and 2 pieces of depot land at Mackenzie Road and Upper Aljunied Road. The routes and buses were distributed among the three companies.
The last company annual report issued in 1970 showed an accumulated lost of $5,313,688.
Attempts were made to revive the company in December 1975, 7 years after it ceased bus operation. All efforts were futile. The company was finally wound up at an extraordinary general meeting. With a start-up capital of $14.2 million, its assets shrunk to $275,000 at the point of winding up.

Acknowledgement : National Archives Singapore

The STC story Part 2 : The “new” company

August 13, 2014

In 1964, the owners in London sold all the company shares to a group of local investors. The new owners toyed with the idea of changing the company name, logo and the liveries of its buses. The company drawing office’s draftsmen were tasked to come up with different liveries. Some of the liveries were applied to the buses for trial :
 photo STC3_zpsd9c8a5f9.jpg
Eventually the company decided to paint its buses lower half green with a red band below the window, retaining the original company logo :
 photo STC4_zps4feab1f0.jpg
Company logo and company flag :
 photo stcflag_zpsa728b4a5.jpg
In 1964, Singapore being part of the Malaysian federation, it was only politically correct to change the name of the “new” company to Syarikat Berhad Trekshen Singapura. This did not came to pass and the original company name was retained with the “1964” added : Singapore Traction Company (1964) Ltd. The share capital in 1964 company was $14.2million and by 1970s, it operates a fleet of 500 buses, the biggest bus fleet in Singapore back then. The company also own two plots of land at MacKenzie Road and Upper Aljunied Road, both used as bus depot with the Mackenzie Road premises also housing the head office.
MacKenzie Road depot and office :
 photo MacKenzie_zps19a2eb39.jpg
Upper Aljunied Road depot :
 photo aljunieddepot_zpseb332d46.jpg
The company also embark on an attempt to start a bus building company in collaboration with Nissan in Aug 1968. A new company Singapore Nissan Motors Pte Ltd was formed with two other shareholders : Nissan Motor Co. from Japan and Tan Chong Motor & Sons Co., the local distributor of Nissan vehicles. The company produces Datsun pickups and Nissan buses.
 photo stcnissanfactory_zpsfd62d8a0.jpg

Acknowledgement : 1. National Archives Singapore 2. TheBusDude

The STC story Part 1 : The beginning

August 6, 2014

Singapore Electric Tramways (SET) started an electric tram service in 1902. This company is the predecessor of STC. The power station used to generate electricity was located at MacKenzie Road, the same place which later became a STC bus depot.
Cart loads of coal for electricity generation at MacKenzie Road:
 photo coal_zps8fdeae78.jpg
Trams ran on steel tracks :
 photo tram_zps6d528933.jpg
In 1910, there were 60 tramcars in service. The trams operated at a lost for 18 years before they were withdrawn in 1920.
Singapore Traction Company Ltd took over SET in 1925 and under the 1925 STC Ordinance, the company was given monopoly to operate buses in the city area. The company quickly replaced the trams running on steel tracks with trolley buses which ran on solid rubber tyres :
 photo trolley1_zps538e11b2.jpg
There are two section on the bus. The front portion is the first class whilst the rear is the second class. I am not sure what was the difference between the two classes on the bus. My guess is that in first class section all passengers were guaranteed a seat. These are the tickets for 1st and 2nd class :
 photo stctic2_zps9e3e5e5b.jpg
 photo stctic1_zps201cf43a.jpg
The total number of trolley buses used was 108 and it operates on a 40km route network. In 1929, the company also added motor buses to its fleet as its area of operation expands. The total number of motor buses eventually totaled 300. When World War II started, many of the buses were commandeered to ferry troops to Malaya and many of them destroyed. During the Japanese occupation, the company operated under the name of Syonan Tokubetsu. After the war, only 20 operational trolley buses remained. All the rests were damaged beyond repair and were cannibalized for spare parts. The replacements came in 1948, 50 number of brand new trolley bus chassis built by Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies were shipped in from UK to Singapore for bodying by Lee Kiat Seng :
 photo trolley2_zps6b207149.jpg
At the same time, the company also started to rebuild its fleet of motorbuses acquiring Bedford, Ford, Albion and Dennis buses. With the introduction of one way streets in the city area, trolley buses had trouble in changing its operation due to the overhead wires and road side infrastructures. Some of the services had to run counter to the direction of traffic flow.
The trolley bus system lost favour with the management and was eventually scrapped in December 1962. From then on, STC only operate motorbuses.

Kia Cosmos AM828

July 30, 2014

The last part on Korean buses in Singapore.
The AM828 was the third generation of medium bus manufactured by Kia Motors. The first generation was the AM808 manufactured by Asia Motors, a company which was bought over by Kia. The AM808 was based on the Japanese Hino Rainbow RJ. AM808 was replaced by the AM818 in 1989. It uses a 6728cc Hino H07C engine. In 1997 the new AM828 began production. This bus also made use of Hino engine, the 7412cc Hino H07D. The production run of this model came to an end in 2002 without any replacement.
The AM828 were shipped in chassis form and bodied by local bus builders. Majority were registered during the period 2000 to 2001. Two of the direct competitor in this category of 9m buses were the Nissan SM217L and Fuso RK117J. Most of the Kia buses were built by Liannex. This is one of the Liannex AM828 which was still badged as Asia Motors :

 photo kiaam828a_zps88e292bd.jpg

The frontal design is a copy of the European model Stergo built by Spanish company Beulas SAU :

 photo beulasstergo_zpsf15d3062.jpg

Only two of the AM828 were built by SC Auto using the SC Classic design :

 photo kiaam828b_zps8d257d2c.jpg

Acknowledgement : Wikimedia Commons

Made in Korea

July 16, 2014

Korean buses are not common in Singapore as compared to Malaysia. There are only three Korean full size coaches used by local operators. This is the one and only one Daewoo BX212 Royal Hi-Decker registered as PA6152K in 2006 :

 photo daewoobh_zps0fbf7042.jpg

This coach is shipped to Singapore in completely built up (CBU) form. It is 12m in length and seats 45 passengers. It is powered by a 6 cylinder 11051cc Daewoo DE12TIS engine with 6 speed manual gear box.

The other two Korean coaches were Daewoo Royal Star BH090 operated by Hong Tai. Both were registered in 2006 as PZ1711Z and PZ1788C. Unlike the BX212, these two coaches were shipped to Singapore in chassis form and bodied locally by Soon Chow with frontal style similar to the European Urgarte Nobus :

 photo daewoobx_zps4be74552.jpg

This a Urgarte Nobus :

 photo urgarte_zps589e3b00.jpg

The BH090 were midi bus chassis with body length of 9m. The Hong Tai coaches were longer than 9m, probably modified by Soon Chow. Although it appeared to have two decks, in actual fact it has only one deck. The BH090s were powered by a 8071cc 6 cylinder Daewoo D1146TI engine with 6 speed manual gear box.

Acknowledgement : Wikimedia Commons

Nissan RX102K3

July 9, 2014

The Nissan RX102K3 were the next batch of modern city buses placed into service by STC in 1967 and 1969. The registration numbers run from STC601 to 699. These buses were powered by a UD-4 diesel 5.7 litres engine mounted at the rear generating 175hp. All the buses came with manual six speed gearboxes. A number of them were later retro-fitted with Allison automatic gears. The buses were built by Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan and shipped to Singapore on board cargo ships.
The standard liveries of all the STC buses back then were all metallic silver with red and green strips painted below the window line. These Nissans were the first to spot the new livery of bottom half painted green with a red strip just below the windows.

 photo nissan1_zps1805f648.jpg

The buses were configured with front entrance and centre exit doors. The doors were two leaf jackknife type, pneumatically control by the driver. The windscreen of these buses were sloped at an angle and were made up of four pieces of glass, the two extreme end curved to match the contour of the bus front. No ventrilation flaps were provided for on the windscreen unlike the buses of that time, all of which have flaps on the lower edge of the windows. Instead two openings below the windscreen were used. On the lower front of the bus just above the bumper were a cluster of three headlights on each side.
The front destination were different from the earlier Isuzus. It was divided into three sections compared to two sections on the Isuzus. The extreme right one was used for the route number whilst the other two display the two terminii. Roller blinds were used and fluorescence light placed behind the blinds which gave excellent visibility at night. On the front roof were five torpedo shaped markers lights whilst two were at the rear roof.
The Isuzus have a side destination box incorporated into the first window immediately after the entrance door, big enough to display the route number and one of the terminus, no such provisions were made for the Nissans. Instead a small window was built onto the metal body located just below the first window, big enough to just display the route number.
The windows were divided into two sections. Unlike the Isuzus whose windows can only open upwards, both half of the Nissan buses’ windows can be opened. Most of time they were opened upwards.

 photo nissan2_zps806a7137.jpg

The interior seating arrangement were same as the Isuzus : front facing twin seats, except for the seats over the front and rear wheel arch were aisle facing. The Nissans faced the same problems as the Isuzus, the leg room of the last two rows of seats were very cramp. The floor were constructed from solid timber beams. On the roof were eight ventrilation ports. Lightings were fluorescent type. Dashboard layout were same as those of the Isuzus with various gauges, dials and indicating lights properly laid out.
The ride quality and suspension of these buses were good compared to the spring leaf suspension type buses used during that time.

Just guessing, what will it be?

July 2, 2014

LTA announcement of taking over all the buses and depots under the new transport system modelled after London and Perth, it would be interesting to see all the buses come under one unified livery. London’s buses are all painted red whilst Perth’s are all green/white. It makes sense to paint all the buses under one unified livery. In the event that any future company which fail to meet LTA requirements and are forced to withdraw, no re-painting of buses are required, save maybe the company’s logo decal need replacement.
A London bus with the operator name at the front and side :
 photo london_zps4861575f.jpg

Perth’s bus with operator’s name painted above the entrance door :
 photo perth_zpsf5dc5cb5.jpg
Will the bus companies retain it own livery? If LTA go for unified livery, what would it look? This is the latest train painted with LTA logo and colours :
 photo LTA1_zps92c001f1.jpg
Based on the above train livery, TheBusDude had come up with the same livery on buses.
MAN A22 :
 photo LTA2_zps7dd1684b.jpg
Mercedes Citaro :
 photo LTA3_zps51a9af9a.jpg
Volvo B9TL double decker :
 photo LTA4_zpsb7a11395.jpg

Acknowledgement : TheBusDude