|The BCI Enterprise loading up at Norwich|
Firstly screws hugely outnumber rivets, meaning everything can be kept tightened up. The hand rails had a design I haven't seen before meaning rattling is virtually impossible. The opening windows are inset into larger windows again aiding the feel of solidity, and I realised fairly quickly that this was a nice place to be. We didn't reach Warp Factor 9 as the X1 needs to do (damn I knew I'd fail) but that would be sorted if a fleet was purchased.
|A rear shot at Kings Lynn Bus Station|
No review is complete without the driver's view, and our driver was happy to give her opinion. She said it was lovely to drive, lovely to brake, felt solid and well made but had one big problem - she was unable to see the dash instruments through the steering wheel regardless of the position she had the driver's seat in. I will be interested to know if any of the Ensign drivers have made similar comments.
Thanks to Ross Newman of Ensign who has kindly answered my questions today, I can inform you the Enterprise costs around £220K, which is slightly more than a standard E400MMC but my word you notice the difference. That price includes shipping, not from Australia it transpires but China, where the bus is actually built. There is also a tri-axle version, with a much beefier Cummins 8.9L engine, air conditioning and seat belts, which Ensign are loaning to First sometime in August. That version is considerably more expensive, but Ross assures me the difference is well worth it. I can't wait to ride it.
So in conclusion I can finally say, at long last that after years of ceaseless searching I have found a new bus, in production, that I feel is progress on the Olympian or B9. I would be happy to go anywhere on the Enterprise, indeed to boldly go where no blogger has gone before. I'll shut up now before I end up in Sick Bay....
|Nice, seriously nice|