Monday 23 November 2015

Streetdeck Wright?

When is a Streetdeck not a Streetdeck? Here is a little pictorial test for you all. Which of the following are Streetdecks and which are not.

Brighton & Hove Streetdeck?
Streetdecks or not Streetdecks?         pic by KLConnected
What about this?         pic by David Oakley
Is this a Streetdeck?
Congratulations to anyone who spotted that pictures 1 and 3 are Streetdecks. Pictures 2 and 4 are Volvo B5LH's apparently. Nope I can't see any difference whatsoever either. I'm grateful to Peter Abbey for pointing out that the Lothian Streetdecks I had been so scathing about were not actually Streetdecks. That was embarrassng but I think forgivable. So here is another question for you. Which of these is a Gemini 3 body?

Is this a Gemini 3?     Pic by EDDIE

Or is this a Gemini 3?                 Pic by EDDIE
The rather confusing answer is that they are BOTH Gemini 3 bodies. However one in my opinion is far better than the other. So the final question is what the hell are Wrightbus playing at? Is one Gemini 3 body cheaper than the other - it certainly feels so - and what is the official body on a Streetdeck? Years ago you could get Atlanteans and Fleetlines with similar bodies but it was easy to tell from engine noise which was which. These days it's not that easy and Wrightbus have now made things very confusing. Thanks boys! All sounds rather Irish to me....


  1. Replies
    1. I could do but I also like to involve my readers and get them contributing to the blog. If no one knows or posts anything then I'lll go to Wrightbus.

  2. Well, I'm no expert here, best get that disclaimer in first, but I'll give your points a go.

    When it comes to the Streetdeck, as I understand it the official difference is that if it's an integral then it's a Streetdeck - if not, then it's a Volvo B5LH (or B5TL) with (whatever) body. Granted there's probably about as much difference visually as there is between a Scania L94UB and a Volvo B10BLE when both have Renown bodies, but I suppose there's some reasoning in it somewhere.

    Having said that, I couldn't agree more with your Gemini 3 point. What Wrightbus were thinking there I'd really love to know. In fact, again as I understand it, both body types shown are available as integrals and, when supplied as such, are both classed as Streetdecks. Talk about clear as mud.

  3. I'm guessing here but naming is as much down to patents and trademarks as anything, and if anyone understands the law on that they're a better lawyer than I. I assume too that the bus industry is now like most manufacturing mostly slotting kit parts together, and consequentially customers can choose (on price, performance or some combination of the two) what they want from the menu for any particular "model". But it goes deeper than just the obvious cosmetics (which has always been the case). Like most of the modern world it's a case of, if we can do it, we will. I may be totally wrong, of course . . . But it all makes life interesting. We all have to try and retain customers somehow (getting them feeling involved, perhaps) without spending too much to upset the accountants!! Variety is the spice of life, some things don't change! The Borismaster with the huge resources of TfL (though they're now getting their wings clipped, perhaps as a consequence) perhaps did the process properly, everyone else has to settle for a pale imitation, but the marketeers will put in a decent effort.

  4. The Streetdeck is the integral model (tying in with the Streetlite single-decker) whilst the Gemini 3 is the body offering on the Volvo chassis (tying in with the Eclipse 3 single-decker on the Volvo chassis). The change from Gemini 2 to Gemini 3 happened with the switch from Euro 5 to Euro 6 as the Gemini 3 is much lighter than its predecessor but because of the quick switch by London & Europe (and so Volvo's chassis range) the new bodies had to be launched before Wright appear to have finished their intended body redesign so early versions had the older style front. The new style front is the standard offering from Wright but they have said that if requested they can still build the older shape though I'm not sure anyone has ordered as such recently (East Lancs did similar when they launched the Myllenium front but still offered the old Vyking front until the end of the Myllenium, largely only taken by Delaines & still offered the OmniDekka front for NCT long after the Olympus was the standard product). It has been made apparent that Wrights would rather you buy the new style front and I suspect this transitionary offer may not last long before it is fully withdrawn. I'm not a fan of the new shape front, particularly the wide front pillars on the top deck or small windows but others have less of an issue when they see it in the flesh - it does look better in person than by photo but it loses much of the stylishness that Wrights had built a reputation - as with many things beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Wright do have a history of different model names for outwardly identical bodies depending on what they are mounted on going right back to the start of low-floor vehicles. The Pathfinder (Lance SLF & N113), AxcessUltralow (L113), AxcessFloline (L94), Renown (B10BLE), Cadet (SB120), Commander (SB200), Liberator (B10L) & Crusader (B6LE) were identical looking bodies, similarly the Solar (Scania), Eclipse (Volvo) & Pulsar (VDL) are identical bodies on different chassis. East Lancs followed a similar process for a while after low-floor models were introduced until the introduction of Olympus & Esteem models.

    Was it really much simpler when few bus body-builders named their products and there was so much personalisation that the same manufacturers had very different looking bodies for each customer and spotting the difference between different bodybuilders at certain operators was an art in itself (London with the DMS, the Greater Manchester standard, Merseyside, South Yorkshire & West Midlands all had this problem in some way - I think it was the height of the emergency exit on the DMS & the existence of a small grill above the front top deck windows on a GM standard that helped id, not sure on the others). Spotting the difference between chassis on similar looking bodies is the same art as it has always been, the signs may be different but they will still be there (I'm not sure I was ever paying enough attention to spot the engine note difference between Fleetline & Atlantean normally & it doesn't help if you are on a bus going the other way).

  5. Having just returned from a break in Brighton, took the opportunity to try out Brighton and Hove's Streetdeck's.

    With it's fair share of hills on route 12 to Eastbourne, it really struggled to negotiate them with 2/3rds loading.

    When compared with a Volvo B5TL which is only 9bhp more, the Streetdeck came across as woefully underpowered.

    My local bus company, More, trialled one last year on route 40 through the Purbecks and requested passengers comments.

    Judging by the fact that they then ordered MCV EvoSeti bodied Volvo B5TL's sums it!