Stagecoach have turned East Kent into an area that just uses buses in the extreme. 10 minute frequencies are not uncommon on many routes, and even the country routes seem to get late evening and Sunday services. So to develop an already thriving area even further is some task. However Matthew has arrived at the perfect time. One of their trunk routes, the Triangle serving Canterbury/Whistable/Herne Bay is getting new buses. I have hinted about them before but now I can give full details. Stagecoach South East are taking delivery of 30 E400MMC's, the first double deckers in the world to be fitted with Scania Euro6 engines. Today was the first time they had been seen in Canterbury, with two of them there for driver training purposes.
|Stagecoach 15262 Scania E400MMC YN16 WVC
|View from the rear
|And the offside view.
|The MMC is passed by an Olympian
|Stagecoach 16366 N366 LPN at Lyminge
The definition of Concorde Moment is as follows: "where great leaps are made in science or engineering and are then never used or retired because they are not business effective".
The Olympian is no longer business effective. Much as I love them the look on a frustrated mum's face when she couldn't get her buggy on, and the grumbling of the old dears with their trolleys told me that regrettably the Olympian, and indeed all step entrance buses have had their day, and society has moved on. I think the Olympian is probably the best bus ever built. Yes better than the Routemaster, Leyland Atlantean, Bristol VR and so on. However there have been several incarnations of the Olympian, from the early Gardner engined sluggish plodders for London, to the glorious Olympian coaches, to the Cummins engined powerhouses to finally the Volvo engined Olympians that make up most of the surviving examples left. Not to mention infinite different bodies.
I know Matthew swears that the Volvo Olympian is the best bus ever built. I'm going to disagree here. I think the Cummins engined Leyland Olympian beats them. I remember the first time I drove one in 1990 and it was like nothing I'd ever driven. Those Cummins engines sound magnificent, and when the last ones are withdrawn I do seriously think it will be a Concorde Moment - we will never see anything that grabs the bus industry by the horns in the way the Olympian did. They were the last bus built properly before the obsessions with weight and emissions meant corners were cut and sacrifices made. I love riding Olympians but that Cummins engine today made me grin like a 10yo. I'm not sure another bus will ever achieve that. Let the debate begin!
|16389 N389 LPN leaves Canterbury Bus Station