Wednesday 25 January 2017

E400 City Debuts At Borderbus

This was not meant to happen. Still trying to shake off the most stubborn of viruses I woke from my slumber yesterday afternoon, yes afternoon, to find an email from Lord Pursey of Beccles telling me an ADL E400 demonstrator had arrived at Borderbus. Not everyday Suffolk gets a taste of the future so knowing I'd suffer today for it I ventured over to Ellough Industrial Estate to have a look. And rather pleased I was to have made the effort as she is a bit of a stunner.

The E400 City demonstrator SN66 WLK
SN66 WLK was built for the 2016 Euro Bus Expo and so, as you would imagine is rather flash inside. Novel features include bell pushes in the backs of seats, and tables with USB charging points as decorations. Also probably the most attractive back seat on a decker ever, although Lord knows how hot it will get in Summer

I mean look at that!!

As is customary on these occasions we went out for a drive, although it was limited to Colin and myself as management were driving school buses! First noticeable element was the power. The Cummins engine living up to its reputation and giving much more power than either the Streetdeck or Metrodecker. Top speed attained was 64mph, and the engine noise on the lower deck at speed was pleasingly quiet. Even managed to sound like an Olympian which is no bad thing. Braking was smooth and quiet, and anything that makes Colin's braking smooth has to be applauded! But, and it is  a but, I still don't think the overall ride matches the Metrodecker. It wasn't as easy to type on - an essential test these days, and the suspension not as comfortable. Rattles were minimal but somehow I always felt on edge expecting one to appear any time. The aircon is typically noisy as all ADL buses are, and something has to be done about a very hot panel in the stairwell which I wouldn't want any small child of mine to touch.

Bell push, USB point and drinks tray all in the seat!
Having said all that, though, the E400 City is a very nice place to be. Granted not everyone will have it as high spec as this demonstrator but I liked it. I just wish the final push had been made - still too much shiny cheap plastic, flimsy destination screen door, and why oh why aren't the non coach seat seats more padded? Anyone downstairs rightfully moving to the back to give the more aged passengers the front seats suffer as the rear seats are far inferior. The bus is good, very good, but you are left with the feeling that it could be excellent with just a bit more application and thought.

The Borismaster style cockpit front upstairs
cctv screen showing top deck set in panel reflecting staiwell
In my opinion the E400 City is the best looking bus on the market right now. The engine is the most powerful, but over all I would still buy the Metrodecker and maybe put the Cummins engine in it. What was noticeable is that the good and great at Borderbus were only comparing the E400 with the Metrodecker. The Streetdeck didn't get a look in having failed to impress in any aspect. The E400 City is here for at least a week and will be out on the 146 on the longest duty. My thanks to Andy, Dave and Colin for the usual welcome and natter. I'm suffering today but it was worth it!

Also arriving in the region yesterday was another Class 37 for the Short Set. The stunning 37424 didn't last long, needing more work done on it, 37405, which was extremely reliable before it went away for a service came back and promptly failed. 37422 has gone back up North and so the temperamental 37419 has been awaiting a new partner, which arrived yesterday int the form of 37403 Isle of Mull, another large BR logo painted beast, complete with West Highland Terrier, which has been on the Cumbrian Short Set over the last couple of years. Great to see her down here, and many thanks to Grahame Bessey of East Norfolk Bus Blog and Harbour Radio for getting to Lowestoft early this morning and sending in some superb pictures of her. Cheers Grahame

37403 at Lowestoft       pic (c) Grahame Bessey
37403 heads the Short Set at Lowestoft           pic (c) Grahame Bessey
37403 Ilse of Mull and its dog - the West Highland Terrier.         pic (c) Grahame Bessey

It has transpired that 37403 lasted one trip before failing and as I type 37403/405/419 are all on their way to Crewe so right now there are no 37's at Norwich and Short Set is redundant. Those pics above could become collectors items. More info as I get it.


  1. I think I would buy the Scania E400 MMC as used by Stagecoach East Kent. Excellent ride quality and a pity Stagecoach have had a tiff with Scania...

  2. There's a lorra lorra loco's up Norwich at the moment but seemingly none to fit the set! I thought DRS had to maintain the service as per contract but seems not. Another 68,68021 is imminent so maybe a second 68 set