Wednesday 25 October 2017

BorderBus Scania Finally Arrives Home

The word Scania has always lifted my heart a little. If I could go back in time and ride one bus again it would be the Metropolitan Scania. The best bus I ever drove was the Scania K113 with Alexander Body. The best coach I ever drove was a tri axle 10 speed Scania double deck Plaxton Paramount. Then low floor bodies came in and Scanias were never the same again. Yes the Omnicitis still had cracking if thirsty engines, but the new bodies just weren't up to the old standard. Then came the Omni City Decker, with a new low in passenger comfort. Quite simply some of the worst seats imaginable. I have never kept quiet in moaning about them, and berating those who brought them over here.

Andrew Pursey of Borderbus is used to that. He and Dave Marshall were responsible for the buttock numbing seats on the Anglianbus Scania deckers, and I never tire of reminding him that his office chair is considerably more comfortable than those seats he expects his paying customers to sit on.

But no longer. Andrew has redeemed himself. I said a couple of posts ago the most exciting thing to happen in East Anglia was the return of a repainted 8yo ex London Scania. Well it's finally back, gleaming in its new livery and reduction to single door. But more, much more than that - it has padded seats. Well padded seats. Comfortable padded seats. A new concept for the Omni City Decker. So not only do you get a seriously decent ride quality, which the OCD (very apt) has always given, but now you can enjoy it in comfort.
BorderBus 209 LX59 CNE in her new colours
I have to say the Scania looks far better than I was able to envisage. The wider yellow stripe really suits it, and in my view she looks far less than 8 years old. Hants & Dorset Trim have done a really decent job. Of course a bus is only as good as it rides so a road test was needed. My thanks to Eric, who did the honours, and it didn't take long to realise that this is now a very, very nice bus to travel on. The new padding in the seats means a couple of hours on this would be a pleasure, whereas before 10 minutes was too much.

The new interiors with decent seats!
An extra 4 seats have been installed upstairs, but you wouldn't know it as the legroom is still plenty. When we got back Andrew organised a photo shoot with one of the red ones to give a comparison. This resulted in some very pleasing images which we both took, so any similarity between mine and Andrew's pics is genuine!

They both look good but I think the new livery shades it.
BB57 BUS (Fleet no 210) is now getting the treatment, hopefully it will be certified a bit quicker than 209. A BB registration will go on 209 but it's still undecided which one. I made a suggestion which got some thoughtful consideration but I'll wait to see if it happens before saying anything. In the meantime thanks to Andrew and all the BorderBus gang for my usual friendly welcome, and anyone who travels on 209 please let me know what you think.

Ipswich Buses are getting 13 of these Scanias - theirs are ironically ex First ones - and I hope they put better seating in theirs too. If anyone knows if they are or not please let me know.


  1. Great Read about something positive. As far as I know however, Ipswich's are keeping first seating! :(

    1. Couldn't agree more, Charlie. So nice to be able to write something nice! I'm not that surprised about IB - passenger comfort considerations left with Malcolm Robson it seems...

    2. Unfortunate about Ipswich. Once contacted IB about a fleet list and Robson emailed me directly at 5pm on a Sunday with a full PDF copy!

  2. The funny thing is, these Scanias were supposed to see off most, if not all of the Tridents off routes 48 and 56 from Leyton depot way back in 2010. Fast forward to today, and there's a handful of Tridents still in service on the 56, whereas all of this batch of Scanias have left London...

    Methinks Stagecoach aren't particularly fond of them, there's about another 120 or so at West Ham and Romford depots, but I doubt they'll last as long as their Tridents.

  3. Great review Steve, really good pics as well. I see a peep of the last remaining Gemini watching on in the background. I will fly the border bus flag when they operate into Lowestoft ha ha!! Do the scanias run smooth??

    1. Yes they do. I've always liked them except for the seats. Now the message is through I would happily spend all day on it. The suspension is going to be tinkered with as it's still set up for London not peasant land, but it is without doubt one oof the nicest buses to ride in the region.

      As for Lowestoft, until the new bridge is up and running dream on! The last Gemini will remain until all 3 Scanias have been converted then will depart.

    2. Still a few in West London too. Wonder if appalling seats have played a part with journeys taking longer. fuel economy far superior to Tridents.