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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas

It does seem like a time to set the record straight.

After a tremendous launch of the New Bus for London, the media and some enthusiasts got themselves really excited about the sight of LT1 on the hard shoulder of the M1 last Monday.

Yes it was there - it was on it way to Millbrook for completion of handover testing and pre-delivery preparations.

The truth is that we had already learned from the delivery journey that a non-stop motorway journey can discharge the batteries and force the need for a stop to enable them to recover. And when it is in normal use the engine switches itself off whenever it has enough battery power.

So the precautionary stop on the M1 was no real surprise and it did take a while to discover that it wasn't clever electronic wizardry that caused the engine to stop but lack of fuel. Simple human error which has its roots in the care Arriva took to keep the bus safe whilst in London.

There have been some wonderful wild stories about illegal activity, lack of proper project management, and the driver's exposure to prosecution. Rather more simply it ran out of fuel, we put some more in, and off it went.

For those who chose to capitalise on this - just to say, it took seven years from authorisation of the Routemaster (1947) to prototype (1954). We have done this in less than half that.

It took two more years to get RM1 into service and even then it had numerous problems requiring a gearbox change, attention to subframe cracks, exceptional front brake temperatures and excessive tyre wear - all within the first six months.

We will have LT1 in service in less than two months.....


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2 comments:

  1. Is it just meor does the rear aspect of the new bus have the appearance of the stairs on the Horse Buses

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  2. Leon, you state "The truth is that we had already learned from the delivery journey that a non-stop motorway journey can discharge the batteries and force the need for a stop to enable them to recover." Can you clarify this, for those who are curious to better understand how the machine works. If we assume that the bus has travelled for 30 minutes up the motorway, and it needs to "stop to enable [batteries] to recover" is the recovery done by the act of braking to a stand (either on the hard shoulder, or more-ideally at Toddington service) which would provide a small bit of regenerative braking, or is it simply the act of the vehicle being stationary/switched off for an hour that recharges them?

    Great looking machine, and I wish you and your colleagues well with your programme.

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