Special issue relating to the Oxford tube
Now in our 11th year
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Since the introduction of the fleet of M A N / Jonckheere double deck coaches in 1999, it has become the normal practice that every five years a new fleet is placed in service.
When the Neoplans were introduced in the summer of 2004, they represented a significant step forward for the service, bringing more seat (82 seats) and wheelchair accessibility for every coach. During their lifetime serving the Oxford tube, they have been modified to offer Wi-Fi to all customers and being delivered with power points for every pair of seats, gave all the modern enhancements that passengers could ask for. Indeed over the past five years they have become a very familiar sight on the road between Oxford and London and one can hardly fail to see them as they offer an up to every 10 minutes service along that corridor.
Rumours have been rife for many months now regarding their anticipated replacements which would be expected to enter service between June and September of this year. Many questions were asked but lips were sealed and little if any information was available to those asking from those who were thought to be in the know.
Monday 8th June saw the following press release issued by the company and the first coach arrived on Sunday 7th June in the late evening, this was direct from the factory in Belgium. By late last week the first whisperings about the new coaches was getting around, at least with the Oxford company. They were be to a completely new model built by Van Hool, the TD927 Astromega, so far only built for service in the USA where Megabus operate a large fleet on interstate services. There are a number of differences in the coaches built to US specification.
STAGECOACH INVESTS £9M IN NEW GREEN FLEET FOR EUROPE’S MOST FREQUENT EXPRESS COACH SERVICE
· 26 double-decker coaches ordered for Oxford Tube link to London
· Cleaner Enhanced Environmental Vehicles deliver low emissions
· Fully accessible coaches feature Wi-Fi, GPS tracking and CCTV
· State-of-the-art coaches being manufactured by Van Hool in Belgium
Stagecoach announced today that it is investing more than £9m in an entire new fleet of vehicles for its Oxford Tube network, the most frequent express coach service in Europe.
The fleet of 26 new Van Hool Astromega double deck coaches – each costing more than £350,000 – is being built in Belgium.
Oxford Tube runs a 24-hour service every day of the year with coaches running between Oxford and London up to every 10 minutes at peak times.
The new greener coaches are fitted with DAF EEV (Enhanced Environmental Vehicles) engines that have even lower emissions than those required by the Euro 5 standard coming into force later this year.
A Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system uses a constant feed of urea solution to destroy the harmful Nox, delivering a more efficient operation of the engine, reduced diesel consumption and lower running costs. Combined with a passive soot filter, it means the vehicles will be even cleaner than those fitted with compressed natural gas engines.
Passengers will be able to email and access the internet on the move through the wi-fi systems on the coaches.
The 87-seat vehicles, which have two staircases, are also equipped with toilets, air conditioning, reclining seats, generous legroom, seatbelts, power points for laptops and mobile phones, GPS tracking, and CCTV for personal security.
Deliveries of the fully wheelchair accessible fleet start at the beginning of July and will be complete by early October.
Martin Sutton, Managing Director of Stagecoach, said:“These new state-of-the-art coaches will be among the cleanest and greenest on the road in Europe. The Oxford Tube fleet covers 3.4 million miles every year and we want our customers to continue to experience high quality, greener smarter travel.
This is the third complete fleet replacement for the Oxford Tube we have undertaken in 10 years and it is evidence of our commitment to investing in Europe’s premier express coach service.”
The Oxford Tube fleet travels the equivalent of nearly three times around the globe every week and has the capacity to carry more than 6,000 passengers a day.
Oxford Tube services run up to every 10 minutes between Oxford and London – stopping at Lewknor, Hillingdon, Shepherds Bush, Notting Hill, Marble Arch and Victoria.
A secure e-commerce website, www.oxfordtube.com, allows customers to book single, return and period tickets online as well as access timetable and service information.
Oxford Tube also supplies complementary newspapers on its early morning commuter services.
The first fifteen of the new fleet of Van Hool TD927 Astromegas are being given fleet number and registration seen in the table below. Not that the T**UBE cherished registrations are retained and will be applied to the first five of the new coaches. the next four on the build line in a total order for 30 coaches will be for Megabus and the remaining eleven coaches for the tube are expected to be ready for entry into service on 1st September on 59 plates.
The first coach seen o 8th June at Thornhill Park & Ride. M. Crowe.
A classic shot I believe, the new coach at Victoria Coach Station, London on the afternoon of 8th June. M Crowe.
I will be delighted to receive any pictures taken by readers for inclusion in later issues.
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Visit the "OXFORD BUS PAGE" Archive 1998 - 2002
Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002