- Scania KUB270 / Alexander Dennis Enviro 300SG
- See also: Transbus Enviro 300
On Wednesday 22nd August 2012 Reading Transport announced a £3.5 million order for a fleet of 19 new Scania KUB270 / Alexander Dennis Enviro 300SG vehicles for use on routes 9, 11 and a new combined South Reading contract including the Madejski Stadium FastTrack, Green Park FastTrack and NightTrack services awarded by Reading Borough Council to commence on 5th November 2012. The South Reading buses entered service on 7 May 2013 under a new combined Greenwave brand. Ahead of this a launch for the local press was held at Green Park on 29 April 2013 where 405 is seen below. Thanks to Steve Wise for this photo:
401 was displayed to passengers in Broad Street on 4th May 2013 where it is seen below (with 405 providing free rides from Minster Street around the Town Centre loop):
The order was increased to 20 vehicles shortly after the initial order was announced as the requirement for the Greenwave contract increased from 9 to 10 (plus one spare). By October 2012 consideration was being given to switch operation from route 9 to route 2 to allow route 9 to go double deck, but this never came to be. An artists impression of how the vehicles would have looked when branded for route 2 is below:
Based on the 12-metre Scania KUB 4x2 chassis, the vehicles are powered by Scania's 270 horsepower EEV 9.3-litre five-cylinder, energy efficient lean burn gas engine, which is capable of operating on either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Bio Natural Gas (BNG). The engine offers high efficiency and low fuel consumption with no need for exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). It is based on the same platform as Scania's modular-build 9.3-litre diesel engine, which limits the number of new components required for the low entry gas chassis to around 40 items. The gas tanks can be seen on 402 below on 7 May 2013:
A third company closely involved in the project was the Gas Bus Alliance to the infrastructure and fuel supply to Reading Buses. Under Reading Buses’ contract with the Gas Bus Alliance a kilogramme of bio-methane is added into the national gas grid for every kilogramme of gas used by each vehicle in the company's new fleet. As such, the entire operation qualifies for carbon-neutral status. The new mains gas compression station was officially opened on 28th October 2013, with vehicles taking fuel from a tanker until that time.
Painting of the first gas bus was underway at ADL in the last week of March 2013 and the first three were delivered to the Scania dealership in Thatcham by 17th April for pre delivery inspection, with 401/5 arriving in Reading by 19th ahead of an official handover on Monday 22nd with a small ceremony in Aldermaston for the trade press. By 22nd a further four were at the dealership, and by 26th seven, of which 406 & 410 were then delivered to Reading on 26th and two more by 28th. A red example was at the Leyland delivery staging point on 27th April which arrived in Thatcham on 29th, and by 29th April fourteen had been delivered to Thatcham including three red examples thought to be 412-4. Ten were in Reading by 1st May and 11 (401-11) by 3rd. Red 412-7 had all been delivered to Thatcham by 3rd May and 418-20 by 17th May. 420 actually left Alexander Dennis, Falkirk on 5th May for a spell at Scania's training facility where some stuff from Reading attended for some training, prior to delivery to the dealership on 17th May. By 19th May 412-7 were all at Great Knollys Street being prepared for service.
The vehicles were delivered in the following liveries:
401-11 - were two tone green for Greenwave
412-17 - were two tone red for Scarlet 9
418-19 - were two tone brown for Bronze 11
420 - was silver/grey for use on any route
417 is seen below on it's first day in service on 28th May 2013:
420 arrived wearing incorrect version of the livery which was rectified at Renault Trucks prior to entering service. 420 is seen below on 4th July 2013, which is thought to have been it's first day in service. Thanks to Graham Low for this photo:
A further 14 Enviro 300SGs were ordered in July 2013 for delivery in early 2014 following the award of £185,990 from the government's Green Bus Fund 4. The Department for Transport then announced on 8th October 2013 further funding of £115,000 towards one third of the cost of expanding the in-house gas station to supply these vehicles. The vehicles went into production at Alexander Dennis in late November 2013, with the first to be completed by Christmas for delivery to the Scania dealership in Thatcham January 2014.
The vehicles were delivered in the following liveries:
421-22 - were silver/grey for use on any route
423-29 - were two tone pink for Pink Routes 22/23/24 (but see below)
430-34 - were two tone green for Lime 2
The delivery order of the batch was altered so that 430-4 arrived first, followed by 421-2, each entering service in March 2014. Similar to 420, 421/2 arrived wearing an incorrect version of the livery, but were needed in service as soon as possible so entered service in that condition. 433 is seen below on its first day in service on 10th March 2014, and 422 on the same day wearing the incorrect colours:
The pink examples started to arrive later on in March 2014, but did not enter service as intended. During April 424/5/7/9 were sent to Hants & Dorset Trim, and 426/8 to Renault Trucks for repaint into coffee & fawn Leopard livery for use on new commercial route 3 to Arborfield and Wokingham commencing on 16 June to replace route 144 previously operated by Thames Travel as a Wokingham Borough Council contract. 423 was repainted into generic silver and entered service at the end of April 2014. 424 is seen below on it's first day in service 16th June 2014:
In June 2014, Scarlet 416/7 and Lime 430/1 went to Hants & Dorset trim for repaint into Pink due to route 2 being split in the Town Centre and interworked with route 22 from 7th July 2014. 417 was noted en-route to Hants & Dorset trim on 23rd June and ready for return on 1st July and back in use on driver training on 3rd July, whilst 430 returned on 27th June, 431 was noted there pending repaint on 7th July and back in service by 21st July, and 416 was noted returning from there on 1st August and back in service by 9th. Meanwhile generic 422 was designated a 'virtual pink' bus.
In early August 2014 412-5 had their Scarlet 9 branding amended from every 10 minutes to every 20 minutes following the implementation of a reduced timetable from late July with coordination with the new 20 minute frequency on route 3. On approx 22nd November 2014 433/4 had their Lime 2 route branding amended to remove Peppard Common following the service changing back in July. 432 continued to carry Peppard Common lettering for a further year until sometime between 23rd and 26th July 2015! 434 is seen below on 24th January 2015:
In April 2015 the front of 420 was repainted with a cow print design with "watch me become the fastest bus in the world #projectvroom" lettering along the sides. It attended Brooklands Museum on 17th April for a press launch of a world record attempt code named #projectvroom to break the world record for fastest service bus. The aim of the record attempt was to promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (and biomethane in particular) as a viable fuel. It remained at Millbrook for a bus rally on 19th and returned that evening. During this time it wore dummy registration FA57 BUS, before being restored to its correct registration and returning to service on 20th April. It then attended Millbrook on 30th April for high speed testing, and on 19th May it became the fastest service bus in the world, setting a new land speed record of 80.73mph, with an average lap speed of 76.785mph. It's lettering was amended to "the fastest bus in the world #projectvroom". 420 is seen below on 2 May and 26 May 2015 respectively with the special livery and amended lettering:
In September 2015 Scarlet 9 branded 415 was repainted into generic silver livery following a reduction in frequency from every 20 to every 30 minutes during the daytime.
In September 2016 Scarlet 9 branded 412 was repainted into Leopard 3 livery following an amended route being introduced on the 9, and new Leopard 10 service to Spencers Wood being introduced.
Scarlet 413/4 and lime 432-4 gained USB charging sockets in September, gaining lettering added around their front destination displays.
In August 2016 demonstrator YT13 YUK was acquired from Scania (dealer). It was repainted into generic silver livery prior to entering service and allocated fleet number 435. It was reregistered BU52 GAS in September 2016 and entered service around 18 October.
422 gained a special gold livery in November 2016 to celebrate local resident Chris Mears gaining a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic games. It was repainted out of this livery into Leopard livery in February 2020 ahead of the scheduled 2020 games, leaving after service 29 January 2020 and returning to service on 28 February. It is seen below on 30 March 2017:
In August 2017 413 was repainted into Leopard livery following reductions to route 9 and interworking with route 19 from 24th July. The remaining Scarlet vehicle 414 was de-branded, and continued to operate at peak times only as a generic vehicle in plain red.
In September 2017 an hourly extension of the Leopard 3 was created to Bracknell as Leopard 3b with the opening of the new Lexicon shopping centre. Leopard branded buses (which at that point were 412/3, 424-29) gained a blob towards rear stating "now serving the Lexicon". In February 2018 430 was repainted into Leopard livery following reductions to route 22 from 19th February, uniquely including Bracknell on the list of destinations along the top of the vehicle. Following just over two years of operation, the Leopard extension to Bracknell was deemed unsuccessful and withdrawn from 3 February 2020 due to a lack of use, and the livery modifications were removed (the blobs in January 2020 and 430's lettering in February 2020). 430 is seen below on 21 April 2018:
414 was repainted from Scarlet into a new Tiger livery for route 7 to Fleet during September 2018, followed by 415 from generic to Tiger during October 2018. Following reductions to route 7 in January 2020 414 was repainted into Leopard livery in January 2020, returning to service on 7th February.
426 was withdrawn following a fire on 31st January 2019, and left for scrap on 27 November 2019. It was indirectly replaced by the repainting of 414 and 422 soon after.
One of the E300SGs has been named as follows:
- 414 - John Vaughan, a driver with Reading Transport for 14 years who died unexpectedly aged 52. Applied 9th October 2013.
The gas-powered buses were developed jointly by Scania and Alexander Dennis, and were the first of the type to enter service in the United Kingdom. The first chassis for Reading was displayed at Euro Bus Expo at the NEC in Birmingham on 6-8 November 2012:
Over the course of its long history, Scania has produced gas-powered vehicles for almost 100 years, with one of the earliest recorded examples being buses adapted to run on producer gas during the First World War years. Scania first produced a dedicated gas bus engine in 1940. In more recent times the company has supplied in excess of 3,800 gas engines for various applications in a number of countries worldwide. In 2012 this included fleets operating in the Swedish municipalities of Uppsala, Malmö and Helsingborg as well as vehicles in Madrid, Spain and Brisbane Australia.
Demonstrator YT13 YUK arrived on 20th December 2013 to cover for warranty work on 401-20, entering service by 30th. It was given fleet number 400 and confined to the Greenwave services before returning to Scania on 25th February 2014.
Last updated: 17-08-20
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