Reading Buses Annual Open Day & Project Vroom
On 14 June Reading Buses held their seventh annual family open day at the Great Knollys Street depot. The gates were opened by the Mayor of Reading Councillor Sarah Hacker at 1100 with all of the usual attractions and fundraising events inside. A free shuttle bus ran every 20 minutes to/from Great Knollys Street via the Station and Town Centre loop using a mixture of current and guest vehicles, whilst the proceeds from the day went to the Alzheimer’s Society, the company's charity of the year.
The centre of the show was 1114 in it's Alxheimer's Society ColourBus livery along with a Stagecoach London New Routemaster, whilst another star attraction on entry to the event was 420 in it's Project Vroom Friesian "cow" livery.
420 on 14 June.
On 19 May, 420 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. The aim of the record attempt was to promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (and biomethane in particular) as a viable fuel.
The bus has a cow print front and a tagline on the side that now reads 'the fastest bus in the world' including the hashtag #projectvroom, after carrying 'watch me become the fastest bus in the world' following a trial run at Brooklands Museum on 17 April. The new livery reflects the fact that the gas used to run these buses comes from farm waste whilst the code name for the bus itself is "Bus Hound", which is a homage to the Bloodhound SSC team who are attempting to break the actual land speed record at 1000mph. Reflecting Scania's participation the vehicle has also gained a Scania badge on the front and large silver Scania logos across the rear.
420 waiting time on route 2 in Blagrave Street on 26 May.
Only minor tweaks were made to allow the bus to go faster than normal, including disabling the normal speed limiter which is set at 56mph (90km/h). New X-rayed tyres were fitted by Michelin on arrival at Millbrook and some slight changes to the engine management system were agreed with Scania to deliver a higher rev limit and remap the torque curve for higher speed. The vehicle remained road legal at all times, and at the end of the record the bus was rapidly put back to normal and returned to service.
420 at Great Knollys Street on 2 May wearing the 'before' lettering.
In total, the project had the backing of 14 sponsors - Scania, Michelin, USSC, Ticketer, Millbrook, ZF, Mix Telematics, Nimbus, Gas Alliance Group, Alexander Dennis, TEK Seating, Brooklands Museum, RouteONE magazine and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Also, during the attempt, the driver issued a ‘high speed’ ticket using a ticketer machine, and the names of the sponsors were displayed on the vehicle with temporary vinyls.
Back at the open day new acquisitions 1210 and 1211 had been hidden from view with various members of the fleet that weren't in service. A final cavalcade of vehicles travelled around the Town Centre led by 1114.
1211 and 1210 on 14th June.