Scania OmniCity Double Deck
Reading have a total of 15 OmniCity double deckers, which are based on the Scania CN270UD chassis.
The first fourteen, 1101-14 were introduced onto route 17, which from 26 May 2008 became a 24-hour service, operating every hour all night (and half-hourly on Friday/Saturday nights). They were originally due to arrive for launch at the end of April 2008, but over optimistic scheduling by Scania meant that in the end delivery dates were as follows: 1101 on 23rd April, 1102/3 on 15th May, 1104/5 on 20th May, 1106/7 on 22nd May, 1108 by 27th May, 1109/10 on 6th June, 1112 on 11th June, 1111/13 on 12th June and 1114 on 25th June.
The vehicles were all initially fitted with ethanol powered engines, and intended to run on ethanol produced as a by-product of the sugar refining process at a factory in Norfolk using sugar beet grown in Britain. Carbon emissions from an ethanol engine are 40 per cent lower than a Euro 5 diesel engine, and smell slightly different. However as recession struck during 2009 the higher running costs of ethanol powered vehicles, primarily due to their much higher fuel consumption and the limited difference in fuel price, meant that a decision was made to convert them to run on standard diesel. It also turned out that the source of the ethanol being used has been switched to that produced by a Wood Pulp factory in Sweden, which whilst still a very green by-product wasn't local.
The vehicles were finished to a high internal specification to make them stand out from similar looking diesel powered vehicles in the fleet, as otherwise the vehicles would look and sound like any other. They feature full colour Hanover LED destination displays, leather seats stitched with the Reading Buses logo and an air chill system on the top deck.
The first vehicle, 1101, was used to shuttle approx 100 delegates attending the Bus Users AGM from the Station to the Wesley Methodist Centre in Queens Road on 26th April 2008. The proceedings were opened in fine style by Reading Transport's Chairman, Tony Jones, and all the participants were given a complementary Busabout for the day. It is seen below on one of its return trips:
The top deck of 1101 prior to the application of its internal route branding. The air chill system can just about be seen at the left above the stairs:
The following week 1101 went to the Scania dealership at Thatcham for work on various technical issues, returning on 13th May. 1101 is seen below on 27th May 2008, it's first day in revenue earning service, and now with full branding:
1103 is seen below in Broad Street on 30th May 2008 as part of Reading Town Centre Day, held during the school half term:
The rear branding on 1101, 1102, 1103, 1105, 1110 and 1114 was altered by 4th August from "I'm powered by sugar waste!" to "next stop: helping you tackle climate change" as illustrated by 1114 below on 26th August 2008:
The remaining vehicles had the "I'm powered by sugar waste!" message removed on or around the weekend of 17/18th October 2009 following the discovery that the source of the ethanol had been changed to Wood Pulp.
Conversions from ethanol to diesel commenced in December 2009, taking approximately one week per vehicle. The first to be treated was 1107 by 16th December 2009, followed by 1101 which returned to service by 29th January 2010 following delays sourcing parts. The third vehicle was 1103, with work underway by 1st February and completed by 10th. 1102 and 1111 were also completed by 10th February. 1113 was completed by around 24th February, followed by 1110 which was back in service by 6th March, 1104/9 by 13th March, 1106/8 by 23rd March and 1105 by 2nd April. There was then a short break whilst the remaining ethanol stocks were used up with 1114 converted by 11th May and 1112 by 15th May.
In April 2010 and early May, additional branding was added to the vehicles to fill the gaps left by the former ethanol branding on the side and rears of the vehicles. Advert frames were also fitted to the vehicles from March 2010 onwards. 1104 is seen below on 9th May 2010 with all of these new features in place:
Following the order for 13 new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400Hs for route 17 in September 2011, repaints of 1101-14 commenced as follows:
- 1101 to pink routes livery, departing on approx 12th August 2011 and returning to service on 25th. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette by 7th January 2012.
- 1102 to pink routes livery, returning to service on 6th September 2011. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette between 17th June and 20th July 2012.
- 1103 to pink routes livery, returning by 11th September 2011. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette by 29th January 2012.
- 1104 to pink routes livery, departing by 14th September 2011, returning by 24th and returning to service on 26th. Leather seat coverings were being replaced with moquette on 6th May 2012.
- 1105 to pink routes livery, returning to service by 16th September 2011. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette between 31st October and 12th November 2011.
- 1106 to pink routes livery, returning to service by 10th September 2011. Leather seat coverings were being replaced with moquette on 16th October 2011.
- 1107 to pink routes livery, returning to service by 27th August 2011. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette by 22nd April 2012.
- 1108 to generic livery, at Hants & Dorset trim by 14th September 2011, returning to service by 21st. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette in August 2012.
- 1109 to generic livery, returning by 11th September 2011. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette between 6th May and 2nd August 2012.
- 1110 to unbranded generic livery, departing for Hants & Dorset Trim on 6th July 2011, returning on 15th July and back in service by 21st July. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette at the same time.
- 1111 to unbranded generic livery, departing for Hants & Dorset Trim on 15th July 2011, returning on 1st August and back in service by 6th August. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette by 22nd April 2012.
- 1112 to unbranded generic livery, departing for Hants & Dorset Trim by 1st August 2011, returning by 13th and back in service by 15th. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette sometime between mid April and 17th July 2011.
- 1113 to unbranded generic livery, at Hants & Dorset trim by 22nd August 2011, returning to service by 6th September 2011. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette by 5th January 2012.
- 1114 to unbranded generic livery, at Hants & Dorset trim by 12th August 2011 and returning to service by 22nd. Leather seat coverings were replaced with moquette during July 2012.
1101 is seen below outside the Apex Plaza on 25th August 2011. Thanks to John Wheeler for this photo:
1106 and 1107 are seen below on 26th September 2011:
1109 is seen below at St Mary's Butts on 15th September 2011 in generic livery:
1110 is seen below in unbranded generic livery on Friar Street on 23rd July 2011:
Following the launch into service of ADL Enviro400Hs 219-31 on route 17 on 1st October 2011, unbranded 1110-4 gained branding for Thames Valley Park during week commencing 3rd and entered service on the route on 10th. 1114 is seen below on 27th October 2011. Thanks to Peter Coney for this photo:
1110-2 lost their Thames Valley Park branding in favour of Reading Buses logos following the introduction of a more frequent single deck service to Thames Valley Park from 13th February 2012, and 1113-4 following the loss of the Thames Valley Park contract on 28th September 2012.
In April 2014 generic liveried 1110/11 had their lower saloon seating reworked to create more buggy space with the removal of two seats, with 1112-14 to follow.
In September 2014 pink 1107 and silver 1108 were designated as the vehicles for use on new Green Bus services to Reading College. They continued to run in their existing liveries, although 1107 lost its advertising frames, gaining an advertising livery for the college on 14th September 2014. The two workings were amalgamated from September 2015 and withdrawn in September 2016, with 1107 becoming a regular spare vehicle for the pink and sky blue routes.
1106 and 1112 lost their full colour destination displays in favour of standard orange in November 2016.
Following a severe accident in late 2016, 1101 was repainted white and given an overall wrap in generic silver advertising the Reading Buses App on 12th February 2017 before returning to service on 19th.
YN07 LHD arrived on demonstration from 29 September 2007 as part of an evaluation of ethanol powered vehicles. It was fitted with a mk2 ethanol engine, whilst 1101-14 had more modern mk3 engines. Numbered 599, it is seen below on 10th October 2007:
More information about the trial was featured on the October 2007 news page.
The vehicle was subsequently purchased by Reading Transport in August 2008, and was noted at North West Bus and Coach on 30th August for the start of a process to remove the centre door, repaint and reseat the vehicle to get it up to Reading standard. It finally returned to Reading in July 2009, and is seen below at the Reading Transport Open Day on 5th July 2009 before re-entering service on 10th:
The vehicle features a number of different types of seat inside intended to gauge opinion on the best designs.
Following on from the conversion of 1101-14 from ethanol to diesel, 599 was being similarly treated by 17th May 2010 but only returned to service by 7th August 2010.
599 went on loan to Weavaway Travel on 30th January 2011 to operate route 1, and returned by 16th February 2011. It was advertised for sale instead of a Wright Solar displaced from the 1 in order to help to standardise the fleet, and departed for Stephenson's of Essex in April 2011 shortly after being withdrawn on 16th. 599 went on loan from Stephensons to Norfolk Green from 31st August 2011 to provide temporary cover on additional college contracts, returning on 17th November 2011.
YT11 LSD arrived on loan from Scania on approx 25th February 2014 to cover warranty work on Alexander Dennis Enviro 300SGs 401-420. It entered service on approx 21st March initially on route 1 after having had a cash vault, white LED destinations and WiFi fitted, and then from 7th April on a new duty covering scarlet route 9/X9 and sky blue route 15. It operated in London red with centre door out of use. It was decommissioned on approx 10th May prior to returning to Scania. It is seen below in Newbury on 21st March 2014. Thanks to Bob Morley for this photo:
Last updated: 18-08-17