Transbus Enviro 300
See also: Alexander Dennis Enviro 300SG
The first Envrio300s, 970-3 were delivered to Reading for Newbury Vodafone work during the first week of April 2003. After initial checks they left for Newbury the following week to enter service on Monday 14th. Below 971 is seen at Newbury Bus Station on 10th April 2003, the week before it entered service. It had yet to receive its Vodafone branding. Thanks to Paul Hilton for the photo:
Below 973 and 971 are seen at the end of Saturday 12th April ready to be the first vehicles out of the depot on the following Monday morning for their first day in service. 970 can also just about be seen to the right. Thanks to Paul Hilton for this photo:
Later in the year and the batch are settled into service. Their displays are set switch between showing route information and the Vodafone logo. 973 is been below on 16th December 2003 operating service CLK.
These vehicles wear standard Newbury livery without LowRider branding. Vodafone logos are applied to the front and sides, and all are fitted with Bright-Tech "Light-Tech" high visibility LED displays.
Following a gearbox failure in 972 (and Excel 941 receiving severe front end damage just a day or two before), demonstrator SK52 USS was loaned to Newbury for Vodafone work from 23rd December 2003, gaining fleet number 99 "on paper". 972 returned to service on 31st December, and SK52 USS occasionally found itself straying onto other routes including the 32 to Basingstoke, and the 1 from Glendale Avenue to Thatcham. Then as 941 returned to service the vehicle had its last run in Newbury on 16th January and was moved to Reading on the 17th. It entered service there a few days later numbered 974 in view of the fact that, in the background, negotiations for its purchase were being finalised. The official period that it spent on loan was 23rd December to 18th February.
Thanks to Brian Coney for this photo, taken in Newbury on 31st December 2001.
974 wore this blue and green livery during its time as a demonstrator, and whilst in service at Newbury. At Reading it gained Reading Buses logos all round, but a full repaint was delayed pending the introduction of a new corporate livery later in the year. The new beige 'quality travel for Reading' livery was introduced on the Scania OmniDekkas for route 17 on 25th October 2004, and then on the Wright Solars for routes 4, 5 and 6 from March 2005. 974 was sent away for repaint on 7th February 2005 an anticipation of the Solars, returning to service in generic charcoal grey by 18th, and becoming the first single deck vehicle to wear the livery. It is seen below on 23rd February 2008:
974 went on loan from Reading to Newbury from approx 11th April 2008 to cover for the pending delivery of Dart 610. After 610 arrived in May 2008, 974 remained at Newbury to cover school workings in place of double deckers, and to free up an Optare Solo for use on expanded Vodafone duties. 974 was then given Newbury Buses fleet names on Reading generic grey livery, and is seen below in Newbury Bus Station on 14th October 2008:
970-3 were withdrawn in October 2006 following the renewal of the Vodafone contract and a requirement for new vehicles. 970 was withdrawn early on 4th October and 971-3 on 13th upon expiry of their leases from Dawson Rentals. However the new Scania OmniCity single deckers that were to replace them from the start of October were delayed during manufacture, so recently displaced Thames Valley Park liveried Optare Excel2s 961-4 were de-branded and loaned to Newbury to tide things over until the arrival of Scanias 6-12.
Following their departures 971-3 were returned to Newbury for additional remedial work following their lease - 971 by 13th November 2006 until 20th November 2006, and 972/3 on 8th January 2007 until at least Monday 15th January 2007.
972/3 passed to Premiere, Nottingham by September 2007.
971 spent a period on loan to First Cymru in April/May 2008 on their Landore Park and Ride service, then briefly with Meteor Parking in September 2008, and then went to Premiere, Nottingham by early November 2008.
970 went to Travel London / Travel Surrey in July 2008, followed by Anglian Bus by May 2010 and Network Harlow, part of Tellings Golden Miller by July 2011.
974 was advertised for sale in August 2010 pending anticipated reductions to contracted services across the fleet, and a move towards a more standardised fleet with most Newbury engineering functions transferred to Reading. By December it had fallen out of use and was returned to service to operate rail replacement services before returning to Newbury for a short spell in January 2011 as an extra spare vehicle. It was then withdrawn later in January and moved to Reading for storage, and was eventually sold to Premiere, Nottingham in May 2011.
Premiere, Nottingham went into administration on 25th January 2013, with 972/3 passing to Ensignbus (dealer) in April 2013, and then to Buses Excetera between July and November 2013 where they were reregistered S50/60 ETC. In July 2014 970/1 surfaced at CT Plus, Bristol, and from there to Diamond, Birmingham by January 2015. The status of 974 is not known as yet.
Last updated: 18-01-15
RTL Transbus Enviro 300NGs