Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,

This page created 21st November 2018.

Scania, Wrightbus Solar 748-751

Centrebus Solar Centrebus had already been a Scania user before the low-floor era, with some elderly Alexander Strider - bodied buses, which arrived over a period of time and seemed to be trusted. So at the end of 2009, when the company was setting up a competitive Harlow operation they bought three new Scania K230UBs with very long Wright Solar bodies - very shapely, and a world different from the Scottish-style high-floor Striders. A fourth similar bus was bought early in 2010. This had been a Scania demonstrator, first with Thetford Coach Services and then with Anglianbus and First West Yorkshire.

The quartet was put into weekday service in January 2009 on the C3 (Harlow - Hoddesdon - Waltham Cross), with Sunday use on the 311 (Hertford - Waltham Cross) and C4 (Waltham Cross - Hertford).

749 on 311, Hertford 751 on 311, Hertford

Sundays at Hertford Bus Station was where I met this batch of Solars, during Running Days. These were on the 311, 749 in June 2010, and 751 a year later.

But in autumn 2011 all four were sent north to other Centrebus companies in Leicester and Huddersfield. Dart SLFs came south, presumably to replace them.

The ex-demonstrator, 748, then moved on to Centrebus' High Peak operation, where it was used on Transpeak services between Derby and Manchester. It came back south in October 2017, to Luton, where it was fitted with guide-wheels for use on the Luton - Dunstable Busway.

The other three were bought by Arriva Midlands late in 2013 for use in the Derby area.

The Luton-Dunstable Busway, Esteems 705-709 plus Solar 702

OmniCity sketch In September 2013 the Luton-Dunstable Busway opened at last, connecting the two towns with a fast transport corridor along the old railway line. Centrebus was to offer two new services: B (Luton Interchange - Downside Estate) and E (Luton Galaxy Centre - Toddington). For this they transferred in from Leicester five Scania N230UBs with East Lancs/Optare Esteem 34-seater bodies (705-709). 708 and 709 arrived early, to allow familiarisation and training, and were used on the X31 to Milton Keynes. All five were fitted with guide-wheels for use on the Busway, and were given cherished registrations K2-K6YCL.

A spare bus was needed to allow for maintenance and accidents, so a Scania L94UB with Wright Solar body was transferred in and suitably equipped with guide-wheels and re-registration K7YCL. It was quite elderly, having originated with Morris of Bromyard back in 2001, and after that being acquired by Centrebus and used in Leicester, Leeds and Huddersfield before coming south.

The Esteems were unlucky in terms of incidents: 708 was accident damaged in February 2014, and then fire-damaged in July 2015. It was repaired and returned to service. 706 was wrecked in an accident in June 2016, and was stripped for spares. 705 had a head on collision with Grant Palmer 151 in April 2018, wrecking both buses. Meanwhile the Solar, 702, had been transferred away to High Peak in September 2015, but was recalled to Luton in October 2017, along with similar Solar 703.

707 at Luton Interchange 707 at Luton Interchange

707 on route B, 12th December 2018 at Luton Interchange, wearing Busway branding.

OmniCitys for Luton: 721-725, 728

OmniCity sketch In October 2015 three Scania OmniCitys were bought for Centrebus in Luton from Nottingham City Transport. They were numbered 723 to 725. Others from Nottingham went elsewhere within Centrebus. The Luton buses were soon fitted with guide wheels to allow their use on the Busway, and received orange/white/blue livery and cherished registrations from the YCL range. A new Busway route was introduced: G (Luton Interchange - Dunstable and Langdale Estate). When 706 had its crash it was replaced by another ex-Nottingham OmniCity (now 722), which gained guide-wheels and the registration from 706. Registrations carried by these buses changed several times.

728, another ex-Nottingham bus, came from High Peak to Luton in July 2017, and was followed by 721 from High Peak in April 2018.

Ian's Bus Stop OmniCity index. Centrebus Scania Striders. Centrebus Scania histories.