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Prototype Volvo B9TL (Volgren-bodied, as Kowloon Motor Bus AVD1) seen in service on the last day (15 December 2004) before it left temporarily for further testing.
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||1 or 2 door|
|Floor type||Low floor|
Volvo D9A: 300hp, 340hp|
Volvo D9B: 260hp, 310hp
2-axle: 10.3m, 10.4m/10.6m, 11.3m, etc.|
3-axle: 11.3m, 12m, 12.8m
|Curb weight||19 tonnes (2 axle), 23.3 tonnes (3 axle)|
The Volvo B9TL is a low-floor double-decker bus built by Volvo Buses since 2002. It superseded the older Volvo B10TL (also known as the Super Olympian) and the Volvo B7TL, and was superseded by the Volvo B5TL in Europe.
- 1 Chassis
- 2 Hong Kong
- 3 United Kingdom
- 4 Ireland
- 5 Singapore
- 6 Continental Europe
- 7 References
- 8 External links
- 9 See also
The B9TL chassis shared the same design of the B7TL. The key difference from both its predecessor, the B10TL Super Olympian and B7TL, is the new 9.3-litre engine originally designed by Renault Trucks. The radiator is located at the rear offside, similar the smaller B7TL. The front module design is shared with other low-floor bus chassis built by Volvo, and independent suspension is fitted at the front axle (replaced by conventional front suspension after some years of production).
The B9TL was initially offered in three-axle format, and the two-axle variant was added in 2006 to replace the B7TL. The driveline comprises a Volvo D9A Euro III engine (rated at 300 bhp or 340 bhp), which was later replaced by the Volvo D9B Euro IV engine (uses selective catalytic reduction technology; two versions were offered - the D9B260 rated at 260 bhp for two-axle version, and a higher powered D9B310, rated at 310 bhp, for three-axle version), and coupled to a ZF 5/6-speed gearbox. Volvo also offer the Voith four-speed gearbox as an option.
The front wheels of three-axle B9TL are usually supplied by ALCOA of the USA, but some buses (including the three prototypes) have all their wheels supplied by ALCOA.
Kowloon Motor Bus
A Volvo B9TL prototype was delivered to Hong Kong in July 2003 for Kowloon Motor Bus as a demonstrator for the Eco-Driveline concept (a large differential ratio, an engine with high low-end torque, and a six-speed automatic gearbox with double overdrive ratios). However, the Volgren CR223LD body (which is actually known to have been assembled in Switzerland) had a width of only 2500mm instead of the usual 2550mm. After months of testing, the bus was registered as LJ7006 and numbered AVD1 in March 2004. It was put into service in April 2004.
As a result of these tests, Volvo Buses and ZF adopted the Eco-Driveline system as the primary driveline option on the B9TL.
Later it was confirmed that AVD1 would leave Hong Kong after its evaluation, and a farewell tour was held by Bus Fan World on 12 December 2004. The bus was de-licensed on 15 December 2004 and left Hong Kong at noon on 21 December 2004.
In August 2005, AVD1 was shipped back to Hong Kong after its D9A engine was replaced by a D9B unit. Pre-October 2005, the bus was kept by Volvo in the Hong Kong United Dockyard. Later in 2005, the bus was transferred to KMB for installation of service equipment. The bus was re-licensed as MF5119 in February 2006, and re-entered service on 24 May 2006. The bus is one of the first two to meet the Euro IV emissions standards in Hong Kong (the other is an Alexander Dennis Enviro500 with fleet number ATEU1, originally ATE257).
- AVBE/AVBW class
In early 2004, a Volvo B9TL prototype with a facelifted version of the TransBus Enviro500 body arrived in Hong Kong. It had a slightly different front and rear design, and its rear route box was moved beneath the upper deck rear window. After TransBus International was renamed Alexander Dennis in May 2004, it became the only TransBus Enviro-series bus with a non-Dennis chassis.
Later in the same year, a Wright-bodied B9TL prototype was also delivered. The rear design of its Wright body was different from that of the Wright-bodied Volvo Super Olympian (AVW-class), with the number plate moved beneath (and a little to the right of) the rear route box.
On 12 January 2005, the TransBus Enviro 500-bodied B9TL was finally licensed as LU3721 with fleet number AVBE1, and the Wright-bodied B9TL was registered as LU3739 with fleet number AVBW1. Both of them entered service on the night of 8 February 2005.
In early 2005 Kowloon Motor Bus ordered 25 B9TL chassis with Wright bodywork, which entered service in 2005/2006. One of them (fleet number AVBW25) had participated in the EFE Showbus 2005 event in the UK before delivery. Among these 25 Wright-bodied B9TL, two of them are prototypes - fleet no. AVBW15 and AVBW26 (registration no. MG470 and MH7721 respectively). AVBW15 is fitted with a D9A340 engine coupled to a four-speed Voith DIWA864.5 gearbox instead of the D9A300 engine coupled to a six-speed ZF6HP592C gearbox, which is unique among the whole Wright-bodied B9TL fleet.
In late 2005, Kowloon Motor Bus placed a further order of 38 Wright-bodied B9TL and 50 Enviro500-bodied B9TL, the Wright-bodied buses entered service in mid/late-2006, and the Enviro500-bodied buses entered service in late 2006/2007. These were followed by another 35 buses with Enviro500 bodywork, they entered service in 2007/2008.
- AVBWU class
In 2009, Kowloon Motor Bus ordered 175 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied B9TLs (in two batches) equipped with Euro V D9B-310 engines and Vogelsitze seats, which have begun delivery as of early 2010. These were followed by an order for a further 115 Wright-bodied B9TL in 2010 - AVBWU1-AVBWU175 and AVBWU176-AVBWU290.
All these buses entered service between 2010 and 2012.
In 2013 a further batch of 50 arrived Hong Kong as chassis (except the first one which is a prototype), and they were transferred to mainland China for assembling the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodies, which broke the tradition of Wright only assembling bus bodies in their own factory. A further order of 58 buses were confirmed slightly later followed by 25 buses with also Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, this will bring total to 83 buses, and will also arrive Hong Kong as chassis in 2014. The prototype is equipped with orange Hanover route display board while the remaining are equipped with orange Gorba route display boards. They are the super low-floor buses with the highest capacity (138 passengers) in the fleet of KMB - AVBWU291-AVBWU340, AVBWU341-AVBWU398, AVBWU399-AVBWU423.
- AVBWS class
Kowloon Motor Bus received one Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied two-axle B9TL in 2010, it was first registered in December 2010.
- 3AVBWU class
Kowloon Motor Bus received two 12.8m Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied B9TLs in mid-2014. Both buses were registered in August 2014 and were deployed on route 73X. These two buses are super low-floor buses with the highest capacity (146 passengers) in Hong Kong.
- Early withdrawal
On 29 September 2009, a KMB Wright-bodied B9TL (fleet number AVBW29, reg number MJ6852) was written off after being burnt out near Wu Chung House in Queen's Road East, Wan Chai on 10 December 2008.
After investigations, it was determined that the fire was caused by an overheated generator. Later KMB received one additional B9TL as compensation.
Long Win Bus
Citybus and New World First Bus
Citybus received one Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied two-axle B9TL in 31 July 2010. This vehicle was first registered in November 2010 and entered service in the following month.
Citybus and New World First Bus placed an order for 51 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied tri-axle in March 2014. They will be assembled with Wrightbus's new partner, Masdef, in Malaysia. Thirty 11.3-metre-long vehicles and one 12.8-metre-long demonstrator(6500) will be delivered to Citybus, and twenty 11.3-metre-long vehicles will be delivered to New World First Bus in January 2015. 6500 has registered in March 2015 and entered service in the following month.
In three-axle form, the B9TL made its debut in Britain when Weavaway Travel of Newbury placed an order for six B9TL with East Lancs "Myllennium" Nordic bodywork in late 2004 and put them into service in April/May 2005, becoming the first UK operator of the type. Since then, two more were sold to Roadliner of Poole and Provence Private Hire of St Albans for school contracts and commercial work.
The two-axle Volvo B9TL did not make its debut in Britain until the middle of 2006. The first demonstrator, with Wright Eclipse Gemini body, was delivered to London General (part of the Go-Ahead Group) in July 2006 for evaluation, it is used on route 11 along with the current Wright-bodied Volvo B7TL. The first order was secured from Delaine for two examples with the new East Lancs Olympus bodywork. The first one, along with an Alexander Dennis Enviro400-bodied version, were unveiled in "Euro Bus Expo" show in November 2006.
Initial sales of the two-axle version had been slow in Britain, particularly in London, after falling foul with the noise and capacity requirements imposed by Transport for London. Orders were also received for the Volvo B9TLs respectively in First London, Go-Ahead London and Metroline. The B9TL had managed success with Lothian Buses, FirstGroup, East Yorkshire Motor Services, Highland Scottish, Yorkshire Coastliner and Flights Hallmark, where orders were received from 2007 to 2014.
The first order from Arriva was 10 buses with East Lancs Visionaire bodywork for The Original Tour in January 2007; and delivered in April - November 2007. Additional 16 buses (VXE721 - VXE736) was also ordered in December 2010, this was also delivered in October 2011 - February 2012.
Dublin Bus of Dublin, Ireland placed an order for 20 B9TL with single-door Alexander Dennis Enviro500 bodywork in early 2005. These buses are the largest in the fleet and also the first tri-axle double deckers for the Irish capital, the first of them entered service in December 2005. These "VT" class buses run on high-demand routes, such as route 46A.
In 2007, Dublin Bus ordered 50 B9TL with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodywork and another 50 B9TL with Alexander Dennis Enviro500 bodywork for delivery in 2007/2008. The two-axle buses entered service in summer/autumn 2007, and the three-axle buses entered service in December 2007/early 2008. Later Dublin Bus ordered 50 B9TL with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodywork and 50 B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork for delivery in 2008/2009. In 2012, Dublin Bus received 80 B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork, but retaining the older Eclipse Gemini front. A further 80 B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork, were received by Dublin Bus in 2013.
Bus Éireann also put 10 Wright Eclipse Gemini-bodied Volvo B9TL into service in late 2008, and a further 10 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied Volvo B9TL in 2012.
Comfort DelGro Corporation Limited bodywork
SBS Transit of Singapore placed an order for 150 B9TL chassis at a cost of S$71 million on 28 December 2004, then the largest single order, which were fitted with bodywork from ComfortDelgro Engineering, part of SBS Transit's parent company. An additional order for 50 more chassis was placed in 2006 at a cost of S$29 million soon after putting its first B9TLs into operation, bringing the total fleet size to 200. These B9TLs come with a Volvo D9A300 engine (Euro III), 150 having ZF 6HP602C gearboxes while the remaining 50 have Voith D864.3 gearboxes.
These are Singapore's first wheelchair-accessible buses. However, instead of automatic ramps, SBS Transit has decided to use manually operated ramps. While the ramps would need more time to deploy, they would be more reliable than automatic ones and would be cheaper to install and maintain because of the absence of complicated mechanical parts.
The buses were launched on 15 February 2006 by Singapore's then Minister for Transport, Yeo Cheow Tong. They were supposed to be deployed from April onwards, but this was delayed till June 2006 - they were slightly wider than most other buses in Singapore, bus stops had to be retrofitted for wheelchair users, and it was necessary to survey which bus routes in Singapore had the most pressing need for such buses.
Bus service 21 was the first to receive the buses, where ten were put into service serving between Saint Michael's Bus Terminal and Pasir Ris Interchange on 27 June 2006, with an official launch ceremony held at Pasir Ris Interchange on 26 June 2006. Service 21 was chosen after consultations with various welfare organizations serving the needs of disabled people, as well as the Land Transport Authority. This route also passes the premises of the Handicaps Welfare Association as well as Tan Tock Seng Hospital, among other medical facilities. B9TLs continued to roll out of the bodywork assembly plant at SBS Transit's Hougang depot, being deployed on selected routes served by several depots, where the routes chosen are expected to serve large numbers of elderly commuters.
As of 29 September 2006, before the Euro 4 dateline of 1 October 2006 set by the Singapore government for diesel vehicles, all 200 B9TLs have been registered, with registration numbers SBS7300P to SBS7499A. As of 2007, all 200 buses were out on the roads.
- Early withdrawal
On 7 March 2010, SBS7440T from service 25 was burnt in a bus depot fire and was de-registered several months later.
Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork
On 13 August 2009, SBS Transit announced a further order of 150 more Volvo B9TL chassis with Volvo D9B310 Euro V engines, ZF EcoLife 6-speed gearboxes and Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork as part of a fleet renewal programme costing S$87 million. This order was followed by an additional order for another 300 buses at a cost of S$158 million on 6 September 2010, also with similar specifications, bringing the total up to 450.
The first unit was handed over to SBS Transit by Wrightbus Ltd. on 8 September 2010, registered on 13 September 2010 and in service as of November 2010. The buses were registered in the license plate range SBS7500D to SBS7686B excluding registration numbers containing the digit 4 (due to tetraphobia). Bus services 60, 174 & 185 were the first few to receive the new double-deck buses.
On 26 August 2011, the first 150 Volvo B9TLs bodied by Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 had all been registered, followed by the next 300 buses between 21 September 2011 and 28 December 2012. These buses have Voith DIWA transmission instead of ZF Ecolife transmission on the first 150. They are registered from SBS7700T to SBS7729L, SBS3000G to SBS3238M, SBS3269Z and SBS3300R to SBS3329J. The buses in the 3000-series were 100% low-floor buses, compared to the low-entry buses in the 7000-series, which have a step in the middle section of the bus, as well as different EDSes - SBS3189X and 7000-series having Hanover EDSes, and most 3000-series having LECIP EDSes. SBS3300R to SBS3329J were under the Bus Services Enhancement Programme (BSEP) scheme by Land Transport Authority.
SBS Transit ordered another 550 Volvo B9TLs also with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork on 9 July 2012 as part of an order of 1000 buses worth S$433 million, These buses have the same specifications of the low-floor buses from the second batch (except SBS3189X) up till SBS3384Z & SBS3760X, while buses registered from SBS3385X to SBS3448Z and from SBS3761T to SBS3986L have the same specifications as SBS3189X, that is with Hanover EDS. The buses are registered since January 2013, as SBS3240E to SBS3299L (except SBS3269Z), SBS3600A onwards for normal buses, and SBS3330D onwards for buses under the BSEP scheme.
The latest order of 415 Volvo B9TLs with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork was announced by SBS Transit on 1 July 2014, followed by another 15 more B9TL buses on 20 May 2015, which will increased to 430, making SBS Transit owning the largest number of Volvo B9TLs to date - 1631 buses.
Gemilang Coachworks bodywork
SBS Transit received a Volvo B9TL demonstrator bodied by Gemilang Coachworks. This demonstrator Volvo B9TL has similar specifications of the 3000-series low floor Wrightbus from the second batch and the third batch, The bus has registered as SBS7777Y on 22 January 2014 and entered service on 17 February 2014 on service 7, plying between Bedok Bus Interchange and Clementi Bus Interchange.
A number of two-axle Volvo B9TL open top buses were sold to a number of cities in Continental Europe for sightseeing purposes.
- Weir, Clare (6 March 2014). "Ballymena's Wrightbus to build flat-pack buses for Hong Kong". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- "Wrightbus to assemble in Malaysia". Bus and Coach Magazine. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Product description in the Volvo website
- Bus specs from Volvo
- D9B engine specs from Volvo
- Pictures of Dublin Bus's VT class, the Enviro500-bodied B9TL
- Delaine buses website page detailing order and delivery of B9TL Olympus number 141
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