National Express coaches query

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aformeruser

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With one National Express service being Plymouth to Edinburgh how much fuel does the coach use to make that journey in comparison to how much a coach can hold?

With it being a South West operator involving an overnight journey the service operates with 2 drivers on the coach which change over as required.

However, on occasions there can be a duplicate service doing the Manchester-Glasgow section. Would that be provided by a different National Express franchise operator?
 
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starrymarkb

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With one National Express service being Plymouth to Edinburgh how much fuel does the coach use to make that journey in comparison to how much a coach can hold?

With it being a South West operator involving an overnight journey the service operates with 2 drivers on the coach which change over as required.

However, on occasions there can be a duplicate service doing the Manchester-Glasgow section. Would that be provided by a different National Express franchise operator?
The Plymouth to Edinburgh service (336/532) is run by a Scottish crew (I can't remember the company) - I took the day service 532 (final dest Edinbrugh) between Exeter and Birmingham (connecting to Manchester) on the return the service was duplicated by an elderly South Gloucestershire Coaches VanHool as far as Bristol.
 

rail-britain

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A typical single deck express coach will have a total 400 litre capacity, split between two fuel tanks, allowing it to drive half way between Plymouth and Edinburgh before a complete refill is required (usually around Charnock Richard services)

Officially there should be no passengers on board during refilling
Passengers are advised to leave the coach and use the Service Area facilities

The Neoplan Skyliner (double decker) has two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 570 litre
This allows it to make such a journey without stopping, but only just!
 
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notadriver

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I've made a journey on the 336 from Edinburgh to Penzance (when it used to go that far). The distance covered according to the coach tacho was about 660 miles. Amazingly it had over a quarter remaining in the tank. Vehicle was a Volvo Plaxton bodied B12M with 5 speed ZF auto.
 

jamesontheroad

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Why do the Scottish operators crew this service all the way with their own drivers? I thought it was commonplace for NX franchisees to hand their buses (and passengers) over to other operators' crews en route.
 

ReverendFozz

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How does the Nat Ex coaching operations work exactly, as it has loads of operators running Nat Ex Coaches, do they pay operators to run the Coach Services or is it done through Franchising
 

aformeruser

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Why do the Scottish operators crew this service all the way with their own drivers? I thought it was commonplace for NX franchisees to hand their buses (and passengers) over to other operators' crews en route.
You just reminded me of the time I caught the Dublin-Leeds Eurolines service that both under Bus Eireann and National Express sell tickets on. At Dublin bus station a not-that-modern Bus Eireann bus turned up for the service which was loaded on to the ferry. At Holyhead we had to alight the Bus Eireann coach and board a more modern Eurolines branded coach and the same driver took the different coach. It all seemed a bit strange.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The Plymouth to Edinburgh service (336/532) is run by a Scottish crew (I can't remember the company) - I took the day service 532 (final dest Edinbrugh) between Exeter and Birmingham (connecting to Manchester) on the return the service was duplicated by an elderly South Gloucestershire Coaches VanHool as far as Bristol.
The crew didn't sound very Scottish when I travelled on it but it was a few years ago so may have been transferred to another franchise provider since.

A typical single deck express coach will have a total 400 litre capacity, split between two fuel tanks, allowing it to drive half way between Plymouth and Edinburgh before a complete refill is required (usually around Charnock Richard services)
Charnock Richard is more like a 3/4 point northbound. I remember when the coach did stop there when I was on it the driver announced it as the third and final service station stop.
 

tcm1106

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A typical single deck express coach will have a total 400 litre capacity, split between two fuel tanks, allowing it to drive half way between Plymouth and Edinburgh before a complete refill is required (usually around Charnock Richard services)

Officially there should be no passengers on board during refilling
Passengers are advised to leave the coach and use the Service Area facilities

The Neoplan Skyliner (double decker) has two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 570 litre
This allows it to make such a journey without stopping, but only just!
There are of course some vehicles with much larger capacities. The Bova Futura comes to mind as having tank(s) of approximately 750 litres.

 

Liam

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The crew didn't sound very Scottish when I travelled on it but it was a few years ago so may have been transferred to another franchise provider since.
It will be either Bruce's Coaches from Shotts, or Parks of Hamilton. Parks bought a Plymouth based operator (StarRiders?) a few years ago, so they may have Plymouth and Scotland crews.
 

anthony263

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There used to be one run on service 509 from London to Swansea which was worked by a crew from scotland who would drive a Glasgow - London service stay overnight in London then a London - Swansea & back before another stay overnight and finally a trip back to Glasgow.

I think the Bradford - west wales service is in fact worked by a crew from Bradford who stay overnight in Swansea
 

185

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I'm quite sure that on the old 327 Liverpool-Bristol-Weymouth I found 6 different petrol stations en-route which I used to use (with high up canopies), including the one just up from Weymouth Station.

Remembering the fuel card for overnight jobs was quite important. I ended up using my own credit card more than once after cards went missing.
 

anthony263

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I'm quite sure that on the old 327 Liverpool-Bristol-Weymouth I found 6 different petrol stations en-route which I used to use (with high up canopies), including the one just up from Weymouth Station.

Remembering the fuel card for overnight jobs was quite important. I ended up using my own credit card more than once after cards went missing.
I saw a coach wednesday filling up at a petrol station in Grangetown with the driver eventually paying with his own credit card because the fuel cards wouldn't work.
 

Flying Snail

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You just reminded me of the time I caught the Dublin-Leeds Eurolines service that both under Bus Eireann and National Express sell tickets on. At Dublin bus station a not-that-modern Bus Eireann bus turned up for the service which was loaded on to the ferry. At Holyhead we had to alight the Bus Eireann coach and board a more modern Eurolines branded coach and the same driver took the different coach. It all seemed a bit strange.
That is not unusual for that service, one thing you may not have noticed was the driver was not the same one who put the coach on the ferry. A Bus Eireann driver and coach (usually a Eurolines liveried Scania PB) goes on the ferry where the driver makes a sharp exit off the ferry before it departs.

A second driver who works for a UK based contractor boards the ferry as soon as it has docked to take the coach off and drive it to the terminal where passengers are sent through Immigration/customs with their luggage and loaded onto a coach belonging to the contractor.

The passengers from Leeds are then loaded on the Irish coach which then is put back on the ferry and taken off in Dublin in the same way.

It can be the case that the coach only just makes the ferry, they will generally wait until the last minute for the Eurolines services but it has happened that one of our drivers has not made it off before the ferry departed.

I am not sure how this operation has come about, in the past a number of different methods were used including "shipside" where the coach leaves the passengers at the terminal to board as foot passengers and another is waiting at the other terminal.

The Dublin-London service is a through coach with a single driver, either one of our own Eurolines branded Scanias or an Irish sub-contractor and driver.

I am not sure what the situation is these days but it had always been the case that Immigration/Customs/Security in Holyhead insisted on the passengers and luggage being offloaded and made walk through the terminal checks even when on a through coach so the added disruption of a change of coach was minimal.

It is certainly a lot of faffing about in the early hours and hardly an enticement to use the service, mind you it still beats the five hour wait in Holyhead rail passengers have to endure.
 

Martin2012

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The Plymouth to Edinburgh service (336/532) is run by a Scottish crew (I can't remember the company) - I took the day service 532 (final dest Edinbrugh) between Exeter and Birmingham (connecting to Manchester) on the return the service was duplicated by an elderly South Gloucestershire Coaches VanHool as far as Bristol.
Bruces coaches operate both the 336 and 532 Plymouth to Edinburgh services. Have not used the 336 yet but have used the 532 several times to travel between Bristol and Birmingham.

One moan I have about this route is the fact that the front seats are usually made unavailable to passengers. Two of them are marked on the window as being "for crew use only" and the other two seem to be used to store driver's belongings or for the second driver to sit in. Aparrantley it is a legal requirement that these seats are kept free. However on one trip back from Birmingham last year I happened to be the final passenger to board. The driver moved his bags off the front two seats and told me to sit there.
 

Welshman

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One moan I have about this route is the fact that the front seats are usually made unavailable to passengers. Two of them are marked on the window as being "for crew use only" and the other two seem to be used to store driver's belongings or for the second driver to sit in. Aparrantley it is a legal requirement that these seats are kept free. However on one trip back from Birmingham last year I happened to be the final passenger to board. The driver moved his bags off the front two seats and told me to sit there.
I didn't realise it was a legal requirement - are you sure he wasn't just telling you that?

I thought it was a case of the desire for privacy which saw drivers of 1st gen dmus drive around with the blinds down all day.
 

route101

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Aye , Bruce Coaches with Levantes . Whenever ive seen these services leave Glasgow they are not full when you compare it to the London overnight services .
 

185

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I didn't realise it was a legal requirement - are you sure he wasn't just telling you that?

I thought it was a case of the desire for privacy which saw drivers of 1st gen dmus drive around with the blinds down all day.
There is no legal requirements to keep those seats vacant except for children under 11 for whom the seatbelts may not fully hold them in place should the worst happen. Generally, I used to keep at least one side free (usually behind me) incase staff got on, or someone had to be moved. Most vehicles when I was there were booked & paid for by NX as 44 seaters - though the vehicles our company supplied were 46 seaters.

In some respects, as a safety measure, as coaches have no safety screens, having a bit of space behind you does give you a vital few extra seconds should someone try grab the wheel, as happened at Oxford Citylink.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-12348858
 
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Usually someone will ring us up to book a journey and request a front seat specifically because they want/need more leg room for some reason. We'd leave a drivers note to this effect and the driver would put his bags on the seat to 'reserve them.'
 

Ploughman

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I had a recent Coach tour to the French Riviera with a local UK operator.
Fuelled with passengers on board.
approx 650 miles per tank. fuelled twice each way.
Front seats on either side occupied but first 2 rows of seats had extended legroom and reclining seats.
Small low level shield behind the driver and also behind the courier seat.
 

notadriver

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I had a recent Coach tour to the French Riviera with a local UK operator.
Fuelled with passengers on board.
approx 650 miles per tank. fuelled twice each way.
Front seats on either side occupied but first 2 rows of seats had extended legroom and reclining seats.
Small low level shield behind the driver and also behind the courier seat.
On tours the front seats usually attract a premium price due to the front view they provide. I never intentionally blocked off front seats when I drove for national express. If drivers do because they feel the need for privacy then they are in the wrong job. Probably better suited to being train drivers - if they can make it pass the tests.
 

richw

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Bruces coaches operate both the 336 and 532 Plymouth to Edinburgh services. Have not used the 336 yet but have used the 532 several times to travel between Bristol and Birmingham.

One moan I have about this route is the fact that the front seats are usually made unavailable to passengers. Two of them are marked on the window as being "for crew use only" and the other two seem to be used to store driver's belongings or for the second driver to sit in. Aparrantley it is a legal requirement that these seats are kept free. However on one trip back from Birmingham last year I happened to be the final passenger to board. The driver moved his bags off the front two seats and told me to sit there.
Are these the coaches with private plates hsk*** assuming they may be as hsk would have been a Scottish registration in the old systems?
 

Liam

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Are these the coaches with private plates hsk*** assuming they may be as hsk would have been a Scottish registration in the old systems?
You may be right, but I always thought they were Northern Irish plates?
 

richw

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You may be right, but I always thought they were Northern Irish plates?
Northern Irish plates always contain an I or a Z. Hsk is a pre 1960s Scottish plate.

Edit- hsk is an undetermined aged vehicle, original plate came from pre 1963, and is a Inverness dvla issued registration.
 

starrymarkb

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Are these the coaches with private plates hsk*** assuming they may be as hsk would have been a Scottish registration in the old systems?
Nope that range is used by Parks of Hamilton (and their SW based offshoot Trathens of Plymouth). The 532/336 are usually Levantes with FJXX regs (presumably pre registered from Caetano UK)
 

F Great Eastern

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For the Eurolines Dublin to London service, it's operated normally by a Eurolines livened Bus Eireann 2006 PB with the summer extra 871 service operated by Bernard Kavanagh under contract.

From using the service a couple of times in the last few months the extra service seems to normally be an ex Irish Citylink Scania PB (2006/7), a Jonckheere SHV (2010) that previously operated under contract to GoBus or a Plaxton Panther (2011) they have on loan to cover for warranty work that also saw service with First Aircoach.

Generally apart from lacking tables that some Bus Eireann vehicles have, the Kavanagh vehicles I found to be better.
 
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