Bendi-Bus

2001-5 DAK301-4V, CLM 346T

During the late 1970ís M.A.N (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nurnberg) vehicles were keen to capture a share of the British bus market. In 1978 a single articulated vehicle was imported which took the registration mark CLM346T to gain type approval for the operation of this type of bus in this country. Following the approval M.A.N. produced 4 further vehicles that were registered DAK301-304V. These joined five similar vehicles built by D.A.B. (now D.A.F.) and the ten buses entered service in 1979 with South Yorkshire PTE in Sheffield. The trials of these buses resulted in the PTE purchasing 13 D.A.F. based vehicles. The M.A.N. vehicles then found some use in Oxford and at the National Exhibition Centre as car park shuttle buses for the motor show.

In 1983 the Five M.A.N. Buses were loaned to the National Bus Company who decided to trial them with their Midland Red West subsidiary at Redditch. The Company used them on the new town circular route (Then known at the R8 and R9) which became the First Midland Red routes 57 and 58 and are now operated by Diamond Bus. By 1983 the circular route had evolved with the construction of the new town into 10-minute service in each direction. The routes makes use of the extensive bus only roads in Redditch. The bendi buses  retained their South Yorkshire PTE livery and fleet numbers with Reddibus brand names added. Much more work had to be done at the Plymouth Road bus park to accommodate these long vehicles on the fuel pumps. The inspection pit in the small workshop alongside the fuelling point also had to be lengthened. In service at Redditch the vehicles spent most of the time on the R8 and R9 though they did stray onto other routes even getting into Birmingham on occasions.

Operation of the buses  in Redditch was not helped as during their 12 month stay the Bus Station was being rebuilt (this became the second bus station on the site). During this rebuilding temporary stands were used in Station Way and some routes required the bus to turn round via a reversing manoeuvre which can be difficult with an articulated vehicle. Also during the time at Redditch Garage the services were revised with an R7 being introduced so that clockwise journeys round the new town ran alternately as R7 and R9 with the journeys being extended across town to Crabbs Cross.  This arrangement only lasted around 12 months and when the routes were split the new town routes retained the R7 and R8 numbers (now 57 and 58) and the Crabbs Cross Circular became R5 and R6.

Midland Red West found the buses were popular with the passengers but vehicle reliability was a problem. Spares for the M.A.N. engines were a particular problem, which led to 2004 (DAK304V) spending the last few months at Redditch out of service to provide parts to keep the other four buses, on the road. At the end of the experiment Midland Red West decided bendi-buses werenít for them.

During November 1985 the frequency of the R7 and R8 routes was increased to every 6 minutes instead of using Leyland National vehicles transferred from Worcester following the introduction of minibuses on the city services. M.A.N. were keen to off load the buses as they were now virtually five years old and the technology for these types of buses had moved on making the design obsolete.

Midland Red North purchased all five and put them into service from their Cannock garage as 1801-1805. They ran them until early 1987 and experienced the same operational problems as Midland Red West had. 1805 (CLM346T) was broken up and used to make four "good" buses, which were then exported, to Australia for further use.

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Body type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Date Withdrawn

Disposal

DAK301V

2001

MAN SG 192R

AB53F

Jan-83

Jan-84

Midland Red North as 1801 see below

DAK302V

2002

MAN SG 192R

AB53F

Jan-83

Jan-84

Midland Red North as 1802 see below

DAK303V

2003

MAN SG 192R

AB53F

Jan-83

Jan-84

Midland Red North as 1803 see below

DAK304V

2004

MAN SG 192R

AB53F

Jan-83

Jan-84

Midland Red North as 1804 see below

CLM346T

2005

MAN SG 192R

AB53F

Jan-83

Jan-84

Midland Red North as 1805 see below

All five were allocated to Cannock Garage by Midland Red North and were withdrawn from service in March 1987. 1801-4 were exported to Queensland in Australia being operated by Marlin Tours in Cairns. 1805 was not exported but was stripped for spares for the others and then sold for scrap in this country

Maker M.A.N. Commercial Vehicle Division, Munich, West Germany
Model SG 220 articulated single-deck citybus
Dimensions Overall length 16.48m (54.07ft)
Forebody wheelbase 5.3m (17.4ft)
Afterbody wheelbase 6.02m (19.75ft)
Overall width 2.05m (8.15ft)
Engine M A N Six cylinder in-line diesel engine, mounted horizontally underfloor between the axles in the forebody.
Cubic capacity 11.413 litres
Gross power output 162 kW (220 hp) at 2,200 rpm
Max torque 775 Nm (79 Kpm) at 1,400 rpm
Transmission Voith D851 fully-automatic with press-button ratio selection