Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Ivor hits the road!
A-Line's newest addition to the fleet, R260 GNJ, has been used in service for the first time today. This Iveco 59.12 from Heron of Crawley, affectionately known as 'Ivor' in the A-Line fleet, has been with A-Line since November, but has so far been relegated to the school runs only. Though due to the non-availability of both of the Mercedes Varios, she was pressed into service on the 80/A/B throughout the day.
Some of you may remember that A-Line used to operate two other Ex-Southern Vectis Ivecos, J234 and J238 KDL, which were subsequently replaced with M152 LPL and later the two Varios. So its been quite a trip down memory lane for passengers on the service today. She is somewhat 'tired' in her appearance, though this has to be expected for a vehicle which is fast approaching its 400'000th mile since new in 1997. The engine certainly pulls well, though is understandably more sluggish when compared to the previous Ivecos, thanks to its heavier Marshall bodywork. The interior is certainly very smart with high back coach seats in very nice condition.I've also very much enjoyed the manual gearbox, its just so much smoother than the Alison automatics, along with it being much more interesting when observing the driving. Steve - who drove the bus to Trago today with his girlfriend on board was somewhat agitated by the fact that his usual very professional driving, was lacking today after not being used to the manual, especially it being his first time driving the Iveco. In his attempt to 'impress' her with his driving skills, he made a bit of a hash of the gears on multiple occasions! He couldn't complain enough about the Iveco, and in fact ended up kissing the X reg Vario, when he got passed it before working the evening 80s, along with shouting "I love you!" to Jim!
So all in all a successful day with many compliments from the passengers on board, if not from the driver himself! But with the Iveco being able to do 20mpg (8 more than the Varios!), Ivor looks set to be at A-Line for a fair time into the future, and I certainly look forward to the next time both Varios break down!