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Old 19th February 2008, 17:21   #331
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do you have a picture of it.. its not even stated anywhere on the BEST website.
I think I may have one of teh old AL in-house journals, but I have to search. There was only one plying for BEST and that originated in the Nagar Chowk stand (must be Backbay Depot).[/quote]


Thank you Kumar. It should have been a sight on the road those days... Please so post the images if you can...

Also... Whatelse might be there in your archives? This was a good piece of info...
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Old 20th February 2008, 09:47   #332
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Did you know that AL introduced multi-axle trucks way back in 1994? For tanker applications, they even had one retractable axle so that the empty tanker could lift one axle of the ground to save on tyre wear and improve FE. Unfortunately, AL could never make a success of that range of vehicles (maybe they were too early), and it was left to Telco to popularise multi-axle vehicles in the last 1 decade.
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Old 20th February 2008, 11:20   #333
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While on the multi-axle trucks, i remember a story that i heard in the late 90's.
Apparently AL(Taurus, i think) had multi axles with both rear axles driven, whereas the TELCO had the last rear axle as dead axle(no drive). With our kind of roads, I believe it was pretty easy to get the Telco Multi-axle Truck in a position where the 1st rear axle would be off the ground(or not loaded enough to provide traction to move the truck.)
But, i guess those were early days of TELCO Multiaxles. They soon had multiaxle offerings(with both rear axles driven.)
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Old 20th February 2008, 11:54   #334
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Did you know that AL introduced multi-axle trucks way back in 1994?
Taurus, the model in question was introduced in early 1980s, most probably in 1981-82 IIRC. It had a GVW of 18 tonnes and was fitted with a turbo. The front end structure was simply a license built British Leyland design but unfortunately they never launched it with a cab but just the cowl leaving the cab fabrication to roadside vendors.

Tata launched its 1516 around the same time although it only had two axles. 1516 came with a fully built, decent quality cab designed and built by Tata itself, not roadside vendors. That cab still continues with one minor modification - two windshields have been replaced by one!

Although Tata displayed a three-axled truck 1812 at the India International Trade Fair in Delhi in 1981, the model was never launched, at least in India. Its third axle had lift mechanism. Tata launched three axled trucks in India with 2416 which came with a cab followed by the non-turbo 2213 which only had a cowl that was borrowed from 1210.

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Unfortunately, AL could never make a success of that range of vehicles (maybe they were too early), and it was left to Telco to popularise multi-axle vehicles in the last 1 decade.
Like a few other things, these trucks (both AL and Tata) were a little ahead of their times given the road conditions in those days.
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Old 20th February 2008, 12:18   #335
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I feel the biggest hurdle for adoption of multi axle trucks with high payload capacity is the existing Law-transporter nexus.
You can buy a cheap truck, carry twice the load its made for by paying "hafta" every month, why bother with large trucks.
If the transport and payload rules are enforced, then the transporters will need to get bigger trucks.
One of my cousins has a transport company. He was telling me if they go for a big truck(huge investment) it will be loss making because all other transporters will do same payload on a much smaller truck and get away by paying a small bribe.
Even by sticking to all laws, unless bribe is paid at checkposts, transporters cannot move forward.
On an average half the time is spent by trucks at checkposts.
Unless there is a major overhaul of the transportation administration, I do not see multi-axle trucks coming anytime soon the the mainstream.
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Old 21st February 2008, 06:52   #336
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Kirloskar used to assemble the Neoplan in India. I still remember that in 1985, a neoplan bus used to ply for Tiruvalluvar Transport Corpn between Bangalore and Madras in 5.5 hours via Chitoor, beating the other buses by nearly 2 hours.
There was also a pvt. operator named Unique coaches who used Kirloskar Neoplan buses for journeys between Bombay (Shivaji Park) and Goa. Tickets were at par to having a Volvo in those days. It was a fun journey in those buses.
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Old 21st February 2008, 07:51   #337
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Anybody have pics of the Kirloskar-Neoplan coach sold in India?
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Old 21st February 2008, 21:55   #338
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Originally Posted by directinjection View Post
Leyland National bus was introduced in UK by British Leyland in 1970s. It was designed to be comfortable and good looking in order to encourage people to switch over from cars to buses.

In 1978-79, Ashok Leyland decided to produce the bus in India under license. The Indian version was to have the same engine and transmission that did duty in Comet and Viking. Also, in spite of being an integral coach, the bus was to be only partially built at AL plant, the rest being built at outside body builders. The bus was rear engined and had a low floor. While the British version had air suspension, IIRC, the Indian version had the usual leaf spring suspension. The bus was built in India only in small numbers due to lack of demand.
I had been in one such bus in my childhood and remember the front end of the bus bobbing up and down all the time. I was told by my Dad that was due to the additional weight of the Engine at the rear along with the roof mounted AC unit and that the suspension had actually given away. There was also another AL person on board and they (he and my Dad) were talking about how adding another axle to the rear would actually balance the design out. (Not that the design was ineffective when new, but in the Indian context this was happenning to Busses that were a few years old.)

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Originally Posted by jagan0677 View Post
While on the multi-axle trucks, i remember a story that i heard in the late 90's.
Apparently AL(Taurus, i think) had multi axles with both rear axles driven, whereas the TELCO had the last rear axle as dead axle(no drive). With our kind of roads, I believe it was pretty easy to get the Telco Multi-axle Truck in a position where the 1st rear axle would be off the ground(or not loaded enough to provide traction to move the truck.)
But, i guess those were early days of TELCO Multiaxles. They soon had multiaxle offerings(with both rear axles driven.)
I had observed one such instance. The helper was moving the 2213 truck. He had stopped the truck in a position that the driven rear axle had cleared a rumbler (2 bumps back to back) but the rear-dummy axle was smack in between the two bumps. The truck was unladen, so every time he was trying to move the truck forward or backward the driven axle would actually rise up in the air and the truck would come back to the mean position.

After a lot of commotion, the driver appeared from somewhere, he simply put the truck in first (I guess) and was rocking the truck back and forth using the clutch. till the momentum actually carried it over. But not before a lot of back and forth motion (at least 7-8 times).

Last edited by 1100D : 21st February 2008 at 21:56.
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Old 21st February 2008, 22:23   #339
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Anybody have pics of the Kirloskar-Neoplan coach sold in India?
Not me at least. But I have traveled extensively in those buses as a kid. They had a superior suspension from what I remember being advertised. An pneumatically operated door with controls to the driver were another luxury never seen in those days. They had frequent breakdowns though. We remember getting stuck once around Khed area but the additional luxury was having a an engineer from Kirloskar Neoplan on board. He got down fixed the problem and we were back on road. From what I remember, they used to have one engineer onboard every bus. Must have been a kind of pilot project for reliability of those buses.
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Old 21st February 2008, 22:32   #340
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From what I remember, they used to have one engineer onboard every bus.
Wow. Better A.S.S than the much hyped Maruti
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Old 22nd February 2008, 12:12   #341
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Default Kässbohrer Setra S431DT double-decker bus

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Do you have pictures of Kassbohrer setra's and all? I get to see a couple of Vanhools here in US apart from a few MCI/GMC/GM/Mack models which dont attract much interest.
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Will surely have a few pics. Will look into my pics and get back, @1100D.
Here is a Kässbohrer Setra S431DT double-decker bus, outside the Hauptbahnhof in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Belongs to a very old bus charter company called AutobusOberbayern GmbH. The bus is used for sightseeing tours, which start outside the Munich Hauptbahnhof.



They have been around since 1927, chartering buses.

Their group company: AutobusOberbayern Group is run by two families: Holzmair and Schoenecker.

The Holzmairs have conducted Munich city sightseeing tours and excursions with horse drawn carriages since 1890. Rudolf Schoenecker used the first motorized "Omnibus" for city sightseeing tours in 1907.


With Munich number plates.
Note wipers for front seat passengers on upper deck.


Note the dual rear axles for better weight distribution and handling.

I traveled by another blue Kässbohrer Setra S431DT, two weeks ago. Sorry didn't take its pic.

The rear engine radiated so much heat, it was actually comfortable for me to stand near one, whilst standing outside in the minus 10 degree Celsius weather.

This double-decker has a 503 bhp 16-litre V8 -- a Mercedes-Benz OM 502 LA 15,930 cc engine conforming to EuroIV (BluTec4) specs. This engine puts out 2300 Newton-metres of torque @ 1080 rpm.

The transmission is a ZF-AS tronic automatic transmission with Voith VR 115 E retarder.

Front axle has double cross-link independent suspension and front steering has ZF Servocom steering gear.
The driving axle is a Mercedes-Benz HO6.
The tag axle behind the driving axle has hydraulically steered wheels:ZF Servocom RAS (Rear Axle Steering) with positive steering.

The air-suspension setup has 8 air springs -- 2 on the front axle, 4 on driving axle and 2 on the tag axle.
The bus has a "kneeling" suspension raising and lowering system.

All six wheels have pneumatic disc brakes. It has a full complement of embedded computing with
ESP, ABS, ASR Acceleration Skid Control and Electro-pneumatic parking brakes.

ICE (IBE?) consists of a Blaupunkt Coach 2000 Professional with CD, DVD and automatically folding flatscreen displays. Also comes equipped with GPS Navigation. Climate control has axial fans.

Even as far back as the 1950s, Kässbohrer had integral self supporting bodies -- Selbst-tragend in German -- that's where the name SeTra comes from. Kässbohrer-Setra was sold in 1995 to (what is today) Daimler AG and now belongs to its EvoBus GmbH subsidiary.

BTW: The correct spelling is Kässbohrer or Kaessbohrer, not Kassbohrer.

Ram

PS: Pics courtesy Woodpeckar, Munich
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Old 22nd February 2008, 14:26   #342
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There were quite a few attempts from AL/Tata to convert the coach market from bus-body-on-truck chassis to a pure-coach design, which unfortunately, did not take off. However I am sure there were valuable learnings on the Indian market dynamics for these manufacturers.
But i believe there were a few body-builders who were so good at the bus-body-on-truck-chassis engineering and production, that this factor, IMHO, was a genuine hindrance to any (premature)efforts to convert to pure-coach engineering. I believe RUBY and LGB(more in south) really built a great reputation for themselves in this line of work. I think RUBY was also exporting to some African markets.
I remember having read somewhere, quite some time back, that some RUBY coaches were so well built, that few operators used to take a RUBY-bodied bus which had run 5-7 years, scrap the chassis and mount the body on a new chassis.
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Old 22nd February 2008, 15:48   #343
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Originally Posted by jagan0677 View Post
...a few body-builders who were so good at the bus-body-on-truck-chassis engineering and production, that this factor, IMHO, was a genuine hindrance to any (premature)efforts to convert to pure-coach engineering. I believe RUBY and LGB(more in south) really built a great reputation for themselves in this line of work. I think RUBY was also exporting to some African markets...

...some RUBY coaches were so well built, that few operators used to take a RUBY-bodied bus which had run 5-7 years, scrap the chassis and mount the body on a new chassis...
  1. A true unitary body bus would be lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than a body on truck chassis.
  2. A truck engine and gearbox are optimized for low-end lugging torque, rather than high speed.
On both counts,
a carpentry body on a truck chassis is nothing to write home about, not to mention the passenger discomforts of riding long-distance on leaf springs all around.

So quality of RUBY's carpentry, would be moot, as far as value of the design as a bus platform.

IMHO, it is the willingness to live with shoddy quality which is the root of the problem.

But, that said, how does it happen that operators who once bought buses for prices under Rs. 10 lakh, now buy a bus for prices in excess of Rs. 75 lakhs a piece?

And why do people pay a premium to travel in a clean-air Volvo B7R that floats along silently on air-springs at 100 km/h?

Ram
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Old 22nd February 2008, 19:20   #344
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By coincidence one of my friends who made a study regarding the Volvo B7R for some reasons came up with some interesting conclusions. One was that significant percent operators still do not make money on B7R. Reason being that for 80 lakhs keeping inflation in mind 700/800 Rupees tickets is not big margin even with 100 percent occupancy. Poor state of roads adds to the maintenance considerably... Some routes are quite good. But they still remain few in number... Some operators where found to use the bus as image builders and often for accounting reasons!

Personally I just know one person who had planned to replace his fleet of around 25 Tata/AL trucks with Volvo trailors over the years. He had bought more than one trailor of Volvo. After usage for around three years he has shifted back. The reason was many. One was maintenance. Poor availability of drivers who can actually drive these trucks... etc.

In fact I have heard that the headlights of the initial Volvos was a cost bomb. That was the reason that it was changed after a while. The poor state of roads meant that the headlights had to be frequently replaced! I have personally seen a six month old Volvo B7R breaking down with a seized gearbox... This was a company called Kallada and the bus was driven on first gear from Kochi to the hotel for dinner (for those travelling from Bangalore to Kochi)... The situation was bad and they were guided on telephone from somebody in Volvo to help the situation... Finally the passengers were accomodated on another bus.

This might have been an exceptional day I admit... But then with 80 lakhs (which is not small amount... with tax its more) can we have exceptions?


IMHO the viability of these vehicles are still not so covincing. Some obviously are better positioned than the rest to leverage it in terms of routes etc. But it is still years before India will shift to these buses.
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Old 22nd February 2008, 21:28   #345
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But, that said, how does it happen that operators who once bought buses for prices under Rs. 10 lakh, now buy a bus for prices in excess of Rs. 75 lakhs a piece?

And why do people pay a premium to travel in a clean-air Volvo B7R that floats along silently on air-springs at 100 km/h?

Ram
Unfortunately that is not happening. If you come to the Kolkata and its nearby places you would rarely spot a B7R. You would find yourself loosing an argument everytime you would talk about modern stuff. Kolkata private Busses are a willing testimony to all that. No one cares for comfort as long as it comes cheap, although multiplied by the risk and discomfort factors, not factoring in orthopaedic problems, we end up spending much more than just the ticket prices. But 90 percent people on our roads do not care, do not know.

Was suggesting this to someone connected to a state STU to run parallel routes, one with normal bus and one modern coach (without charging extraneously high amounts for the luxury) and see the result. They are even unwilling to conduct an experiment.

Thanks for the Kassbohrer (dont know how to put in the special character for the "a"). Its very surprising that, this bus hardly looks any different from the ones I had been on in the 90s. There was one Van Nood lines in Amsterdam running tours around Holland, and another I had experienced was between London and Amsterdam via Oostende port run as part of Eurolines. I had the front upper deck seat!!

Dad was telling me that this had a Mercedes Engine and was very surprised because we have been on a Mercedes Bus between Paris and London a week before that. So why would Mercedes give its engine to some Kassbohrer I thought (when it had its own bus)!

Last edited by 1100D : 22nd February 2008 at 21:30.
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