Express body for Ulster
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• Bodybuilder Robert Wright & Son is working on an express coach which is set to go into service with Ulsterbus in April.
The Belfast-based operator has ordered 25 of the Alusuisse bodies, based on the Leyland Tiger chassis. It has requested 53 high-back seats on the 12m vehicles, which it plans to use on intercity journeys of up to three hours.
Ballymena-based Wrights says that the dual purpose vehicle is based on the same design as the single-deck citybus body it unveiled in November (CM 14-20 Nov 1991). Both bodies have similiar fronts, although the express coach is higher, it says.
The company says it will also supply the body "on any other major manufacturer's chassis available in the UK".
Wrights' express coach body has been designed to have an optimum 2.5m width and 12m length, although it could be reduced to midibus size. Wrights says that it is a completely differ ent design to the Contour, the 53-seater coach body which went out of production four years ago.
At that time Wrights had decided to leave the contracting coach market to concentrate on bus sales. It reckons that the market was not ready for the radically designed Contour.
Ulsterbus was one of the few operators which bought the Contour; it has six in its 1,000 strong fleet.
Since withdrawing the Contour Wrights has specialised in buses up to 42 seats. Its new Alusuisse bus body, which is still being worked on, is its first fulllength single-decker citybus.
Wrights believes there will be a "gradual recovery in the big bus market". In the meantime it is concentrating on midibus work; it has enough to keep its workforce busy until March.