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Landmark double deck makes show appearance

  08.10.2009    

The latest generation Eclipse Gemini 2 Double Deck destined to be the 1,000th Wrightbus vehicle operating in London makes an appearance at the Coach & Bus Live show this week (7-8th October).
The first vehicle to be delivered in an order for 76 similar specification buses from London General, the new Eclipse Gemini 2 with its EEV-compliant Volvo B9TL chassis, represents the successful fruition of a project between Wrightbus and Volvo to deliver an optimised Double Deck for London bus operators such as the Go Ahead Group. 
Working in partnership with Volvo Bus, every aspect the new 10.4m EEV compliant Eclipse Gemini 2 has been refined to meet the exacting specification requirements of Go-Ahead and Transport for London (TfL), as well as providing a total passenger capacity of 91. In addition to the two door specification, the new vehicle has passed TfL’s stringent external noise and emission tests at Millbrook with flying colours. 
In common with every Ballymena-built vehicle, the new Eclipse Gemini 2 has a Body Frame constructed from Aluminique sections, featuring the innovative Wrightbus R3 Split Pillar System. It also benefits from a reinforced front crash steel rail, incorporating a crumple zone and primary structure protection, for improved driver safety. Passenger safety has also been enhanced by the fitment of 21st Century CCTV system, whilst the MIX Telematics system provides a “state of the art” platform for driver performance. 
Engineering teams from both organisations have worked seamlessly to develop a structurally integrated product that, among other things, makes extensive use of the composite material technology developed in-house by the Wright Group. The end result is a lightweight yet durable, highly fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicle with excellent safety and whole life cost credentials. 
The new vehicle will take the number of Wrightbus-badged vehicles currently operating in the capital to four figures, as it, along with the other 75 vehicles in the order progressively enter service in London during the autumn. When this tranche of buses has been fully delivered, the Go Ahead Group will be the largest operator of Wrightbus vehicles in the capital. 
Sixty of the new Double Decks will be based out of London Central’s New Cross and Peckham Garages and will operate across a total of 13 routes. The remaining 16 vehicles will operate on the newly created East London Transit route. Customcare, the Wright Group’s dedicated aftermarket support organisation, will be looking after every aspect of the new vehicles parts and servicing requirements under a contract maintenance agreement. 
Speaking at the Show, Wrightbus Business Development Director Sam McLaren said, “I am delighted to present the first vehicle of a major order to such a long-standing customer as London General here at the show today. I would also like to pay tribute to the team at Volvo Bus who, working in close partnership with our staff at Ballymena, have developed what I believe is a highly viable and sustainable bus, designed specifically for the niche TfL requirement.” 
Go Ahead Group PLC Group Engineering Director Phil Margrave added, “Wrightbus and Volvo have risen to the challenge of developing a Double Decker bus to meet our exacting day to day operating needs in the capital, not just today but well into the third decade of the 21st century.”


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