National Express dips toe in double-decker coach market

National Express has reversed its previous ban on double-decker coaches, by adding six Scania-powered Caetano vehicles to its fleet.

Based on the 12 that Caetano built for Translink in Northern Ireland in January, the National Express versions are modified to its own requirements. They are 14.2m long and, at 4.132m high, a few inches taller than Translink’s to allow better upper deck headroom.

Originally to be called the Caetano Invictus, National Express has instead called them Boa Vista.

They use the same 410hp Scania K410 tri-axle Euro 6 chassis as the Northern Ireland examples, which run on the Belfast-Londonderry Goldline route.

Five of the batch will be operated by National Express’ in-house operations on the London Victoria-Luton route A3. The sixth is going to Edwards Coaches for use on the South Wales-London corridor.

Seating 79 (three more than the Translink versions) with 16 downstairs, the wheelchair bay is accessed by a standard bookleaf-style ramp and all seats have USB ports.

National Express withdrew all its double-deckers after a fatal incident on the M25/M40 slip road in January 2007, caused by a speeding driver.