Some of the 34 Plaxton Panorama-bodied Volvo B11RLEs ordered for the Oxford Tube service between the university city and London will be diverted for use elsewhere within Stagecoach, the group has confirmed.
No details have been provided on how many of the Panoramas are to be reassigned or where they will operate. However, it is understood that up to a third of the coaches could be diverted, with some of the existing Van Hool Astromega fleet remaining with Stagecoach Oxfordshire as cover.
The 34 Panoramas for Oxford Tube were ordered earlier this year. At the start of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in March, the £13m order was deferred, in common with most Stagecoach capital investment.
It was recently reinstated, and the first Panoramas have now been delivered to Oxford. Driver training has already started. A Stagecoach spokesperson confirmed: “We still have a number of the coaches going to Oxford Tube. The rest will go elsewhere within the group.”
It is thought that reduced loadings on the Oxford Tube service because of the pandemic is the reason behind the decision.
The Astromegas displaced by the Panoramas that are delivered to Oxford are expected to be cascaded for further use within Stagecoach. Five members of the Plaxton Panorama order placed for Oxford Tube will receive roof-mounted solar panels to power on-board electrical equipment.
Report supplied by Steven Knight Media.