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Author Topic: Neoplan in Paris  (Read 3166 times)
H3Jim
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« on: April 17, 2008, 01:29:08 AM »

On vacation, saw this yesterday.  pretty nice bus
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2008, 03:52:07 AM »

Nice bus, but the curves would make for conversion pain, I think.

BC Tom
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2008, 04:18:02 AM »

Jim,

Ya just gotta love those lines.

Looks fast sitting still!

May be just the angle, but the front looks pretty far out in front of the tires.

Talk about exciting turns.

Stay safe and keep your eye out for some more.

Cliff
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2008, 04:21:47 AM »

Ya gotta love a bus nut.  He's in Paris and he's taking photos of buses  Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2008, 05:07:52 AM »

Nice bus, but the curves would make for conversion pain, I think.

BC Tom

More to the point are the lost passenger seats - I think it is excellent that at least one manufacturer is offering a bus where 'style' is at least as important 'function'. The Starliner isn't a common bus, but there are still plenty of operators have at least one in their fleet - kind of the same philosophy as British Airways I guess - lots of Boeings & Airbuses to do the grunt work, and a handful of Concordes to get the glamour

Jeremy

PS. Maybe a top-line Starliner conversion parked outside a Prevost owner's meeting would give them something new to talk about?
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2008, 05:45:06 AM »

Ya gotta love a bus nut.  He's in Paris and he's taking photos of buses  Grin Grin Grin

 Grin
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2008, 06:06:21 AM »

Kinda looks like an Eagle on steroids. Grin Grin
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2008, 08:54:54 AM »

Quote
More to the point are the lost passenger seats - I think it is excellent that at least one manufacturer is offering a bus where 'style' is at least as important 'function'. The Starliner isn't a common bus, but there are still plenty of operators have at least one in their fleet - kind of the same philosophy as British Airways I guess - lots of Boeings & Airbuses to do the grunt work, and a handful of Concordes to get the glamour

Jeremy

PS. Maybe a top-line Starliner conversion parked outside a Prevost owner's meeting would give them something new to talk about?

Do you think the Prevost owner's coud even see it?

Yes there is a lot of bus in front of the front wheels and a lot of bus behind the rear wheels; impacts the storage but makes for great turning radius. Something you really need in Europe (and the rest of the world). Sean has reported making a U-turn on a two lane road with his Neoplan. I have two 90 degree turns in my driveway and my Cityliner gets around them nicely.

A little data about the Starliner:

The three-axle Starliner L has ideal dimensions with a width of 2.55 metres, length of 13.9 metres and height of 3.9 metres.

It sets new standards for the entire coach programme of NEOPLAN Bus GmbH. For this reason in future NEOPLAN will no longer be producing any two-axle vehicles in the premium super high-decker segment. With this Starliner NEOPLAN has redefined and perfected touring.
NEOPLANís new Starliner is powered by an in-line, six-cylinder turbodiesel MAN D 26 common rail engine installed vertically in the rear. In the standard version it has an output of 480 hp.
Innovative Common-Rail technology permits a hitherto unmatched torque of up to 2,300 Newton metres at 1,900 rpm. Independent tests by trade publications have also confirmed just how exceedingly economically the engine runs.
Power in all of the Starliners is transmitted directly from the automated manual TipMatic gearbox with twelve speeds, in which the newly developed Easy Start moving-off aid is already integrated.
The running gear with the tried-and-tested independent wheel suspension at the front and the hypoid axle mounted on multiple control arms is based on MANís sophisticated technology. It is fitted with a standard electronic stability programme (ESP) which helps to stabilise the vehicle in critical situations by acting on the engine or brake.
NEOPLAN also offers an electronic damper system (CDS) for the Starliner as standard which ensures that the handling of the vehicle can be adapted to the specific road conditions.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 09:17:25 AM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2008, 09:36:11 AM »

Have them send one to Marathon for me.
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2008, 11:45:32 AM »

I could only imagine how much the upper windshield would cost to replace!
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2008, 11:52:51 AM »

I can only imagine how hard and often the front end would bottom out going into any drive/entrance with a slight incline to it.
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2008, 02:43:05 PM »

I could only imagine how much the upper windshield would cost to replace!

You can't see it in the photo, but that upper windscreen has the most enormous wiper arm you've ever seen to keep it clean and make sure the passengers have a good view. For the front passengers it must almost feel like you're flying

Jeremy
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2008, 02:53:57 PM »

Another fascinating fact is that the Chinese bus builder Zonda produce a copy of the Starliner which they call the A9. Neoplan filed a patent infringement lawsuit about it in 2006.



The A9 design which Zonda originally wanted to produce had been an even closer copy:



Jeremy
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skipn
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2008, 03:06:12 PM »

the Zonda..........A9 series
To me what is amazing is that both the single and double axle buses have
the same turning radii. 24 meters if I read the spec correctly.


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Sean
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2008, 05:05:01 PM »

I can only imagine how hard and often the front end would bottom out going into any drive/entrance with a slight incline to it.


I don't have to imagine.  I live it every day.

I've re-glassed both headlight trim panels several times, I've left giant gouges in pavement from Washington to Florida from my hefty tail skids, and I even got stuck in a driveway once with my drive wheels spinning uselessly in the gutter.

But, yes, I can make a U-turn in roughly four standard lane-widths (assuming no obstructions either side to keep me from overhanging).

Note the Starliner does not give up any passenger seating -- the "missing" volume is what, on most coaches, is unused space above the driver's head and well in front of the front passenger row.  The effect is achieve merely by moving the staircases and entry area back and down.

AFAIK, there is one and only one Starliner in the US, which was the prototype for Lamar production that never happened before they folded.

BTW, the reason why two- and three-axle Neoplans often have the same turning radii is that the tags steer to quite acute angles.

Lastly, the Starliner is not the first Neoplan to have been ripped off in east Asia.  Knock-offs of Skyliners and even Spaceliners abound.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2008, 02:16:05 AM »

Note the Starliner does not give up any passenger seating -- the "missing" volume is what, on most coaches, is unused space above the driver's head and well in front of the front passenger row.  The effect is achieve merely by moving the staircases and entry area back and down.
-Sean
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I think to be fair that most European double or semi-deckers do have passengers right at the front - or at least, I cannot remeber having seen one that doesn't. The bus below is a Plaxton Paramount 4000, which is the double-decker version of mine (4000 is 4m tall, mine is a Paramount 3200). As you can see the front row of seats is immediately above the driver



Jeremy
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2008, 07:23:07 AM »

Jeremy-now you just have to show us the bus.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2008, 07:27:01 AM »

The chinese bus maybe built on a Freightliner chassis.  Asians are really good at imitating.  When they try to make something on their own-my goodness does it look ugly.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2008, 07:38:23 AM »

Jeremy-now you just have to show us the bus.  Good Luck, TomC


Yeah, there's something weird with the website that hosts that picture - sometimes it appears, somethimes it doesn't

I've now put a copy of the picture on my own server which should be more reliable:



Jeremy
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Sean
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« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2008, 08:21:49 AM »

I think to be fair that most European double or semi-deckers do have passengers right at the front - or at least, I cannot remeber having seen one that doesn't.


Yes, but a Starliner is neither a double- nor a "semi-decker" as you call it.  It competes with more conventional driver-in-front-of-passengers designs (similar to MCI or Prevost models).  If your bus line prefers a full front-to-back deck full of passengers (about five additional seats in the same length), Neoplan is happy to sell you a Spaceliner, which is still a current model in Europe.  Neoplan, BTW, originated the idea of seating above the driver in a single-level coach with the Spaceliner.  Neoplan is also more than happy to sell you a current model Skyliner, the forerunner of all the modern monocoque double-deck coaches such as the Plaxton you've pictured.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2008, 10:09:08 AM »

I think to be fair that most European double or semi-deckers do have passengers right at the front - or at least, I cannot remeber having seen one that doesn't.


Yes, but a Starliner is neither a double- nor a "semi-decker" as you call it.  It competes with more conventional driver-in-front-of-passengers designs (similar to MCI or Prevost models).  If your bus line prefers a full front-to-back deck full of passengers (about five additional seats in the same length), Neoplan is happy to sell you a Spaceliner, which is still a current model in Europe.  Neoplan, BTW, originated the idea of seating above the driver in a single-level coach with the Spaceliner.  Neoplan is also more than happy to sell you a current model Skyliner, the forerunner of all the modern monocoque double-deck coaches such as the Plaxton you've pictured.

-Sean
http://http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com



Regardless of definitions, the point I was making is that the Neoplan could have fitted two or three extra rows of seats into the Starliner if they had made it a more conventional shape, but they chose not to, which I think is a good thing.

The definition of 'semi-decker' is a moveable feast - I know a lot of people would actually describe the Spaceliner as a semi-decker because it has a full length 'upper' deck, even though it doesn't actually have a lower deck. I've always taken it to mean a double-decker where the bottom deck is there but is particularly small, such as below:



Incidentally, the Plaxton Paramount isn't monocoque - in fact, just to confuse things, there was at least one built on a Neoplan chassis, but that was unusual. When I was buying my bus I could have bought a bit of German exotica for the same money, but I was told in no uncertain terms by a bus dealer that for the sake of my sanity I should get a proper British bus with a proper British chassis - and I'm glad I did if for no other reason than it has made installing slide outs much less stressful.

Jeremy
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Songman
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« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2008, 12:39:08 PM »

Bus, bus, bus... I'm just jealous that you are on vacation in Paris. Now I'm wanting to go back! It's been about 3 years since were there last.
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« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2008, 01:15:58 PM »

I've never been to Paris before, what a beautiful city, and easy to get around in.  The metro is great!!!  runs all over and never more than a 7 minute wait.  Better than the tokyo trains / subs. 

The art and history in this city are staggering.  It has big wide vistas and open parks and then small people sized places too.  The grandeur of any large metro area / country, yet fully accessable on a people sized scale too.

The French we have met have all been very friendly, very helpful people too. 
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« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2008, 03:25:31 PM »

The definition of 'semi-decker' is a moveable feast - I know a lot of people would actually describe the Spaceliner as a semi-decker because it has a full length 'upper' deck, even though it doesn't actually have a lower deck.

Not to belabor this too much, but the Spaceliner is available either with "conventional" luggage bays underneath (with pantograph doors like mine, or sedan doors) or optionally with a lower-level lounge/galley combination.  Crouching headroom only, though, on the lower level.  Some of this latter configuration had short-height lower-level restrooms as well.

Quote
Incidentally, the Plaxton Paramount isn't monocoque - in fact, just to confuse things, there was at least one built on a Neoplan chassis, but that was unusual.


Actually, the Paramount double-deckers are, indeed, monocoque (if, as me, you take monocoque to include body-integral truss-frame skeleton -- some folks won't count it as monocoque unless the skin itself is stressed).  No room for frame rails.  Neoplan (and later Scania and DAF) supplied completed undercarriages, including drivelines, suspension, controls, and steering, but those could not support the entire laden weight of a coach without the fact that the coach body itself was a truss-frame design that was then welded to the completed underframes, forming a structurally integral system.  The double-deck Paramounts are actually strikingly similar to Neoplan's Skyliners, particularly the ones built on the Neoplan underpinnings.  I don't know about the single-deck Paramounts -- never had a reason to look into them.

-Sean
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http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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Songman
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« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2008, 04:14:20 PM »

Jim, We have been three times in the past 5 years. We absolutely love it. And you are right, the French people we met have been friendly and welcoming. A far cry from the media saying how they all hate us. The last time we were there, I rented an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. It was fantastic. Nothing quite like going home every night with a yard of fresh bread over your shoulder! haha

The Metro is the best in the world that I have seen. Rome is the worst. To keep this on subject a little... I don't recall ever riding a bus but we did hop on a double decker in London once just to see how it was...

Enjoy your vacation. Make sure and go check out some of the old cemeteries around town. You know, Jim Morrison is buried at PŤre Lachaise. Some of the funerary art there is phenomenal.
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« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2008, 04:25:33 PM »

Sean:

I'm impressed that you know so much about the Plaxton Paramount - are there any in the USA? I've never seen any reference to them being over there. You don't see the double-decker version very often here, but the single-decker version is extremely common, most usually on Volvo chassis. They tend to be the workhorses of many smaller operators, and there is even a company that specialises in refurbishing old Paramounts and fitting them with new body panels to make them look like a more modern coach, although I don't think it's that much of an improvement myself (pic below):



I used to commute to work every day on the M1 and would regularly see bus chassis being driven (without bodies) up to Plaxton's factory at Scarborough. The driver would sit behind a little plastic screen but would otherwise be completely exposed to the elements. Whether those chassis had frame rails, perimeter tubing or were made of steel sheet I don't know. My chassis has frame rails, but then it has the engine and gearbox in a line in the middle of the bus so perhaps needs frame rails far more than a rear-engined bus which has the engine and gearbox hanging in a subframe of some sort. There is no doubt that the body of my bus does contribute something to the strength of the overall structure - quite how much I don't really know, but the body is certainly welded directly to the chassis in a very substantial manner (I was was orginally expecting to see rubber mounts, as for example a 4x4 with a seperate chassis). As you say, whether you describe the end result as a monocoque or a body-and-chassis is probably a moot point.

The bus dealer who I referred to earlier told me that the structures of some modern coaches was so minimal that if you jacked them up the wrong place whilst changing a wheel the windscreen would pop out. I don't think he was really spinning me a line either, because I had gone to him to have a very serious look at a Bova (the one with the bubble nose), and although he had it fired up and ready to roll for me before I arrived he nonetheless convinced me not to buy it. He also advised me to get a bus with old-fashioned springs rather than air suspension, which is something else I did.

Jeremy
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« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2008, 07:39:24 PM »

I'm impressed that you know so much about the Plaxton Paramount - are there any in the USA? I've never seen any reference to them being over there.


Not as far as I know.  Although you might be interested to know that Alexander Dennis, a marque heretofore unseen on these shores, has had a contract to supply double-deck transit coaches to the city of Las Vegas for the last few years.  They seem to be doing fine, and are quite nice coaches.  They'd make decent one-off conversions, too, if it were not for the fact that they are over statutory height in most states, and above the mandated minimum clearance on our interstate system.

My familiarity with the Plaxton only extends to having looked at the double-deck Paramounts at some point in my never-ending quest for parts sources.  When the US parts distributor for Neoplan finally closes its doors, perhaps in another year or two (if I am that lucky), I might well be ringing you up to see if you can fetch me some at one of the distributors there across the pond.

Quote
The bus dealer who I referred to earlier told me that the structures of some modern coaches was so minimal that if you jacked them up the wrong place whilst changing a wheel the windscreen would pop out.


I can confirm this from experience.  Read this post: http://ourodyssey.blogspot.com/2006/09/crimson-tide.html.  Also, I have several bent tubes from ill-positioned jacks during the coach's previous life, and I even have a bent wishbone that happened on my watch, when a tire (or should I say tyre?) service outfit managed to get a jack in the wrong place before I could catch them (story here: http://ourodyssey.blogspot.com/2006/10/long-excruciating-day.html).  Ah, the joys of owning a weird European bus...

Note that the frameless monocoque  design is not inherently inferior -- it has both advantages and disadvantages as compared to body-on-frame design.  But it does mean that one needs to take great care to only support the coach from the well-defined lifting/jacking points specified by the manufacturer, otherwise one will end up bending things or even, yes, popping out a window.


-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2008, 05:27:14 AM »

I might well be ringing you up to see if you can fetch me some at one of the distributors there across the pond.
-Sean
http://http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com



Yes, I could do that quite easily - let me know if you ever need anything.

J
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