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Author Topic: Neoplan in Paris  (Read 3203 times)
Jeremy
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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
http://http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com


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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Jeremy
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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
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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
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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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« 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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Sean
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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.

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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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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 Père 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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Sean
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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.

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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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