Saturday, July 31, 2004


Let's just say this has been the most interesting summer of bus watching in SEPTA territory in a long time...

Now that the 10 is going back to rail service, a lot of - if not all of - the remaining non-accessible Neoplans at Callowhill will likely be retired. The remaining Neoplans at Callowhill - most like high 3400s - will be used primarily on the 15, though they could show up on the 46 as well. Callowhill already recieved 13 buses from the 5700 series (5808-5820).

The remaining 3100s at Comly will be scrapped shortly, if they haven't been already, with a few high-3200s and some low-3300s that were at Frontier already replacing them. Soon, Comly will likely become the lastest Neo-free depot, as they are expected to recieve 15 buses from the 5800-series order (5910-5924), although a few 3300s could still linger around for school trippers.

Frankford has already recieved 40 5700s (5753-5792) and will recieve only 8 5800s (5902-5909). The 3400s that have been shuffled around and split among Allegheny, Callowhill, and Southern (among others) will likely return to Frankford for use on the trackless lines (59, 66, and 75). Frankford routes that were long Neoplan strongholds - namely the 3 and 5 - have been seeing more NABIs and New Flyers as the 5700s arrived. It will be interesting to see which Neos make it through to next year, particularly among the EIs that remain.

Midvale is in the process of phasing out some 3200s as some buses in that series have reportedly failed inspection to to frame problems. 40 5700s (5713-5752) are already in service, while 26 5800s (5925-5950) will be in service by the end of the month. Already, New Flyers are showing up on the 23, which would've been considered almost laughable two years ago. The DKs at Midvale which were often seen on routes such as the 23, 56, and 57, have long since been moved to the scrap yard upon arrival of the 5700s; look for most of the EIs at Midvale to join them soon.

Southern will not get any 5800s, however they will get 20 hybrid buses (5831H-5850H) by September. At least 3 of these buses were in Boston this past week for the Democratic National Love-Fest (um, I mean Convention) and will be in New York next month for the GOP convention at Madison Square Garden. Once the hybrids arrive, expect to see the departure of the 3300s, with any remaining Neos - likely the high-3300s and low-3400s - hanging on for another year.

Red Arrow will be without Neoplans shortly, as some 3200s will be retired, and some 3300s and 3400s have already shown up in the city, mainly at Callowhill. 10 5700s (5821-5830) and 34 5800s (5851-5884) are in service and have ended the dominance of Neoplans on certain Red Arrow lines such as the 104, 113, and 114. On an interesting note, some of the Neos that were supposed to be sent elsewhere are being pressed into service, due to major problems with the ElDorados at Red Arrow. There have been some Neo sightings on the 107 for the past few weeks, even during off-peak hours.

Frontier will also see their Neoplans disappear with the arrival of 17 5800s (5885-5901), with 2 notable exceptions - 3487 and 3488 have full ad wraps for TH Properties (and I must say they are the stupidest ad wraps that I've ever seen on any bus) and will remain there until the term for the ad contract expires. The rest of the low 3300s are likely ticketed either for Comly or the scrap yard; the 3400s will probably end up at Midvale or Southern.

Of course, these are all guesses, and nobody knows for sure where some of the displaced Neos will ultimately end up.

No comments: