People of all abilities will soon be able to travel in style on their visits to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum at Lathalmond near Dunfermline.
The transport-lovers tourist attraction has just taken charge of their latest bus – a 2002 Denis Dart ‘kneeling bus’ – donated by Edinburgh firm Artemis Intelligent Power.
“Although this bus is not very old it is our first bus that is fully compliant with all disability regulations as it can ‘kneel down’ and has an extendable ramp to let wheelchairs on board,” explains Gordon McGregor, one of the volunteers at the museum.
“This gives us the ability to take people in wheelchairs easily around the site and to ferry them to and from Dunfermline,” Gordon says.
The museum has a public open day in May and although the bus will not be in operation just yet, people will be able to view the new machine.
“We are doing a ground-up restoration and plan to have it in action by late 2019. However, we have over 160 buses on display, plus attractions including a miniature railway and a collectors’ fair, so there will be lots to see and do on the 19th,” Gordon explains.
In addition, the bus has an interesting history. It was originally owned by Lothian Buses but was then bought by Artemis Intelligent Power to test their innovative energy recovery technology.
“We used this bus to test our ‘Digital Displacement®’ technology and prove it could be used in motor vehicles,” explains Alasdair Robertson, commercial director at the high-tech firm.
“Usually around a third of an urban bus’s energy is lost through heat in the brakes. We fitted our hardware into the bus to make a ‘parallel hybrid’ system which captured that energy and stored it in hydraulic accumulators which was then used to accelerate the bus and reduce fuel consumption by the engine,” Alasdair says.Tests using the bus showed savings of up to 27 percent of fuel consumed, and the firm is now commercialising the technology in off-road vehicles, small trucks and trains.
“The bus served its purpose well, and when we found out about the Lathalmond museum, we thought they might be interested. We are really delighted it has found a new lease of life and provides a much-needed capability at the museum,” Alasdair concludes.
Alasdair Robertson (left) and Gordon McGregor with the Dennis Dart and a 1948 Guy Arab – an Edinburgh bus which could be considered the “grandfather” of the Dart, and which would have driven the same streets 60 years prior to its younger relative.