丹尼士三叉戟十點三米 Dennis Trident 10.3m

編號 Class:3301-3360

還記得往返山頂的15及15B線在中巴年代,一直是使用何款巴士作主力嗎?答案正是短陣版丹拿珍寶(SF),但隨新巴接管中巴八十八條路線,銳意進行車隊空調化後,沒有空調設備的珍寶自然會漸被淘汰。面對著山頂路線高客量要求,單層的丹尼士飛鏢巴士恐怕又未能應付,而加列山道天橋的橋底及山頂道之間的高度,又令其他短身雙層巴士未能勝任行走往返山頂之路線,故此新巴只好跟車廠研究對策。最後,丹尼士為新巴度身訂造十點三米三軸版三叉戟,並獲得共四十架新車訂單。這批三叉戟新車同時是新巴首五百架新車中,最後一款登場的款式,同時促成了SF較其兄弟LF(長陣版珍寶)較遲從新巴車隊中退役。

說到這款獨特三叉戟新車,除了是最短的三叉戟外,同時是全港最矮的三叉戟,以便它們能夠順利通過,高度限制只有四點三米的加列山道天橋橋底。在配上都普高四點一七米的DM5000車身後,這些巴士都能夠像其前輩珍寶一樣,鬆容地應付山頂道的路面。要認出這款既短又矮的巴士是十分容易,位於車尾的路線牌箱因高度問題,而需要由原來車尾太平門及空調機組件之間,搬上至車頂中間位置;又因為選用較短的前跨組件,使前門較其他低地台巴士為窄,導致輪椅斜板也因此被安裝於中門。十點三米三叉戟,除了在長度及高度跟其他三叉戟有所分別外,機械配搭上則沒有兩樣,令到巴士除了滿足山頂路線外,同時可以滿足往返石澳的9號及往返赤柱的14號,以及其他路線需求,堪稱是一款高靈活性及高載客量的百搭車款。

四十架矮身版三叉戟巴士分作兩批進行車身裝嵌,首二十架新車(3301 - 3320)由英國Northern Counties進行車身裝嵌工作,餘下二十架新車則於新巴租用的中巴柴灣車廠,完成車身裝嵌。由於裝配地點及完成車身裝嵌時間有異,兩批巴士在投入服務時間上也有所出入,例如香港裝嵌車身的3321(JH8172)及3322(JH8311),是緊隨首三架在英國裝嵌的新車(3301 - 3303)領牌投入服務。在投入服務初期,新巴替新車上層左邊車頭裝設樹檔,以適應行走港島路面環境需要,但已經於稍後時間拆除。十點三米三叉戟也是新巴車隊中,首批使用電子潛望鏡的巴士。這批巴士在投入服務時,曾經於車隊編號最後加上「L」字,至於箇中原因,最多人認為的答案是「L」代表矮車身(Low Bridge Body),但正確與否則不得而知,而於二零零二年初開始,這個帶有「L」字的車隊編號已經不再被新巴採用。值得一提的地方是,除了3301曾披上宣傳十點三米三叉戟優點的條幅廣告外,3340也是新巴第五百架新巴士,並於車身上張貼相關宣傳廣告。

為提高車隊運載能力,新巴於二零零二年再向丹尼士招手,購入二十架十點三米三叉戟以取代二十架購自中巴的丹尼士飛鏢(DC)。這批巴士跟先前四十架不同之處,包括採用符合歐三排氣標準的引擎,車尾改用LED剎車燈並同時由長方型改成圓型,並全數於二零零二年中投入服務。由於在訂購這批新車時,亞歷山大及丹尼士均已成為Transbus International的一員,根據集團策略,雙層巴士都會選用前者的產品,只是由於亞歷山大未有適當產品可供選擇,故此繼續由都普提供相關車身散件,而自新巴這批三叉戟新車後,本港再未有出現使用都普車身的新巴士。

踏入二零一五年,新巴已經著手物色十點三米三叉戟的繼任人,最終亞歷山大丹尼士成功奪得新車訂單,提供六十架Enviro400新車,並於二零一六年年底開始投入服務。儘管不斷有新車投入服務,不過三叉戟十點三米未有即時退下來,直到二零一七年下旬,頭批四十架十點三米三叉戟才陸續從車隊退下火線。當最後一架歐二三叉戟十點三米於二零一八年三月五日退役之後,新巴只餘下二零零二年購入的歐三標準同款巴士服務乘客,而在這二十架巴士中,除了改裝成訓練巴士外,有若干成員預期將會轉往城巴非專利車隊,用作替換到達退役年期的車輛。

Still remember which bus model was the backbone of The Peak routes 15 and 15B during the CMB era? Yes, the answer is short wheel-based Daimler Fleetline (SF-class). As NWFB setting the goal for full air-conditioned operation after the taken over the franchised from CMB, the Fleetline would be replaced by the new, super low-floor and air-conditioned buses. Due to the high patronage of the 15-series routes, the Dennis Dart was considered to be not a suitable successor. To go one step further, headroom of the Mount Kellett Road Bridge prevented double decker with standard height bodywork from serving the Peak.

To solve the problem, NWFB jointly worked with Dennis and a tailor-made Trident 10.3m version was made. Dennis successfully supplied 40 Trident 10.3m to NWFB and they were the last bus model of the first 500 new buses for the acquisition of CMB networks. As their late commission, the SF-class Fleetline enjoying a longer service life than the long wheel-based Fleetline (LF-class) during the NWFB era.

The NWFB 10.3m Dennis Trident is the shortest Trident variant in Hong Kong and featured with an overall height of 4.17m Duple Metsec DM5000 low-bridge bodywork which can cope with the headroom of the Mount Kellett Road Bridge. They can be recognized easily with the rear route indicator box on the top of the upper deck window . The entrance is much narrow than other super low floor bus as a result of the shorter front overhang parts and the wheelchair ramp need to relocate to the exit. The specification of the 10.3m Trident are same as other members of the Trident family and made them not only suitable for running between the Peak but also route 9 and 14 serving Shek O and Stanley respectively. In addition, they can suitable for most routes operated by NWFB as a result of their flexibility and high capacity.

The body assembly works was taken place in UK and Hong Kong, the first of 20 (3301 - 3340) received their bodywork in Northern Counties plants while the remaining 20 were assembled in CMB Depot, Chai Wan. As the different assembly place and bodywork completion time, resulted in the commissioned time not follow with the fleet number, first batch of 10.3m Trident completed their registration is 3301 - 3303 and 3321 - 3322. During the early stage of their commission, tree guard was once fitted at the nearside front for operation on the Island. Moreover, electronic periscope was first fitted on the 10.3m Trident in NWFB fleet and their fleet number were classed as 33xxL which most think the letter "L" mean they are low bridge buses and around 2002, the letter "L" was removed from the fleet number. It should be mentioned that 3301 was used to promote features of 10.3m Trident and 3340 is the 500th new member of NWFB.

NWFB acquired a batch of 20 10.3m Trident in 2002 which comply with Euro 3 emission standard as a replacement of the second hand Dennis Dart (DC-class) from CMB and increase the carrying capacity of the fleet. This batch of Trident can be easily distinguished with their circular LED rear braking lights. All of them were entered service in mid of 2002 and when NWFB placed the order, Duple Metsec already become a member of Transbus International, also holding Walter Alexander and according to the group strategy, only Alexander product would be supplied for double decker. As there was no alternative product can be provided by Walter Alexander, this batch of 10.3m Trident still fitted with Duple Metsec DM5000 bodywork and to be the last Duple Metsec product in Hong Kong.

NWFB started looking for the successor of 10.3m Trident in 2015 and Alexander Dennis successfully won the order of 60 Enviro400 and started to deliver in the end of 2016. The 10.3m Trident still actively serving within the fleet along with the brand new Enviro400 until the end of 2017, we saw the first 40 10.3m Trident was gradually withdrawn from the fleet and the last Euro 2 sample was retired on 5 Mar., 2018. The remaining 10.3m Trident is expected to be retired soon, some of them would be converted to driver trainer while some of the fleet would be transferred to City Bus non-franchised sector as part of fleet replacement.



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