九巴古典車隊：丹拿A型及亞比安EVK55CL KMB Classic Bus: Daimler A and Albion EVK55CL
本港具特色的古典巴士被保留下來的故事，始於中巴於七十年代初，保存其一九四九年出廠，別號「白水箱」的Tilling Stevens Express K5LA7單層巴士，而對岸的九巴，則是於其成立五十周年才開始保留一些具特色及歷史意義的巴士。二零一三年，除了是九巴成立八十周年外，同時標誌著本地巴士專營權模式踏進第八十個年頭，康文署及九巴於是在這重要時刻，於香港歷史博物館舉辦「伴你同行 香港巴士故事」展覽，除了展出不少巴士有關的珍貴展品外，九巴更於展覽首三個星期，安排旗下古典車隊的丹拿A型及亞比安EVK55CL於會場外展出，讓公眾能夠近距離一睹這兩架分別屬於五十年代及七十年代的九巴巴士風采。
九巴是本港第一家引進雙層巴士的巴士公司，一九四九年首四架雙層巴士投入服務，車款正是丹拿A型，丹拿A型是九巴內部對這款巴士的名稱，正式名稱是CVG5 (Commercial Victory Gardner 5-cylinder)，顧名思義由一台吉拿五汽缸引擎推動，但無可否認，丹拿A型這稱呼是更深入民心。打從首架丹拿雙層巴士投入服務，丹拿一直是九巴車隊重要組成部份，直到被利蘭收購及退出巴士製造業務為止。九巴先後購入共二百一十五架丹拿A型，除了最後九十架採用「伯明瀚」車嘴款式車身，其餘則採用跟英國傳統前置引擎雙層巴士相若的車身設計，又由於車頭水箱是黑色，被暱稱為「烏嘴狗」。被九巴保留下來的4961，雖然有著D26的車隊編號，但其實它正是首批四架投入服務的丹拿A型其中一員，在退役時，車身已經跟新車時作出不少改動。九巴在保留此車時，特地替它作全面翻新，重新將車身回復至一九四九年投入服務時的模樣。在完成翻新後，九巴原意將4961捐贈予香港博物館，可惜場地面積所限，香港博物館婉拒了九巴好意，最終由九巴保留下來，目前4961主要在九巴舉辦傑出車長選舉時，才有機會於公眾面前露面，鮮有再出席九巴其他公開場合活動。
L308(BM248)則是一架亞比安EVK55CL單層巴士，是九巴最後一款非空調單層巴士，於一九七六年開始投入服務。亞比安屬於英國利蘭集團其中一間子公司，在六十到七十年代，不同款式的亞比安單層巴士在九巴擔任要職，而作為最後一款被引進的亞比安巴士，EVK55CL特色在於首次配用本地車身廠出品，其車身由Union Auto設計及裝嵌，在投入服務初期，曾經被鬆上特別車身色彩。九巴主要安排亞比安EVK55CL行走元朗區路線，包括途經荃錦公路的51及林錦公路的64K。而澳門福利汽車公司亦曾於相近時間，先後向亞比安購入配Union Auto及新亞車身的EVK55CL巴士作更新車隊之用。在九巴積極擴展空調巴士服務時，缺乏空調及前置引擎設計的亞比安顯得落後，加上車齡漸高，最終由都城嘉慕都城型雙層巴士及三菱MK中型單層空調巴士，取代在51及64K的角色，最後一架亞比安巴士亦於一九九二年退出九巴載客車隊，亦標誌九巴單層非空調巴士服務乘客的時代終結。
The story of bus preservation in Hong Kong should be started with the Tilling Stevens Express K5LA7 of CMB in early 70s. In 1983, the 50th anniversary of KMB, we first saw the preservation of classic bus in KMB. Time flies so fast, 2013 not only the 80th anniversary of KMB, but also the 80 years of regulation of bus service by government. To commemorate this precious moment, an exhibition "Journey with You - Hong Kong Bus Story" was held at the Hong Kong Museum of History jointly organized by Leisure and Cultural Services Department and KMB. Instead of a collection of bus related exhibits, the Daimler A and Ablion EVK55CL from the KMB classic bus fleet, were showing to the public during the first three weeks of the exhibition outside the venue.
The first double decker in Hong Kong was first introduced by KMB in 1949 with total 4 Daimler CVG5s (Commercial Victory Gardner 5-cylinder). KMB classed the first 215 Daimler CVG5 as Daimler A, a name much well-known by the public. The first 125 units were fitted with Metsec bodywork resembled to the double deck buses in UK and since the black coloured radiator, they were nicknamed as "Black-mouthed dog". The last 90 of the batch were featured with Birmingham style radiator. The mechanical specification was same with a Gardner 5LW engine and since the first Daimler joined the fleet, they become the mainstream of KMB until Daimler acquired by Leyland and quitted from bus manufacturing.
The only Daimler A, 4961, preserved by KMB was the first 4 of the type entering service, though carrying the fleet number of D26. When it was retired from service, the original bodywork was modified several times to suit the operation need. KMB restored the original bodywork of 4961 to the stage of it first entering service in 1949 and KMB proposed to donate it to the Hong Kong Museum, however, as the limitation of the space, 4961 finally under preservation by KMB and during the BCOY, this classic double decker can attract the most of the general public.
The last conventional single decker introduced by KMB in 1976 was this Albion EVK55CL and L308 (BM248) was one of the few units withdrawn from the fleet in 1992. Albion was one of the member of British Leyland Group and different models of the Albion can be found in KMB between 60s and 70s. EVK55CL featured with it bodywork was designed and assembled locally by Union Auto and a special colour scheme was applied when first entering service. The EVK55CL mainly serving Yuen Long District on route 51 and 64K. Instead of Hong Kong, Fok Lei in Macau also acquired a batch of EVK55CL bodied by Union Auto and Sun Ah for fleet renewal.
Without being air conditioned and the front engine designed, it was not surprise that the Albion forced to withdraw from the fleet during the age of promoting air conditioned bus service. The role of the Albion on route 51 and 64K finally replaced by the Metrobus and Mitsubishi MK midibuses and indicated the end of conventional single decker in KMB.
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