Cropley takes first Euro6 TC12
Double Yutong first for Lincolnshire fleet
Having last year purchased the very first Euro5 powered Yutong TC12 coach to enter service in the UK, Cropley Coaches of Fosdyke in Lincolnshire has now placed the very first Euro6 example to be delivered to an operator in service alongside it. Collected from Pelican Bus and Coach’s Castleford site early in April, the touring coach features the DAF MX11 11-litre 400hp Euro6 engine rather than the Cummins nine-litre 400hp unit of the original coach. Proprietor, John Cropley, invited Stuart Jones to take a look at the new arrival.
John can’t speak highly enough of the support he has received from Pelican Bus and Coach so far, citing an incident with his Euro5 coach when it had a fault in Blyth Services with a party of children on board at 06.00. One of their engineers got out of bed to sort it out, he was there in no time and it was on its way again within 20 minutes of his arrival. This level of back up is an important part of his belief in Yutong; ‘I don’t know if it’s because it is a family company, but everyone there is passionate about making the bus and coach operation succeed.’
John is hugely impressed with the attention the team from Yutong pay to finding out what operators think of their vehicles. His son Chris spent a day with them going through different aspects of the coach that he thought could be improved and he believes they were genuinely listening. This is an ongoing process because, as John mentioned, ‘Every Monday morning a Chinese girl rings me to ask if everything is all right with the coach.’
Showing me round the new TC12 John listed a host of improvements over the previous model, not that he regrets buying the Euro5 in any way. There are a host of small but helpful changes he has noticed apart from the disappearance of the sloping side pillar. For one thing it has powered locker doors, whereas the previous one didn’t. With the disappearance of the sloping pillar, the entrance is altered and the door is now ‘door shaped’ as John put it. The door seals have been greatly improved, both leaves of the double glazed driver’s side window slide now rather than just the rear leaf, the mirrors are ‘far better’, there’s a new power take off for the courier on the dash, the decency screens have been improved, the microphone socket is in a better position for the courier, the interior lighting has been upgraded so that it doesn’t create dazzle; the list of things he welcomed went on.
‘The smaller steering wheel also feels more modern,’ he said. Something he hadn’t noticed until the two vehicles were together was that the Euro6 has the centre door moved back considerably by two seat rows, so that there are now six rows between the front and the centre sunken toilet. John thinks the toilet is a good unit and likes the width of the doorway.
‘I think it is built like an early Setra. It is solid with no squeaks and no rattles. The attention to finish is brilliant and if you’re not happy with anything they’ll soon come and sort it,’ he said.
About the only backward step he could think of on the new model was that it didn’t have the safe his first one did initially, though one has now been supplied. ‘We find it useful’, he said. One thing promised that has yet to materialise is a cruise control feature, though this will be retrofitted as soon as it becomes available.
On the change from the Euro5 8.9-litre Cummins ISL 406hp/298kW unit to the Euro6 10.8-litre DAF MX11 396hp/291kW engine, John was relaxed. ‘I think in the coach world the DAF is a better known proposition,’ he said. ‘I had heard negative reports about the Cummins but it hasn’t missed a beat and we’ve been running it to Spain and back.’
Comparing it with the Euro5, he believes Yutong have brought the product on a long way and incorporated a long list of things as a result of listening to operator feedback. ‘It’s a totally different beast to the other one,’ he said. ‘It feels as if it has a lot more power, it doesn’t roll as much, and it seems to be completely on top of the job.’ Importantly, he believes the interior has the wow factor for passengers, the moquette chosen for the 51 recliners being the same black and red pattern selected for the first TC12.
After many years buying Volvos with a couple of Setra ComfortClass S315GT-HDs as well, not only has John bought the two Yutongs, since ordering the Euro6 he has also acquired a Fast Concept Car on an MAN A91 chassis. He already had a Volvo B7R Plaxton Profile that he’d upseated to 70 and this had ‘worked and worked.’ Needing another 70 seater capable of going to London, he saw the four year old Fast ex-demonstrator advertised by Moseley in the South and agreed a deal to part exchange it against a Toyota Optimo that wasn’t as busy as had been hoped. It is early days yet but so far John is very pleased with it.
He sees the Yutong brand as the way ahead for Cropley Coaches, a trip to the factory after ordering the first example having made a very positive impression on him. John commented, ‘I don’t do excited, but if the link up between Pelican and Yutong goes on as it has started, I think it will be good. The price is right and if it continues the way it is going, it’s the future. So far, Pelican have done everything they said they would.’