Dennis Dragon

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Dennis Dragon
DA5634@26.jpg
Kowloon Motor Bus Duple Metsec bodied Dennis Dragon in August 2005
Overview
Manufacturer Dennis
Production 1982-99
Body and chassis
Doors 1-3
Floor type Step entrance
Powertrain
Engine Gardner
Cummins
Transmission Voith
ZF
Chronology
Successor Dennis Trident 3

The Dennis Dragon (also sold as the Dennis Condor) was a 3-axle double decker bus maunufactured by Dennis in England between 1982 and 1999.

History[edit]

The Dennis Dragon was named "Dragon" because they were designed for Kowloon Motor Bus. In Chinese, Kowloon means "nine dragons" and it is an area in Hong Kong, so the name "Condor" was adopted for China Motor Bus' "Dragons" to avoid "naming for an opponent company". All were built for the overseas market, although some were later repatriated.[1]

Dennis had registered the Condor name in the 1950s for a lightweight haulage chassis.

Design[edit]

Dennis Dragon 9.9m (also known as the Baby Dragon) in Kwun Tong in October 2006

The Dennis Dragon/Condor chassis was developed from 2-axle Dennis Dominator, with two separate wheels fitted in front of the rear axle (auxiliary axle was fitted since 1986). It was fitted with both Gardner or Cummins engines coupled to a Voith or ZF gearbox.. The Cummins engine was initially available as an option, but it gradually replaced the Gardner engine as standard

All Dennis Dragons/Condors, except four out of five prototypes, were fitted with Duple Metsec bodywork. In Hong Kong, this made Dennis Dragon/Condor easy to differentiate because most of the other bus models at the same period (such as Leyland Olympian, Volvo Olympian, Scania N113, etc.) were bodied with Alexander bodywork.

Hong Kong[edit]

Kowloon Motor Bus[edit]

In 1982, Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) purchased three 12 m non air-conditioned Dennis Dragons with Alexander bodywork for evaluation. KMB purchased 188 Duple Metsec bodied 12 metre Dennis Dragons. These had three doors (one for boarding and two for alighting).

Between 1986 and 1994, KMB purchased the first of 370 11 metre non air-conditioned Dennis Dragons for the bus services of New Territories. Fifty had a closed back, which was originally reserved for installation of air-conditioning, but this was never fitted.

In 1990, KMB purchased an 11 metre air-conditioned Dennis Dragon for testing. In following years up to 1999, KMB introduced totally 765 air-conditioned Dennis Dragons, including 235 9.9 metre buses, 360 11 metre buses and 170 12 metre buses.[2]

China Motor Bus[edit]

New World First Bus Duple Metsec bodied Condor in August 2008

In 1982, China Motor Bus received two 12 metre non air-conditioned Dennis Condors for evaluation, one of them was fitted with Duple Metsec bodywork, and the other one with Alexander bodywork.

Because of the opening of MTR's Island Line in 1980s, CMB didn't buy many Dennis Condors. Between 1989 and 1997, CMB bought only 46 12m non air-conditioned Condors, 28 11 metre non air-conditioned Condors and 92 11 metre air-conditioned Condors. It is rumoured that CMB's last ten air-conditioned Condors were bought due to unpredictable delivery time of the Dennis Trident 3s ordered. All the CMB's Dennis Condors were sold to New World First Bus when CMB lost its franchise in 1998, three of the 12 m Condors were subsequently converted to training buses.

In 1999, NWFB converted one 11 metre Dennis Condor to an open top bus, it was superseded by an air-conditioned Dennis Condor on 25 January 2008 The DLs were retired earlier by October 2000 and was sold out. DL1 & DL2 were sold to private preservationists in Hong Kong. Some of them were shipped back to UK and converted to open-top in 2002 for the Big Bus Company.[3]

The DMs were retired by August 2002 and sold out, with an 11 m non air-conditioned Dennis Condor (fleet number DM28) regarded by NWFB as its last "hot dog" ("hot dog" is a nickname non air-conditioned buses in Hong Kong). DM18 and DM22 has been under New World First Travel (as open-top buses, later sold to Citybus and were withdrawn in 11 February 2014). DM9, DM12 and DM25 has been sold to Citybus as training buses, while DM17 was sold to 3 preservationists in the UK.

The DAs were also retired beginning January 2004 for the 22 buses, followed by 38 buses until 2012. All the remaining buses will be retired by the end of 2014.

Citybus[edit]

Citybus Alexander bodied Dragon in August 2008

Citybus started to order air-conditioned Dennis Dragon in 1993. The Duple Metsec bodywork for Citybus's Dragons, which were assembled by Salvador Caetano in Portugal, were different from those supplied to KMB/CMB in that the frontal design resembled with those used on Alexander R-type and a wider front door was used.

Between 1994 and 1998, Citybus introduced 80 12m Dennis Dragons and 40 10.3m Dennis Dragons.[4] In 2000, Citybus rebuilt a 10.3 m Dragon (fleet number 701) as the world's first 3-axle double-deck air-conditioned trolleybus.

One of Citybus's 10.3 m Dennis Dragon (fleet number 713) had been prematurely withdrawn in 2002 due to fire damage, but the Citybus Dennis Dragons began to be withdrawn in April 2012.

HACTL[edit]

In early 1996, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) received four Dennis Dragons for use as staff buses. They were similar with Citybus's 12-metre Dragon in appearance but with no route indicators and narrower seats were fitted so as to increase the seating capacity.

All these buses were acquired by New World First Bus after HACTL ceased to operate its staff bus routes in September 1999. They re-entered service in 2000.

Africa[edit]

Magic Bus Duple Metsec bodied Dragon in Manchester in March 2008

In 1992, Stagecoach introduced ten Dennis Dragons in Malawi. The company also introduced twenty Dennis Dragons in Kenya between 1995 and 1996.

Later, all the Dennis Dragons in Kenya were shipped back to England and allocated to Stagecoach Manchester's Magic Bus fleet. They re-entered service between 1998 and 2000 where they would stay in service with the company until 2010.

Replacement[edit]

After finishing the last orders, the Dennis Dragon was superseded by the Dennis Trident 3.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dennis Dragon Bus Fleet Lists on the Web
  2. ^ "Hong Kong Buses Part 3: Kowloon Motor Bus" Fleetline issue 249 page July 1997 page 116
  3. ^ The Big Bus Company Open Bus Tours
  4. ^ "Hong Kong Buses Part 2: Citybus Limited" Fleetline issue 248 May 1997 page 94

External links[edit]