A DAF DB250LF (with Alexander ALX400 Bodywork) owned by Arriva London.
|Manufacturer||VDL Bus International BV|
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||1 or 2 door|
|Floor type||Step entrance/Low floor|
Cummins ISBe (re-engineering)
The VDL DB250 (launched as the DAF DB250 in 1991) is a double-decker bus sold in the UK through VDL Bus International's UK dealer Arriva. A small number of DB250s have also been exported to Istanbul, Turkey.
The original DB250 was originally only available with Optare Spectra bodywork, with the Northern Counties Palatine body becoming available later. The original design was based on the MCW Metrobus for which Optare and DAF Bus International (then VDL) bought the rights after MCW decided to end bus production.
The DB250LF, the low-floor version of the DB250 chassis, is perhaps more well known as the first low-floor double-decker bus chassis available in the UK. The DB250LF is readily identified by the centrally-exiting exhaust at the rear, which can cause problems with extreme changes of slope. The new version of DB250LF was launched in 2004 which is officially known as DB250+. The design has received a number of modifications, one of which is the use of independent front suspension.
The first DB250LFs were bodied by Optare, with the modified Spectra body which was sold exclusively on the DB250. The first low-floor variant entered service in 1997 with Abus of Bristol, which narrowly beat a Travel West Midlands DB250LF to become the UK's first low-floor double-decker bus. Later the Alexander ALX400, Plaxton President, East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander and Wright Pulsar Gemini also became available. The development of a Wright alternative arose because Arriva wished to buy both the Wright body and VDL chassis. Unable to do so, they took delivery of over 100 Wright-bodied Volvo B7TLs. Wright subsequently developed the Pulsar Gemini in order to win more orders from Arriva.
Despite the DB250LF arriving early to the market, DAF had always struggled to find orders. Travel West Midlands ordered 20, but following the launch of the Dennis Trident 2 and Volvo B7TL it did not purchase more. Despite this DB250s are numberable, by far the biggest number owned by Arriva, mostly for its London subsidiary, but a number of the type can be found with Arriva Midlands and Arriva Yorkshire with Optare Spectra, East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander bodywork and unusually with the Wright Pulsar Gemini body. Other sizeable operators are Travel West Midlands, Reading Buses and Wilts & Dorset.
The DB250LF chassis was also adopted by Wrightbus for the development of its hybrid-powered double-decker bus, Wright Pulsar Gemini HEV.
Production of the DB250 ended in 2006, although examples continued entering service in the UK in 2008. Its successor, the Wright Gemini 2 integral double decker with VDL chassis modules, was announced in December 2007 and launched in November 2008.
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Other bus products from VDL: