|Body and chassis|
|Doors||1 or 2|
|Floor type||Low floor/low entry
step-entrance (Eclipse SchoolRun)
The Wright Eclipse is a low-floor single-deck bus body built by Wrightbus since 1999. The second-generation Eclipse 2 launched in 2008, followed by the third-generation Eclipse 3 in 2015. The Eclipse, and its sister design the Solar, were named for a solar eclipse which was visible in the UK in 1999, the year of its introduction.
The Eclipse was launched in 1999 on Volvo B7L chassis and, in 2003, the body was made available on the more popular Volvo B7RLE chassis. A coach version, the Eclipse SchoolRun, was later launched on high floor Volvo B7R chassis. In November 2008, Wright unveiled the Eclipse 2 at that year's Euro Bus Expo, with front and rear ends facelifted to match the Wright StreetCar. In 2015, the Eclipse 3 was launched on Volvo B8RLE chassis, the successor to the B7RLE.
Over 2,100 Eclipses have been built, with FirstGroup the largest customer. A double-decker version of the Eclipse is also available, known as the Wright Eclipse Gemini, and formerly also an articulated version, the Wright Eclipse Fusion.
First generation (1999–2011)
The first generation Wright Eclipse was launched in 1999 by Wrightbus on Volvo B7L chassis as the replacement for the Wright Renown bodywork on the older Volvo B10BLE chassis. However, sales of the B7L were lower than anticipated in the United Kingdom, owing to its unusual engine layout; as a result, the Eclipse Urban was launched on Volvo B7RLE chassis in 2003, at which time the original B7L bodywork was renamed to the Eclipse Metro. The Eclipse Urban proved to be far more successful in terms of sales and remained in production until 2011, while the Eclipse Metro was withdrawn from sale several years after introduction of the Eclipse Urban.
Wrightbus also offered the Eclipse Commuter for a time, which was built on a version of the B7RLE chassis with the higher floor section extended to the front axle of the bus. The design included all of the features of a standard coach, such as under-floor storage and a high seating position, while maintaining a small low floor section for passengers in wheelchairs. The Commuter was intended for longer distance and intercity work; however, only five were built, the majority for Stagecoach West Scotland.
In 2006, Wrightbus launched the Eclipse SchoolRun; effectively an entirely high floor version of the Eclipse Commuter, bodied on Volvo B7R coach chassis. The Eclipse SchoolRun, as the name suggests, was mainly intended for school bus work. Northern Ireland bus operator Ulsterbus were the only customer to order the Eclipse SchoolRun, ordering 160 of the type in 2006. The first 110 were delivered with 66 seats in a high density 2+3 layout, including several removable seats at the front of the bus, which can be removed to allow the provision of wheelchair space; the final 50 buses were delivered with 62 seats and a permanent wheelchair area to save time in taking out and putting back the removable seats. The final Eclipse SchoolRun was completed in 2008.
Second generation (2008–2015)
The second generation Wright Eclipse, known as the Eclipse 2, was launched at the 2008 Euro Bus Expo as the successor to the Eclipse Urban, although the two designs were produced concurrently until 2011. The Eclipse 2 features front and rear ends facelifted to match the Wright StreetCar, and is now only available on Volvo B7RLE chassis.
With the launch of the Eclipse 2, the three other first generation Eclipse models - the Eclipse Commuter, Eclipse Metro and Eclipse SchoolRun - were withdrawn from the market, with no official successors.
Third generation (2015–present)
The third generation Eclipse, known as the Eclipse 3, was launched in 2015. The Eclipse 3 is only available on Volvo B8RLE chassis, the successor to the B7RLE. As well as the difference in chassis, the front and rear ends have undergone a minor facelift, incorporating design features from the Wright StreetLite integral design. The first Eclipse 3s entered service with Trentbarton in November 2015 and the second batch by Stagecoach in the Fens for the guided busway.
- Millar, Alan (2007) Bus & Coach Recognition: Ian Allan Ltd., ISBN 0-7110-3136-3
- Media related to Wright Eclipse at Wikimedia Commons
- Wright Eclipse Commuter at Wrightbus website
- Wright Eclipse SchoolRun at Wrightbus website
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