When one of Britain’s principal coach operators faced an unusual problem they turned to Europe’s biggest trailer manufacturers – and that is the long and the short of it.
The faith shown by bosses of Stagecoach Group, which runs coach services throughout the length and breadth of the UK, in Ifor Williams Trailers was soon confirmed.
In July Stagecoach announced a £71m investment in new vehicles for its bus and coach operations across the UK. This included the introduction of new double-decker Van Hool Astromega coaches on the twice-daily megabus.com route from Aberdeen to London.
The ultra-modern 87-seat double-decker coaches are built in Belgium and are 14.3 metres long, compared with the previous 13.8-metre vehicles.
Therein lay a slight problem for Stagecoach, for the longer vehicles, combined with the company’s existing luggage tow trailers would have taken the combined length beyond the 18-metre limit on UK roads.
Stagecoach has long used box trailers manufactured by Ifor Williams Trailers for carrying passengers’ luggage and found them ideal for the purpose.
The BV85 general purpose twin-axled trailers have served the purpose admirably in the past but with the Astromega buses being longer shorter trailers were required.
In July Steve Drain, Stagecoach’s Engineering Director in Aberdeen, contacted the local Ifor Williams Trailers distributor, Balgownie Ltd, in search of a solution.
Balgownie Director Mike Singer said: "Quite simply, they wanted the same basic twin-axled model as before, but six feet long instead of eight, and they ordered 10 of them.
"The durability, strength and excellent towing characteristics of the Ifor Williams box vans make them particularly suitable for such demanding, high mileage usage."
Balgownie Ltd, based at Thainstone Business Park in Inverurie, have been in business for over 100 years and distributors for Ifor Williams Trailers for the past 25 years.
"Though this was quite an unusual request I was confident that it could be done and I’m glad that that confidence was justified," said Mike.
"The whole thing was done in a very short time and Ifor Williams did very well to turn things around so quickly. We are extremely pleased with the outcome," said Steve Drain.
Ian Laing, Operations Manager of megabus.com, commented: "We are pleased to have purchased these new Ifor Williams trailers from Balgownie Ltd as they allow us to make the most of our new coaches and better accommodate passengers who may need to travel with additional luggage."
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