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MERCEDES-BENZ O305G - 2556

Bus operations in the Northern Beaches and Warringah areas have always required high-capacity buses to cope with peak hour loads. Until the mid 1980s, double deckers handled this task being both of the earlier rear-platform and later Atlantean types.

 

However, with the fallout from the Atlantean one-man dispute still lingering, the Urban Transit Authority (UTA) looked to alternate forms of high capacity buses. In 1981, a Mercedes-Benz O305G articulated bus, numbered 2550, bodied by Pressed Metal Corporation (PMC), was trialled. The trial was successful, and a further 29 Mercedes-Benz O305Gs with PMC bodies were ordered.

 

All were bodied to the same style as the rigid O305 Mk III buses entering service at the time. The first of the new production batch, 2551, entered service in September, 1983. The eventual fleet of 30 O305Gs were numbered from 2550 to 2579, and all were delivered by April, 1984.

 

However, it was not until 1985 that the reconstruction of the Bilgola Bends on Barrenjoey Road that they were permitted to operate to Avalon and Palm Beach. Though some routes such as the 189 still featured Atlanteans until withdrawal in 1986, the route to Taylors Point being comprised of tight and twisty roads which could not handle an articulated bus and remained the domain of rigid vehicles.

 

The Museum's example, 2556, entered service in December, 1983. It was allocated to Brookvale Depot, and for their initial years of service the O305Gs were only allocated to special split shifts, running two or three trips in the morning or afternoon peaks only. Conductors were still employed on buses at this stage, and on some morning runs would collect fares on an articulated bus to a main location. The conductor would then alight, and the bus would run express to the terminus as a one-man bus. 

By the early 1990s the last of the conductors had been phased out, the special bendy bus shifts discontinued, and all vehicles entered general service. 

 

2556 worked from Brookvale Depot from delivery in 1983 until 2009, with a short stint at Mona Vale. In 1996, the original three-speed automatic Mercedes gearbox was replaced by a five-speed automatic ZF gearbox, one of only two O305Gs to be modified in such a way. 

In November, 2009, the delivery of new Volvo B12BLE articulated buses to Brookvale saw 2556 sent down to Port Botany Depot in the south-east area, where it remained until April, 2010. It was withdrawn from service, and donated to the Museum for preservation. The bus remained in storage from 2013 until May, 2021 when restoration works commenced.

Thanks to the work of Museum volunteers during 2021-2023, 2556 has been fully restored to original condition. The Museum is extremely grateful for the assistance of Kelois Downer Northern Beaches' Brookvale Depot, at which 2556 was repainted into its iconic orange, brown and off-white UTA livery.

 

2556 remains an operational exhibit, used occasionally for major events during the year.  

Specifications:

Engine: Turbocharged 6-cylinder Mercedes-Benz OM407hl diesel engine developing 207kw. 

 

Transmission: ZF 5HP500 5-speed automatic gearbox to a hub reduction assembly on the rear axle.

 

Brakes: Dual circuit air brakes, bus stop brake and a spring applied parking brake. 

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2556 departing Brookvale Depot carrying its first load of passengers since restoration works began, May 20, 2023.   Frank Wang.

2556 departing Brookvale Depot carrying its first load of passengers since restoration works began, May 20, 2023. 

Frank Wang.

2556 specially to Wynyard to commence an afternoon peak run from the city, September 23, 1985.   Alan Travers, SBM Archives.

2556 specialling to Wynyard to commence an afternoon peak run from the city, September 23, 1985. 

Alan Travers, SBM Archives.

2556 arrives back at the Museum after its debut at the Brookvale Depot Open Day, May 20, 2023.   Frank Wang.

2556 arrives back at the Museum after its debut at the Brookvale Depot Open Day, May 20, 2023. 

Frank Wang.

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