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1985-1988 : Orion Ikarus

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The Orion Ikarus ... A bus that people either loved, or hated for any number of reasons.

The bus is based on the Ikarus 286 model from Hungary and was a joint collaboration between Ikarus and Orion. Ultimately, the buses were retired earlier than probably planned as they developed severe corrosion due to the steel used by Ikarus in the bus frames. The TTC who also ran these buses retired theirs first, and some even make it to Ottawa for a few extra years of service.

In my case, I fall under the love side of the spectrum. The sound, the feel of the engine, the amount of seating and passenger capacity, the double set rear doors, these were the real deal for people movers. They got the job done and were fun to ride. The later series starting with 8750, that were powered by the Detroit Diesel and ZF Ecomat transmission were my favorites.

The seating was the typical pink vynel of the era. On the ex-TTC buses, they were the hard seats with dark plastic insert.

Windows were the tip-in variety, and on the ex-TTC buses, the windows slid to open.

Of course, since it was a mid-engine style bus, there was the occasional trip where you would smell the exhaust fumes.

It is unfortunate that the first bus, 8501, that was to be kept for the historical fleet, was scrapped near 2008.

In memory of these unique buses, I had recorded these audio files while riding them back in 2001-2002. Enjoy!

8529 and 8743 were powered by the Cummings engine, while 8750 onward were powered by Detroit Diesel.

I would consider the audio recordings of 8529 and 8761 below to be the best examples of these buses.

8529-1.wav 8743-3.mp3 8755.mp3 8760-1.wav 8761-1.mp3 8763-4.mp3 8763-67.wav 8855 Exterior 1.wav 8855 Exterior 2.wav 8855-12.wav 8855-021.wav 8867-2.wav 8869-2.mp3 8878-2.mp3

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I never got the chance to ride these buses but I have heard that they were horrible because of no air conditioning and the seats sticking to you in the summer.

They were also well known for corrosion after 12 years and started being retired one by one in 1997 if I recall correctly. The later 1991-1992 Orion Vs also had this corrosion issue due to being overused, although the Ikarus was not built properly and rusted quickly. 

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If I am correct, 8530-8533 and 8870 were some of those retired in 1997, when used Orion-Ikarus III buses were delivered from the Toronto Transit Commission. With further retirements of those buses when New Flyer D60LFs entered service, as fair as I know, 8501, 8517, 8528-8529, 8743 and 8851 were some of those retired in 2002, along with the possibility of 8875-8899.


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I started riding the bus in 2006, so I never had the chance to experience the Ikarus. Considering we use to keep our buses for 20-40 years, I always wondered why these were no longer in service after so few years. Now I know. 

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All Orion-Ikarus had the 2-piece exit doors except the 88xx (both original and ex-TTC) which had the 4-piece exit doors.

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For those replaced by New Flyer D60LFs 6068-6100 and 6102-6178 in 2002, I was able to come up with some, as listed below:


8501, 8503, 8511, 8517, 8528-8529, 8603-8605, 8607-8609, 8611, 8613-8616, 8621-8623, 8631, 8633, 8638, 8640, 8642, 8646, 8652-8654, 8719, 8721-8723, 8729-8730, 8732, 8735, 8737, 8739-8740, 8743, 8750, 8752, 8755, 8757-8761, 8763, 8846, 8851, 8855-8856, 8862, 8864 and 8866-8869.


As those account for 58 out of 161 or less that were replaced by low-floor articulated buses, I am looking to see if anyone would know which other Orion-Ikarus III buses were replaced in 1997, 2001 or 2002. At one point, I found out that 8745 and 8746 presumably last no more than five years, possibly even already needing to be retired in 1988. It might even be possible that twelve were replaced in 1995 by ex-Santa Monica buses 1756-1758, 1760-1761, 1763-1768 and 1770, along with eight being replaced by ex-STO buses 8013-8020 the same year. When I lived in Ottawa in 1999, 8530-8533 and 8870 were already gone by then, if I am correct.



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8501 was also the only one in the fleet with windows on the rear doors at match the front doors.

8501 was also to be preserved for the historical fleet but was scrapped.

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