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Shane

1998-1999 : Orion VI

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While not the first low-floor buses that OC Transpo operated... technically that would be the Orion II and then later the Novabus LFS in 1997, the Orion VI was when the most recent feature and design choices (many that continue to this day) were introduced.

The Orion VI was delivered in 1999, and incidentally the first bus was fleet number 9901 (delivered in 1998). This bus was later renumbered to 4001, thereby starting the current numbering convention of 4xxx (denoting 40 foot buses). These buses were also among the first to feature the Maple Leaf paint scheme, the blue cloth padded seats, and the front door accessible flip out ramp. Air conditioning also became standard in these buses and all those that came after.

Interesting features included a completely low-floor design, from front to the very back (with the exception of a small half step for the rear door), a rear door that was behind the rear axle, as well as an air conditioning system that was integrated into the roof, rather than being mounted on top of it. The engine was also vertically mounted in the rear left corner of the bus.

These buses had 33 seats, with the front half of the bus being horizontal seating, followed by three double rows of forward facing seats.

The buses were powered by Detroit Diesel Series 50 engines and Allison transmissions. They produced a fantastic sound and had impressive acceleration. It is arguable which bus (between the Orion VI and the Invero) had the quicker acceleration.

Below you will find some audio recordings, taken around 2001-2002 of the Orion VI.

4025.mp3 4054.mp3 4097.mp3 4138 Outside.wav

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We still have 4024 in Pinecrest to this day. I just wish OC Transpo would put it out in service! I never got too many rides on these, only two if I recall correctly. 

Although I would put the 1998 Orion V models in contention for the best Orion bus as it had most of the things from the VI except for the newer seating, accessiblity, and air conditioning.

I'll make a separate post later on going into detail of why the Orion V held its own as a great bus

 

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These buses also had rubber 'running boards' along the sides, about 6-8 inches tall, that helped protect the lowest part of the sidewalls of the bus. If I am not mistaken they were later removed near the end of these buses service life to expose the grey paint underneath.

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3 minutes ago, Schwin said:

These buses also had rubber 'running boards' along the sides, about 6-8 inches tall, that helped protect the lowest part of the sidewalls of the bus. If I am not mistaken they were later removed near the end of these buses service life to expose the grey paint underneath.

That really ruined the look for me. 4040 had the rubber removed and looked much better exposed.

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9901 was delivered in 1998? I always thought it was in 1999 for some reason. That means the first Orion VI came while the 9801-9885 batch of Orion Vs were still being delivered.

Yesterday, I found a really old CPTDB post from 2003 mentioning how this bus had received the blue seats during its first year of operation.

This bus also originally had a different seating arrangement in general (I'm assuming that the arrangement resembled the Orion Vs but with three sideways-facing seats at the front on either side, maybe at the rear as well), until it was quickly changed to that of the other VIs. The seating arrangement revision also took place very early into 9901's lifespan.

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Does anyone have a photo of the original interior configuration of 9901 (aka 4001)? Would be interesting to see visually the differences.

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On 2019-07-31 at 9:03 PM, Shane said:

Does anyone have a photo of the original interior configuration of 9901 (aka 4001)? Would be interesting to see visually the differences.

Not able to find a photo, but I did find some more details about 4001.

It's the only VI that originally didn't have A/C when production when finished (all future ones did). Instead, it was decided that all future 139 buses would have A/C due to a policy change at the time (around late 1998-early 1999) and 4001 was then retrofitted. It was too late to retrofit the Orion Vs by then as they were already finished and it would take major modifications. I don't even think the Sutrak A/C was still available by then, especially for Orion Vs (Our 1992 Vs were the only Orion Vs produced to ever have Sutrak A/C, OC Transpo specified it)

4001 also originally had one extra seat (34 compared to 33 back when it had the red seats) but it later became like the other VIs and lost the extra seat when it switched to blue seats.

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