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English   The world’s first bus series launched by Daimler
11.09.2008 von admin

Spectacular orders: Two double-deckers for London

Just about as little is known about the production volumes of the first bus series as about the majority of the early customers. The available documentation extends to spectacular orders which more often than not specified out-of-the-ordinary models, as well as illuminating the problems of regular bus services in the early days.

The interest of those responsible in London had not waned after the encouraging experience gained with the first double-decker bus. In its edition of September 30, 1899, the “Autocar” journal reported that another two buses “were to start operating next Monday and provide service between Kensington and Victoria Station […], its route taking it across Westminster Bridge and down Victoria Street. The route was selected with foresight since the streets are paved with wooden blocks for the most part and the steepest sections are the ascents to Westminster Bridge from either side.”

Again, double-decker buses were supplied, now offering room for as many as 26 passengers. More likely than not, the fears concerning climbing ability were unjustified - the new buses were powered by new four-cylinder engines which Daimler had been offering as an alternative to his two-cylinder units since June 1899. However, the more powerful of the two four-cylinder engines with a rated output of 12 - 16 hp (8.8 to 12 kW) cost as much as 3,100 Reichsmark more than the largest two-cylinder engine with an output of 10 - 12 hp (7.4 to 8.8 kW).

Daimler double-decker bus, Imperial model, 1899

A bus for Stockholm
An order from Stockholm illustrated the consequences of a preference for streets with wooden block paving. The DMG buses had caught the Swedes’ attention when King Gustaf acquired a car from Bad Cannstatt in 1899. However, when the fully occupied bus with its iron-clad wheels, weighing between four and five tons, rumbled across the wooden-block pavement of Drottninggatan in downtown Stockholm, the walls in the houses lining the street began to shake. Bus operation was discontinued after complaints by residents and house owners.

Five mail buses for Speyer

On February 1, 1899 a transport company was founded in Speyer with the intention of setting up several bus lines for both local public and mail transport. It was not before December 10, however, that line service was started on four routes, between seven and fourteen kilometers long. The five vehicles supplied by Daimler to Speyer for this purpose surpassed the conventional production models in terms of dimensions, weight and capacity. They were 5.60 meters long, 2.80 meters high and 1.80 meters wide, and in unladen condition they tipped the scales at four tons. The passenger compartment had capacity for 14 passengers; another ten were carried standing inside or on the rear-end platform. The power unit chosen for these vehicles was nevertheless a ten-hp two-cylinder engine (7.4 kW).

The five buses were running on iron wheels. It was not before 1904 that a vehicle was fitted with solid rubber tires which, however, had to be replaced very often - solid rubber tires were subject to high wear in those days. Pneumatic tires had already been invented but were still far from being suitable for commercial vehicles. Hence, where wheels were concerned, customers had no other choice but between fast-wearing rubber tires and rather uncomfortable, though durable, iron cladding.

The buses from Speyer and their drivers

Photos and text:
Daimler AG

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