Volvo Olympian

Volvo Olympian

SBS Transit Volvo Olympian 3-axle

Other names VO2X, VO3X
Manufacturer Volvo Buses
Bodywork Walter Alexander
Year 1994–
Local Operators SBS Transit
Technical Data
Length 12m
Width 2.55m
Entry High Floor
Engine Volvo THD102KF
Volvo TD102KF
Gearbox Voith DIWA 851.2
ZF Ecomat 4HP500
Emission Standard Euro I

WeHaveMoved1

The Volvo Olympian is a rear-engined high-floor double-decker transit bus built by Volvo Buses since 1992. It is the successor to the older Leyland Olympian. The bus is popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and large numbers were exported to Hong Kong and Singapore.

SBS Transit is the sole operator of the Volvo Olympian in Singapore, with 571 units over two different vehicle lengths delivered between 1994 and 2000, all built with the R-type bodywork by Walter Alexander Coachbuilders of Scotland.

Design:

The Volvo Olympian chassis was designed based on its predecessor, the Leyland Olympian. When Leyland Bus was acquired by Volvo Buses in 1988, the large amount of existing orders prompted Volvo to develop a similar chassis.

Retaining the Olympian namesake, the Volvo Olympian was launched in 1992. While retaining the chassis design and layout, many improvements were made over its predecessor, including the use of power steering, improved electrical systems, and uses Volvo’s Z-cam brake system developed for trucks. Passive steering was implemented on the middle axle for better cornering. Dashboard layout was also standardized with other Volvo models.

The early Volvo Olympians were offered with Cummins L10 or Volvo TD102KF engine, coupled to Voith DIWA or ZF Ecomat gearbox. From late 1996, only the Volvo D10A-245 Euro II engine with electronic diesel control was offered. Bodywork options include the Alexander R-type, Northern Counties Palatine and the East Lancs E Type/Pyoneer bodywork. Two-axle versions of 9.6m and 10.3m; and three-axle versions of 10.4 m, 11.3 m and 12m were avaliable.

Production of Volvo Olympian ended in 2000 with over 10,000 Leyland/Volvo Olympian chassis built. It was succeeded by the 2-axle Volvo B7TL and the 3-axle Volvo Super Olympian, both of which are low-floor.

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SBS Transit:

Singapore Bus Services ordered a total of 100 non air-conditioned Volvo Olympian 2-axles (10.5m) and 471 air-conditioned Volvo Olympian 3-axles between 1993 and 1998. These orders were the successors to their Leyland Olympian range of buses, of which their production lines were closed following merger with Volvo

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SBS Transit Volvo Olympian 2-axle 10.5m – Walter Alexander Royale bodywork

In 1993, Singapore Bus Services (SBS) placed orders for 100 non air-conditioned 10.5m Volvo Olympians with the R-type “Royale” bodywork produced by Walter Alexander. They were the last batch of non air-conditioned (NAC) buses to be introduced by SBS.

Volvo Olympian 2-axle NAC

Volvo Olympian 2-axle NAC

Basic Specifications:

  • Volvo THD102KF engine
    Euro I-compliant, horizontally-mounted, 9603cc, 245hp
  • Voith DIWA 851.2 gearbox
    Three-speed automatic
  • Walter Alexander Royale Bodywork
    Body kits were of the Alexander R-type (sometimes known as Royale) and supplied by Walter Alexander Coachbuilders of Scotland in CKD (complete knock-down) form, and assembled locally by SBS Engineering Pte Ltd.

The two-axle Volvo Olympian was born following the end of the Leyland Olympian production line. Volvo components replaced many of the original Leyland equipment, which included a new Volvo engine and a Voith gearbox in place of the Leyland engine and gearbox. To maximize capacity, the buses were built to the maximum avaliable wheelbase, allowing for bodied vehicle with an overall length of 10.5m. The bodywork was supplied by Alexander was a redesigned R-type bodywork, named the “Royale” type. A similar design would then be adopted for the later 3-axle Volvo Olympians.

The 10.5m Volvo Olympians are the last batch of non air-conditioned (NAC) buses to be introduced on the roads. At that time, air-conditioned (AC) buses were seen as a luxury, and charged higher fares as a result. While most bus routes became semi air-conditioned, a proportion of NAC buses were required to give commuters the option of cheaper fares versus the more comfortable (and expensive) AC buses.

Nearside – showing off its sliding windows

When SBS Transit decided to push for an air-conditioned fleet, single-deck buses such as the Volvo B10M MkII and Mercedes-Benz O405s could easily be installed with air-con pods. However, the additional weight of the air-con unit was too heavy for the two-axle Volvo Olympian, and these buses remained without air-conditioning until their retirement.

In the mid-2000s, as more air-conditioned buses entered service, these NAC buses were redeployed to Soon Lee Bus Park where they were commonly deployed on Jurong Industrial Services until the end of their lifespan. Some of these buses that were given a two-year lifespan extension and will retire in 2013.

Additional Specifications:

The 2-axle Volvo Olympian carries 78 passengers, including 43 upper deck seating, 22 lower deck seating, and 13 standing passengers. Some buses have seats removed for additional standee area. Some buses were given a two-year extended lifespan will retire in 2013, marking the end of NAC buses in Singapore.

SBS7227T was donated to Temasek Junior College in 2005, where it was converted into a student lounge. The bus remains there today.

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SBS Transit Volvo Olympian 3-axle 12m – Walter Alexander Royale bodywork – Batch 1

In 1993, Singapore Bus Services (SBS) placed orders for a first batch of 201 air-conditioned 12m Volvo Olympians with the R-type “Royale” bodywork produced by Walter Alexander. They were introduced together with their shorter, non air-conditioned variants in 2004, registered between 10 Jun 1994 – 28 Jun 1995.  Registration numbers from SBS9200G to SBS9400X were used.

Volvo Olympian 3-axle: Batch 1

Basic Specifications:

  • Volvo TD102KF engine
    Euro I-compliant, vertically-mounted, 9603cc, 245hp
    Identical to the ones used in the 2-axle Volvo Olympians and (later) the Volvo B10M Mark IV
    Vertical mounting saves space for seats on lower deck
  • ZF Ecomat 4HP500 gearbox
    Four-speed automatic
  • Walter Alexander R-type Bodywork
    Body kits were of the Alexander R-type (sometimes known as Royale) and supplied by Walter Alexander Coachbuilders of Scotland in CKD (complete knock-down) form, and assembled locally by SBS Engineering Pte Ltd.
  • Denso rear-mounted air-conditioning

Like the two-axle Volvo Olympian, the three-axle Volvo Olympian design was carried over from the Leyland Olympian, refitted with more standard Volvo parts. The new chassis was fitted with a new Volvo TD102K engine, while the ZF 4HP 500 gearbox was retained. A total of 201 buses of this batch were delivered; the odd one vehicle could be due to a pilot chassis for evaluation. These Olympians chassis were built in Irvine, Scotland.

The bodywork was supplied by Alexander of the Royale type, which was adapted for use from the Leyland to the Volvo chassis (see Leyland Olympian 3-axle), and visually similar to the ones being assembled on the 2-axle Volvo Olympians. Little was altered from the Leyland to Volvo transition, with the doorway and staircase arrangement being similar.

The air-conditioned Volvo Olympians were a major step towards air-conditioning of SBS’s double-decker bus fleet, following the three-axle Leyland Olympians which were the first air-conditioned double-deck buses in Singapore.

Additional Specifications

Batch 1 Olympian – Nearside

The 3-axle Volvo Olympian carries 131 passengers, including 55 upper deck seating, 38 lower deck seating, and 38 standing passengers. Some buses had their original gray grab handles replaced with yellow ones, and some others were fitted with new Ez-link card readers.

All buses of this batch were refurbished with red leather air-con ducts and newer ball-type aircon vents, and hence received a lifespan extension of two years.

SBS9378C is the only fully-refurbished Volvo Olympian, after it got into an accident at Toa Payoh Interchange. Interior panels are orange instead of blue, and the original blue seat covers were replaced with red and yellow PVC covers similar to those used in refurbished Volvo B10M MkIVs.

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SBS Transit Volvo Olympian 3-axle 12m – Walter Alexander Royale bodywork – Batch 2

Volvo Olympian Batch 2

In 1996, Singapore Bus Services (SBS) placed a further order of orders another 200 air-conditioned 12m Volvo Olympians with the R-type “Royale” bodywork produced by Walter Alexander. This second batch of Volvo Olympians were registered between 17 Aug 1996 – 10 Feb 1998.  Registration numbers from SBS9401T – SBS9600K were used.

Technical specifications of the Batch 2 Volvo Olympians are identical to those in Batch 1:

  • Volvo TD102KF engine
    Euro I-compliant, vertically-mounted, 9.603 litres, 245hp
    Identical to the ones used in the 2-axle Volvo Olympians and (later) the Volvo B10M Mark IV
    Vertical mounting saves space for seats on lower deck
  • ZF Ecomat 4HP500 gearbox
    Four-speed automatic
  • Walter Alexander R-type Bodywork
    Body kits were of the Alexander R-type (sometimes known as Royale) and supplied by Walter Alexander Coachbuilders of Scotland in CKD (complete knock-down) form, and assembled locally by SBS Engineering Pte Ltd.
  • Denso rear-mounted air-conditioning

The second batch of Volvo Olympian 3-axles comprised of 200 buses. The first two units, SBS9401T and SBS9402R, were registered on 17 August 1996, while the remaning units were only registered between January 1997 and Feburauy 1998. The design was almost similar with the first batch, but the second batch had slightly wider entrance and exit doors, and increased unladed weight by about 200kg.

Additional Specifications

Batch 2: Nearside

The Batch 2 Volvo Olympian has a slightly different interior layout from the Batch 1s, and carries 130 passengers, including 55 upper deck seating, 38 lower deck seating, and 37 standing passengers. Some were fitted with new Ez-link card readers. All buses of this batch (except SBS9496U) were refurbished with red leather air-con ducts and newer ball-type aircon vents, and hence received a lifespan extension of two years.

SBS9401T has a wooden plaque commemorating the launch of the Superbus by then-Rear Admiral Teo Chee Hean.

Differences between Batch 1 and 2 Volvo Olympians are listed in the table below:

Volvo Olympian
Batch 1 Batch 2 & 3
– Circular headlights
– Rear window on upper deck
– Blue interior lighting
– Polished metal handlebars
– Curved bar above seat
– Square headlights
– No rear window on upper deck
– Yellow interior lighting
– Yellow textured handlebars (for more grip)
– Rectangular bar above seat

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SBS Transit Volvo Olympian 3-axle 12m – Walter Alexander Royale bodywork – Batch 3

In 1998, Singapore Bus Services (SBS) placed a final order of 70 more Volvo Olympians with the R-type “Royale” bodywork produced by Walter Alexander. This third batch of Volvo Olympians were registered between 5 Mar 1999 – 26 Dec 2000.  Registration numbers from SBS9601H – SBS9670H were used.

Batch 3 Volvo Olympian – LECIP EDS

Technical specifications of the Batch 3 Volvo Olympians are identical to those in Batch 1:

Basic Specifications:

  • Volvo TD102KF engine
    Euro I-compliant, vertically-mounted, 9.603 litres, 245hp
    Identical to the ones used in the 2-axle Volvo Olympians and (later) the Volvo B10M Mark IV
    Vertical mounting saves space for seats on lower deck
  • ZF Ecomat 4HP500 gearbox
    Four-speed automatic
  • Walter Alexander R-type Bodywork
    Body kits were of the Alexander R-type (sometimes known as Royale) and supplied by Walter Alexander Coachbuilders of Scotland in CKD (complete knock-down) form, and assembled locally by SBS Engineering Pte Ltd.
  • Denso rear-mounted air-conditioning

The third and final batch of Volvo Olympians were a smaller batch of just 70, as opposed to 200 and 201 for the first two batches. These buses were delivered very late, and the last ones were delivered in December 2000 (compared to the first few delivered in June 1994).

Compared to the Batch 2 buses, the Batch 3 had a revised seating layout which brought the total capacity from 130 to 139 passengers.

Additional Specifications

The last SBS Transit Volvo Olympian chassis: SBS9669M

The Batch 3 Volvo Olympian have more standing space compared to the Batch 2s, and carries 139 passengers, including 55 upper deck seating, 29 lower deck seating, and 55 standing passengers. Some were fitted with new Ez-link card readers. All buses of this batch were refurbished with red leather air-con ducts and newer ball-type aircon vents, and hence received a lifespan extension of two years.

Unlike the Batch 2s, Batch 3 Volvo Olympians come with rimcaps, although some buses had them removed. In 2011, SBS Transit installed LECIP Electronic Display Signages (EDSes) on all Batch 3 Volvo Olympians, making them easily distinguishable from their Batch 2 counterparts, as well as being the only Volvo Olympians in Singapore to be fitted with EDS units.

Volvo Olympian
Registration Engine Gearbox Introduced Retired Bodywork
SBS7198T – SBS7297R Volvo THD102KF Voith DIWA 851.2 1994-1995 2013 Walter Alexander Royale
SBS9200G – SBS9400X Volvo TD102KF ZF 4HP 500 1994-1995 2013-4
SBS9401T – SBS9600K 1996-1998
SBS9601H – SBS9670H 1999-2000

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References:

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3 thoughts on “Volvo Olympian

    • We have noted the changes and made the necessary amendments. Thank you for your valuable input, much appreciated!

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