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    DM17 front nearside

  • Reg No - H74ANG (Hong Kong ES 997)

  • Chassis - Dennis Condor DDA1810-643

  • Body - Duple Metsec H69/41D +32 (total 142) Contract W47

  • Engine - Gardner 6LXCT 10.45 litre
    rated at 230bhp

  • Gearbox - Voith DIWA D851.2
    3-speed automatic

  • Length - 11.03 metre (35 feet 10 inches)

  • Width - 2.45 metre (8 feet)

  • Height - 4.37 metre (14 feet 3 inches)

  • Unladen Weight - 12520 kg (12 tons 6 cwt)

  • First Reg - 4 December 1990 to China Motor Bus

  • Subsequent - Passed to NWFB 1 September 1998 with CMB franchise

DM17 front offside, copyright R Dixon Three members of the Society, Dave Brown, Tim Moore and Jason Thornhill, bought this vehicle from New World First Bus in 2002 and it arrived in the UK in March 2003. The vehicle was repainted before shipment.

This bus was chosen as it is the only DM with padded seat backs, and was apparently the very last DM on service on the last day of non air-conditioned operation, running up until 2359 on 17 August 2002.

DM17 nearside rear, copyright R DixonThe 28 DM class buses were ordered for use on Hong Kong Island routes, where extra capacity was required, but the 12-metre DL Condors were too long, DM standing for Dennis Medium. The entire batch were registered between October 1990 and January 1991.

Their chassis were completed in the UK by Dennis of Guildford, and the bodies built up by China Motor Bus (CMB) at their Chai Wan depot in Hong Kong, from kits supplied by West Midlands company Duple Metsec (contract W47). Completed in the standard CMB livery of cream/blue with black lining, many of the DMs were painted in several advertising liveries over the years. However, DM17 is only known to have worn two such liveries, both for 'General Air Conditioner'.

DM17 downstairs front inside, copyright R DixonDM17 operated from Wong Chuk Hang and Chai Wan depots on Hong Kong Island whilst with China Motor Bus, operating the following routes:
119 Central (Macau Ferry) - Shun Lee
182 Macau Ferry Pier - Shatin (City One)
2A Yiu Tung - Wan Chai Ferry Pier
606 Choi Wan - Siu Sai Wan Estate
During the mid-1990s, DM17 was one of only three DMs to receive improved seating (with padded seat backs) taken from withdrawn SF- and LF-class Daimler Fleetlines.

DM17 passed to New World First Bus with the Hong Kong Island route franchise on 1st September 1998, and was soon repainted in the new standard livery of green/orange/white. NWFB was a brand new company set up by FirstGroup of the UK and the New World Development Company Limited of Hong Kong, specifically to bid for the routes being lost by CMB due to a poor service record.

With the Cross Harbour services being progressively converted to air-conditioned buses, DM17 was restricted to Hong Kong Island routes, and later only the Southern District, ending its life operating the demanding route 95 from Ap Lei Chau to Shek Pai Wan (Circular), with gradients of up to 1 in 5.
Routes operated with NWFB included:
8 Wanchai Ferry - Chai Wan
81 Hing Wah - Lai Tak Tsuen
83 Siu Sai Wan - Taikoo Shing
91 Ap Lei Chau - Central
94 Lei Tung - Central
95 Ap Lei Chau - Shek Pai Wan

One of the NWFB franchise conditions was the conversion of all routes to air-conditioned buses, and so the DM class became surplus before the end of their normal working lives.
The demise of the class commenced in early 2000, when DMs 9, 12 and 25 were sold to Citybus in Hong Kong for use as training buses, and another, DM6, was converted by NWFB to open top. During 2002, the remaining 24 examples were withdrawn and replaced by brand new buses as their licences expired, or through mechanical failure.

At 1900 hrs on 17 August 2002, DM17 was withdrawn and parked on the roof of Wong Chuk Hang depot on Hong Kong Island pending a decision on its future. With effect from 18 August 2002, all normal NWFB services were operated with air- conditioned buses, and DM17 had become the last closed-top non air-conditioned bus to operate with NWFB.

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Author: Richard Dixon


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