Tiger 524 - May 1990 [ Martin Young ]

Tiger 524 - GVS - [ Paul Savage ]

Tiger 524 (PXI 5524)

The Trust is pleased to announce our second acquisition of 2010, Leyland Tiger / Alexander (Belfast) TE C53F 524 (PXI 5524). This is our third Tiger and is the first Ulsterbus Goldliner in preservation.

Whilst Northern Ireland has become well known for it's large fleet of Leyland Tigers with N and Q-type bodywork a number of less standard models have also been operated. Amongst these were a batch of 16 TRCTL11/3RZA with Alexander (Belfast) TE C53F bodies new in April/May 1990 for the start of the new 'Goldline' network of express services, 514 - 529 (PXI 5514 - 29). 524 entered service at Magherafelt depot on 1/5/90 where it was to remain until transferred (on paper only) to the Driving School on 03/09/07. After only a few days in the Driving School and without being used, it was then loaned to Ballymena where it was to remain until withdrawn in March 2008. Interestingly this transfer was never made official, during all of its time in Ballymena it was still technically a Driving School vehicle. In 1994/95 the entire batch received a mid life overhaul and refurbish at Duncrue Street works. 524 was detaxed in November 1994 following accident damage, returning to service after repair and refurbish in March 2005. The most notable aspects of the refurbishment were an interior retrim with the moquette used in the 15xx series Plaxtons, as well as a slightly different application of the Goldline livery (compare the 2 photos above). In order to release the fleet numbers for new vehicles, the survivors were all renumbered (on paper only) in November 2008 by the addition of 2000 to their fleet numbers. Of the batch of 16, all but two have survived, 521 which was destroyed in a firebomb attack in June 1997 at Armagh depot and 525 which went to Hamill, Ahoghill for scrap in June 2009. Three of the batch passed to Dodd's, Troon (one for spare parts) and one went to Kelleher, Tipperary with a further nine passing to Lough Swilly. But for a mechanical fault, 524 would probably also have gone to Lough Swilly.