The forgotten Q-Types
by Will Hughes
Having received a number of vehicles with Alexander (Belfast) N type bodies, the Education and Library Boards switched to the Q type body favoured by Citybus and Ulsterbus when production of the N type body ceased. Whilst 35 N types had been supplied to the various education boards, only nine Q types were constructed and this time for just one customer, the Southern Education & Library Board. Again mounted on the Dennis Javelin chassis but this time seating was for 62 with 3+2 seating for much of the length of the vehicle.
SELB Dennis Javelin/Alexander (Belfast)
Q type XIB 8562 at the Boards transport
centre in Armagh.
The first batch was four delivered in 1995, WIB 3070 and WIB 3120 entering service in February and WIB 3130/40 entering service the following month. A further batch of five was delivered in March 1996 registered XIB 8560 4. Up until 1996 the Southern Education and Library Board with the co-operation of the DVLNI had always been able to obtain registrations ending in zero. However, in 1996 the DVLNI changed their policy on the issue of registrations and from then the Southern Education and Library Board had to take what they could get.
The switch to low floor vehicles and seat belt legislation meant these vehicles had relatively short lives. The first to go was in January 2009 when WIB 3070 was sold to be followed by WIB 3120 and XIB 8561 in May 2009, WIB 3130 in July 2009 and XIB 8560 in August 2009. By January 2010 XIB 8562 had been transferred on loan to the South Eastern Education and Library Board where it acts as a spare vehicle for their two Nu-Track bodied MANs. March 2010 saw the disposal of WIB 3140 and XIB 8564 with the final example going the following month, XIB 8563.All are thought to have been sold for further use, WIB 3120 and WIB 3130 passing to McDonagh (TCT), Carraroe as 95-G-8119 and 95-G-8131, XIB 8560 passing to Spruhan, Bagenalstown and XIB 8563 also heading south of the border but as yet untraced. The remainder are thought to still be in Northern Ireland but as yet untraced.
In addition there was a Q type look-alike which was in fact bodied by Nu-Track of Antrim. In the mid 1990s the Western Education and Library Board purchased a further Dennis Javelin chassis. They had no money to body it at the time so it was stored at their Lisnaskea depot until funds became available. When the money was finally there to body it neither Alexander (Belfast) or Wrights were interested in bodying one off chassis. The chassis was ultimately dispatched to Nu-Track of Antrim who constructed what was to turn out to be a unique body on it. As with the genuine Q types it was to be a 62-seater with 3+2 seating and finally entered service in 1999 as the boards fleet number 1380 and registered UJI 9375. When constructing the body Nu-Track had difficulties with the front and rear end structures and eventually purchased standard Q type front and rear ends, which they grafted onto its body. Withdrawn in April 2009, it was sold to Eamonn Rooney, Hilltown who uses it on school contract work.
WELB Q type lookalike 1380 (UJI 9375),
seen here at Strabane schoolbus depot.
Fleetnews front page