Rising to the occasion

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Jonathan Welch looks at a Jonckheere JHV converted to PSVAR specification and available from Irizar’s new UK Sales Centre

Whether you like it or loathe it, agree or disagree, PSVAR is here and operators wanting to carry out work such as rail replacement need to have compliant coaches. There seems to have been something of a perfect storm, with the death of their normal work leading many operators who wouldn’t normally get involved taking on rail replacement and schools work, and needing PSVAR-compliant coaches. For some, this has meant conversions to their own vehicles. For others, it has meant trading in and replacing or upgrading their vehicles to help ensure they can take the work that is available. For converters and dealers, it has ensured that whilst demand remains repressed, operators have still had reason to buy from them, meaning their trade has not completely stood still.

Irizar’s new Sales Centre predominantly – and not unsurprisingly – deals mainly in its own marque, with a stock of both new and used coaches available. But the Centre also has a stock of other vehicles available, the constantly-changing stock including the likes of VDL, Van Hool and Jonckheere coaches taken as part-exchange from operators upgrading their fleets. It is the latter that is the subject of this test, having been brought up to PSVAR standards by Cogent in South Wales.

One of six similar vehicles, our drive today was aboard BL64 MSO, one of four 12.6m 2015 Volvo B11Rs with Jonckheere’s stylish and imposing JHV bodywork. The remaining two vehicles are similar, though of different ages.

All are finished in the plain black base colour of their previous operator Weavaway, which gives the JHV bodywork a distinctly ‘stealth’ look. Overall the paintwork seemed to be still in good condition other than some stone chips on the front panel, although I suspect many operators would want the coach repainting into their own colours anyway before placing it into service. Initial impressions were good, with the coach having been prepared to a very high standard by the team at Irizar’s Sales Centre, internally and externally, it’s dark livery being highlighted by the bright silver alloy wheels.

One of six Jonckheere JHVs available through Irizar’s Sales Centre with the option of Cogent PSVAR conversion. JONATHAN WELCH

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