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MTB Glider


andrethebusman
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Can anybody provide more details about MT&B's "Glider" buses? I gather they were basically a Orion-built body perched on an existing fishbowl chassis, sort of like the Phoenix buses produced in the US for Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Chicago which looked somewhat like a Classic. Anybody have serials? Only ones I have for certain ate the three at Stratford Transit. When were the last ones built?

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Can anybody provide more details about MT&B's "Glider" buses? I gather they were basically a Orion-built body perched on an existing fishbowl chassis, sort of like the Phoenix buses produced in the US for Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Chicago which looked somewhat like a Classic. Anybody have serials? Only ones I have for certain ate the three at Stratford Transit. When were the last ones built?

The Gilder was an Orion 1 rebuilt with an Orion V body.

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Can anybody provide more details about MT&B's "Glider" buses? I gather they were basically a Orion-built body perched on an existing fishbowl chassis, sort of like the Phoenix buses produced in the US for Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Chicago which looked somewhat like a Classic. Anybody have serials? Only ones I have for certain ate the three at Stratford Transit. When were the last ones built?

AFAIK there were only 6 MTB Gliders built. Three were in Stratford but 9748 was just retired this year. 9751 and 2052 are still active as far as I know. By the way 2052 was ex-Pembroke Transit and only operated in Pembroke for about 2-3 years before that system was shut down. All of Stretaford buses were rebuilt from Orion 1 buses, one of which was 8442.

Durham Region Transit had 2 (8037 and 8038) that were ex-Ajax-Pickering Transit Authority (2037 and 2038). These buses were originally Pickering Transit 916 and 918.

The 6th unit is Barrie Transit 65400, bought in 2000 which is still active.

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I might have found a bit more about where the "glider" parts came from... In late 1993, Orion started building an order of 05.501's for New Orleans RTA. After 6 were partially completed, the order was cancelled, and the 6 incomplete shells were sold to a "Tornier Services" in Mississaugua. Serials are 31709, 31710, 31712, 31713, 31714, 31717. There is currently a "Tornier Inc" in Mississaugua that makes orthopaedic devices, but it is apparently not the same outfit. The Tornier in question might be apredecessor of MT&B?? In any event, this is likely where the Orion 5 body parts came from.

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I might have found a bit more about where the "glider" parts came from... In late 1993, Orion started building an order of 05.501's for New Orleans RTA. After 6 were partially completed, the order was cancelled, and the 6 incomplete shells were sold to a "Tornier Services" in Mississaugua. Serials are 31709, 31710, 31712, 31713, 31714, 31717. There is currently a "Tornier Inc" in Mississaugua that makes orthopaedic devices, but it is apparently not the same outfit. The Tornier in question might be apredecessor of MT&B?? In any event, this is likely where the Orion 5 body parts came from.

I recall from someone who works at Orion that the shells in question sat at Orion for quite a while (until late 1997 or so) when they moved to their new facility, them MTB purchased them. Also, in my research of these "partially completed" buses I do know that in 1992 Everett Transit in Washington State canceled a order for 6 35 foot buses when the frames were not even past the completion stage (ie. just shells) eventually rebidding for 3 35 foot buses and 3 40 foot buses which was won by Gillig and Orion respectively. I'm not sure if this is the correct answer but considering A) The Glider is based on a 102" body, so they had to have had a "shell" and :) Gliders were 35 feet long and I don't know how easy it is to modify a 40' shell into a 35' shell, there had to be some differences between a 40' and 35' structurally.

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I recall from someone who works at Orion that the shells in question sat at Orion for quite a while (until late 1997 or so) when they moved to their new facility, them MTB purchased them. Also, in my research of these "partially completed" buses I do know that in 1992 Everett Transit in Washington State canceled a order for 6 35 foot buses when the frames were not even past the completion stage (ie. just shells) eventually rebidding for 3 35 foot buses and 3 40 foot buses which was won by Gillig and Orion respectively. I'm not sure if this is the correct answer but considering A) The Glider is based on a 102" body, so they had to have had a "shell" and :o Gliders were 35 feet long and I don't know how easy it is to modify a 40' shell into a 35' shell, there had to be some differences between a 40' and 35' structurally.

As far as I know, a 35 and a 40 foot body (not frame, though) would be composed of the same panels, just one more for a 40. Also, mounting a 5 body on a 1 chassis would likely be a major trick. Wonder if much more than drive train and axles was actually reused?

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I believe the "Glider" used an entire 35' Orion V frame with donated parts from Orion Is. At last that's the concept behind Gliders, hence my reply above about where the shells could have came from. I do agree that the description on the wiki that states "The Glider used the existing 30 foot Orion I underframe which was lengthened to 35 feet and widened to 102 inches, and an Orion V body was supplied" is a major undergoing that likely wouldn't be worth doing, not to mention the buses are integral chassis design.

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I recall from someone who works at Orion that the shells in question sat at Orion for quite a while (until late 1997 or so) when they moved to their new facility, them MTB purchased them. Also, in my research of these "partially completed" buses I do know that in 1992 Everett Transit in Washington State canceled a order for 6 35 foot buses when the frames were not even past the completion stage (ie. just shells) eventually rebidding for 3 35 foot buses and 3 40 foot buses which was won by Gillig and Orion respectively. I'm not sure if this is the correct answer but considering A) The Glider is based on a 102" body, so they had to have had a "shell" and :) Gliders were 35 feet long and I don't know how easy it is to modify a 40' shell into a 35' shell, there had to be some differences between a 40' and 35' structurally.

Very interesting. I know GM back in the day would have likely just built that order out as a "stock order" if it were canceled so late in the assembly process, and sold them to whatever TAs would come knocking, looking for buses.

Anyone have photos of these weird beasts?

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I believe the "Glider" used an entire 35' Orion V frame with donated parts from Orion Is. At last that's the concept behind Gliders, hence my reply above about where the shells could have came from. I do agree that the description on the wiki that states "The Glider used the existing 30 foot Orion I underframe which was lengthened to 35 feet and widened to 102 inches, and an Orion V body was supplied" is a major undergoing that likely wouldn't be worth doing, not to mention the buses are integral chassis design.

That's what I was told by an APTA mechanic about those buses. It does seem like a lot of work. Perhaps I'll edit the article to just say used components of the Orion I, and maybe email MTB to see if they will give out information on the Glider.

Very interesting. I know GM back in the day would have likely just built that order out as a "stock order" if it were canceled so late in the assembly process, and sold them to whatever TAs would come knocking, looking for buses.

Anyone have photos of these weird beasts?

Here' are a few photos of the Gliders:

800px-Durham_Region_Transit_8038a.jpg

800px-Barrie_Transit_65400-a.jpg

Stratford_Transit_9751.jpg

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65400 looks more normal - made from a 102" wide Orion I?

You're right, it does look more "normal". The tires are much closer to the outside edges of the body.

But Orion I's were only built in 96" widths, not 102".

Dan

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You're right, it does look more "normal". The tires are much closer to the outside edges of the body.

But Orion I's were only built in 96" widths, not 102".

Dan

Possibly just replaced the axles. It's not like an I-beam front steering axle or a Meritor rear end were all that proprietary...

65400 looks more normal - made from a 102" wide Orion I?

Also, glider might be used as a generic term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_glider

I think it's also common in the semi tractor business to do the same thing where a new cab is placed on top of the chassis.

Not exactly -- an OEM will sell you a new truck, complete with everything apart from engine, transmission, rear axle(s), and other related components (the exact components varied from company to company and truck to truck). You'd then just pop the driveline from one into the new chassis, et voila: new (old) truck...

I don't hear of this being done very often any more, but it was big in the 60s/70s...

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Possibly just replaced the axles. It's not like an I-beam front steering axle or a Meritor rear end were all that proprietary...

I suppose that were the attachment points of the axles the same on an Orion I as they were on an Orion V (or anything else that was 96 inches wide for that matter) that sure, it could be done.

But why? No other units had this done.

Dan

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I suppose that were the attachment points of the axles the same on an Orion I as they were on an Orion V (or anything else that was 96 inches wide for that matter) that sure, it could be done.

But why? No other units had this done.

Dan

I would still wonder how much of the original bus was used. Back in the 1950's and 60's several railroads did something similar. If a locomotive was wrecked but was still sound mechanically, they would buy a similar body with bad mechanicals on the used market and "transplant" the guts. Also, I am not all that certain the 6 New Orleans shells were even 40-foot. NORTA did have 35-footers, after all. What I know about them came from Orion verbally, as they never appeared on any Orion-produced build lists. So it is entirely within the realm of the possible these were indeed 05.502's with the "guts" and axles of a 01.507 inserted.

Now another question - anybody have VIN's for these six??

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I would still wonder how much of the original bus was used. Back in the 1950's and 60's several railroads did something similar. If a locomotive was wrecked but was still sound mechanically, they would buy a similar body with bad mechanicals on the used market and "transplant" the guts. Also, I am not all that certain the 6 New Orleans shells were even 40-foot. NORTA did have 35-footers, after all. What I know about them came from Orion verbally, as they never appeared on any Orion-produced build lists. So it is entirely within the realm of the possible these were indeed 05.502's with the "guts" and axles of a 01.507 inserted.

I know the Gliders in Durham used the Orion I powertrain, seats, and it appears, windows. Stratford's appear to be the same way. All the Gliders were built from 30 foot Orion Is.

Now another question - anybody have VIN's for these six??

Stratford 9748: ASD12Z97471130004

Stratford (nee Pembroke) 9751: RBT03F07113000002

Stratford 2052: RBT08Q00113000005

Durham 8037: 2B1119270D5463656

Durham 8038: RBT01B979711300001

I also have Barrie 65400's VIN, but I'll have to look for it. Interestingly, the VIN was mostly ingraved by hand on the builder's plate.

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So it is entirely within the realm of the possible these were indeed 05.502's with the "guts" and axles of a 01.507 inserted.

As far as anyone can tell, that is pretty much what happened.

Which is why it is easy to tell the Gliders apart from a regular Orion V - the track of an Orion I is narrower than that of an Orion V, and it is noticeably so on the Gliders because the wheels sit so much further inboard from the outsides of the vehicles.

Dan

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65400 looks more normal - made from a 102" wide Orion I?
To the best of my knowlegde, no Orion I's were ever built as 102" width units.

As far as I know, all the MTB Glider kits were 102" Orion V bodies. I took these below images during the DRT Charter to show the difference between the 96 and 102" Orion V bodies and it is quite noticable especially when you look around the headlight area. There is little to no gap between the signal lights and the headlights. 8066 is a true 96 inch wide body Ex-Lynx - Orlando Orion V. the DRT MTB Glider unit is definately a 102" wide body in comparison.

6277drt8066.jpg

6284drt8038.jpg

Edited by A. Badaraco
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I know the Gliders in Durham used the Orion I powertrain, seats, and it appears, windows. Stratford's appear to be the same way. All the Gliders were built from 30 foot Orion Is.

Stratford 9748: ASD12Z97471130004

Stratford (nee Pembroke) 9751: RBT03F07113000002

Stratford 2052: RBT08Q00113000005

Durham 8037: 2B1119270D5463656

Durham 8038: RBT01B979711300001

I also have Barrie 65400's VIN, but I'll have to look for it. Interestingly, the VIN was mostly ingraved by hand on the builder's plate.

Durham 8037 VIN looks like old Orion VIN. Also bet Barrie 65400 ends in 300003?

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To the best of my knowlegde, no Orion I's were ever built as 102" width units.

As far as I know, all the MTB Glider kits were 102" Orion V bodies. I took these below images during the DRT Charter to show the difference between the 96 and 102" Orion V bodies and it is quite noticable especially when you look around the headlight area. There is little to no gap between the signal lights and the headlights. 8066 is a true 96 inch wide body Ex-Lynx - Orlando Orion V. the DRT MTB Glider unit is definately a 102" wide body in comparison.

I found another way to tell: if the middle roof clearance light is centred directly above the windshield split, the bus is 96" wide. If it is offset to the left of the split (when facing the bus), the bus is 102" wide. This is because the split is shifted slightly toward the driver's side of the wide-body buses.

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I found another way to tell: if the middle roof clearance light is centred directly above the windshield split, the bus is 96" wide. If it is offset to the left of the split (when facing the bus), the bus is 102" wide. This is because the split is shifted slightly toward the driver's side of the wide-body buses.

The best way I find to differentiate between a 102" and 96" wide Orion V is the windshield - the driver's one will always remain the same size on both versions but on the 96" wide version the passenger windshield is always narrower than the driver one.

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The best way I find to differentiate between a 102" and 96" wide Orion V is the windshield - the driver's one will always remain the same size on both versions but on the 96" wide version the passenger windshield is always narrower than the driver one.

Good catch. Let Orion use three different windshield parts (as opposed to four) to make two different widths of buses...

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The best way I find to differentiate between a 102" and 96" wide Orion V is the windshield - the driver's one will always remain the same size on both versions but on the 96" wide version the passenger windshield is always narrower than the driver one.

Heh!! I didn't notice that before. Nice observation! I now see the Pillar is not centered with the top middle clearance light. On the 96" wide unit, you can see the middle pillar is more to the left (Driver's) side of the bus and on the 102" width unit, the pillar is a bit to the other side of the clearance light. And it totally makes sense that the driver's side windshield would stay the same width/size on both models when you consider the operators vision while driving.

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The best way I find to differentiate between a 102" and 96" wide Orion V is the windshield - the driver's one will always remain the same size on both versions but on the 96" wide version the passenger windshield is always narrower than the driver one.

good point tilley

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  • 3 years later...

Did Barrie Transit 65400 begin life as a 30-footer, or not? Hence this one may be a "mystery" glider if the origins prior to its rebuild aren't known.

Barrie Transit never ran any 30' Orion I's to begin with, so what gives?

~Ben

Edited by Benjamin
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