UK: National Express Unveils New Van Hool Altano TDX21 Coach

National Express has unveiled the first of 25 new Van Hool Altano TDX21 tri-axle coaches that are set to enter service in the UK this year.

The high-capacity overdecker coach was unveiled at Van Hool’s UK site in Wellingborough before travelling to Bristol to join Edwards Coaches’ National Express fleet.

This vehicle will be joined by nine other units destined for Edwards Coaches over the coming months. In addition, Selwyns Travel in the North West will acquire 15 more TDX21 models later this year.

Erik Olijslagers from Van Hool and Ed Rickard from National Express with the first of 25 new TDX21 Altano vehicles
Erik Olijslagers from Van Hool and Ed Rickard from National Express with the first of 25 new TDX21 Altano vehicles

The 25 new coaches will operate on National Express routes such as the 040 between London and Bristol and the 540 between London and Manchester via Milton Keynes.

To enhance efficiency on these routes, the Altano model features a 752-litre fuel tank that reduces the need to refuel as often. It also has an extensive luggage capacity of 16.5 metres cubed.

In addition, the coach offers easier wheelchair access with a lower entry point and ramp, as well as three seats on the lower floor behind the driver to enhance accessibility.

Erik Olijslagers, Van Hool Area Sales Manager RHD and Northern Europe, said:

“Van Hool is pleased to be working with National Express and its partner operators to introduce 25 new Van Hool TDX21 Altano's on their UK coach network this year.

“The overdecker model is ideal for long-distance journeys, providing great comfort and ample luggage capacity for customers, alongside excellent fuel efficiency and reliability for coach operators.”

The Altano TDX21 is 14.4 metres long, 2.55 metres wide and 3.73 metres tall, with 66 seats and wheelchair space. It features LED mood lighting, free Wi-Fi, leather reclining seats, air conditioning, and onboard charging.

What’s more, the vehicle is equipped with National Express’s onboard safety and security technology. This includes Guardian’s Seeing Machines fatigue monitoring system to monitor the driver’s focus; the Lytx DriveCam to help maintain driver performance; and Alcolock, which prevents the coach engine from starting until the driver has passed an alcohol breathalyser test.

Ed Rickard, Network Director for National Express UK and Ireland, said:

“More and more people are choosing to travel with National Express as a reliable, convenient and affordable way to get around the country. We're responding by working with our valued coach partner operators to invest in new vehicles and technology while delivering a brilliant customer experience.

“The brand-new Van Hool Altano TDX21 coaches are high-capacity vehicles and have excellent wheelchair access and extensive luggage capacity, plus all the modern comforts our customers have come to know and love when travelling with us. They’re a welcome addition to the National Express fleet as we look to meet the increased demand for our services and we’re looking forward to seeing the first of the coaches out of the road in the coming months, with the remainder in service by the end of this year.”

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