Rapido’s New Look Bus – A History

Rapido’s New Look Bus – A History

Calgary Transit bus #606.

Calgary Transit bus #606.
Photo by the late Peter Cox, courtesy of the Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation collection

Our New Look was originally Calgary Transit #606, part of an order of 29 buses (#595-621) delivered in 1967. It is a model TDH-5303, which stands for Transit Bus, Diesel, Hydraulic Transmission, Seating Capacity 53 (thus a 40-foot-long bus), series 03. The TDH-5303 was the most common New Look bus model built, with 6205 built by GM in Detroit and a further 1069 built by GMDD in London, Ontario. Our bus was built in London. It is 102″ wide and has single-stream rear exit doors.

606 and was originally painted in Calgary Transit’s Seafoam Green and Oyster White before being repainted into the two-tone blue livery around 1972. After operating for Calgary Transit for almost two decades, it was purchased by Pacific Western Transportation (PWT) and assigned to Perimeter Transport for use at Expo 86 in Vancouver. PWT assigned the bus number 656.

Red Arrow Express Limited #656.

Pacific Western Transportation #656. The bus is still painted in two-tone Calgary Transit colours.
Photo courtesy Ken Baker collection.

Photo courtesy Ken Baker collection.

Photo courtesy Ken Baker collection.

Following Expo, the renumbered 656 returned to Calgary and was transferred to the fleet of PWT subsidiary Red Arrow for use at Spruce Meadows. Spruce Meadows is a horse racing track south of Calgary, and the bus received a new, green paint scheme. The Spruce Meadows shuttle runs from a nearby LRT station to the track.

By 2002-3 it had become a spare bus for the Calgary Auto Mall (operated by Southland Transportation, another subsidiary of Pacific Western Transportation). It was also leased to Red Deer Transit briefly in 2005 during a bus shortage.

The 656 became spare in 2010 and was deregistered in 2015. It was purchased by Fred Underhill, a retired supervisor from Calgary Transit. We bought it from Fred in June 2016.

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This was how #656 looked before Rapido purchased it. The bus was still in its Spruce Meadows paint scheme.

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Now under Rapido ownership the bus is currently being painted into a copy of the TTC’s original maroon and cream colour scheme and will now be Rapido Trains Inc. bus #3380.

The TTC had a series of 80 TDH-5303 New Looks delivered in 1963 (3300-3379). Like our bus, the TTC buses had standee windows. The only major differences between the TTC buses and our bus are the rear doors and the seating layout. That’s close enough for us. Our bus is now the “next in line” in the 3300-series.

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Now in pseudo-TTC maroon and cream. Looking sharp!

Rapido's very own "New Look"!

Rapido’s very own “New Look”!

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This is the state of play as of the end of October. The masking has been removed and most of the trim is back on. It’s very nearly finished and ready to head to its new home in Toronto.

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