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BusTalk: Re: Draft History of NYCTA Grumman 870s (Re: Whatever Happened to NY's Grumman Flxible Model (116034)

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Re: Draft History of NYCTA Grumman 870s (Re: Whatever Happened to NY's Grumman Flxible Model

Posted by RailBus on Thu Jun 3 09:01:36 2004, in response to Draft History of NYCTA Grumman 870s (Re: Whatever Happened to NY's Grumman Flxible Model 870s),
posted by Mark S. Feinman on Wed Jun 2 18:23:07 2004.

Mark, you may want to check out the book "Flxible - A History of the Bus and Company” by Dr. Robert Ebert, a business professor who studied the company and its demise. In a nutshell, the A-frame problem was traced to poor engineering by Rohr, Flxible’s previous parent before Grumman. The bus was not subjected to the proper testing to see if the design would hold up, and when Grumman purchased Flxible they thought the 870 design was good to go and began building the bus immediately. By all indications, Grumman Flxible solved the A-frame problem and these buses went on to run for years in a number of cities, but the 870 had become a political liability in NYC after 1980. The 1984 fire that engulfed an 870 on 57th Street and resulted in Gunn removing the entire fleet from service was not due to any Flxible design defect, but was caused by poor TA maintenance practices – if I remember correctly, the bus was missing a rear shock absorber and this caused another part to rub against a wiring harness and eventually short it out and ignite the blaze.

Dr. Ebert’s book also offers an excellent history of the U.S. transit bus manufacturers during the 1970’s Transbus program and following developments. The cancellation of the Transbus program and the adoption of the ADB design specs did force AM General out of the transit bus business, but it also indirectly led to manufacturers like Flyer, GM-Canada, Orion, Gillig and others to enter the industry when many transit authorities balked and refused to buy ADB’s.

The Flxible book was published by Antique Power – a link to their website is here (look under ‘Gift Shop’ to find the books) - http://www.antiquepower.com/index.html

Jim D.


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