September 26, 2012

0342 AUSTRALIA (South Australia) - O-Bahn Busway in Adelaide


The fourth maxicard, and the last one, from the series Capital City Transport (after the ones with electric train from Perth, tram from Melbourne, and OSCAR train from Sydney), depicts O-Bahn Busway from Adelaide, a guided busway which is the longest in the world. Introduced in 1986, it is the first bus rapid transit system in Australia, and the world's fastest until 2011, the buses traveling along a dedicated, concrete, guided track,  to avoid traffic congestion. The name come from the Latin omnibus (for all people) and the German bahn (railway). The O-bahn design is unique, because, as I say, the buses runs on a specially built track, thus combining elements of both bus and rail systems. The route has 12km long and includes one station and two interchanges.

As is shown in the picture, the track is elevated above ground because of the poor quality of alluvial soils along the River Torrens, 5,600 large concrete pylons being cast to a depth of up to 4m to ensure stability. The width of both tracks, sitting on the sleepers, is 6.2m. The fleet was originally composed of 41 rigid and 51 articulated buses, all Mercedes-Benz O305 models, heavily modified at the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Clovelly Park. Later were introduced Scania and MAN buses, also modified. Bus from the image (with the number 1442) is one of the 70 Scania K230UB Euro V used by O-Bahn. The most important (but also the most delicate) part of the buses which travel on the O-Bahn are the guide wheels, which protrudes from the front sides and aligns with the track. Connected directly to the steering mechanism, it 'steers' the bus while on the track and prevents the main tyres from rubbing against the sides of the track.

Apart from the stamp that is on the maxicard, Heather has put another one on the back (although it wasn't necessary), with the value of 35c, depicting echidna, one of the egg-laying mammals (monotreme order) for which is Australia so known. The stamp is part of a series of 11 dedicated to wildlife and issued in 1992.

O-Bahn Busway - Wikipedia
Australian Bus Fleet List -

sender: Heather Massese (direct swap)
sent from Perth (Western Australia), on 11.03.2012
illustration: Jamie Tufrey

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