image002    1980’s Era

Orion 01.501


8390 is a 1983 Orion Citycruiser, shown behind the St. Laurent garage on Dec. 26, 2006, after having spent a few years in the 1990’s with Para Transpo, Ottawa’s bus service for the disabled.  It is shown with 217, a 1953 CCF & Brill CD-36A. This was originally London Transit Commission bus 308, which was acquired in 1991 and repainted into the OTC’s paint scheme of the 1950’s.  217 is being restored as part of OC Transpo’s historic bus fleet but 8390 was scrapped in 2008.


8391 was another 30’ bus built in 1983, seen in Blackburn Hamlet in 1990.  OC Transpo purchased a number of these small buses between 1978 and 1983 to serve low-ridership routes in the suburbs.  Unusually, the ones bought between 1978 and 1981 were all numbered in the 8800 series, while those acquired in 1982 and 1983 were numbered into the 8200 and 8300 series respectively.  Of all the Orion I buses purchased, only 8816 was 35’ long.  All of these buses were withdrawn by 1993. (Photo by Ted Wickson)


GM/MCI/NovaBus Classics


8412 was a 1984 GM TC-40102N seen boarding passengers at the Rideau Centre on Dec. 27, 2002.  The 1984 Classics were fully retired in 2005, with 8413 being sold to the STO.



8554 was a 1985 GM TC-40102N seen laying up at St. Laurent Station on Dec. 24, 2002.  OC Transpo ordered its Classics with small, high-set rear windows.  Other transit systems whose buses had this option include the STO, London Transit and Halifax Metro Transit.  The last 1985 Classic was retired in April 2007, with the STO picking up 8545.


8771 was a 1987 GM TC-40102N, shown retired in the dead lot behind the St. Laurent garage on June 12, 2004.  Parked next to it is 9131, a 1991 Orion V.


8775 is shown laying up at Hurdman Station on Oct. 7, 2008.


8790 was another 1987 GM Classic seen on the Mackenzie King bridge at Elgin Street on Dec. 20, 1997.  This bus was retired in November 2008.


8793 is shown at Lebreton Station on Dec. 27, 2006.  1987 was the last year OC Transpo bought buses with 6V71N engines, and also the last year General Motors built Classics; in August, GM sold its bus-building division to Motor Coach Industries.


A retired 1987 GM Classic is shown behind the St. Laurent garage along with a retired 1990 New Flyer D40 in this photo taken on February 23, 2009.  The last of OC Transpo’s GM Classics were retired on Dec. 31, 2008, during the 2008-2009 transit strike, except for 8792 which was withdrawn from revenue service on Oct. 22, 2009, retired on Dec. 1st, 2009, and shipped off to the scrap yard on January 10, 2010.


A mix of old and new buses are shown parked behind the St. Laurent garage on February 23, 2009.  In the foreground is 2008 New Flyer D60LF bus 6398 along with retired 1990 D40 bus 9024 and a retired 1989 MCI Classic, while in the background are 6374 and a retired 1987 GM Classic.


8902 was a 1989 MCI TC-40102N, spotted in a scrapyard near Walkley Road and Lancaster in Ottawa’s southeast end on July 1st, 2010.  This bus was retired in 2007 but was bought by a towing company along with the Orion V bus 9126, which was in another scrapyard near Stittsville at the time.


8914 was another 1989 MCI Classic, shown retired behind the St. Laurent garage on August 4, 2007.  These buses were the first OC Transpo Classics purchased with full-sized rear windows.


8924 was seen waiting to enter service at Place d’Orleans Station with 6132 on August 29, 2004.  These buses were also equipped with 6V92TA engines, which are noisy but provide 250 hp to move the bus, compared to 181 hp for the 6V71N.


8941 was spotted parked in the lay up lot near Lebreton Station on August 30, 2005.  This photo shows the four-piece swing-out rear doors OC Transpo ordered on its MCI and NovaBus Classics compared to the two-piece slide-glide exit doors on its GM Classics.


8945 is shown unloading riders at Hurdman Station on Dec. 20, 1997.


8952 is shown in the lay up lot near Lebreton Station waiting to enter service on August 30, 2005.


9103 was a 1991 MCI TC-40102A, shown waiting to enter service near Lebreton Station on August 30, 2005.  This bus is shown partly repainted, with the red front end of the new maple leaf scheme, while keeping the red stripe from the old livery.  Many Classic buses received this treatment to aid identification at a distance.


9103 is seen parked behind the St. Laurent garage on August 4, 2007.  This bus was equipped with a rear-mounted Carrier air conditioner, thereby being the first buses OC Transpo ordered without rear windows, but the A/C was disconnected in 1996 to save the annual maintenance cost of $1500 per bus.


9109 was another 1991 Classic, shown at Lebreton Station on December 27, 2000.


9111 was spotted laying up near Hurdman Station in August 2001.  This was one of the first Classics repainted into the new “Maple Leaf” livery; it is also equipped with a bike-rack.


9118 is seen waiting to enter service on Dec. 20, 1997.  This bus was one of eight MCI Classics painted in a special Gray Line sightseeing livery.  During the summer, these buses were equipped with plush seats, and these buses retained their A/C units while the other buses had their units disconnected.  OC Transpo ended its relationship with Gray Line in the late 1990’s, and these buses were returned to the regular bus fleet, keeping this special livery until the buses were repainted in 2007.

(Thumbnail only; no enlarged photo available)


9307 is a 1993 NovaBus TC-40102A seen at the St. Laurent garage on Dec. 24, 2003.  These buses are equipped with a roof-mounted Sütrak air conditioner; there had been complaints about not having a back window on the Carrier-equipped buses.


9315 is another NovaBus Classic, seen on Albert Street at Bank on December 27, 2000.  By this time, many of the Nova Classics had been equipped with Bailos LED displays, improving visibility at night and for visually-impaired riders.


9321 is shown at Hurdman Station on December 20, 1997.


9323 is shown on Holland Avenue at Scott Street, near Tunney’s Pasture Station on August 30, 2005.  This bus has been partly repainted with the red front end from the maple leaf livery.  OC Transpo’s last Classics were retired in late June 2010 when two 1989 Classics, one 1991 Classic, and five 1993 Classics were withdrawn from service.


Orion 03.501/Ikarus 286



8529 was a 1985 Orion III/Ikarus 286 shown parked at the St. Laurent garage on April 12, 2006.  Next to 8529 is Hamilton Street Railway 8215, which was itself originally OC Transpo 8213.  Both these buses are being used to provide parts for vehicles in the historic fleet, in this case the Orion artic 8501 and the GM artic 8222.  By August 2007, 8529 had been moved to the Swansea yard in Ottawa’s south end.


8752 was a 1987 Orion artic, seen at Hurdman Station on Dec. 20, 1997.  Of all the vehicles operated by OC Transpo, these were by far the least popular with riders.  These buses were not air-conditioned, and the tall, tip-in windows did not allow adequate air circulation on hot summer days.  If you look closely, the glass over the destination sign was taken from a GM New Look.


8859 was a 1988 Orion artic, seen at Hurdman Station on Dec. 20, 1997.  This bus was built with four-piece exit doors instead of the bi-fold doors on the earlier buses.  This was the last year OC Transpo purchased these buses.  Many of these buses were retired early as they were only built to last 7 or 8 years, as opposed to 18 years for most North American buses, and with replacement parts becoming scarce, the last of these vehicles was withdrawn from revenue service in early 2003, with 8501 being kept for preservation before being scrapped in 2008.


8899 was formerly Toronto Transit Commission bus 6361, a 1987 Orion III/Ikarus 286 shown on Albert Street at Bank Street in June 2000.  OC Transpo purchased fifteen ex-TTC buses from S&N Diesel in 1998 and pressed them into service, numbering them from 8875 to 8899.  These buses had fibreglass seats and sliding windows, making them slightly more acceptable to the riding public.  They were retired during the summer of 2002.


Orion II


8998 was a 21’ bus purchased in 1989 for Para Transpo, a door-to-door service for the handicapped.  Para Transpo also received some 26’ buses in 1985, and OC Transpo bought some in 1992 and 1996.  All the OC Transpo buses were withdrawn in 1998, but Para Transpo still used the small low-floor buses until they were withdrawn a few years later. (Photo by Ted Wickson)