Until the end of 2023, ACT Bus will be revealing the Top 15 buses of all time in the Canberra / ACTION Bus fleet (determined by number in the fleet).

At number 8, is the Volvo B58-56 with 76 vehicles.

First in service: Bus 236, Oct 1974
Last withdrawn: Bus 406, Nov 1990
Years in service: 16

The third of four bus models purchased to expand the Canberra bus fleet in 1974-75 was the Volvo B58-56. Two Volvo B58-50 models were ordered in 1972, but when the turbo-charged B58-56 variant was made available, six were ordered for delivery in 1974. A further 70 (337-406) were delivered in 1975 & 1976.

These buses featured a Smithfield Bus body – which was essentially the same as the CVI body first used in 1970 for the AEC Swifts. As there were AEC Swifts being delivered at the same time with a similar body, these two bus models were easily confused with each other – at least until the AEC Swifts were withdrawn from service.

Among the first six vehicles was ZIB-251 which was built with a Coach body to replace ZIB-100 – an AEC Reliance Coach. A second Coach was intended to be purchased, but this order did not proceed.

Of the 1976-built buses, 17 were fitted with a ZF 2-speed automatic transmission rather than the 4-speed semi-automatic Wilson transmission fitted to the remaining buses. Some buses were further upgraded with a Voith 3-speed automatic later in their life.

Withdrawal of these buses commenced in 1986 and this class was completely withdrawn by 1990.


Further reading:

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This page was last updated on 17 February 2024