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Van Hool Astromega TDX29 ” Sleeper Coach” Luxury coach during the day and sleeper coach at night.

Van Hool, our new Strategic Alliance Partner in Global Passenger Network, launch a special version of the Astromega TDX29, the outstanding extra long double-decker coach of the Van Hool range, has been custom-made for Stagecoach Group in the UK. It’s a ‘sleeper coach’ equipped with beds for night travels. But this is not just a ‘sleeper coach’. The uniqueness of this vehicle is the double configuration, in fact it turns into a coach for luxury service during daytime and a sleeper coach for the night. That is thanks to the very special seats that, when needed, can be converted into comfortable beds. The passengers’ seats have been developed and manufactured in the Belgian Van Hool’s workshop especially to meet the specific requirements by the customer. Stagecoach took delivery of ten such units for a cost of 500 thousand pounds each (about 755 thousand euro). The first one was delivered in April 2013 and the tenth one last July.

The vehicle is built on three axles and has a maximum capacity of 55 passengers in addition to driver and guide. The passenger area has been divided into a number of compartments with either two or four seats. The equipment features comfortable seats upholstered entirely in leather, each with its own table and plug socket. There is also free Wi-Fi and a toilet. Furthermore the vehicle is equipped to serve drinks to customers during their journey. The night configuration is obtained by converting the passengers’ seats into 42 beds. Night customers are provided with a sleeper kit containing a pillow, an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste. Passenger are also given the choice of a blanket or even a “onesie”, a all-in-one sleep suit.

The length of 14.96 metres makes the TDX29 the longest double-decker tourism coach with dimension of the Astromega range, that also includes the 13.1-metre TDX25 and the 14.1-metre TDX27. It is powered by a Paccar Daf MX 340 engine of 462 horsepower combined with an automatic ZF AS-Tronic 12-speed gearbox with integrated retarder. The wheels are Alcoa Durabright Aluminum.
The fleet of ‘sleeper coaches’ is managed by operator (part of the Stagecoach Group) and is deployed for exclusive passenger transport service, while at night it is diverted on the routes that connect 11 Scottish locations to London. Travelling times are comparable to those of sleeper trains, connecting Edinburgh and Glasgow with the British capital in less than eight hours for a price of only 15 pounds (just over 17 euro) each way.

The first service was launched on July 8th, while the remaining routes gradually begun service throughout the rest of the summer.
«These vehicles are the first of their kind in the world and we know there are a lot of passengers who are already looking forward to using them», said Elizabeth Esnouf, Managing Director of Stagecoach’s UK Coach division. «The feedback from the passenger trials we have carried out has been very positive with the majority of people saying they would use the service again and recommend it to friends».