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The Flyer Industries D800 Series Bus

By James Bow

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Improving the Original

After finding some success with the D700A series bus, Flyer Industries (so named after the purchase of Western Flyer Industries by the Manitoban government in 1971) set about to improve the design and fix earlier mechanical and structural issues. They worked with AM General of the United States to produce the D-800 design. The deal also allowed Flyer Industries to expand across the border, by licensing AM General to produce the model for transit agencies in the United States. The D-800 series bus offered larger windows than the D-700, as well as re-styled front. They had (non-standard) longitudinally-mounted engines and transmissions similar to those of their D-700 cousins.

In 1974, the TTC took delivery of 50 of these vehicles, again initially basing them out of Queensway Garage, although in 1991 some were shifted to Lansdowne Garage to serve as replacements for the retiring trolley buses. These vehicles operated into the early 1990s, and were only retired when shipments of the 6700 series of the Orion V bus arrived. Bus #8000 managed to survive the scrapper’s torch, however, as it was bought up by a film company for use in movies, television shows and commercials. It maintained its TTC paint scheme and TTC interior into the late 1990s, and was spotted helping to sell Trident gum as late as 1999.

One bus, #7972, also survived the scrappers torch and was spotted near Caledon.

The D800B vs the D800A

In 1977, TTC took delivery of thirteen more D800 buses. These, however, were labelled D800B, retroactively relabelling the earlier models D800A. These buses used a standard transverse-mounted engine configuration, produced by General Motors Diesel Division, which improved the vehicle’s reliability compared to the D800A. A further 31 D800Bs were purchased and delivered in 1979.

The D800B buses were also assigned to Queensway Garage, and operated on such routes as 32 EGLINTON WEST, 110 ISLINGTON SOUTH, 73 ROYAL YORK and 76 ROYAL YORK SOUTH. Some of these vehicles remained in service until 1997, 21 years later.

In 1997 and 1998, every last D800B Flyer bus was retired and scrapped, except for #8257. This bus was retained and lovingly restored by the maintenance workers at Queensway Garage. It continued to run in regular service, and was popular on charters for its historic nature. It lasted until the summer of 1999 before it too was retired. It has been preserved by the Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation for its historic collection. By 2013, it was spotted in the New Flyer plant in Winnipeg and presumably scrapped by then.

Condensed D-800 Roster:

  • 7560 - 7569 - FIL D-800-A - Delivered 1974/75; retired early 1990s
  • 7965 - 8004 - FIL D-800-A - Delivered 1974/75; retired early 1990s
  • 8210 - 8223 - FIL D-800-B - Delivered 1977; retired 1998;
  • 8230 - 8260 - FIL D-800-B - Delivered 1978; retired 1999;

Flyer Industries D800 Series Image Archive

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