Daily tours of Kew Gardens

Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A highly-specialised Iveco Daily is helping visitors make the most of a trip around the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Operating under the Explorer II banner, it’s being used to haul a train of three 24-seater carriages on a 40-minute hop-on/hop-off, eight-stop route.


Supplied through Southampton dealer Hendy Truck & Van, it began life as a 35C12 chassis cab with an AGile semi-automatic gearbox. Based not far from the dealership, Electromec Services shortened the wheelbase to 2.2m and replaced the rear axle with a 10:1 ratio FPW double-reduction axle.

The Daily has been built for use solely in the gardens and its wheel sensors have been re-engineered to ensure the AGile ’box operates within the low speed parameters required. It enables Explorer II to reach a cruising speed of 12mph in fourth gear at 2,000rpm, although in practice it rarely exceeds 4mph. The cab is equipped with a PA system with 100v line connections to the trailer speakers.

Fitted to the little train are a two-line air-brake circuit for the carriages plus an air handbrake system which operates a spring brake on the tractor unit and all the carriages. The set-up is sufficient to hold the train’s 15-tonne gross weight.

A similar Daily has been in service at the Imperial War Museum’s sprawling Duxford, Cambridgeshire site since 2005. Dedicated to aviation, it’s well worth a visit; so, of course, is Kew.


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