June 2016: The first update for some months! It’s been a hectic time for us with the season in full swing, plus ongoing restoration works and fleet changes to report.
We’ve been to Penzance and Taunton with our Bristol VR VDV134S, then it successfully passed it’s bus (PSV) MOT in early June ready for Glastonbury Festival work in a few weeks – it’ll then be visiting the Isle of Wight in October too.
Our Royal Blue coach 617DDV has been sold, leaving us space in the depot and time to continue renovations of our Bristol LS Bus TUO497.
New arrival VJI8684 is an interesting, unique, Leyland Leopard. New to Midland Red, registered WHA238H with a Plaxton Panorama body, it was rebodied in 1981 for Mayne’s of Manchester with a Plaxton Supreme body.
Our Ikarus 564KHT has returned to the road this Spring, and took part in the Eastern Europe Classic Vehicle Club annual Road run in April accompanying Trabants, Skodas and Wartburgs!
With the rally season commencing soon, it’s a busy time for us planning our summer activities and getting the buses looking their best. As a sneak preview of events we hope to attend, here is our provisional Rally and Events Calendar for 2016:
Sunday 3rd April Bristol Vintage Bus Group Spring Gathering
Sunday 17th April Penzance Bristol VR Revival
Sunday 24th April Wilts RE Day or IFA Club Eastern Bloc Vehicle Road Run
Sunday 1st May Barry Bus Museum Minibus Day
Monday 2nd May Great Western Railway St.Phillips Marsh Depot 40th Anniversary Open Day and Shuttle Bus service
Sunday 8th May Taunton Vintage Bus Running Day
Sunday 15th May Fenland Bus Festival Whittlesey
Sunday 29th May Westcountry Historic Omnibus Trust event Tiverton
Sunday 12th June Barry Island Bus Rally
Sunday 19th June Royal Blue Run
Saturday 25th June Strawberry Line Stroll Axbridge to Yatton for the Railway Mission
Sunday 26th June Severn Valley Railway 1940s event
Sunday 10th July Poole Centenary Rally
Sunday 17th July Mid Hants Railway Rally Alton
Sunday 31st July Avon Valley Railway bus rally Brislington
Sunday 14th August Dorchester Running Day
Sunday 21st August Buses Festival, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon
August Bank Holiday Wythall Bus Museum “Big Days”
Sunday 11th September Stevensons 90th Anniversary Burton-upon-Trent
Visitors Friends and Passengers welcome to join us to any of these events but please get in touch beforehand, preferably by email firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve been busy in recent weeks carrying out renovations and maintenance work on the collection. This is a good time of year to catch up on little jobs too!
D101GHY and YHY592J are both due to have MOT tests this week ready for a season of adventures.
617DDV is currently awaiting more engine works as it approaches it’s 55th birthday.
TUO497 is away having luggage racks constructed and fitted, then when it returns we have seat frames to paint and fit along with other interior fixtures and fittings.
VDV134S is due to have some interior renovations in coming weeks, including seat frames and wheelarches painting.
564KHT is in the workshops having a full service and will be out and about soon.
The Van Hool Volvo coach has departed from the fleet, allowing us to focus on our historic vehicles.
Join us for our first Excursion of 2016 on Sunday 10th January as we visit (for the 5th year running!) the Old Inn at Widecombe-in-the-Moor for Sunday Lunch. Perfect to brighten up the new year Post-Christmas period, join us for a scenic drive over Dartmoor to enjoy a delicious lunch with friends then browse the quaint village shops. Old friends and new faces all welcome. Pick ups all around Nailsea and Backwell (and others on
request). We plan to use our comfy modern coach this year. Fare £15 (lunch excluded, choose and pay for your choice on the day). To book call 07971 800201 (answerphone) or email email@example.com
One of our favourite excursions has always been the Pre-Christmas trip to Worcester. We missed a year in 2014 due to other commitments, but lovely to spend last Sunday with our friends and families on the 2015 “reunion” trip. All the festive magic was there including Cornish mince pies supplied by our good friend and fellow classic-coach owner Roger Thomas, raffle (complete with wooden spoon and Bisto prizes amongst the wine and chocolates!) tinsel, carols and mascot “Mr. Badger” keeping a watchful eye!
Unfortunately our new touring coach wasn’t quire ready to make its debut, but old favourite Badgerline Volvo D101GHY performed admirably.
Keep your eyes peeled for our 2016 trip programme coming soon – it begins with Dartmoor Sunday Lunch on Sunday 10th January 2016.
Friday 13th November was lucky for some and unlucky for others of the racegoers at Cheltenham for first day of “The Open”. This weekend is the second largest annual horse racing event in Cheltenham.
We’ve been regular subcontractors to Stagecoach West every year since 2010 for the main March “Gold Cup” week, when up to 70 double deckers are in circuit at once to move the crowds. The November meeting is a little more relaxed, and we spent an enjoyable Friday with our Bristol VRT VDV134S working alongside another Southern National VRT VDV122S and Stagecoach’s own VRT JOU160P and around 20 other Stagecoach buses running back and forth between Cheltenham Station and the Racecourse.
Today we achieved something we’ve never been able to before; a line-up of the entire collection. There is usually one away for long-term works or “resting” and not able to join in. However, today all 6 were brought out for this photo. Earlier we’d been out in the Bristol LS TUO497 to the Bristol Vintage Bus Group mini open day at their Brislington site this morning, and stopped off at the Avon Valley Railway at Bitton on the way home. An enjoyable day all round!
After a busy weekend on the Isle of Wight with our Badgerline Volvo, this week we’ve been catching up on routine jobs. Our Southern National Bristol LS has been prepared for its second public showing on Sunday at the Bristol Vintage Bus Group “end of season” open day at their Brislington site. Also, our Royal Blue coach has been to have a new Tachograph recording fitted and calibrated today in place of the defective old unit. It is now all set for a wedding duty next Friday.
The big news this week is that we’ve finally welcomed back home our now-unique DAF Ikarus bus, with a new axle and PSV MOT. The bus has been out of action for almost 2 years waiting parts and workshop space. Finally this interesting and rare vehicle (only 140 were imported in the first place) is back up and running. A lot of cleaning and tidying remains to be done!
Good news received today from Chepstow where work to return our rare Hungarian Ikarus bus to the road has been progressing rapidly this week. The old defective rear axle has been removed, parts transferred and the replacement now ready to reinstall. Sourcing this axle was incredibly difficult with DAF seemingly changing the fittings and model frequently during the production life of the SB220 model. Indeed we’ve been searching for almost 2 years!
This rare machine will hopefully be back up and running soon. There is only one other preserved Ikarus bus in the UK out of 140 imported in the early 1990s. For the product of a company that was, at one time, the world’s biggest bus manufacturer, they take a deserving place in our UK bus history.