Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Ensign running day

For a lot of preserved owners the rally season finishes in September or October. Not mine!

Having acquired Leyland Olympian H105GEV with a class 6 MOT (that's what you need to operate for hire & reward), I offered myself and the vehicle to Ensign Bus for their heritage running day on Saturday 3rd December. As the running day is operated commercially, collecting fares, only class 6 vehicles can be used.

Subject to a satisfactory safety inspection, check of my licence and agreement on how the vehicle would be correctly insured etc, Ensign Bus agreed to the Olympian's inclusion in their event.

We were allocated to the X81 Grays to Shenfield route - we were unable to work either of the other two routes (X21 Upminster to Ongar & X55 Upminster to Gravesend) because of the London Low Emission Zone, and also a low bridge on the X21 means its a single deck only route.

Ensign had the Olympian stored at their depot from the Tuesday prior to the running day to allow time for the safety inspection to be completed, so it was only a short dead trip on running day morning to take up service at Lakeside on our first trip to Shenfield. We then duly completed 3 round trips.

Because the running day uses only class 6 vehicles, it is a properly registered bus service that observes all bus stops on line of route and thus offers local journey's and one off connections for one day only. It was certainly different stopping when people put their hands out or ring the bell..........and collecting fares - the last time I did that was 16 years ago! We sold £17.10 worth of local fares, so it goes to show that we didn't just have enthusiasts on board.

Here we are at Lakeside before entering service on our first trip to Shenfield:


Friday, 14 October 2016

W437CWX moves on

Having come to the conclusion that I'm getting nowhere fast with Olympian W437CWX, and given that its storage location at Yeldham is about to be redeveloped into a housing estate, I've decided that the best thing for the vehicle is to find a new preservationist owner.

To get a base value for the vehicle I got a quote from a scrap yard and then advertised the vehicle within select preservation circles. Only one serious person stepped forward and the vehicle is now destined to make its way North to Yorkshire to hopefully be restored to its former glory. The buyer wishes to remain anonymous so that's as much as I can say at the moment.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Theydon Bois & Canvey



Having gotten my new Olympian (H105GEV) painted in time, I was invited to take it to the transport sale held at Theydon Bois village hall.

The arrangement is that a small number of buses are displayed in the car park and they offer free rides around the local area as an added attraction alongside the transport sale.

H105GEV completed two trips, the first to Waltham Abbey and the second a loop via Debden and Abridge.

The image on the right shows H105GEV on display in the car park at Theydon Bois Village hall.




The day after the Theydon Bois event was Canvey bus rally. This is one of my favourite events as I get to run in service as much as I like. As the Olympian was now ready to rally this was the chosen weapon and as such I thought it would be nice to have my Dart (J317XVX) there too as they're a matching pair. I had a second driver available so all was looking good.....

Unfourtunately the Dart had other ideas and developed an alternator fault which has to led to the alternator being removed for repair. Whilst unbolting the alternator I noticed that the header tank has a slight split in it and so this also needs to be replaced.

As the Dart was unavailable I offered my second driver the oppourtunity to take DAF P337ROO instead which was accepted. Both buses completed a number of trips - possibly 5 each but we lost count! I gather the DAF carried healthy loads on all trips - I had the Olympian and this proved particularly popular with full loads on trips operated, though the last journey was a tad lighter owing to an open topper coming out to play.

Here's the Olympian on the shuttle service at the bus museum and both vehicles on display at the rally (yes, the parking was that tight unfourtunately).


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Filming

As a follow up to the Londoner Live event at West Ham garage, I was asked if it would be possible to film some bits & pieces with DAF P337ROO to be used as part of the DVD covering the event.

I was happy to oblige, and here's a sneaky shot of the action unfolding......

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

West Mersea & 105



In a bit of a last minute arrangement with an adjacent local preservation group, I got myself involved in helping to provide the free bus service associated with the Mersea Island Lions Transport Show.

Initially I took Dennis Dart J317XVX but it became apparent that not only was a double decker required, the other group (who were in overall charge of the free bus service operation) had also planned on me taking a double decker. Luckily the new storage location isn't too far away so a swap of vehicles with DAF P337ROO soon had the issue resolved.

In the image above P337ROO can be seen at West Mersa, MICA centre, along with a supporting open topper.

105?

Ah! My fleet has a new addition!

Former GHA coaches Leyland Olympian 1810VT........better known as H105GEV, new to County Bus & Coach Co LTD at Grays garage.

I had been watching this vehicle along with two sisters for around three years. GHA went into administration in July and the administrators decided to sell off some of the owned vehicles via an auction; I was thus lucky enough to put in a winning bid.

Here she is having just arrived at her new home back in Essex:






Saturday, 23 July 2016

Basildon & West Ham

Playing catch up again!....

Sunday 26th June 2016 was the date of my own first ever bus rally, held at Barleylands Farm Park near Basildon.

Unfourtunately mother nature did its utmost to try and destroy the event with so much rainfall in the weeks prior to the big day that the rally field was rendered unusable. Although not ideal, I did at least have a smaller hardstanding area available as back up plan and this was utilised in order to save the rally from cancelation.

Despite having to resort to using smaller area, and thus being forced to alienate the sales stalls, feedback was so positive that I've decided to have another go in 2017.

Moving on to West Ham........the bus garage rather than the football team....

The Londoner Live show took place at West Ham bus garage on Saturday 23rd July. The basic concept was to assemble buses of various types, old & new, in order to show how London's buses have changed over the years. Initially I was invited to take my Dart J317XVX to represent the use of the type for the 90's fashion of running improved frequencies with smaller vehicles.......and of course the involvement of non red bus companies through the tendering process.

Following further discussion with the event organiser, it was also agreed that DAF P337ROO would be added to the line up representing Harris Buses doomed time in tendered London. Granted 337 isn't in the same condition as new (ie, no centre exit doors, electronic destination blind and Thurrock link branding) but the event organiser agreed that the base Green & Blue Harris Bus livery was enough justification for inclusion.

Here's 317 & 337 on display at West Ham bus garage:




Sunday, 5 June 2016

Clacton 2016

I often say that Canvey is my favourite rally but actually, I think its Clacton.....

I arrived at the Factory Outlet rally site at about 10am...........and the next time I paid real close attention to the time, it was just about 5pm! I only just managed to photograph all the buses and just about had time to chat to fellow preserved owners that I know (plus a bit of last minute pinning people down ahead of my own rally at Basildon). I have no idea where the day went!

Well I do a little bit - I offered myself and DAF P337ROO for service and we were allocated a duty with four trips spread evenly throughout the day - 2 trips on the town centre 114 service, a 119 journey via Weeley & Thorpe le Soken and then another trip on the 114.

Things didn't quite go to plan in more ways than one though. Firstly there was a diversion on the 114 route due to a road closure; I was a little concerned as I don't know Clacton all that well - I even warned my passengers that we may get lost - but I needn't have worried as the diversionary route was quite simple and was actually well signposted as it was a planned closure/diversion.

Then on route 119 there was road works at Thorpe le Soken which cost about 6 minutes in queueing time.......of course there wasn't a workman in sight. I normally stick to the 114 route as that's all I know but I thought I'd be bold this year and go for the 119 as it looked simple enough when I looked at a map.........as it turned out its quite a fast route (ie, some of the roads have high speed limits) so it gave an oppourtunity to stretch 337's legs and show off her 56mph capability.

I had expected the final 114 trip to be a routine affair as I'd already done the diversionary route twice but the bus service controller asked me to switch to the 112 Seafront Circular to cover a gap.........errrrmmmm.......I didn't have a clue where this route ran but luckily a former Harris Bus driver that know's Clacton well was on board, so I offered him the oppourtunity to have a drive and thus I now know where the 112 goes. I think I'm gonna enjoy next year even more now that I know a few routes!

Here's 337 at Clacton's Pier Avenue on the first 114 journey - the electronic blind was displaying the Factory Outlet destination but my camera failed to pick it up: