Well, at last, the exam season is over once more, and some normality can return to my life after 2 months sitting a desks with heads in assortments of economics, geography and general studies (watch it!) text books.
The first thing I was keen to tick off was Torpoint's latest addition, this being Volvo Olympian P568 EFL. She's certainly a very good example of the batch, with a very strong engine making mince meat of some of the hills that even the Tridents struggle with. The bodywork and general interior is very tidy indeed, and has obviously been well cared for in Southampton, its just a shame that the interior is just standard 'bus seats'. After a full trip of the 81C from Royal Parade to Cremyll aboard her, I was a little worse for wear in the back department, its just not a shadow on the plush coach seating of the K-ORLs! No where near as exciting either, but no doubt its the best we could have hoped for, its about the most interesting thing you'll still find working daily at FDC, especially seeing as none of the 4 K-LAEs made an appearance today. You may have also noticed the photo isn't really representative of today's murky wet and freezing conditions, so here's an example of today's photography, in the same location.
The, dare I say it, heartbreaking thing, was that at the same time I was swanning off to Torpoint on P568, I missed what frankly would have been the spot of the decade. For the first time in nearly 6 years, a Bristol VR was prowling the streets of Plymouth in public service! I kid you not, Western Greyhound's LFJ 858W was used on service 592 to and from Liskeard, and down into St Columb today, in place of the usual Mercedes Vario! I could kick myself for taking a trip on a vehicle some 17 years younger, but then again it is simply the last thing you would expect to see on a miserable February Saturday in Plymouth. 858's working sees the VR return to service in Plymouth for the first time since LFJ 844W was withdrawn from Torpoint in August 2006. With any luck (and with enough begging to the MD!) who knows what we may see in the future. LFJ 858W has been used in regular service down in Cornwall over the past few weeks owing to a shortage of serviceable Volvo Olympians, so we may indeed see her working again around the region, its just a matter of tracking her down! Ironically I have a photo of the most recent, and penultimate VRs together while running in preservation at the 2010 Penzance Bus Rally.